I truly cannot get a handle to it but, it is heart-warming that you have started moderating your views on the agitation for Biafra. You no longer talk tough because it appears Ndigbo elders and leaders of thought have joined the clamour to force you to be more conciliatory. Hmmmm! I wish the elders acted much earlier! If they had, instead of waiting for you to do the dirty job for them, perhaps you would have realized that the road you chose to tread leads nowhere! But, nothing spoil!
It is heart-warming for you to concede that, as Nigerians, we all have complaints; that we are all marginalized! This is good and I admire your courage. It does not matter whether the complaint is the type that Boko Haram people have. And, I think it is better, even before I address the issues you raised, to remind you that every soul you find in this great Nigeria holds a grouse against the fatherland.
Let’s take a quick look at the recent history of Nigeria! Frankly, it is the South West, more than any other zone, which should complain of marginalization. You know the south west was home to the candidate who was denied the presidency after he neatly won it. You are right! I am talking about late Chief MKO Abiola and the June 12, 1993 election. What the south west did and why Nigerians and, indeed the civilized world respected and supported their stand was that there was never a time the south west threatened to pull out of Nigeria over June 12! Never! Of course, misguided street urchins and uninformed Area Boys made noises to that effect but no voice of substance in Yoruba land identified with the call.
You also recall that, as recent as the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, there was no way any Yoruba politician could have constitutionally ascended the presidency in the event of a vacancy. Of course, you know the south west did not feature in the top ten in the Goodluck Jonathan administration! The facts are there! And, you could not have forgotten that, except for Osun state, the south west voted massively for President Jonathan. There is no point repeating the fact that the south west did not abuse and insult compatriots or threaten fire and brimstone on account of losing out!
It is strange, my good friend, that one of the reasons you gave for your agitation is that the present leadership in Nigeria ‘is marginalising Ndigbo’ because, as you claim, Igbo people do not hold high positions and are not well represented in the Buhari/Osinbajo administration! Haba! Come on, my friend, but that need not be ground for a fight. I know you know better than this. I think it is time you sat back and reflect deeply on this agitation against the backdrop of facts on the ground. Yes, there are sound reasons to grumble and people should feel free to grumble. But, do you think it is okay for friends to shed blood in the name of grumbling?
And, let me take you a little back in time, my dear friend! You could not have forgotten that a senior citizen of this great country was elected the second most powerful Nigerian nine years after the end of the civil war! Oh yes! I am referring to HE Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme who ran and won on the NPN ticket with Alhaji Shehu Shagari. That was nine years after the civil war! And this was in the genuine spirit of No victor, No vanquished! I know this fact of history is lost on many of those agitators you now associate with. And I know it is difficult for you to educate some of those boys because you fear they will call you traitor or saboteur!
Now, when Dr. Alex Ekwueme occupied the number two constitutionally-recognised slot, no politician from the south west featured in the top four! You remember the senate president was Dr. Joseph Wayas while the speaker of the House of Representatives was Chief Edwin Ume Ezeoke. Yes! Chief Adisa Akinloye (you remember Adisco Champagne?) was NPN chairman. I cannot remember that anybody from the south west complained of being marginalized or foul-mouthing the fatherland or threatened to tear up the country! Tell me, dear friend! Where, exactly, is this marginalization stuff coming from?
I know you fear being tagged a ‘sabo’. But, the word died more than 46 years ago. As you must have realized by now, the people some choose to call saboteurs are either misunderstood or they are bold to speak the truth which many others find distasteful. Just cast your mind back, think deep and reflect on the number of times you refused to speak the truth or challenge a blatant falsehood because you feared others will start to suspect you of being a saboteur? Time is now for you to free your mind. Don’t be a prisoner to any well-wisher! They do not wish you well! It is time you bought the truth because it is only the truth that can save you!
You need to free your mind so that you don’t continue to see Nigeria as a zoo and liken your compatriots to animals! To do this, you must take your mind off all forms of mind-twisting substance! What you need is the spirit of God; not man-made, mind-bending substance that only injects hate and violence into you. This is because what you have in you, dear friend, is light; the light of God! What is in you is peace; the peace of God! Free your mind! Shun all forms of violence.
From this moment, my friend, please have nothing to do with hate and never let anger and violence overwhelm you. Together, we shall restructure Nigeria, our fatherland. We have to do it in peace, through negotiations and as brothers and sisters. We reject violence and we shall not know violence in our individual homes. After all, God is peace! But, first, your mind must begin to return to its natural state of peace!
After all, ain’t we all marginalized, as you confessed? Ain’t we all victims?
Written by Abdulrazaq Magaji.