By Alhaji Yahaya Ndu
Introduction: I happen to be here in the garden city of Port Harcourt at the moment, in continuation of my interface with the governments and good peoples of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, in my search for a friendly, willing and suitable state (in terms of location) to site the African Cultural Renaissance City, a city conceived as the cultural capital of the entire black and African people, just as the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa is Africa’s diplomatic capital.
The project is one in which I have been engaged since 1980, but which by conception requires to be sited by the sea. As a matter of fact, the first time that I was officially invited by the Rivers state government in connection to this project was in 1988.
I hope that I find what I am looking for between Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states. But if I do not, I may have to extend my search to Imo, Cross River and Delta states.
But here I am and I decided to hold this conference here.
Clearly, our nation Nigeria is on the verge of something momentous. Its either we get it right and be stronger in greater unity or we get it wrong and everything falls to pieces.
Today, some youths of the north have asked all Igbos to leave the north with some of their elders supporting them, they gave the Igbos up till October 1 to leave; the militants of the Niger Delta have also asked all northern holders of oil blocks to relinquish them, and that the NNPC be relocated to the Niger Delta and all non-Niger Delta Staff of the NNPC including the Group Managing Director to be removed and replaced with Niger Deltans.
They also gave 1st of October 2017 as the last date for the directives to be complied with. Strong voices of the South West are also calling on their people in the northern parts of Nigeria to return home.
Clearly Nigeria is in trouble and anyone who thinks it’s an easy scenario must be deceiving him or herself.
This nation from all indications is about to be shaken to its very foundation and everyone who wishes Nigeria well should better put on his or her thinking cap.
I am sixty of age now. I was born in Jos, the capital of Plateau State in April 1957. I was therefore ten years of age when the Nigerian civil war stated.
When the pogrom started, my father, the now late Senator, Igwe Ibrahim P.C. Ndu, the first Senator of Enugu Province and my mother took us out of northern Nigeria to the East. We relocated from place to place in eastern Nigeria until the war ended in 1970.
I hated Nigeria and everything Nigerian during the war and my greatest disappointment during the war was that I was considered too young to participate in the fighting and was always rejected whenever I offered myself for conscription.
After the war, part of my family went back to Jos and some of the members of my family are still living in Jos, northern Nigeria up till date.
I hated Nigeria, I hated northern Nigeria and northern Nigerians with all my heart. I hated the Yorubas and the western Nigeria as well as parts of the Niger Delta. I hated all these groups because of the parts that I was told and believed they played in the pogrom and the subsequent civil war.
But now I am older, much older, even almost an old man and I have had good time to interrogate all that I was fed as a child and as an adolescent, and to separate the lies from the truth; the wheat from the chaff.
I have lived, schooled and worked in different parts of Nigeria. In the east, the west, the south and the north and have interacted with different segments of their societies. I have seen first-hand that the average Nigerian is a nice , easy going and peace loving human being, but heavily prone to manipulation.
I even contested for the presidency of this country twice. In 2003 and in 2011 and was national chairman of the African Renaissance Party [ARP] for ten years.
Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared the ill-fated Republic of Biafra on 27th of May 1967.Fifty years ago.
Now exactly fifty years after a group of young men and women ninety percent of whom were not born in 1967 ORDERED a sit at home throughout the length and breadth of Igboland [South Eastern geopolitical zone of Nigeria] and the sit at home was generally complied with for several reasons bordering from agreement to the cause to fear of consequences of descent.
As a child, I was told that the civil war stated because of the pogrom and the need for self-preservation compelled the Igbos to declare the Republic of Biafra.
Later I started to hear there was a coup organized and executed by mostly Igbo military officers who felt it was their responsibility to correct whatever ills they perceived was in the Nigerian society. They murdered leaders from other ethnic nationalities but none from their own.
They did not consult their Igbo kith and kin. They acted completely on their own. All the same, it was said that their countrymen started taunting others. The generality of the Igbo nation did not rise up as one to condemn the dastardly act of these marauding military officers.
Later, military officers from the north regrouped and struck, murdering Igbo military officers and from there, the generality of Igbos living in the north in a horrendous massacre – the pogrom.
I myself have severally described the pogrom and the character of the Nigerian nation in fighting the so called civil war as genocide, but none can say that it was unprovoked.
Today what we are hearing all over the south of Nigeria is restructuring: Restructure or Nigeria is finished! Biafra. The Republic of Biafra is unstoppable; we must hold a referendum so that the UN, ECOWAS, AU, etc. can supervise the dismemberment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is said that experience is the best teacher. I know from first hand experience that 99.9% of elites in southern Nigeria , whether from the south west, south east or south south are hypocrites at least as far as the issue of the so called restructuring of Nigeria is concerned.
Before Jonathan came to power, at a point the loudest voice for restructuring [whatever, that means] was the Niger Delta/South South. I thought they were serious, but I was wrong. For when their son Jonathan came to power, I immediately called the leaders of the Ijaw National Congress [INC] and told them that the time was ripe for the restructuring but their answer to me was that we should let the young man [Jonathan] rest.
I even went to Trasnscorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, where almost all the visible Niger Delta activists had permanently relocated to , to speak with a lady that is seen as the most vocal woman activist of the Niger Delta to complain to her that Jonathan was not doing the right things and that the most important thing to be done was to achieve the restructuring that Nigeria has always needed but her answer to me was that it was immaterial whether Jonathan was governing well or not and that as far as she was concerned, Jonathan must have a second term.
At a conference organized at Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state which was organized by the Professor Ben Nwabueze Nigeria Project Group on the issue of a National Conference at the Ibom Meridian Hotel, to cut a long story short, trouble started for which I was blamed when we saw that they had written the communique of the conference even before the commencement of the conference.
The former AD Senator from the south west who right now is one of the leading voices for a restructuring of Nigeria once again, presided over the convocation of the Jonathan conference against the popular views expressed by generality of Nigerians as to the nature the conference should take to achieve the desired result at the time the committee went round the nation to collect and collate views of generality of Nigerians on the matter. Today after wasting the nation’s time and resources he and his cohorts are at it again.
*Among the many atrocities and elements of Igbo marginalizatin that those agitating for Biafra adduce is that they say that the South East zone has the least number of states in Nigeria. They often point out that the zone has only five states, while others have six and some even seven states. What they say is true and no one can deny the fact, but do Igbos of the South East not own about half of all the houses and lands in Abuja the capital city of Nigeria? And do we not own about one third of all houses in Lagos state and Rivers state? And in all other states in the whole of Nigeria, after the indigenes, do the Igbos not own the highest number of houses? We must balance these facts for God’s sake.
* You who are advocating for Biafra and on that account over heating the polity say that we have the least number of local government councils in Nigeria and that the resources of Nigeria are shared and distributed according to states and local governments.
I do not support the obvious imbalance in the number of states and local government councils which is skewed against the South East of course, but the facilities that are developed by the states and local governments all over Nigeria when benefiting the indigenes of those states and local governments, do Igbos resident and doing business in those states not benefit from those facilities?
If your father owns a car with which he is always taking his children and mine to school all the time, why should I care who owns the car?
Besides, every intelligent person should know that the days of sharing national resources are numbered in this country whether anybody likes it or not. So those who are used to being cheated in sharing of national resources are actually at an advantage as they would be more qualified for survival when the time of self-reliance and resources generation arrives.
I have questions for you all:
*All those who are shouting about restructuring of Nigeria now, where were all these people throughout the years when Ex-President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan was president of Nigeria, and his party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then the largest party in Africa was in 75% control of the National Assembly?
Why did you not ask for restructuring then?
All who are now holding Nigeria to ransom, demanding that the President Buhari Administration must implement the resolution of the so called national conference organized by the ex-President Jonathan, why did you not ask Jonathan to implement it, after all he was in power for one full year after the conclusion of the conference and did not even present the report of the conference to the National Assembly.
The high hypocrisy of it all is that prominent officers of the National Assembly from the southern parts of Nigeria, including the South East, South South, South West and the Middle Belt who held offices during the last administration are among those making noise calling for restructuring.
Meanwhile they were and are in a better position from the National Assembly to set necessary machineries in motion for restructuring of Nigeria than the office of the president, if truly the believe in restructuring.
*To my Igbo brethren who describe northerners as callous and wicked and blood testy, I ask, if northerners were as wicked, heartless, and genocidal as you claim, and murdered our people in hundreds of thousands in cold blood and without any provocations, before the war and in millions during the war, how come it that not only did our people return to northern Nigeria immediately after the civil war, but that the population of our people in northern Nigeria now is many times higher than before that civil war?
*Respect for elders is one quality prevalent in all African societies. Can anyone in Igboland claim not to be aware that the operators of Radio Biafra make it a signal tone to be pouring all manners of insults on Mr. President who is old enough to be the grandfather of some of them in the name of Biafran agitation…is that right? You also insult any Igbo elder who disagrees with your methods. Do you not know that republicanism is in Igbo blood? Did you not hear it said that the words of our elders are words of wisdom? Is that how you abuse your own fathers at home?
And those of you who now say your religion is Judaism, is that what you think Judaism is all about? Do young people habitually insult elders in Israel?
As a matter of fact some of the so called champions of Biafra are nothing but clever crooks and opportunists feeding fat on the ignorance and gullibility of suffering Igbo youths and the uninformed. I remember reading a piece where the one who believes that he is the original originator of the post war Biafran struggle was saying shamelessly that he picked the younger chap up from the streets of London where he was roaming joylessly and hopelessly and offered him employment to run the Radio Biafra and that it was to him that the former Biafran leader gave the Biafran franchise, FRANCHISE.
Clearly for a supposedly freedom fighter to be referring to his struggle as a franchise shows without any shred of doubt that he sees the struggle not only as a business, but one which he believes that he has the right to run as a monopoly. No wonder he and his collaborators are living in stupendous wealth.
These set of Biafran freedom fighters , if you want to see them, don’t look in the jungle or ghettos where normal freedom fighters are to be found, look for them in five star hotels and palatial homes and being driven about in Rolls Royce cars.
Mr. Biafra. By the way, all those Biafran soldiers who lost limbs during the 1967-1970 civil war and have been begging for alms for survival since the end of the civil war at Oji River up till now, a full 37 years after. What have you or anyone, including the OHANEZE done for them? The way we all abandoned them to their fate from 1970 up till date, if there was another war tomorrow, God forbid, do you think their children would offer or agree to fight in that war knowing that they would be abandoned like their fathers were if similar fate as befell their fathers were to befall them?
I remember asking Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu a similar question one day very many years ago while I was travelling in the same car with him to IfiteDunu in Anambra state from Enugu, to the commissioning of a multipurpose farm built by the now late Chief Dr Hycent Uzoewulu, the Owelle of Iffitedunu. I was sitting in the front seat of the car with Ojukwu’s driver while he, Ojukwu was on the back seat with Col. Ike Nwosu the former military administrator of Abia state.
By the way, Odumegwu Ojukwu was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund for the Center for Igbo Studies at the Abia State University , Uturu, while the late Chief Dr. Uzoewulu was the secretary. I was the initiator as well as the Chairman of the planning Committee and it was during the course of the project that opportunists now saw the possibility of a lucrative business in the name of a new Biafran struggle.
If you ask me, in my opinion, even our most respected Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu himself had while still alive seen the error of the Biafran experiment as the great Zik of Africa did. This must be why he agreed for his wife, my dear sister Bianca to be Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Spain. Which reminds me: the Federal Government of Nigeria gave Ojukwu a befitting state burial and paid him his full entitlements if I am not mistaken.
I also believe that the so called leaders of the post-civil war Biafra agitation during the tenure of the former president were frequenting the Aso Rock Villa and were not leaving empty handed in those days.
But now, after the 2015 elections, and the baton has changed hands, it has become fashionable to restart the Biafran business project.
As the late Bob Marley said:
You can fool some people sometime: But you can’t fool all the people all the time.
Mr. Biafra, during the civil war, The Caribbean Republic of Haiti was, I believe, the first country outside Africa to recognise Biafra and as poor as that blessed country was, they were sending relief items to us in Biafra in the truest spirit of brotherhood.
Now the nation, Haiti as everyone knows, has undone several tragedies since after the end of Nigerian civil war. Have we Igbos ever as Igbos tried in any way to reciprocate their kindly gesture up till date?
If there was another such civil war tomorrow, God forbid, do you think nations like Haiti would lift a finger to assist us as we have shown ourselves to be ingrates? I also asked our late beloved leader the same question face to face in his parlour at Isiuzo Street, Independence Layout Enugu.
*Everyone knows that our country is in the midst of a serious recession at the moment, and that life is very hard for the overwhelming majority of Nigerian families. Don’t you think that it qualifies as crime against humanity to unnecessarily precipitate things that will lead to having millions of Igbo families to speedily relocate from all over northern Nigeria, where they have been living peacefully with their hosts since 1970, to Igboland at these hard times?
* By the way did you consult them before commencing on your agitations and your sit-at-home?
* What and who gave you the right to claim to be acting on behalf of so many million Igbos in this your so-called agitation? Did you conduct any referendum whereby you were empowered and mandated to so act?
* If the many, many, millions of Igbos living all over northern Nigeria hurriedly abandon their means of livelihood and return to Igboland as a consequence of your actions, that is assuming that they will find transport money to do so, are you going to be feeding them? With what?
How about their children, are you going to provide accommodation for them in schools and pay their school fees?
Are you going to provide housing for them? From where?
And while you are at it, who takes care of their properties that they will leave behind while returning to Igboland?
*Mr Biafra, did you see the breaking news:
Breaking News: Gwari/Gbagi\Nupe frontiers – the true Abuja land owners want Igbos to vacate Abuja on or before october1st?
The president of the group said they need their lands to up lift their lives he further said Abuja belongs to the Gwaris.
New Nigeria frontiers warns: nobody should buy anything from the citizens of Biafra .no one should obey any Igbo man in uniform unless he/she shows you their working permit visa…nobody should rent out a house to any Biafran without a resident permit visa. Any Biafran seen driving should be apprehended except if he has an international license that permits him to drive in foreign countries including Nigeria.
Any civil servant that claims Biafra should resign as soon as possible…
See the dimension this whole thing is taking suddenly?
And who can really blame the rest of Nigeria if they wrongly assume that the actions and utterances of the so called Biafran agitators have the full backing of the Igbo leadership.
When the leader of the IPOB was recently released from prison and he visited the former Vice President Alex Ekwueme as I read in the papers, the elder statesman was said to have told him that he would be giving him[the IPOB]leader, elders advice.
Now what should be the normal interpretation of that statement? To my own understanding that statement implies that Alex Ekwueme and his peers in Igboland support the IPOB moves and would be advising them on how to go about it.
In law it is said that you don’t approbate and reprobate on the same steam. You cannot want to break away from Nigeria and still wish to remain in Nigeria at the same time. You cannot want divorce from a marriage and still want to remain in the marriage at the same time!
There is an Igbo proverb that says Okenye ada ano na uno, ewu amuo na ogbuli
Meaning that An elder would not be present at home and allow a pregnant the she-goat to give birth while still tied on the leash.
But in the present circumstances, not only are Igbo elders at home while the she goat is delivering of her new babies while still tied on the leash, but that the elders were there and the she goat died while giving birth still tied on the leash. What a shame? What thoughtlessness? What a tragedy?
Indeed, things have fallen apart in Igboland.
However, the point must be made that many elders, even most of the clergy in Igboland including some of the governors of the south eastern states tried their best to stop the madness going on and that transpired. It is on record that prominent religious leader like Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma did his best but the reckless, Biafran protagonists used the same weapon that president Obama deployed to clinch the US presidency- social media and the terrorist tools to bamboozle most youths to follow them in their journey to self-destruction.
*You say that Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu who led the ill-conceived, thoughtless and crazy coup that murdered northern leaders in cold blood is one of your heroes whom you say you were mourning and celebrating on 27th of May 2017. How would you feel if someone were to be celebrating a man who murdered your father in cold blood and referring to him as his hero?
You claim to be Christians, but your religion says:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
* In reaction to the utterances of the MASSOB,IPOB and BIM and their cohorts and collaborators, some equally inexperienced youths from northern Nigeria meet in Kaduna on the 6th of June and issued what they call their declaration which among other things called or rather ordered all Igbos residing in the north to vacate and leave before the 1st of October 2017.
It is much more easier to destroy than to build. A house that took a hundred years to build can be destroyed in five minutes.
*Now from out of the blues, some totally inexperienced young and reckless man who claims to be speaking for the Igbos is telling Igbos residing in the north to defend themselves. Meanwhile, he is saying so from his safe comfort zone in the south east. He should come to the north and lead the defend yourself talk by example if he believes in what he is saying.
Millions of Igbos who have been living peacefully with their northern hosts with their families, who had and have no hand whatsoever in the sit-at-home order or execution and in the agitation for the restoration of the Republic of Biafra, and who have never indicated any support or approval for your separatist quest, are suddenly being called to defend themselves and their families.
*We are also hearing talks that the governors of the South Eastern states are ready to evacuate Igbos living all over the north and I wonder if they know what they are talking about and where they are going to get the resources from and also when they started to care so much for their people?.
All the groups strutting all over the place shouting Biafra! Biafra!!, they have not in any way demonstrated any understanding of any ideology, shown any program or whatever of governing a nation as to enable any one weigh their maturity . Is this not a case of Nollywood taken too far?
Have we established the number and identities of all who died in the course of the civil war, before talking of embarking on another?
What have we done to the saboteurs among us who betrayed us in many ways, including buying fake and useless and expired ammunitions during the civil war?
How about those who absconded with our monies and used them to set up transport companies after the war?
Those who want to precipitate another war by all means on the Igbo side keep spewing all manners of lies and half-truths. They claim that the Hausa Fulani and the President Buhari led Federal Government is trying to Islamise Nigeria.
They say that all atrocities against Igbos are perpetuated by Muslims.
But, it was a Christian, not a Muslim that murdered Tafawa Balewa; it was also a Christian, not a Muslim that murdered General Aguyi-Ironsi; it was a Christian and not a Muslim that presided over the genocide committed against the Igbos.
Even the inhuman policy complained about by Chinua Achebe of confiscation of all monies deposited by Igbos in Nigerian banks before the commencement of hostilities and paying them £20 pounds in its place per depositor and also initiating indigenization decree that ensured that other Nigerians bought up lucrative government investments and companies while the Igbos looked helplessly on, were done by a Christian and not a Muslim.
‘Can you see the division among us and its effects? This is our greatest obstacle. I sometimes wonder how this will turn out. Before we can ever effectively face down the foe, we must have had long since learned to share, trust, communicate and live harmoniously with each other’– George Jackson.
The Igbos are the most populated Nigerians. The Igbos are the cement that holds Nigeria together. The Igbo are most hard working Nigerians. The Igbo believe in Nigeria more than any other ethnic group.
The Igbo are spread all over Nigeria and can be found in the most remote and in every remote parts of the country. The Igbo are second to no other race on earth in intelligence or academic excellence, yet the Igbo are the most down trodden of all Nigerians and the most marginalized. Why?
I have long wondered as to the reasons for this most unfortunate state of affairs and have from the end of the civil war pondered as to why it is so as well as to the way out of this sorry state of things.
As the Igbos bemoan their fate in, and reassess their faith in Nigeria, and pray for salvation, they must make truth their watch word and as their Bible says:
And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Igbos must admit previous mistakes they have made as well as acknowledge the things they do and did right.
As the Igbos pray for true Federalism in Nigeria, they must recognise that it was an Igbo-General Aguyi Ironsi who abrogated the 1963 Federal Constitution of Nigeria and made the nation a unitary state, which has since trapped NdiIgbo. All the efforts of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu at Aburi on confederalism were to release us from the trap inadvertently laid by Ironsi.
Igbos own more than half of all houses in Abuja, where the norm is that any intending tenant must first pay two years rent upfront; which Igbo landlord ever considered any fellow Igbo for leniency simply on account of he/her being a fellow Igbo and accepted one year or six months’ rent?
More than half of all hotels in Abuja are owned by Igbos, but more than two-thirds of all prostitutes in Abuja who service the sexual desires of all who can afford it in Abuja are equally Igbos .It must be realized that before the civil war of 1967-1970, prostitution was unknown in Igboland and all maidens were expected to be virgins until given out in marriage.
In Igboland, which community is not in court with its neighbouring communities on all sides on account of land disputes?
As charity begins at home, any true or genuine liberation, emancipation and renaissance of the Igbos must start within Igboland and between Igbos. It must start with Igbos learning to love, cherish and protect themselves and building brotherly bond amongst themselves.
As it is today, all talk about Igbo solidarity is untruth and mere hypocrisy. If today there is turmoil in any other part of Nigeria say, Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Jos,…and non-natives of such places are forced to flee for their lives. An average Hausa transporter would volunteer the services of his vehicle to ferry other Hausas back home, if possible free of charge. The Yoruba would do the same. But for the Igbo ones, the cost of boarding his vehicle back to Igboland would more than double immediately.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey said:
“Those who make or accumulate their wealth by robbing, exploiting and plundering the innocent, ignorant and helpless of humanity, are worse than murderers and hardened criminals; they are fiend and should be outlawed and ostracized from society, caring not how munificent their alter gift and philanthropy to care for those they have already morally destroyed or harmed”
To my fellow Muslims, especially those from the northern parts of Nigeria and more especially the youths who gathered together at Arewa House Kaduna to pour invective on Igbos without making any exceptions, called them all sorts of names, and heaped all sorts of blames on them, I say Assalamu Aleikum.
I hope that those of you who are Muslims were fasting.
The Quran says, he who does not wish for another what he wants for himself, is not a believer.
I say to northern Nigerian Muslims: Dont use the activities and utterances of a few uninformed and ill-mannered Igbo youths and the acquiescence of a few docile and ill motivated elders who should know better as a convenient excuse to covert and confiscate the properties, landed or otherwise in your region lawfully acquired and belonging to peaceful and peace loving Igbos who have been living with you in peace all along. If you do, remember that for sure you must have the wrath of Almighty Allah to contend with, especially as you issued your threats and laid your plans during the most holy month of Ramadan.
Many of you say you are Muslims, I ask: That so called Kaduna declaration, are your intentions and utterances guided by the distastes of the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet, PBH? If not, what makes you different from Boko Haram or ISIS?
|Quran says in 2:233
No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child.
But if as Muslims, you have suddenly discovered and genuinely believe that your Igbo settlers , the same people whom you fiercely fought for thirty months with the slogan ’to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done’, should leave your states, local government area councils and wards because you truly hold in your heart of hearts that they are ingrates and corrupt your high morals as you say with their prostitution and high profile crimes, then you are duty bound to Almighty Allah, to the prophet PBH, to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to the United Nations and ECOWAS ,to the dictates of natural justice, equity and good conscience, thank Allah you are already taking inventory of their properties, to invite and allow independent valuers to assess the market worth of those properties and pay them full compensation for them, if not it will amount to plain robbery to take over those properties punishable under sharia law and other applicable laws, that is if you believe in Allah.
The Biafran agitators, the Arewa youths, the Niger Delta militants, the Yoruba strong men, in fact all Nigerians must refrain from hate speeches and must stop overheating the polity.
As Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Hon. Minister for Information and Culture rightly said recently:
‘Hate speeches are being spewed out daily, with reckless abandon. Most people have forgotten how hate speeches helped to trigger genocide in Rwanda in 1994, killing about 800,000 people.
When the hate speech phenomenon is added to the growing problem of fake news, disinformation and misinformation, we have a most incendiary mix that could undermine the unity, peace and security of any country.’
- 1. Ofu nkpulu aka ruta mmanu,
ozuoo ora nile is an Igbo proverb meaning that:
When a finger dips in palm oil, it soils the rest.
Ofu osisi anaghi adu nwoke na anya ugbolo abo
Another Igbo proverb meaning: A man does not allow the same stick to piece his eyes the second time.
Since we Igbos have seen and now know first-hand how the actions and utterances of a few young army officers fifty years ago, have most drastically affected the lives of many million Igbos and reduced us from first class to tenth class citizens in one fell swoop, not to talk of millions of lives that were lost and lives permanently dislocated, we would be the most foolish of people indeed to let a few young men and women to again distort our lives without our collectively examining all factors and possible fallout of it and deciding to agree with it.
So, if any action must be taken, we must first of all thoroughly discuss it in all town unions in Igboland and in all Igbo Unions and organizations all over Nigeria, Africa and the world, before embarking on it or allowing anyone to embark on it on our behalf, or to pull or push us into it.
I therefore call on the Chairmen and Secretaries of All Town Unions throughout the length and breadth of Igboland to immediately put all necessary machinery in motion to critically examine this issue of renewed agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra . All Igbo peoples Unions all over Nigeria especially in the northern states of Nigeria must be heard before taking any decision as they are the ones that will always bear the brunt of whatever fallouts it may occasion… To thoroughly examine all the possible consequences of it Igbo groups in all parts of the world must also be critically involved in examining all possible sides of the coin.
In this connection, modern communication gadgets such as cell phones, and internet should be deployed to ensure that the issue is discussed among all and that no one is left out.
- Leaders of northern Nigerian states and local governments, including the sultan of Sokoto, and all the Emirs and other traditional and religious leaders should kindly caution their youths to refrain from reckless utterances and from any acts of aggression forthwith.
- The Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the two arms of the National Assembly in appreciation of the enormity of the danger confronting the federal Republic should set up a competent committee to immediately draw up parameters for organizing a mass participatory all Nigerian Peoples National conference from all the wards of the republic , and across all the nations of the world where members of the Nigerian Diaspora are to be found to fashion out modalities for a peaceful coexistence and prosperity and development of the nation, commencing from latest, October 1 2017.
Like I did during the run up to the last administration’s national conference, I suggest the following time scheduling for this all important and imperative conference, whose time has undeniably come.
It may be said that the actual drafting of the constitution of any nation cannot by any stretch of the imagination be done by the masses and that drafting of a nation’s constitution is done by experts and knowledgeable men and women.
However, there is a world of difference between the aggregation of what should form the body of nation’s constitution and the drafting of that constitution. When the aggregation of the ingredients of a constitution is completed, the drafting becomes a mere technical affair.
It should be clear that at this particular point in Nigeria’s history when the nation is confronted with so many challenges, any move to involve as many citizens in the aggregation of materials for the peoples constitution should be encouraged to say the least.
The suggested system as reflected in the time schedule hereunder listed is with that objective in mind.
Announcement of plans and detailed program for the convening of the Nigerian Peoples Conference and modalities.
Design of multi-interactive website for coordination, collation and display of views of all Nigerians.
The website should be equipped with all gadgets for automatic translation of languages for enhanced comprehension and fluid communication. The website must be thoroughly advertised and publicized so that a greater number of Nigerians can participate from all over the world using direct word of mouths as well as through the application of modern communication gadgets such as mobile phones, iPod, tablet etc.
Mobilization and Sensitization of citizenry.
Agenda and appointment of operators.
The conference should commence simultaneously in all the entire 9572 wards in Nigeria as well as in all communities of the Nigeria Diaspora.
The first three weeks of the third month should be used for the conference proper while the remaining one week of the month is to be used to select delegates to represent the various wards at the next level.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS.
The first three weeks of the fourth month should be used to hold the conference in the entire 774 local government areas in Nigeria as well as among the next level of the Nigerian Diaspora: while the remaining one week is to be used to select delegates to carry the views of the local government areas to the next level.
The first three weeks of fifth month should be used to hold the conference in the entire 36 states of Nigeria, including Abuja, as well as in the various states of the Nigerian Diaspora, while the left week is to be used to select delegates to represent the states in the next level of the conference.
That the first three weeks of the sixth month should be used to hold the conference in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria as well as at the next level of the Nigerian Diaspora, while the remaining one week is to be used to select those to represent the geo-political zones at the next level of the conference.
That the first three weeks of the seventh month should be used to hold the Conference at the national level as well as among the nations of the Nigerian Diaspora.
That the eight month should be used to assemble the Nigerian Diaspora delegates from all over the world to meet with the representatives at the national level for the final level of the conference and take final decisions.
DOCUMENTATION.-DRAFTING OF A NIGERIAN PEOPLES CONSTITUTION.
That the ninth month should be used for the purposes of the documentation of the proceeds of the conference-which is in other words, the drafting a truly Nigerian Peoples Constitution.
That the tenth month should be used for the publicity and advertisement of the draft constitution flowing directly from the conference.
REFERENDUM AND PLEBISITE OF THE DFRAFT CONSTITUTION.
EMERGENCE OF NIGERIAN PEOPLES’CONSTITUTION WHICH MAY INDEED BE THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF AN ACT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
398 ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IN NIGERIA
-Undeniably, the ethnic nationalities that essentially compose the modern Nigeria must talk among themselves and reach some form of formula for their continued peaceful coexistence, but to suggest that the ethnic nationalities alone can or should work out a new constitution for Nigeria, or that they alone have what Lawyers would call locus to discuss the emergence of such a document is to say the least naïve.
By the process of involving the greatest number of citizens in the process of the evolving and emergence of a truly Nigerian Peoples Constitution, the loyalty of the citizens to the constitution so produced is not only guaranteed , but National and state Assemblies and the Executive will have absolutely no option than to automatically agree with the produced document.
Finally, the whole black and African world is in trouble. Poverty and underdevelopment in Africa is alarming and the worst hit region in the whole world is West Africa.
Every day, we hear reports of Africans dying in the desert and in the seas trying to escape out of mother Africa to Europe and to other parts of the world, to escape the suffocating hardship at home.
Africans are engaged in menial and demeaning jobs all over the world. Our governments go all over the world begging. Many of our important personalities, whether from the public or the private sector, must travel abroad when they are sick?
We desire our children to go to school abroad, and even when we steal our own money, we hide them abroad.
Nigeria the big brother in Africa is being looked upon the play the leadership role in taking Africa out of poverty to self-sufficiency and development.
Any tragedy affecting Nigeria will be debilitating to the black world; Nigeria must do all it takes to settle its internal problems amicably and commence the task of leading Africa out of the predicament surrounding the continent on all fronts.
I see Nigeria as the firstborn of Africa in every sense of the word, and like all firstborns in African cultural and traditional understandings, it behoves Nigeria to take good care of the rest of Africa. This means that Nigeria must lead by example; it implies that Nigeria must be a model state and must get her acts together so to say.
I also believe that it is Nigeria´s responsibility to become a super-state strong enough to take adequate care of the rest of Africa and the Black World.
Nigeria should become a super-state capable enough to protect the interests of the Black World. Nigeria should be strong enough to be entrusted veto power in the UN Security Council. Nigeria should be an industrialized nation manufacturing her own cars, airplanes, etc.
Nigeria should be a net exporter of all types of high technological products. Nigeria should be the very strongest nation on Earth to ensure that no people are persecuted in today´s world and no race discrimination takes place.
It is the direct responsibility of Nigeria to bring about the unification and Renaissance of the Black World, just as it is the responsibility of a family´s firstborn to ensure the togetherness of the family.
To discharge this God given responsibility, Nigeria’s charity must begin at home.
The very first Chairman of the Enugu Local Government Council was a man from the northern parts of Nigeria. He was elected, not appointed, freely, democratically and peacefully and the Igbos did not reject him because he was from the north.
Barrak Obama, whose father was a Kenyan, became president of the United States of America, the strongest nation in today’s world. He was not rejected because his father was from Kenya.
Today, seven Nigerians are elected members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, but here in Nigeria, what we keep hearing all the time is, the north will insist on two terms, it is the turn of the South East, or South West or South South and all that crap.
Even in the north, a woman was nominated as a minister in this very dispensation and people from her state said no, that she was not from the state and this and that.
Meanwhile many northern elites are named after the towns or cities in which they are born, just as human beings are worldwide accepted as indigenes of the lands in which they are born. But not in Nigeria. WHY?
The document prepared by the British colonial masters with which Nigeria was put together in 1914 was to last for a hundred years and therefore expired in 2014.
The COLONIAL REPORTS – ANNUAL ON NIGERIA FOR 1914, that Lugard presented to both Houses of the British Parliament says in its page 35 and I quote:
”GENERAL- 1.The year 1914 will ever be a memorable one in the annals of Nigeria, in that it opened with the amalgamation of the two separate administrations of Northern and Southern Nigeria into a single Government of Nigeria, and its close saw the outbreak of the great world war, which affected the country not merely as an outlying part of the British Empire in its commencement, Lagos was not without fear of invasion, and later the whole resources of the country were directed to the prosecution of the war against the neighboring German Colony of the Cameroons.
AMALGAMATION-On January 1st [as Governor of both the Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria]I was privileged to declare at a public ceremony that by His Majesty’s order those two Administrations had ceased to exist and were replaced by the single Government of Nigeria, under a Governor-General, constituted under new Letters Patent, and Order in Council with a new seal and Flag”
Letters Patent on territorial Rights Expire after 100 years, just as C of Os etc or Land Rights.
The challenge before us all now is the challenge to with our hands as an independent nation, to collectively and freely agree as a people to and build a new Nigeria of our dreams, where peace, justice and equity reigns.
A new Nigeria where no one shall be oppressed; a Nigeria that other black and African nations can emulate, a Nigeria that can stand on an unassailable moral high ground to guide other African nations to the path of equity and good governance.
*Alhaji Yahaya E.G.K. Ndu is the President, Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria (PMNN) and a two-time Presidential Candidate of the defunct African Renaissance Party (ARP).