From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS and PETER EMERAGHI, Abuja The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nigeria Office Chief Representative, Nakamura Hirotaka, has said that Nigeria is presently struggling to meet its aspects of the cooperation with Japan. Hirotaka made the disclosure during the send-forth for participants for the African Business Education (ABE) Initiative for Youth programme…
Ever since the end of the Nigeria-Biafra war and the resuscitation of the Biafra dream by Chief Ralph Uwazurike and his Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the Biafra agitation has, perhaps, not been as strident as it is now. Many attribute the resurgence to the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Though the formation or leadership of IPOB has been mired in controversy, Nnamdi Kanu, the Radio Biafra director, has given the agitation a lot of punch, especially since his incarceration and ongoing trial for treasonable felony.
For many Nigerians, the agitation is needless, as they feel Nigeria is big enough for everyone. That, exactly, is the belief of yours sincerely, as repeatedly expressed here. The Biafra agitators, however, disagree, saying their decision to opt out of Nigeria was an unavoidable choice due to several years of neglect and deliberate marginalisation. The Biafra hopefuls postulate that those that are too hasty in condemning their quest for self-determination lack understanding simply because they do not feel the pinch since they do not wear the shoe.
Of course, virtually every section of the country cries of marginalisation, much of which is a ruse to mask the hurt of a people so glaringly marked for mistreatment. However, I stumbled upon this anonymous exchange between a Biafra agitator and his Yoruba friend and I feel this can go a long way in proffering a solution to the ills of our crumbling monolith, Nigeria.
Yoruba: Under what conditions would you support “One Nigeria” and let go of the Biafra agitation and let it die down, finally laid to rest for good?
Biafra agitator: Close down Lagos ports and open up Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onitsha and Warri ports.
• Cancel all direct and major connecting flights to Lagos and Abuja airports, allowing only local connecting flights. While this is being done, open up Enugu, Owerri, Asaba, Uyo and Port Harcourt to direct international and major connecting flights.
• Ask all international and diplomatic missions to move their embassies and consulates from Lagos, Kano and Abuja to Enugu, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
• All Federal Government agencies in Lagos and Abuja shall be relocated to Enugu, Port Harcourt and Calabar. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), etc., shall and must relocate to Port Harcourt, Calabar and Enugu.
• All multinational companies in Lagos and Abuja, shall and must relocate their offices to Port Harcourt, Calabar and Enugu.
• All oil companies must relocate their head offices to Port Harcourt, as the oil capital of Nigeria.
• Let the northern children gain admission into federal schools with 300 score points while the South-East children should gain admission with only 20 score points.
• Let all federal road projects in the North/South-West be handled by one local company and the one in the South-East/South-South be handled by Julius Berger and foreign construction companies.
If these conditions can be fulfilled and implemented for 50 years, we can try one Nigeria and let’s see if you the North and South-West will like it for a month…
• Also, Yoruba and Hausa needing to get international visas shall travel to Port Harcourt, Calabar or Enugu to do that. Same with flying or connecting flights; with shipping and importing their goods, etc.
Yoruba: You can’t be serious, this is wickedness…
Biafra agitator: Really? Don’t you think the south-eastern part of Nigeria has been suffering and enduring this very same wickedness for over 50 years?
Yoruba (quiet for a few seconds): Wow, you are right but it never occurred to me…
Biafra agitator: That’s the problem with One Nigeria, those who are benefiting from it, love it and would love to maintain the status quo. Let each region develop at her own pace, with airport, seaports, industries, major projects open to be developed in any part of Nigeria without government interference or strangulation due to tribalism and nepotism!
Let Nigeria be fair to ALL, irrespective of tribe, religion and place of birth. Let there be true federalism and resources control. Let’s have equal respect for one another, irrespective of where the person comes from in Nigeria. That is what Biafra agitation is all about.
Of a truth, the foregoing may not totally reflect the entire story but it certainly exposes how injustice has led us to where we are today. A truly united Nigeria must redress these ills. Instead, by shutting out the South-East from this government, Nigerian leaders have brazenly told the South-East to go to hell and, to them, Biafra is the ‘hell’ they are willing to go to. Strangely, the same people pushing the people out are intent on keeping them on a leash by force. That is most unfair, a prelude to anarchy.
Take the admission policy into Nigeria’s erroneously named unity schools, where everything points to disunity. Anambra and Imo states students, for instance, must score 139 and 138 per cent respectively to be considered for admission, whereas students from Zamfara and Taraba states require as low as 3 per cent to be admitted into the same school. This political contrivance is only meant to favour the North, dubiously tagged educationally disadvantaged. In other words, no matter how herdsman the brain of the northern student, he is guaranteed admission. Today, they are still saying education is evil (boko haram) and busy destroying everything and everyone while the rest of Nigeria, especially Igboland, bears the brunt of this madness.
For some of us, moderates, Biafra may not be the ultimate dream. However, it behooves Nigerian authorities to do the needful to kill the agitation, which they deliberately neglect to do. To keep Nigeria truly one, the country must be redesigned on the foundation of equity and fairness; it must not pander to the caprices of a particular section that is intent on keeping others down, as no force of arms can cow a determined people for too long.
It is worth reminding Nigeria, too, that Scotland is again pressing for another plebiscite to decide whether to remain in Britain or not and nobody has been killed or jailed for making this demand.
That Magu’s magomago
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was for the second time rejected by the Senate on Wednesday last week. Those castigating the Senate for his rejection have either not apprised themselves of the matter or are just being mischievously mendacious. The senators may have ulterior motives but were fed with fodder to incinerate Magu’s dream by the same Presidency that wanted Magu confirmed. Reading Magu’s reply to the query issued him by the Attorney-General, one is at pains to ask what magomago is going on in the Presidency. The Senate stood on a damning report from the Department of State Security that said Magu failed the integrity test to reject him. So, if anybody should be blamed, it is definitely the palpably disorganised seat of power, where musical chairs are on display. Any wonder we are stuck in this deep, stinking hole for close to two years now?