By Charles Ogbu.
For sometime now, social media appear deeply buried in an argument between Nigerians of Igbo extraction who want Biafra and other Nigerians who prefer a well restructured country. The former appear convinced that the resurrection of the Restructuring campaign is an attempt to weaken the resolve and unionism of the Biafran agitation while the latter seem to believe the Biafran quest is too extreme and should be replaced with the demand for restructuring which they argue, is more feasible.
It is my view that the whole argument is one hell of a beautiful nonsense, a misplaced priority and monumental distraction, one that will do more harm than good to either camp.
I will try to explain this thus:
Nigeria is like a faulty ATM. The Hausa/Fulanis are the only ones currently withdrawing money from the machine in its faulty state. If this ATM is repaired, everybody will have equal chance of withdrawing according to how much he has in his account. But the hausa/fulani North will loose the undue access to other people’s money which the faulty ATM currently confers on him and which he has gotten used to. To this end, it is beyond argument that the North will be willing go to any length to ensure the criminally dubious status quo is maintained.
Following this scenario, the pro-restructuring group seem to be saying, “Oga North, abeg, allow make them repair this ATM nah! Abi e good as only you just dey corrobi the whole money dey go?, If you no let all of us join hand repair this machine, e go soon spoil kpatakpata and when that happens, all of us go loose”
On the other hand, the Biafran group is saying, “look Mr North, nobody come here to look your face, in fact, as you don already over-withdraw our money for inside this machine, we no kukuma wan make dem repair anything again. We simply no wan keep our money for the same bank with you again as you don show us say you no fit conduct your affair as a gentleman”
Meanwhile, due to the fraudulent arrangement Mr North has with the British bank owners when the bank was established, he (mr North) has an edge over the other account owners at the bank. He has successfully resisted the repairing of the faulty ATM just as He has brutally resisted the attempt by one of the partners to take his money away from the bank.
Both the group agitating for the repair of the ATM (Restructuring group) and the other group rooting for the monies in the bank account to be divided and shared to stop the exploitative activities of Mr North (Biafran agitators) all want one thing which is to enthrone justice, fairness and equity in the operation of the Automated Teller Machine. To this end, it is logical to assert that neither of the afor-mentioned groups is the bad guy. The bad guy here is Mr North who has repeatedly opposed every move to peacefully repair this ATM even when he knew it must be repaired now or never. It is very important that we always remember this.
What I find pathetically funny in all of this is that rather than focus on their “peaceful” approach towards getting Mr North to allow for the ATM to be repaired, the “ATM Repair Group(Restructuring)” is busy demonizing the “Divide The Money Group (Biafrans)” accusing them of being extremist in their quest. Listening to them, you will be forgiven to think the Divide The Money Group, and not Mr North, is the one holding down the ATM. You might even be tempted to think the “Divide The Money Group” (Biafrans) just stole the document containing instructions for the repair of the Machine. On their own, those who want the monies divided seem to be under the impression that the agitation of the other group is nothing short of a devilish attempt to weaken their resolve and gift Mr North with the opportunity to keep stealing their collective cash in the ATM.
Mutual suspicion. Accusation and counter accusation between two groups pursuing the same noble cause but via two modus operandi. Meanwhile, Mr North is busy killing the ATM. And, the entire bank, not just the machine, is enroute to Golgota. Shame, isn’t it?
It is my humble opinion that the argument and counter argument from both the pro-Restructuring group and the Biafrans are as criminally silly as two slaves of the same slave master expending valuable time and energy, arguing over whether they should escape from their slavery through the window or through the door. What should be your priority as a slave is how to escape from your Master and be a free man! If your fellow slave wants to jump the fence or break a couple of glasses belonging to the slave master in his quest to gain his own freedom, it shouldn’t bother you. If you think the door or gate is your own choice, focus all your energy on jumping the gate or breaking the door. What should be your priority is your own freedom, not how your fellow slave is pursuing his.
If you think the train of your fellow slave is not good enough to take you to the land of the freemen, by all means, don’t join him but you owe it to both man and God to ensure you don’t derail it.
Let’s get practical here. The North has always been vehemently opposed to any idea of Restructuring. The Northern Elders Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum; the two northern power blocks have never hidden their disdain for the term. The current Hausa/fulani govt is opposed to Restructuring. The attorney general, Abubakar Malami, re-affirmed this last week when he stated that no amount of agitation will bring about restructuring. The information minister, Lai Mohammed, was clear enough when he stated that restructuring Nigeria was not in the agenda of the government. Recall that the 1967 Biafra declaration and the subsequent war was basically due to the failure of the Gowon-led govt to honor the Aburi Accord which would have seen the country restructured as a confederation.
For the average Igbo man, the 1967 war and subsequent events have proven that the Nigerian state cannot be trusted to restructure this country. The North has consistently stood against any attempt to correct the grave injustices within the very foundation of the Nigerian system.
Just as the 1967 Ojukwu’s Biafra was a product of the failure of the then govt to stop the state-sponsored anti-Igbo pogrom and honor the Aburi accord, this current Biafra agitation championed by Nnamdi Kanu is in response to the same grave injustices, institutionalized marginalization and state-sponsored hate-induced destruction of Igbo lives and properties. President Buhari has caused more division in the country than a million and one Nnamdi Kanu could ever do even in one million years.
If anyone genuinely want this country to be restructured, the person should not waste his time and energy focusing on the pro-Biafran group. Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB are not the problem. They are not the ones stopping Nigeria from being restructured. The Fulani Oligarchs are! Focus on them if you genuinely want Restructuring. As a pro-restructuring fellow, stop dedicating number-less articles to why the Biafran quest would fail. Instead, dedicate those articles to how you intend to get the fulani Oligarchs to allow for restructuring. If you succeed in getting Nigeria genuinely restructured, I Charles Ogbu, I am assuring you that the agitation for Biafra will drastically reduce and look less appealing to so many Igbos because 80% of what we want with Biafra which is basically justice, fairness and a merit-based system, will have been provided by a well restructured Nigeria.
Now, let me say this: If this country is ever going to be restructured, it will not be because of beautiful prose and poetry penned down by pro-Restructuring groups. Never! The people opposing the restructuring of this country don’t even read most of those reason-studded essays. The hausa/fulani North WILL NEVER accept restructuring unless they are presented with an alternative such as breakup which they consider a bigger threat. Go save this piece!
The North will do anything to keep Nigeria one and ensure the status quo is maintained but make no mistake, it is all for reasons very far removed from altrustism. They are the biggest and perhaps the only region benefiting from the hopelessly fraudulent arrangement we currently have. A change in the status quo in form of Restructuring will take most of the powers from the centre to the federating units or regions, thereby making the centre less attractive. It will engender equity, justice and fairness by allowing each federating unit/region control her resources and develop at her own pace. But, that will mean striping wealthy Hausa/Fulanis of their firm grip on the Niger Delta oil blocks. The North WILL NEVER allow this unless there is a commensurate pressure which will reasonably threaten them with break-up.
In conclusion, both groups have no reason to war-war. They simply need to keep up the pressure. Even a blind man can see that the activities of Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB has succeeded in unsettling the Northern Slave Masters to a very reasonable degree. In the end, I can’t guarantee that we will get either a well restructured Nigeria or Biafra but I can guarantee that we will get neither of the two options if we keep bickering and fiddling while our Rome is burning.
By the way, where is our number1 employee, Muhammadu Buhari? Who are the political terrorists stopping our Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, from signing the 2017 budget, 6 months into the fiscal year it was meant for?
The answers to the above question should provoke you enough into joining forces to confront your common adversary.
Wisdom, they say, is profitable to direct!