By Uzoma Ahamefule
The more the beneficiaries of this colonial fraud called Nigeria make believe that all is well with Nigeria, the more they attract doom, odium, and opprobrium to that name Nigeria. Please tell me what makes us one Nigeria if not for the colonial interest that the slave masters amalgamated all the countries they invaded within “Oduduwa Republic,” “Republic of Biafra” and also “Arewa Muslim Nation” and called them Nigeria.
Our cultures are irreconcilable, our religions and mode of worships are poles apart, our mentalities are so different and even our languages are absolutely strange to each other. In 1947 Chief Obafemi Awolowo said “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no Nigerians in the same sense as there are English, Welsh, or French. The word Nigerian is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not.” Nobody has got that audacity in Nigeria now to say contrarily to the above declaration.
In 1948 Mallam Abubakar Tafawa Balewa said “Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite. Nigerian unity is only a British intention for the country.” This testimony came from the first Prime Minister of the fraud called Nigeria. Can you be more catholic than the Pope? We are just incompatible – no love, no tolerance and no similarity by all ramifications.
One of the creators of this fraud and harm called Nigeria Sir Peters Smithers, who was a cabinet minister during the colonial regime admitted the wickedness of the British colonists when he said in 1998 “The creation of Nigeria involved forcing several different ethnic, cultural and religious groups into one political structure. In retrospect of forty years, it is clear that this was a grave mistake which has cost many lives and will probably continue to do so.” Yes, it has cost more the lives of the Igbos and their properties than any other nation in the fraud called Nigeria. Ndi Igbo are made scapegoats at any crisis in the north; call it politics or religion they have always been provocatively at the center of massacre and their properties looted and destroyed without anybody held responsible.
We have not forgotten what led to the Nigerian Biafran war and how Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the great “Ikemba” of Nnewi, the “Eze” Igbo “gburugburu”, and the man who saw tomorrow had tried to save the future of his people from the agony that awaited them in this forceful marriage, but was betrayed by some people who had not kept to their promise out of ignorance of what the future was holding and out of selfishness. We have equally not forgotten how the Igbo pregnant women cried and died in pains when their wombs had been wickedly opened with cutlasses and their children had been brought out cruelly during the war. It is equally painful to remember the deaths of our children as a result of malnutrition.
We have not forgotten that at the end of the Nigerian civil war, it was declared “no victor, no vanquish” by the then head of state, General Yakubu Gowon. But what followed after the declaration was a systematic disenfranchisement of Ndi Igbo. Every Igbo man was inconsiderably given only twenty pounds to start life, while their properties were jealously and wickedly confiscated and declared as abandoned properties.
In retrospect, immediately the British colonialism ended, the Igbos dominated Nigeria’s economy. Irrespective of the callousness of the federal government of Nigeria to them, they were the true patriotic symbol of one Nigeria because there was no city you would go to that you did not see the presence of an Igbo man through his business or landed properties. They were the mechanism in which development had stood in almost all the cities of the federation called Nigeria. Any city you go to in Nigeria now without seeing big presence of an Igbo man run for your dear life as that city is doomed.
The first ceremonial president of Nigeria, the “Owelle” of Onitsha, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe said in 1964 “I have one advice to give to our politicians. If they have decided to destroy our national unity, then they should summon a round table conference to decide how our national assets should be divided before they seal their doom by satisfying their lust for office. I make this suggestion because it is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of Congo will be a child’s play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role.” This was a man that was respected for his stand in one Nigeria, a true son of Igbo land and an emblem of Nigerian unity, but one Nigeria failed him even in death.
The Nigerian people seem to have been subdued to stoicism otherwise the injustice in Nigeria is stinky that no free mind can stomach. Go to Ogoni Land in Rivers State you will pity the people: No road, no good school from the federal government, no good water to drink, no hospital, no jobs, no future and yet Ogoni people are very rich in oil. Ken Saro Wiwa alongside nine other Ogoni indigenes were unjustly roped in a kangaroo court and cruelly hanged by the then federal government of Nigeria for crying out against injustice to their people. The situation is not different in other parts of Niger Delta.
Most people from Rivers and Bayelsa states are fishermen but because of the pollution of the water with oil they cannot fish again but the federal government does not seem to care. Some Igbo states are part of the oil producing states in Nigeria but were excluded as such by the federal government of Nigeria until they had to fight for their inclusion. The Igbo speaking states have the worst federal road network in comparison to other geo-political zones in Nigeria.
The political imbalance in Nigeria is too big even for the blind to see. Why must everything about the Igbos be unjustly politicized? Igbo speaking areas have the least number of states in Nigeria even though they are the most populated tribe, but more states were created in the less populated north. Why is it that the northerners are favoured in everything in this country? The allocation money meant for the then newly created local governments in Lagos state under Governor Bola Tinubu was withheld by the then federal government of Nigeria under President Olusegun Obasanjo. It is very disappointing to note that Olusegun Obasanjo is a Yoruba man yet he tried to use his power to hinder the progress that was coming to Yoruba land because of dirty politics just to satisfy the northerners which he was still not able to do.
But go to the north, they created more local governments for themselves and legalized them without anybody raising eyebrows, they manipulated even the national census by counting cows, fowls and their brothers/sisters from Niger Republic as Nigerians just to maintain the political suppression. As a result of this dishonesty they are more in number in the National Assembly and the House of Representatives. Tell me how you can pass a successful bill if that bill is meant to correct the injustice which they see as normal and birthright. They hide under the shadow of religion to cause us pains and because they derive joy from our sorrow that is why they always kill us at every little provocation. They are trying to make us hewers of wood and drawers of water in the midst of plenty and because they are not president Nigeria must be on fire. In this glaring cruel injustice, this misguided chorus of one Nigeria cannot stand. Therefore, divide this country now in peace and let “Boko Haram”, “Oduduwa Republic,” “Republic of Biafra,” “Arewa Muslim Nation” or more to go, if we are not ready to face the reality that we all must make a compromise.
It does not matter who is at the helm of affairs in the hoax called Nigeria, the situation of the Niger Delta people or the Igbos will never change because that Aso Rock is like a secret cult, when you are there your hands are tied and therefore obliged to join the overwhelming erroneous chorus of one Nigeria to the detriment of the Niger Delta people. President Goodluck Jonathan is a core Niger Delta man from Ijaw, watch out if there will be much difference in the state of infrastructural development in the Niger Delta regions after his term.
The whole idea about Nigeria was based on lies and deceit by the British people and I consider it evil until the so-called leaders decide to pick up political courage to address the injustice, the Niger Delta or Igbo people will continue to pay the price for one Nigeria.
Sunny Okosun of a blessed memory sang in one of his songs “Which way Nigeria? Since many years of our independence we are still finding it hard to stand. How long shall we be independent before we reach the promised land?” We can never get there my departed brother, under this shamble and fraud arrangement. The Igbo people have demonstrated enough willingness to be together with other tribes than other tribes of Nigeria. Therefore, shedding of the Igbo’s blood, looting and destruction of their properties for one Nigeria is no longer acceptable.
Margaret Thatcher said in 1998 that “It is difficult to govern a country like Nigeria. It is artificially created, divided into Moslem north, Christian and pagan south.” Yes, she was right, but who created this artificial country? She forgot that she was part of the evil that brought the different nations together as one Nigeria and benefited from the fraud more than any other individual. Though I acknowledge the truth but we don’t need her sympathy.
I was angry and disappointed to read in one of the Nigerian national newspapers where the IG of police tagged the Boko Haram members as cowards. Please, Boko Haram members are surely not cowards. Macmillan English Dictionary describes coward as “someone who is not brave enough to fight or do something difficult or dangerous that they should do,” the real cowards are the Nigerian police force and Nigerian leaders who know the people behind the killing of innocent citizens in the north but they are afraid to touch them.
The federal government is not sincere with the handling of the Boko Haram issue because most of the military or police men/women they are using against Boko Haram from the north are members themselves who give them tip off on how to escape which the federal government knows. How can Boko Haram find its way deep into the overall head office of the Nigerian police force without an insider? This is incredible! Nigerians are no fools and I will not be too surprised if they find their way into the Presidential Villa Abuja. Therefore, the committee the federal government formed now because of Boko Haram is not necessary and as such ill conceived just to deceive you and me.
It is also a shame that after the Boko Haram group turned down the offer from the Aso Rock for negotiation that the federal government turned round again on 04.08.2011 through the Secretary of State Pius Anyim who said that they are not ready to negotiate with a faceless group like Boko Haram which is contradictory to what the IG of police had earlier told us, then I ask, who is deceiving who? If they are sincere let them send military men from the east, west or south to the north and see within two weeks if Boko Haram would not be a story of “once upon a time.” But some northern military men who do not understand good English are always selected by the federal government and brought to the old eastern part of the country to waste the lives of the citizens of that part with impunity whenever there is an uproar, probably because of the harsh government policy towards their plight. The massacre of Odi people from Ijaw in Delta state is still very fresh in our memories.
It is also agonizing to hear that the federal government of Nigeria was pleading with Boka Haram for dialogue. On 05.07.2011 the IG of Police told us that some of the arrested members of Boko Haram will not be charged to court because the federal government has decided to handle the issue politically. What an unfortunate statement! Contradictorily non-violent MASSOB members are brutalized, killed and imprisoned for just exercising their civil rights through peaceful demonstrations and there is nothing wrong in such callousness.
This jailing and killing of armless and defenseless MASSOB members is an annual event. The harassments and arrests of Raphael Uwazuruike continue at will by the so-called federal government of Nigeria at any statement he makes and this can no longer be tolerated. Therefore, we the unrecognized voices of concerned Ndi Igbo all over the world demand with immediate effect the unconditional release of all MASSOB members detained or imprisoned since our Igbo elites have refused to speak.
From every signal, the northerners want one Nigeria not because of their love for us but because of the oil money. If peradventure oil or gold is discovered in any part of the northern state today, which I pray for, the Emirs, the Babangidas, the Buharis, and the Atikus will gather to pronounce “To your tents, O Israel.”
Nigeria stands to gain a lot in unity, but every day indicates in the direction that it is not workable because of selfishness, dishonesty and greed. There is a lot of nepotism, tribalism and hatred in this fraud called Nigeria as a result of so many evident factors like cultural different backgrounds, religious beliefs, incompatibility and intolerance.
My dream Nigeria is a Nigeria that may never be. My dream Nigeria is a Nigeria where there will be tolerance, honesty, peace, unity and love; a Nigeria where you can live in any state or town without fear of your life because of your religion or ethnicity; a Nigeria where we will do away with the stereotypes that an Igbo man is too cunning, a Yoruba man is a betrayer or a Hausa man did not go to school etc.; a Nigeria where we will honestly tell ourselves the truth that we were forced by the British people to come together but also recognize the fact that since faith has brought us all together that we could as well live in harmony and peace if we all sincerely agree to make sacrifices and sit down to fashion out the mode that will make our aspirations fairly attainable; a Nigeria where you can gain employment anywhere as long as you are qualified for it without regard to “godfather”, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability etc. This is my dream Nigeria. This is the ideal Nigeria we all should strive to achieve, a Nigeria I would staunchly believe in.
Nigeria as it is presently constituted is a fraud built on falsehood and it cannot stand under the present arrangement, until our leaders pick the political courage and convene a national conference where we will decide on how to make the centre (federal government) not so attractive like it is now by allowing each federating state to develop according to its pace and to have greater percentage of its natural resources, but also making the centre very strong enough to hold the federating states together as one Nigeria. Until this is done, all the federating units of Nigeria will continue to be threatened. Under this threat Nigeria is staggering, under this threat I see danger and under this threat with the unfolding events I am forced to say that Nigeria as an entity may not survive for too long and even if it does, it looks like the bomb will explode during or after the 2019 election. But before it gets to this point please let us separate in peace and not in pieces.
Do not forget that no matter how long it takes a stammerer he must surely pronounce his name. We are waiting for maturity to eat the bearded fruit as Chinua Achebe would put it for the triumph of might over right is only temporal.
Divide Nigeria now in peace or address the injustice and balance the equilibrium for tranquility to reign!
I join millions of people all over the world to congratulate South Sudan people on their independence.
Uzoma Ahamefule writes from Vienna, Austria.
Phone: +436604659620 he asks for sms only.