… Says herders already in region and waiting for signal to strike
Raphael Edeh, Enugu
Chief (Mrs) Maria Okwor is one of the remaining few Nigerians who have seen Nigeria from the struggle for independence through the development of its democracy.
Mrs Okwor who is an associate of the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe is now the leader of the Igbo Women Assembly and one-time member of Advisory Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In this interview with Sunday Sun, she called on the youths to rise-up and take over Nigerian leadership, saying that unless the youths assert themselves in the politics of Nigeria they have no future.
She described the recycling of old men in political positions as scandalous.
She also raised the alarm for the Igbo to be at alert over herdsmen attacks, saying that they are already in the region and are only waiting for signal to strike.
Are you losing hope in Nigeria that you are now calling on the youths to fight for themselves, that they have no future in Nigeria?
Yes, because there is no future for the youths of this nation. You see what is happening; looking at the country today, you can see there is no future for the younger generation. Do they recognize you? The political actors are recycling themselves, when one finishes as governor he will go to the Senate. When are the youths going to take over? Are we going to continue to recycle old men? It is not fair. The youth should rise up and fight for their survival, take over and take control.
But how can the youths achieve that; they don’t have the money, platform or the connection to get there?
Platform? This boy Nnamdi Nkanu, don’t you see how he stirred everywhere and Nigeria’s atmosphere was charged and sent shocker to the Caliphate. He frightened them and they sent military to kill him in his father’s house. And I am sure you know how many Igbo they killed during the ‘Operation Python Dance’ in Abia State and in other parts of Igbo land. You should start making noise, start talking, use the social media and start a revolution. They should stop recycling themselves for God’s sake. These governors who have gone to the Senate how many of them; they received their salaries as governors, pensions, and at the same time receive salaries as senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is scandalous. They said they are fighting corruption, now corruption is pregnant and nursing a baby. So, where lies your future if these people continue to recycle themselves, when will the youths have the opportunity to grow?
Are you worried that lives are no longer valuable in Nigeria as the country has practically turned into a killing field?
I am very much concerned and that is why I am crying out. I have grandchildren and two of them have graduated and there is no hope for them in Nigeria. I can tell you that the killers in Benue State are here in the South-east and they are waiting for a signal. You are talking about Benue, the people are already here waiting for the signal to start slaughtering the Igbo, if you don’t know it, you better know it now and be on guard. I know these people, I have lived with them and I can tell you they don’t have conscience. They believe that if they kill a non-Muslim they are going to paradise straight. Is that a religion? Is it not a stupid religion? They kill people like fowls and it has to stop. I am happy that (TY) Danjuma has finally spoken out at last.
What is your position on restructuring?
For me the period of restructuring is over. It has passed and these people don’t want to hear restructuring, they want to continue milking us.
Then what is your stand?
To your tent O! Israel. Let us develop at our own pace. This is what I want and that is what many Nigerians want. If we cannot go back to parliamentary system let us go our separate ways and forget this one Nigeria of a thing. That is my position and I am ready to go to jail any day if it so demands.
But the political leaders in the South-east appear not to be as worried as you are?
Yes, it is true that some Igbo politicians are cowards and wouldn’t mind selling their families to get what they want. Somebody asked me; what will I do? I told the person that we will continue to persuade them to see the need to reject some certain things and save their land and future of their linage. But where they refused, we will mobilize and carry placards in protest and disgrace them. I am calling the electorate to sit-up and stop voting the same people.
What is your take on the 2019 election?
I am calling on the Igbo not to return those politicians that did not represent them very well and those who colluded with the presidency to massacre their sons and daughters. I am saying this if the Fulani herdsmen did not carry out their agenda before the election. But if they do, Ndigbo should be prepared to go their separate ways.
How would you describe the massacre of Nigerians in various states by herdsmen?
It is a serious problem because the herdsmen we knew use to go about with sticks on their back; they never carried arms. This new herdsmen are moving about with sophisticated weapons they call AK 47 which I heard is very expensive and that is not healthy for our country. It is a very worrisome situation and they haven’t been classified as a terrorist group, yet those who were agitating for restoration of Biafra and never carried arms have been declared a terrorist group. So, how come, I don’t quite understand what is happening in this country; these so-called Fulani herdsmen, I think they are Boko Haram in disguise. I don’t believe they are herdsmen because they have a hidden agenda, which they have started executing. I don’t know whether you heard the recent meeting of Fulani National Association of Nigeria (FUNAN) calling for war because of what Danjuma said that Nigeria should defend themselves from Fulani herdsmen. They have called President Buhari to declare Nigeria a state of emergency that Fulanis are being harassed. Is it not an irony?
Probably they are doing this because the President Buhari is there patron?
Yes, of course; they said they put him there to implement their master plan of deepen Qu’ran into the Atlantic Ocean. They don’t think well of us in the Southern Nigeria. They only want to Islamize Nigeria and I do not understand what the southern leaders are talking about restructuring. But to me, the period of restructuring is over and we have to defend ourselves like Danjuma has said.
With what are you going use to defend yourself when the herdsmen are carrying AK 47 rifle?
That is what we want our political leaders to address. I suggested that we lead a delegation to them and draw their attention to the impending danger ahead, if nothing urgent is done now. Danger is around the corner, herdsmen have penetrated every nook and cranny of the South-east and we are busy buying their cow and eating their ‘suya’. We are busy buying suya, eating while they are busy mastering all the hideouts. There is no single village in the South-east that the Fulani herdsmen have not occupied, marrying our girls and producing Muslims in our backyards; it is a very dangerous situation. You young people should try and reach to our political leaders because they have the wherewithal to do anything. If they keep quite maybe they will protect themselves and their families, but what about the people they are ruling. I propose that we should lead a powerful delegation to both state Houses of Assembly and the governors to ask them to sit-up and defend our people.
Do you think that Nigerians should obey the directive of the IGP for Nigerians to surrender their arms?
That directive is ridiculous and I would first want him to disarm his brothers’ herdsmen before ordering that Nigerians should surrender their ammunition for those who have. That directive shows that they have a plan to eliminate us if we refuse to become Muslims.
So many Igbo leaders are saying that cannot happen in Nigeria, so why do you still believe that herdsmen activities are part of Islamization agenda?
Those so-called leaders are bereft of ideas and history. What happened in Iraq, it was Persil, Turkey was former Constantinople, a 99 per cent Christians, but now 99 per cent Muslims. So, what is impossible, Christians are not reading in between the lines. Our leaders should wake-up from their slumber and decide which way forward, whether we are going to be all Muslims or annihilated.