Opinion: Biafra and the Arewa Quit Notice

Nnamdi Kanu

By Obani Chukwuemeka

It was Chris Hadfield who said: Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.

The national space has been inundated of recent with all manner of discord. From the Igbos seeking for secession in lieu of Biafra actualisation, to Arewa youths giving quit notice to the Igbos and accusing the Yorubas of betrayal and the Yorubas attacking them back as obstacles to restructuring, it has been a season of rancour and expectation of even more chaos should something not give to lessen the tension.

The system is so tense right now that any little thing can trigger carnage and destruction like never witnessed since after the civil war. Some people may term this assertion as an over reaction but realistically, what happens should the move for Buhari to resign fail which it would due to vested interest? What happens if he is impeached? Only the expectation of such is what has led to this quit notice on the Igbos whether one wants to believe it or not. The ignorant northerner will only be told that Buhari has been removed without being told that the removal was justified. Imagine the carnage from a people who see nothing in random and uncontrolled killing. On the other hand though we wish our president good health, what if he dies, with the current political climate, the north will still not voluntarily accept the ascendance of Osinbanjo.

We should not forget that despite the looming threat of this possibility for problem, the quit notice has not been rescinded and every day that passes, draws us closer to the D-day. Those responsible for the quit notice are so sure of the backing they have, they still invade the national space brazenly with more talk that can only breed more discord. An Igbo proverb says when you see a child dancing at dawn, look around for the adult beating the drum. The so-called youths, though that designation is at best erroneous given the age of the “youths” are definitely not making all these war cries under their own impetus and I make bold to postulate that even the October 1st deadline was a result of careful planning as we all know that one way or the other, the Buhari incapicity to rule brouhaha, would have been resolved. Either he dies before then, or he is unable to be in Nigeria and is impeached, or he is of such immense good health and fully recovered that the talk about his impeachment becomes a redundant argument.

On the Igbo side of the equation, I am a firm believer in the one Nigeria concept. As much as the structure of governance is flawed, there is no better alternative than making Nigeria work. Saying the country is not working ergo secession is tantamount to saying you roof is leaking so you must abandon the house and go to another house whose leaking roof is not as serious as the one in which you reside. It took us time and many mistakes to arrive at the current Nigeria and every geographical zone in the country has those same issues and are a microcosm of the larger Nigeria.

Industry flourishes when there is a market for industrial products. As industrious and gifted as the Igbos believe they are, the product of their expected industry would need a market far bigger than the east. If their immediate neighbors are restive and unproductive, all their industry would fall to naught.

Expectation of industrial boom is actually possible if we bank on exaggerated optimism because the east today that enjoys free money from the center has not shown any exceptional trait that makes the possibility of the progress a reality. From governors not paying salaries and pension, to bad policies and lack of continuation of policies, the problems bedeviling the east is just the same as every other part of Nigeria. The solution therefore do not lie in escaping the realities on ground but facing and tackling identified problems as people with one voice.

The frenzy and craze that has followed the release of Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB movement is easily reminiscent of the frenzy and craze with which Buhari was voted into power. The problem with such deification of persons is that it occludes all the faults of that individual and on the part of the individual, he or she starts developing a god complex and begins to believe in his or her infallability. There is no room for intelligent discussion only popular slogans and whipping up of sentiments. One may remember Sai Buhari, Sai Baba, Change, fight kwaruption and so on. Today the talk is Nnamdi Kanu is our savior, give us Biafra. Oftentimes this deified individuals don’t even believe in the possibility of the struggle they represent being actualised and success often becomes an even worse prospect. Case in point Buhari. He has single handedly destroyed what took others years to achieve. There is actually no aspect of Nigerian existence he has not put his hand of Hades to cause decay. Same applies to Nnamdi Kanu. His appearances are devoid of intelligent plans, dreams and goals. If he is not spewing hate filled sentiments like saying ibos who attend churches presided by Yoruba pastors are imbeciles, he is ranting of refusal to allow elections to hold in the east without referendum, or encouraging civil disobedience.

I assure my readers that should he successfully get Biafra, he has no plans for the next day. It would be an eastern version of the Nigerian movie. Ten years down the line, he would still be blaming the “zoo” for the problem of the “human habitation”. Simple questions like how many states apart from the five eastern states do you envisage would agree to join Biafra he doesn’t know. What type of government would Biafra practice? He has not thought of that. What will be his role in the new Biafra? No idea apart from the false expectation that he would be worshipped still. I beg him to see the level of disillusionment of Nigerians with Buhari then he should double that sentiment. That would be his lot should his Biafra not turn out to be the land of milk and honey he is promising.

To the Igbos, I advice the idea of running from Nigeria to get Biafra would be a mere replacement of slave masters. At least we never saw Buhari comfortably permitting people to bow for him or stepping on the clothes of women or engaging in theatrics.

To the three major ethnic groups I advice sheathing of swords and coming together to heal the system. They have not gotten the moral right for all theses agitation when virtually all the states apart from Lagos, are more or less “agbaya” being breastfed by the wealth from their little brother the Niger Delta. Charity begins at home. Show us what you are capng before screaming that you want to secede. Show us worthy leaders who are without blemish and are to pilot even a state before you talk of a country. A word is enough for the wise.


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