IGBO'S RESPONSE TO JOS IS UNACCEPTABLE
Since last December of 2010 the Igbo population in the Northern part of Nigeria from Jos to Maiduguri to Bauchi and Kano has suffered the usual fate that has always befallen them since 1945. Hundreds were killed and their properties looted just as usual. The same pattern; there were mob killings and lootings by the same Islamic jihadists and they were as always not provoked. It has always been as a result of the reverberations of some events taking place in some faraway places or some inter-Islamic or inter-other-ethnic conflicts or just pure outright premeditated action to kill and loot the Igbo population in Northern or Western Nigeria borne out of ethnic/religious hatred.
For the Igbo leadership both at home in Biafra Land and those outside they still find it difficult to comprehend the fact that presiding over a people and their affairs goes beyond going out to commiserate with those whose family members or friends have been murdered in these unnecessary killings. The leaders also seem to fail to understand that, leaders must learn how to empathize with their people in such a way that truly ameliorate the pain of their great losses. To do that will involve going beyond just saying to the people to accept the killings and lootings and move on. The leaders must be able to say and truly feel sorry for the people and practically assure them that such will never happen again. Leaders are supposed to be able to respond to ongoing crisis effectively as well as know how to prevent future occurrences. They must take actual steps to put structures in place that back up their statements when they say, never again. When these things have to do with the loss of human lives and their means of livelihood; then these preventive structures must be real and permanent.
Going by the fact that these acts of ethnic/religious murders have been going on against the Igbo and other Southeasterners by the same group of Muslims and other ethnic peoples of Nigeria the only realistic solution is to be separated from them. Some Igbo leaders’ insistence on the continued stay in the deceit called one-Nigeria is an act of dishonesty, selfishness, irresponsibility and betrayal of trust reposed on them by their people. If anyone from among the leaders would want to know what the people are asking for, in a plain language, it is for the leaders to come up with drastic decisions that will put a permanent stop to these killings. The truth is that nobody can honestly be talking of peace in Nigeria just because they are not the ones being killed or it is their loved ones. We will suggest that those who insist on Nigeria’s unity as it is presently constructed should let their loved ones be the victims of these dastard killings. Let positions be reversed and let it become the one-nigerianists’ people who are the cannon fodders of this Islamic/ethnic madness.
We really do not wish such atrocity on anyone but let Igbo leaders who simply do not want to understand the situation listen and hear well what the Boko Haram Islamic sect has coming for them and their people;
“We are...calling on Muslims in this part of the world to be well prepared because, very soon, we would launch a full scale war between the Muslims and the Christians."
Leadership requires that leaders speak and act appropriately on the behalf of their people. It is unrealistic and abnegation of responsibility on the side of the Igbo governors and leaders to tell their people, in response to these constant waves of killings to stay back in the Northern and Western parts of Nigeria and fight back their unprovoked attackers. What do they expect them to use and fight with? Have they provided the people with machine guns and bombs? How do they plan to arm Igbo school children when they go to school? There are Igbo children in kindergarten and elementary schools, how do they plan to arm them? This response is wrong; there must be a different response. There must be a better response. There must be a stronger response. There must be a permanent response.
Maybe the Igbo leaders may need to be reminded that these people who attack their people are well armed, armed by the military officers of the Nigerian army both retired and serving and prominent business leaders in the North and West and, their Emirs and Sultan. The attackers are organized because these Nigerian army officers have private standing armies in the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad, Sudan and they call them up at will to do the jobs for them. No one should easily forget the recently exposed arms importation from Iran of last year, the 13 containers of Apapa Warf loaded with rocket launchers and arms of various kinds. These private ethnic/Islamic arms stockpiling have been going on over the years by these Islamic/ethnic attackers. So the question to Igbo leaders is how do you advise your people to fight back under this situation?
The Igbo people must understand that they can only save themselves by being responsible for themselves and being one another’s keeper. This is not the time for political correctness, trying to be the nice guy. It is time for real political tough decision. It is time for Igbo people to fight back, real fight, as a people. Judging by what has been going on in Nigeria for nearly 70 years now it can safely be concluded that Islamic culture does not understand civility in this part of the world. Fighting back in this case is by carving out a political space for Igbo people. Experience is yet to prove, since the past 1500 years that Islamic culture can be reformed to eschew intolerance of, violence against and murder of non-believers. Therefore waiting it out (as probably Chinua Achebe was insinuating in his recent article titled; Nigeria’s Promise, Africa’s Hope) will never be an option.
This is the era of self-determination. It is legal. Take a look at South Sudan and Kosovo. South Sudan has fought long against the same Arab/Islamic hegemony wreaking havoc on the Igbo people in Nigeria and finally they are going to be free on the 9th of July 2011. Kosovo had to unilaterally assert themselves by declaring their freedom. People all over the world are taking their destinies in their own hands and Igbo people must do the same now. And assuming there are no such examples to go by, still natural logic makes it a right to defend oneself against assailants or aggressors. It is a Natural Law. The only way Igbo people can truly defend themselves in this situation is to remove themselves from Nigeria. That is the right thing to do and that is the permanent solution. Igbo leaders should remember that they have no right to stop the other people from practicing their own culture or religion but they must create a place where their own people can be free to practice their own way of life unmolested.
Should Igbo leaders of today fail in this duty of saving their people how would they want the next generation to look at them? These leaders must do the right thing today. Let them use every means available to them because they must stop these unwarranted wastes of the lives of their fellow Igbo by an intolerant people of Nigeria. This is the people’s demand of their leaders and the people are looking up to them and the leaders cannot afford to and must not fail the people.
Igbo leaders of today must own up to their responsibilities. True leaders are those who take full responsibility for the fortune and misfortune of the people they are leading. Leaders are expected to take decisions for the people they lead and not just any decisions but the right ones. Right decisions can always be arrived at with honest, sincere and bold thinking. Igbo people deserve a better deal from their leaders than they are getting now. Igbo leaders of today can and must choose the dignified route of standing up and demanding for the freedom and security of their people or remain humiliated, lampooned, constantly harassed, persecuted, looted and murdered en mass. It is expected and believed that the leaders will make the right choice.