Feb 6, 2016 – OPINION: The Igbos In The History Of Nigeria And The Euphemism Called Biafra By Muhammad Isa Gunda
Anybody that has a good relationship with National Dailies and media houses in Nigeria must have heard a thing or two about recent development in the South-East and south-south parts of the country. Once again the corporate body known as Nigeria is shaking on its legs like a toddler. Some states of South-East and South-South have cease to see any more reason to be part of Nigeria, they want to construct a country where the running of the administration from top to the bottom is strictly for the Igbos and other tribes of the South-South. They are sick and tired of the romance between Nigeria and them and so they are calling for secession again.
The question on the lips of every other Nigerian is ’Why?’ The people calling for break up failed to succinctly state their reasons, they just want Biafra and are ready to die for their sweetheart. I tried to do some homework in other to know why this people are agitating for Biafra again, the answers I discovered was that the Igbo feel they are been marginalized and excluded from power. I blush after I discovered their reasons for the agitations. Anyone in full possession of his brain will want to agree with me that this is laughable. Are you people serious? Anybody with a high sense of perception and deep knowledge of Nigerian history knows the crime committed by the Igbos to Nigeria.
The history of Nigeria since independence is too recent, too well-documented to be rewritten with impunity as a political tragedy because many real-life participants are still very much around. It was only in the 1960’s that the Nigerian Army was predominated by officers of Igbo tribe. It was only in 1966 that a group of these Igbo officers decided to destroy the peace of the then six years old baby called Nigeria and wage war against other tribal groups. That was when five officers of the rank of Major decided to kill the premiers of North and West while letting the Premier of the East and Igbo Senate President go scot-free, to assassinate the Prime Minister who was a Northerner and execute the Finance Minister who was from the Mid-West; to execute top most senior military officers from North and West while letting most senior military officer and army commander who was an Igbo go scot-free. All the prominent civilian and military leaders from North and West were executed.
The Igbo Senate President, acting for the Igbo President in his absence was, by the constitution mandated to swear-in the most senior NPC Minister as the Prime Minister. He did not, instead, having consulted his Igbo President hand over power to the Igbo GOC in fragrant disregard for the provisions of the constitution. The speech of Nzeogwu, the magazines and newspapers published during the Ironsi government, his declaration of a unitary state, all of these are too documented to be rewritten.
The Igbo people were responsible for first military coup in Nigeria; they were responsible for the first attempt at ethnic cleansing; they were responsible for the first violation of constitutionally laid down secession procedures; they were responsible for the destruction of the federation and the creation of the unitary system of which they are now victims (since the initial objective was for the Igbos to dominate others); they were responsible for Nigeria’s first civil war.
In the face of all these facts, it makes no sense for the Igbos now to cry for exclusion from power. Granted, the Igbo people as a whole must not be punished for the actions of some. Which is actually why the Igbos have their son from Delta State as the Group Managing Director of NNPC, the only state-owned company that operate in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry. Granted, there can never be full reconciliation without justice and equity. Granted, the Igbo people, like all Nigerians have the right to fight against perceived injustice. The way to do this is by integration into the country, by joining broad-based parties and establishing a system that guarantees all individuals and groups their rights and liberty. It is not by following a man that obviously will lead them to defeat.
It is doing no good to the image of Igbos in the eyes of ordinary Nigerian to see those agitators carrying banners, roaming and taunting the streets of Aba, Enugu and Warri. One must admit that, even though Biafra was crushed to dead by Gowon’s Military Administration, the spirit of Biafra is still hiding behind the cold eyes of some Igbos. But ever since the present administration of Buhari came to power in May this year, the topic of Biafra became popular. The sole beast that woke the spirit of dead Biafra is a radio station called Radio Biafra.
I learned that the founder of the radio station is an Igbo man based in U.K. I immediately stand still the moment I found that out, looking disappointed and a face full of pity for my brothers and sisters in the South East under the hot sun, sweating and shouting like a hungry mad woman all because of announcement over the radio by a man based in U.K. This completely destroy the rest of respect I have for the Igbo people.
How can you allow a man sitting comfortably in his office in U.K push you into fire? The scenario is similar to using remote controller to forward, pause or play a movie on your television set, accept that this is not a movie. The Igbos are known to other Nigerians as businessmen and women, as astute when it comes to business running and also very hardworking people. How I wish they will keep these attributes to themselves and stop following some guy that is wasting their precious time for nothing.
Nigeria today have a lot to worry about today. Still battling with the terrorism, a battered economy almost into recession, inflation in the economy is almost double digits at about 9.4%, unemployment estimated at 40%, drastic fall in economic growth from 7% to as low as 2%, mighty fall in national income as a result of falling crude oil price in the world market, all is certainly not well Nigeria at the moment. These are the problems affecting us all as a people. Nigeria need our unity more than ever in face of all these economic problems.
These problems alone in my opinion are enough to give any country insomnia. I beg of the Igbos with all my heart to not plus our problems by calling for Biafra again. Because they bought their position today with the roles they played in the past. If they are looking for who to blame for their failures I will advise they look in the mirror.
[About the author: Muhammad Isa Gunda Writes From Gombe, Email: email@example.com]