By Donu Kogbara
I ASKED an Igbo friend how he viewed the relationships between IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra), the Nigerian Army and the majority of Igbos.
My friend said that the situation can be best explained thus (I paraphrase): Soldiers tend to be extremists as in extremely aggressive/dictatorial by nature and extremely allergic to any form of dissent….while IPOB people are definitely extremists, as in extremely preoccupied with their ethnicity, extremely willing to insult other ethnic groups willy nilly and extremely eager to abandon Nigeria.
The average Igbo, meanwhile, is a normal, reasonable, middle-of-the-road human being who would like the military extremists and activist extremists to stop being so fierce and to turn down the temperature and volume before the dangerous pressure cooker they have constructed explodes in everyone’s face.
I regard this analysis of the situation as spot-on.
Even the name of the controversial army operation in the South-East – “Operation Python Dance” – smacks of unnecessary bellicosity and extremism.
While the army boys bang on about IPOB being a terrorist organisation, an extremist opinion that is being echoed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration (let’s not forget that Buhari is a military man!), almost everyone else (foreign governments included) thinks that the terrorism allegation is an overeaction and that the Nigerian authorities are trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer.
The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural body, Afenifere, has even felt moved to warn the army not to deploy soldiers to the South-West, following an army announcement that it will soon land there to deal with security challenges linked to Badoo, a criminal gang that has committed murders in Ogun and Lagos states.
Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere’s Publicity Secretary, has said that Yorubaland is essentially peaceful and that Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC and the Police have already tackled the Badoo problem.
Odumakin has pointed out that deploying soldiers to tackle internal crises will send wrong signals to foreign investors and give the army too much prominence.
“We think,” said Odumakin, “that if the Badoo menace…resurfaces, it is the duty of the Police to deal with it without causing tension, invasion and harassment as it happened in the South East during Operation Python Dance…
“…We want the Federal Government to be careful…The other day, the Speaker of the House of Representatives lamented that 28 out of the 36 states of the country are under one military operation or the other…[This government] should be reminded that before the coup of 1966, this was how the Balewa government started to transfer civil duty to the military…”.
It’s crucial to note that concerns about military over-reach are not restricted to one part of the country or to members of radical separatist groups.
Interesting statistics (but are they true?!)
Someone sent me the following information:
Number of Federal Civil Servants state by state:
•1. Abia 3579
• 2. Adamawa 1727
• 3. Akwa Ibom 4416
•4. Anambra 3576
• 5. Bauchi 1172
• 6. Bayelsa 957
• 7. Benue 3951
• 8. Borno 1822
•9. Cross River 2681
•10. Delta 4419
•11. Ebonyi 865
•12. Edo 3890
•13. Ekiti 2613
•14. Enugu 2695
•15. FCT 533
•16. Gombe 1218
•17. Imo 5825
• 18. Jigawa 675
•19. Kaduna 3199
• 20. Kano 1545
•21. Katsina 1237
•22. Kebbi 875
•23. Kogi 5186
•24. Kwara 2537
•25. Lagos 2180
•26. Nasarawa 1452
•27. Niger 2193
•28. Ogun 4669
•29. Ondo 3393
•30. Osun 3321
•31. Oyo 3244
•32. Plateau 2542
•33. Rivers 1675
•34. Sokoto 732
•35. Taraba 1112
•36. Yobe 744
• 37. Zamfara 543
EMPLOYMENT INTO THE PUBLIC SERVICE
• NE with a population of 19.0m has 7,793
•NW with a population of 35.8m has 8,806
•SE with a population of 16.4m has 16,540
•NC with a population of 20.3m has 17,661
•SS with a population of 21.0m has 18,038
• SW with a population of 27.6m has 19,620
To appreciate these figures, it is necessary to find out how many employees are taken from every one million people in each of the geographical zones.
•The result is:
•1st. SE has 1,009 Employees per million
•2nd. NC has 970 Employees per million
•3rd. SS has 859 Employees per million
•4th SW has 711 Employees per million
•5th NE has 410 Employees per million
•6th NW has 246 Employees per million
Here we can see that South Eastern zone has over 1000 people engaged in the public service of Nigeria in every one million Igbo people, whereas only 246 people are engaged in North West, President Buhari’s zone.
Curiously South West, the zone of the Vice President is the least in Southern Nigeria with the employment of 711 people in a million.
It is pertinent to also look at the trend as regards Political Office holders.
•NW has 51political appointees from 7 states
•NC has 47 political appointees from 6 states
• NE has 45 political appointees from 6 states
•SW has 45 political appointees from 6 states
•SS has 45 political appointees from 6 States
•SE has 41 political appointees from 5 states
These translate to:
•1st. SE: 2.50 appointees in a million.
•2nd. NE: 2.37 appointees in a million.
• 3rd. NC: 2.34 appointees in a million.
•4th. SS: 2.14 appointees in a million.
•5th. SW:1.63 appointees in a million.
6th. NW:1.42 appointees in a million.
•1st. SE: has 1 appointee in every 400,000
• 2nd. NE: has 1 appointee in every 422,000
•3rd. NC: has 1 appointee in every 427,000
•4th. SS: has 1 appointee in every 467,000
•5th. SW: has 1 appointee in every 614,000
•6th. NW: has 1 appointee in every 704,000
Once again topping the list of Beneficiaries is the South East with one political appointee for every 400,000 people. Meanwhile, NW, from whence the President hails has the least of one political appointee for every 704, 000 people while the figure for Osinbajo’s zone is 614,000 and is the least in the South.
“THIS,” said the person who sent me this information, “IS NOT MY DEFINITION OF ‘MARGINALISATION’ BEING PEDDLED BY THE IGBOS! FIGURES DON’T LIE.
I am sceptical about these figures and will welcome comments from Vanguard readers who are in a position to know the hard facts or simply have views to share.