By Emeka Mamah
Enugu – The Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, has commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, for condemning hate speeches across the country, saying however, that such speeches were inspired by hate actions like deliberate exclusion of tribes from governance.
ECA also, said that Nigeria had been crawling sluggishly “like a rickety vehicle simply because we refuse to restructure,” to save the country, while there was still time.
It therefore, asked the Federal Government to tame hate actions like the killing and raping of women and farmers across the country by Fulani herdsmen to restore sanity and restore the current slide into anarchy.
The Secretary of ECA, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko made this known in a statement in Enugu yesterday.
Ugochukwu-Uko who is also the founder of the Igbo Youth Movement, IYM, and deputy secretary-Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, said that the Federal Government must stop the “brigandage and savagery of herdsmen, the threat to lives and properties of compatriots’ residents in the North” made it easier for hatred to dwell in and fester “ in the minds of Nigerians.
The statement read, “The open condemnation of hate speech of any sort by the Acting President is very commendable and signals a positive attempt by the government to rein in subversive and inciting elements in our midst in the hope of arresting the current slide into anarchy.
“We support the acting President on this. However, hate actions that inspire hate speeches, must also be tamed in order to restore sanity in the land.
Hate actions, such as the brigandage and savagery of herdsmen, the threat to lives and properties of compatriots’ resident in the North, only makes it easier for hatred to dwell and fester in our hearts, regardless whether the indwelling hatred is verbalised or not. Indwelling hatred is as potent as, if not more dangerous than verbalised hate speeches.
“Destroying people farms with uninvited cattle, and resorting to raping and beheading the villagers when they complain, clearly inspires anger and resentment, which graduates into bitterness and burning desire for separation and secession, especially when the marauding herdsmen never gets prosecuted.
“Again, mindlessly defending and protecting antagonists from one’s region, also inspires distrust and suspicions, which leads to disrespect for the government. A good example of regrettable faux pax on the part of government happened last week, when a top government official suddenly reduced himself to spokesperson of the attention-seeking rabble rousers who issued quit notice to easterners resident in the North with a subtle threat to harm them and their properties at the expiration of the ultimatum.
“To the utter shock of Nigerians, this top government official suddenly claimed the adult-youths were misquoted. To the horror of the general public, these quit notice givers have since given more interviews since the statement by this top official without corroborating his strange defence.
“They have spoken publicly in the media over a dozen times, not once did they claim they were misquoted. Where they misquoted in the sense that they did not actually issue the quit notice?
“Where they misquoted that the viral videos of their press conference was cloned? How exactly where they misquoted? When top government officials embarrass both themselves and the government of the day by publicly taking sides with agents of destruction, it makes it very difficult for citizens to trust, let alone respect government.
“These intervention and partial positions by government inspires doubts, suspicions and resentments which breed hatred and bitterness in the land.
Addressing the issues of hate speeches, without taming hate actions and suspicious partisanship on the side of government, might not save the ongoing slide to mayhem, which is principally inspired by those who are afraid of restructuring Nigeria.
“Which actually bring us to the real meat of the matter.“ Even primary school children are aware that the current tension in the country is only festering and growing, because some people are opposed to saving Nigeria through a peaceful restructuring of the polity from the unwieldy unitary format to a functional fiscal federalism and regional structure.
“Everybody knows Nigerian is not working and will never work well if we do not restructure. Everybody knows that those opposing restructuring are the ones inspiring the agitations for secession, as the oppressed masses who bear the brunt of the inequalities and iniquities of this dysfunctional and unitary Nigeria will continue to agitate until justice and equity is enthroned through a restructuring of the polity along the lines of true fiscal federalism and regional autonomy, thereby opening up the country to real growth and development by creating a level playing field for all and also giving all sections a sense of belonging.
“There are no hate speeches in Ghana, because injustice and oppression are not part of the cultural, social and political life of Ghana, unlike Nigeria where some people believe they are born to rule others perpetually.
“The entire security architecture in Ghana is not dominated by one region while another region is deliberately excluded. Hate actions, such as deliberate exclusion of a section inspires fears and bitterness which in turn leads to desires to secede on the part of the oppressed regions. It is difficult to address hate speeches without addressing the hate actions that inspires hate speeches.
“Our country is crawling like a rickety vehicle simply because we refuse to restructure and save Nigeria, while there is still time.
“Hunger, anger, mistrust, bitterness, loss of faith and desire to secede which rule the land today can only be solved through a peaceful, consensual restructuring of the polity and reconstruction of Nigeria by giving ourselves a new people’s constitution.
“Those opposing restructuring are erroneously of the view that threatening to attack, kill, destroy and seize properties of easterners domiciled in northern Nigeria by issuing them quit notices, spreading hate messages through social media and composing genocides songs will starve off the quest to restructure Nigeria.
“Truth is: Nigeria will die if Nigeria is not consensually redesigned into a truly federal entity, where fiscal federalism and regional autonomy reigns. No amount of quit notices and hate songs will save this unworkable unitary Nigeria.
Beautiful speeches condemning hate speeches will not achieve much as long as hate actions and deep seated desires to oppress and dominate others thrives in our hearts.
“Alhaji Maitama Sule, the great patriot and statesman was right when he advised somebody to wit: Only equity and justice guarantees peace and stability, nothing else.
“Mr. Acting president should dutifully consult with his boss and set up an eminent elders committee that would set the stage for a constituent assembly that will design a new people’s constitution that will be affirmed at a referendum. A new constitution modelled after 1963 republican constitution.
“Only an early return to fiscal federalism and regional autonomy can save Nigeria now. Hate speeches which was promoted by the political class during the 2015 election campaign season has grown into a cancer that can only be solved through an early restructuring of the polity.
“In conclusion, the childish ploy by those opposing restructuring, to blackmail easterners resident in the North by threatening their lives and properties through quit notices and hate songs in other to stop the quest to restructure Nigeria, is both childish and dangerous.
Their hope and belief that a repeat of the 1966 pogrom will leave their region habitable after the attack on easterners, shows a clear lack of true perceptions of realities. Nigerians must be restructured or Nigeria will die.
“Meanwhile, nobody from the East is interested in continuous participation in activities of this unitary Nigeria, including voting in elections. We have completely lost interest in Unitary Nigeria.”