Molly Kilete, Abuja The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has declared its readiness to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to the Niger Delta region to secure oil and gas pipelines and other critical oil installations owned by Shell company in the country. The deployment of the UAVs, according to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal…
There is every reason to believe that the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) whose activities triggered the quit notice given to the Igbo in the North by Arewa youths is elated by the stand of the northern groups. IPOB believes that the Arewa youths, through their declaration, may have, without knowing it, made the route to Biafra a shorter one. That was why IPOB grabbed the quit notice with both hands and advised the Igbo in the North to begin to return home.
IPOB was also not perturbed by the Arewa proclamation that the Igbo would, at the expiration of the ultimatum, forfeit all their property and investments in the North. IPOB sees the position of the Arewa youths on forfeiture, as a bait that may cow the Igbo into having a rethink on Biafra and, therefore, reminded the purveyors of such blackmail that the assumption that the economic investments of the Igbo in the North could be an impediment to Biafra was misplaced. IPOB is confident that the Igbo will not place economic well being over and above their lives.
Even though IPOB is calling the bluff of those who are luxuriating over the possible loss of Igbo property and investments in the North, some other Igbo are insisting that no Igbo property will be left in the hands of the North, Biafra or no Biafra. Igbo investments in the North have conservatively been put at N44 trillion. This, some Igbo are saying, must never be left behind on account of the threat of Arewa youths. We are even told that Ralph Uwazurike whose Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra ( MASSOB) actually initiated the sit-at-home order many years back has gone on a peace mission to the North. I do not know if Uwazurike actually did as alleged. But it will be a shame if he did. It will also not make sense if any Igbo of repute is seen or heard playing the statesman in this matter. The issue at stake requires practicality. No one should try to dissuade anyone from carrying out his threat or agenda. What those who feel concerned, particularly the Igbo, should direct their energies to is how to relocate their people out of the North, even if they feel that the threat of the Arewa will not be carried out. We were told that South-East governors are putting an arrangement in place for their people to return. They should sustain the effort. Those who are seeking ways to have the Igbo remain in the North are doing a disservice to the Igbo nation. A time usually comes in the life of a people when they should change strategy. The Igbo should seize the opportunity of the moment to change the course of their history.
From the proclamation and disposition of the northern youths, it is very evident that they have their eyes on Igbo investments in their territory. Their disposition betrays the fact that they are and have been ill at ease with Igbo enterprise, which has brought about such massive investments in the North. However green-eyed the Arewa may be over Igbo investments, it is necessary at this point to remind the concerned Igbo that whatever investments they have in the North must be relegated to a second order position under the present circumstances.
The Igbo, for reasons that are yet to be established by any sociological study, seem to feel more at home outside their homeland. They seem to have a mentality that favours the Diaspora. That is why they feel at home wherever they find themselves. In Nigeria today, it is only the Igbo that neglect their homeland in favour of other regions. They invest massively in these other regions without batting an eyelid. They are just comfortable with that set-up. This is in spite of the fact that their homeland is begging for attention. This is a disease of sorts, which the Igbo are yet to be saved from. This state of affairs has always made the Igbo very vulnerable. They are the ones that get easily killed because they mainly live outside their homeland. In the event of the dismemberment of Nigeria in whatever way it comes, the Igbo will be the only segment of Nigeria that will face grave humanitarian crisis. Th Yoruba, for instance, are not infected by the Diaspora bug that the Igbo suffer from. The Yoruba live mostly in their homeland. The tiny percentage that you find outside Yorubaland hardly have any investments in those places. If the North should give the Yoruba in their land quit notice, as they have done to the Igbo, the Yoruba will not be bothered. They have virtually nothing in the North that they will lose sleep over.
Given this set-up, it is clear that the problem of the Igbo is self-inflicted. Those who are raising issues about their N44 trillion investments in the North have no one but themselves to blame. If half of their N44 trillion investments had been taken to Igboland, their region and its people would have been the better for it. Now, the chickens have come home to roost. The concerned Igbo are crying why. But someone needs to remind them that they must begin to look homewards. You cannot want your own republic and at the same time stay put in the territories that you want to divorce yourself from. Both tendencies stand at cross purposes.
It must be expected that some Igbo in the North, owing to factors that border on cognitive dissonance, may not leave the North regardless of the quit order. They will console themselves by insisting that nothing will happen. Such disposition is completely up to those who want to tread that path. But what every right-thinking Igbo, living in the North ought to do at this time is not to constitute a stumbling block to the plan of the Arewa youths to move out of the Nigeria where they are lumped together with, to use their own words, “acrimonious, ungrateful, unruly, uncultured and stubborn” Igbo. Actualising this threat beginning from 1st of October is the challenge, facing the Arewa. If the Igbo move out of the North peacefully, as they have been given the opportunity to do, the Arewa will have no reason not to go ahead with their plan to end their union with the Igbo by leaving Nigeria. It will be interesting to see how the North will carry out this agenda.
Apparently in recognition of the fact that they have overstepped their bounds, the Arewa youths have begun to amend their position. From their earlier threat to disengage from the Nigeria where they currently cohabit with the Igbo, beginning from1st OF October, the Arewa people in their letter to the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, are asking the Federal Government to conduct a referendum in the South-East in order to give the Igbo the opportunity to have their Biafra. This is a clear shift from their earlier position. What can be deduced from here is that the Arewa youths may have acted on impulse initially. They are beginning to face reality. That is why they are shifting the responsibility of dividing Nigeria to the Federal Government. But whatever they may decide to do beginning from 1st of October, the Igbo in the North should not provide the Arewa the reason to divert attention from the agenda they have set for themselves. The Igbo should leave the North first and return later to talk about their trapped investments whether Nigeria remains united or not.