By Ochereome Nnanna
LOOKING back into our national history, the last time a top government official engaged in an act of sedition and rebellion against the Nigerian State was in 1967.
That was when Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, then Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, proclaimed the region as an independent “Republic of Biafra.” The rest, as they say, is now history. Suffice to say that the regrettable consequences of that rebellion are still with us, although many would prefer that the lingering pains of that experience should be permanently sealed in the inner recesses of our collective memory.
It is sad that the governor of Adamawa State, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako, is bent on dragging us into another bitter experience. That is the obvious conclusion that flows from the governor’s hate letter of April 6, 2014, addressed to the Northern governors.
What could have been the intention behind the letter? Not many Nigerians who have followed the governor’s activities since he ventured into the political scene, would be surprised at the venom and bitterness contained in the letter in which he expressed his disdain, hatred and contempt for the person of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and disloyalty for his administration.
Personally, I have had, prior to the letter, reasons to doubt the governor’s emotional stability. His physical appearance hardly recommends him as a model for Nigerian youths and his moods, utterances and idiosyncrasies have always reminded me of Professor Wole Soyinka’s prescription that Nigerian politicians should undergo certain personality tests, before election or appointment into office.
In spite of my reservations about Nyako’s personality mien, I still find it difficult believing the contents of his letter, which I had to read over and again. His choice of language and level of indecorum are, to say the least, embarrassing to the core.
More shocking is the volume of venom he is able to spill out in just one letter. Is this the same man who was once the nation’s Chief of Naval Staff and who retired as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, the second topmost position in the land? How sad, that a man, who had served this country at such a high level, would suddenly decline to the pitiable situation in which he (Nyako) now finds himself.
Although the governor has never pretended to be a friend of President Jonathan or his administration, nobody expected that he would go as far as trying to cloak him with the devil’s hood. Most of the governor’s accusations against Jonathan are anchored on the on-going military campaign to check the atrocities of Boko Haram insurgents in the North Eastern States of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
In the crudest language, Nyako accused Jonathan of using the military to wage a war of “genocide” against the North; he claimed that Northerners were being “massacred” by federal forces and that it was Jonathan’s plot to eliminate Northern elite.
He was even specific in saying that there had been attempts to eliminate such Northern leaders as Senate President David Mark, two Northern governors, the Shehu of Borno and Emir of Kano. Nyako said that Boko Haram activities – bombings, killings and kidnapping of school children – were parts of a grand design by the Jonathan administration to destroy the North.
The most dangerous assertion in the governor’s letter was the connection he made between the campaign against Boko Haram and the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70, claiming that Jonathan, being from the defunct Eastern Nigeria, was merely continuing the agenda of the Igbo against the Hausa-Fulani, thereby calling him the “Adolf Hitler” of Nigeria. Totally unbelievable!
One is almost tempted to describe the mentality displayed by Nyako in his letter, as infantile, but that would be unfair to infants. What we must not do is to ignore the potential dangers of the letter for what they are. Not many Nigerians would be impressed by the response of the Presidency which merely described the governor’s utterances as “irresponsible”. No.
Nyako’s hate songs are inciting and capable of creating uprising among the populace. They are, in fact, an open invitation to Northerners to attack other Nigerians living among them and a call on people to embark on an insurrection against the State. To that extent, Nyako’s letter is seditious, treasonable and criminal, such that it must be treated, accordingly.
Another reason why Nyako’s letter must not be taken lightly is that the governor is one of those Nigerians acting the script of some international mischief makers who have predicted that Nigeria would break up in 2015. We pray God that will not happen.
It is curious that the letter in question was written by a trained professional soldier who rose to the peak of his career. Military men at such a high level are usually known to speak in measured terms, with respect and decorum. How Nyako derailed is a matter better left for medics to resolve.
A final reason why Nyako must face the full wrath of the law is that in spite of Government’s commitment and the efforts of the military, it appears obvious that Boko Haram has members/supporters, not only in the Military but also among top Government officials.
Jonathan said it long time ago that the insurgents had infiltrated all the arms of government. To any discerning mind, therefore, Nyako’s letter amounts to a confession, inadvertently and openly, made before Nigerians. The onus is on him to prove otherwise.
Mr. JOHN UDUMEBRAYE, a commentator on national affairs, wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.