The ranging storm generated by the quit notice issued by a coalition of Arewa Youth Organizations on their Igbo brothers and sisters living in the Northern part of the country is getting more interesting by the day especially when viewed against the background of a counter quit notice on the Northerners issued by another Youth Organization precisely the militants from the Southern part of the country.
The Arewa Youth Organizations made it clear that the Igbo have been blackmailing the whole country with secession tendencies and that they were fed up with such threats. And this contentious issue has been trending in the Mainstream and in the Social Media for the past two weeks now until a comic side was added to it when the Ohaneze-the Igbo Apex Social –Cultural group replied to the open letter that the Arewa group wrote to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
In that letter, the Youths from the North who kindled the fire urged the Acting President to allow the Igbo have their own nation of Biafra which they had been clamouring for right from 1967 since they don’t believe in the geographical entity called Nigeria.
The Arewa groups even went ahead to detail several ‘sins’ of the Biafran Agitators since the 1960s. And hence, they urged the Acting President to give his accent to the demands of the Agitators to leave the Union (Nigeria) peacefully instead of throwing the nation into another needless civil – war or unnecessary hostilities among ethnic groups within the nation.
But pronto, the Ohaneze quickly replied their Arewa detractors that nobody can force them out of Nigeria. And in the actual sense, nobody is forcing out any group out of Nigeria. The purported Quit Notice reportedly issued by the Arewa boys which they have refused to vacate is a response to the activities of the IPOB and its leaders which was made clear in the Kaduna Declaration.
Kanu Nnamid – the self – acclaimed Supreme Leader of the Biafra Agitators have refused to keep to the terms of his bail – conditions which he has been violating with impunity barely few weeks after his release from the Kuje prisons.
He has been granting interviews and he had even organized rallies within the South- Eastern Region. It was when the IPOB ventured to carry their activities outside the region that the other ethnic groups cautioned them to stay clear of other peoples’ domains/territories. Kanu is noted for his hate speeches and has even reportedly lashed out at his Igbo Kinsmen who are worshiping in churches that have Yoruba as their Pastors. He called such Igbo worshipers imbeciles.
This is because in Kanu’s assessments, such Yoruba Pastors are worse than Boko – haram. His aim might be to trigger another chain of reactions from the South –West and cause katakata in the whole country. In some peoples opinion, the IPOB leader should be re – arrested for violating the terms of his bail.
But leading him to the doors of Kuje prison again may make the man to be more popular and make an hero out of him, despite his unrelenting secession moves and campaigns. Honestly I do not know what the Yoruba Pastors got to do with this secessionist struggles if not that he- Kanu specializes in fanning the embers of disunity among the ethnic groups in the country with the sole aim of increasing the political tension and make the country ungovernable for those in authority at the Federal level.
The bone of contention has been the alleged marginalization of the Ibos? But are the Ibos really marginalized vis – a – vis other ethnic groups in Nigeria? The National President of Ohaneze answer to this particular question is noteworthy which he gave on the occasion of BIAFRA AT 50.
The President – General/the National President of the Igbo Apex Social –Cultural Organization noted inter –alia, that during the Administration of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, apart from the fact that the Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG) and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy (CME)/Finance Minister were Igbo, all the six Kitchen -cabinet members of the former President were all Igbo.
This was to the effect that ahead of each session of the Federal Executive Council meetings, it was what these kitchen cabinet members who decide that sees the light of the day at the Federal Executive Council meeting. The respected Elder statesman further noted that the only visible Minister from the Yoruba extraction in the President Jonathan Goodluck Administration was Dr. Akinwummi Adesina who held the ministerial portfolio of Agriculture and Rural Development. That was not all.
According to the President – General of Ohaneze, at a time when Dr. Adesina – the immediate past Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development was being allocated 2% of the Nation’s budget, his counterpart in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity was given 10%. But alas, the Igbo did not make use of these opportunities to attract tangible infrastructural development to their area. Besides, the Secretary to the then Federal Government (SFG) – Senator Anyim Pius Anyim ensured that the Grade A – list of most Federal Agencies and Parastatals were headed by the Ibos from the core South – East or from Ibo speaking areas of the South – South geo – political zone.
But is this writer trying to justify the Kaduna Declaration made by the Arewa Youths Organizations? No and far from it.
Rather we want to proffer a lasting solution to the issue of bad – blood being generated among the contending groups. And the preferred option is for the nation to adopt the Practice of True Federalism. And the first step to achieve this objective is to subject the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference which reportedly gulped almost N29 billion to a Referendum.
Specifically, the nation’s political system should be restructured in such a way that Federal Appointments will become less attractive to intending Treasury – looters since there won’t be much loose money to loot.
Let each of the Federating States/Units making the Federal Republic be allowed to retain as much as 50% of the resources generated within their respective territories while they contribute only 50% or even less to the Federal Treasury for the purposes of running National Security in terms of maintaining Internal peace and the Defence of the country against any form of external aggression. We can continue to retain the same National Currency, Customs, Immigration, etc. But let each of the Federating Units have some measures of control over their resources and develop at their own respective paces.
If well – developed, there is no single Federating Unit in the country that is not well – endowed either with natural or human resources which can be exchanged with others for their mutual benefits.
In other words, when the Federating States within the Republic are encouraged to look inwards and tap their own resources for the common good of their own people, there will be healthy competition and only genuine leaders who are Nationalists will emerge to go to the Federal level and lead with a sense of direction driven by passion, vision, and integrity and not by greed and avarice as seen in some of our leaders who have smuggled themselves into corridors of power just to enrich their personal accounts at the expense of our National Treasury.
In this respect, we admonish the Arewa Youth leaders to vacate their Quit Notice on their Ibo kindred while the Ohaneze and the Elders from the South – East should talk to their boys to shelve their secessionist tendencies while we wait for the Federal Government to remove the 2014 National Conference Report from the upper shelve with a view to consider its recommendations.
The Biafran Agitators who are mostly in their 20s, 30s or 40s who did not witness the civil – war should listen to the voice of reason of Elder statesmen and Leaders of Thought like Chief Emmanuel Iwanyanmu and President – General of the Ohaneze and allow the sleeping dog of Biafra dream to continue to rest until the dogs sleep slips into eternal rest.
This is the ultimate goal of all Nigerians as soon as the nation is properly restructured into a True Federal Republic . We don’t want the Biafran ghost that has been buried and forgotten since 1970 to be raised from the dead again by some misguided Youths from both sides (North and the South) who have not witnessed any civil war before. And we pray that such will not be the lot of this generation of youths in Jesus name.
If there is any war the Youths should encourage themselves irrespective of their different religious or ethnic backgrounds, it is the war against poverty and bad – leadership that may be denying them of their birth- rights as citizens of this country.! Shekenah!
Gbemiga Olakunle,JP General Secretary, National Prayer Movement