On Monday, we were entertained after very high expectation from Mr. President as we were told ahead of time that as he returned on Saturday, he would talk to the nation two days later.
He kept his word on the address that was short and straight to point. Expectedly, the words of Mr. President that have been rare, especially with the uncertainty that attended his last medical voyage to the United Kingdom that lasted 104 days generated the tension and reverberation befitting of a man whose words seems the most important and influential in the affairs of the nation.
The President delivered his speech in dictums and I am one of those that read him as passing his message across without mentioning anybody’s name.
He addressed Boko Haram renewed onslaught without a mention. He addressed the Quit Order on the Igbo from northern Nigeria without saying so. He also touched on the Biafra agitation and calls for restructuring of the nation, without also mentioning any particular incident or anyone’s name.
Likewise, he issued his crossing-the-red line veiled threat and still avoided saying who did the line crossing.
But what I have always disagreed with most is anybody sounding like YOU EITHER TAKE NIGERIA AS IT IS NOW OR GO TO HELL.
No, I recall a certain powerful woman some years ago that said then governor of Rivers State’s problem is he always says MUST when he shouldn’t. She cautioned the governor “You must not say must.”
I would sincerely advise President Muhammadu Buhari concerning Nigeria that he must not say must. The ‘must’ he says about Nigeria is telling us that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. His words were clear in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the short 15-paragraph speech that lasted about three minutes as he subtly thundered:
“In 2003 after I joined partisan politics, the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown Daura. Over two days we discussed in great depth till late into the night and analyzed the problems of Nigeria. We both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united.
Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable. We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood.”
By this Mr. President was referring to Biafra agitators without mentioning names. And by the fourth paragraph, he was talking to me that agitate for restructuring of Nigeria without still naming names.
Mr. President sir, Nigeria is perfectly negotiable and if you would care to listen, everything in life, even life itself, is negotiable, reason some people take their lives in suicide.
We have seen in history, even in our presence, countries that were negotiated, and the heavens didn’t fall, the world didn’t come to an end. There is nothing so special about Nigeria that we would live together for some to be slaves and others the slave masters. I had a teacher that told me that it is a most absurd situation when the horse and horse rider don’t smile the same time.
Mr. President, we are not slaves, and even slaves fight for their liberation if they so wish. And some of us have lived in this Nigeria prison for too long that we earnestly yearn for freedom. We would be ashamed to bequeath this to our children.
For your information, we are not taken in by all those threats and if you love Nigeria and to everyone that loves Nigeria, like I do, the best we should wish Nigeria is restructuring because only that would keep it alive and if that is resisted for too long, it might get to snapping point and to rescue it would be too late.
I am a very strong stakeholder in Nigeria having children not old enough to take care of themselves and the last I would ask for is war, yet, I would not be cowed to accept that they inherit slavery. Mr. President, people of your class and generation have enslaved my own class and generation for too long. That is the reason you ruled by force of the arm and 32 years later, Nigeria atrophied for too long to wait for you to come back once again and take the due of my generation.
I know you were referring to the Igbo, especially those Igbo that call for Biafra when you mentioned your interaction with late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. But all Igbo want to let you know that that blackmail failed flat.
You and Ojukwu, just two men sitting in your hometown in Daura were not with any mandate to arrive at a conclusion about Nigeria’s future on behalf of all of us said to be 180m and from over 250 ethnic nationalities. Only two of you sat down and decided for us and you want to implement that decision. May I tell you that you decided for just two of you. I am sure the reason you two met was politics because then you had just started your lobby to be president that you actualized two years ago eventually.
Beyond the politics you and Ojukwu played that you want to foist on us which we also have the right to refuse and have refused, that statement was the height of arrogance to your person that only you and another of your ilk should sit down and take decision on behalf of all of us. Since you two spoke without our mandate, you just spoke for yourselves and we are not bound. So we continue with our duty of saying a loud no to enslavement in present Nigeria.
If I had the chance, I would have asked you if the marginalization and utter hate you have exhibited against the Igbo since you came to power and have no plans to act otherwise from your body language was part of what you agreed with Ojukwu. You made your declaration after you came to power that you can’t leave people that gave you 95% of votes to extend any kindness to those that didn’t. That is our fate and we have taken it and we are sure to survive this administration. But the one we won’t take is to swallow all the discrimination in silence.
I don’t also know if the hardship this government supervised by you has visited on the common man is also part of what you agreed with Ojukwu. January last year, I asked Minister Lai Mohammed in a press meeting in Abuja if there is any justification that common Nigerians that were victims of the PDP governments are still victims today in the guise that the government pursues public money thieves. It is double jeopardy on us and we have lived on unfulfilled promises for too long and can’t be cajoled any longer. We need restructured Nigeria. We need food. We need the right conditions to make a living ourselves. And we don’t need any discussion between you and some other person to direct how we should think or see Nigeria’s problem.