Consider Immediate Consequence Of Agitations -By Amaechi Oken

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |

President Muhammadu Buhari


I warmly praise His Excellency Engr. Dr. David Nweze Umahi Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, who presided over the meeting of South East Governors, leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo National Assembly Members from the zone and other notable figures, where quick resolutions/communiqué were passed to cease the wanton killings and humiliation of some innocent Igbo people in Abia State, by soldiers in operation “Python Dance. A state which has not noticed any significant sign of troubled turmoil or unrest woke up to be suddenly besieged with aggressive looking soldiers hungering to kill. Had the intervention by the well meaning leaders not taken place, uncontrollable number of the lives of people would have been wasted by the army.

One of the schools of thought blamed the governors etc. Contended they would have acted far earlier before the arrival of the army in the zone to avert any likely ugly scene as a consequence of the excesses of IPOB. But the same group would have expressed reservation to claim they acted hastily, since the communiqué contained among other issue proscription of IPOB generated mixed feelings. The action of the army was unanimously condemned even beyond the zone. The Chairman of the South East Governors forum, frowned at the operation python dance exercise, carried out by the soldiers that resulted to loss of many lives, after subjecting them to undue humiliation. He further said given that the IPOB members threw stones as alleged by soldiers, rolling them in the mud, forcing them to drink muddy water and afterward beating to death was beyond expression of anger. If it were not premeditated mission (oppression), well trained refined soldiers would have opted to hand them over to the police for detention and prosecution.

Sometimes we are taken aback with what is happening in Nigeria generally, due to uncoordinated harmful decisions, such as directing the army to South East for special assignment. Maybe President Buhari relied on the security/intelligent report from either the police, DSS, or other relevant government established security and intelligent outfits. One will not imagine that government acted on impulse. And after the report ought to have been made to pass through tight scrutiny to arrive at the acceptable conclusion.

No doubt Ndigbo are hated, disliked by President Muhammadu Buhari and so many other Nigerians. We have never gotten our fair share in the hand of any of the past Presidents/Heads of State be the person from north or west, appointments to head strategic places, even at the instance seniority list in order of hierarchy speaks. In the rare circumstance of inevitability scheming out becomes difficult, it goes to Igbo; the stay is always short lived because it will be visited with tough turbulence.

Comrade Nnamdi Kanu disparaged the leaders/elders of the people of South East in his immediate response to the effective communiqué issued. His behavior was odd, instead of praising and hailing them for a job well done, he rained abuses. Very discouraging and unfortunate. I am yet to learn of a better pattern to be used, to save the situation, outside the role of our worthy representatives at that critical time, to stop the torture and human onslaught. Perhaps Kanu kept his own arrangement to his chest and also was mute, to voice grief or mourn the death of our Ndigbo in Abia, Plateau, Rivers state, far India etc, simply because they identified with his method of struggle/agitation. How many lives does he estimate to go in before his dream will be realized? It is on record in every sphere in alienable services are continually being utilized.

We are duty bound to develop deep rooted love for one another. Work as a team. Collective resolve and one voice in burning issues in order to succeed. The survival instinct Ndigbo exhibit is unprecedented since we suffer the same victimization and denial from people around us. No fruitful or wonderful outcome is associated with violent clash, except loss of lives and destruction of properties (established businesses) owned by Ndigbo. Therefore we can sternly stage peaceful struggle or agitation to demand our due rightful place and provision of infrastructure and social amenities from the federation and they will be achieved.
For instance, look at the threat issued by Nnamdi Kanu, that the Anambra state Governorship Election mapped out by INEC to hold on 18th November 2017 will not take place. How does he intend to stop the conduct of the election of an indigene of Anambra state as the Governor, whichever it goes. And the officials of INEC are predominantly Ndigbo, either as permanent or Ad-hoc staff. Forceful attempt to stop it will not be ignored, rather resistance will follow.

Late Ikemba of Nnewi, Chief Emeka Ojukwu will continue to remain an icon and giant in Nigeria and beyond. He played a formidable role during Nigerian civil war, a man to be proud of anytime, anywhere. Our revered legend late Dr. Akanu Ibiam, the former Governor of Eastern Region of Nigeria in one of the rallies during the struggle for the creation of Ebonyi State, explained how the declaration for the Republic of Biafra came to be.

The January 15 1966 military coup led by five majors dominated by Igbo officers, carried out forceful change of civilian government first in the history of Nigeria. Sarduna and Balewa among others were killed, north was furious. Lives of their contemporary from Eastern region such as Azikiwe and Okpara were spared. Ojukwu a military officer in charge of a battalion in the North demonstrated sincerity and courageously dislike to the coup pacified his northern colleagues and elders of the unholy act. Because he had value for seniority did not object to the most senior in the army to take over the administration of the nation from the civilian government. Though the bloody coup was botched, Aguiyi Ironsi who had no inkling of the project became head of state. The army inherited the regional autonomy. Soldiers and other established personnel moved to their regions of origin.

Late Chief Emeka Ojukwu, then Lt Col became the Military Governor in charge of Eastern Region. The northern soldiers revenged about July 1966 by killing Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, and paved way for a Northerner to become the head of state. Ojukwu was sad in two folds, northern taking the grievance to the length of killing an Igbo Head of state and neglecting the perceived order of seniority in army hierarchy, by ignoring the most senior Brigadier Ogundope, in preference to Col Yakubu Gowon to succeed the IRONSI. Another reason was that the Northerners, due to inadequate number of personnel or manpower, feared that Lt. General Aguiyi Ironsi Head of State planned to issue a decree to abrogate regional autonomy and introduce unitary system of government where suitable personal from east and west would flood the north to take up relevant suitable administrative positions. Ironically, due to the fear Gowon entertained in mid 1967 after the declaration of the independence of Eastern Region created twelve states to polarize Regional Autonomy. The costly mistake Ndigbo made in Feb 1976 by approaching Murtala Muhammed not to create Wawa state reduced the states created to 19 instead of 20. The consequence is our present 5 states today.

Thereafter the heightened tension in the north exploded uncontrollably. Ndigbo were ordered to leave the northern region, it was instantly followed with brutal killings and massacre in their numbers, people were lynched irrespective of age or sex. Pregnant women were caught and the babies in the womb removed and killed along with mothers. No life within their reach was spared. The few lucky ones, who made it home in the east and others in east, could not be guaranteed safety outside, eastern enclave. The unprintable genocide prompted elders and worthy sons of Ndigbo. Dr. Akanu Ibiam and few others to rally round Ojukwu then military governor of the eastern and urged him since the region was completely, cut off and inhabitants chased out and rejected, the people, tortured, tormented butchered with reckless abandon, to declare republic of Biafra as an independent nation. It was not initiated by Ojukwu. He simply heeded to the advice and urge by the elders, who inter stood behind him throughout the war.
Recall the meeting Ojukwu, accompanied by elders from the region held with Gowon and his personalities at Aburi Ghana, was obviously because Ojukwu and his regional brothers lives were not safe in Nigerian outside Eastern region.

At the heat of the war and hostility people from the region especially Igbo speaking lost their lives in millions. Who knows whether people who were born to change the course of the region or world were among the dead? The genocide visited on the people of east on the guise of Nigerian civil war ended January 1970. Gen. Yakubu Gowon then head of state who formally declared war on the people of eastern region, as ameliorating measure in 1970 introduced program of RRR (Reconciliation Rehabilitation and Reconstruction), it was a mere pretence because it simply ended on paper. The excruciating sore was much heightened to learn that within eastern region abandoned property was declared by people of Port Harcourt, in order to seize buildings and investments owned by Ndigbo. Confiscation of properties of Ndigbo in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria were secured for them by the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani people and other tribes. Worth mentioning, a highly placed Yoruba man – Fajuyi, the military Governor of Western Region, who hosted Aguiyi Ironsi during his official tour at the time offered to be killed with the Head of State. He did not allow the military juntas to take away Aguyi Ironsi alone. At end H e was killed with Aguyi Ironsi during the second coup.

Nature endowed ingenuity charisma and exhibited talents of Igbo people are globally recognized. Even in Nigeria top contributions sacrifice and efforts are very huge, always eager to improve. So many meaningful things be it economic political social may not yield fast growing desired result without Ndigbo.

The moment we realize that pouring venoms on one another is the wrong step to strengthen our step the better. Is there any wisdom in advising our sons and daughters holding positions, such places as federal level to reject, such offices, at the time we are crying being marginalized, because we are not given enough. And if you find yourself in the MINORITY, however logical you views might sound, those people much more in number in the meeting or gathering would simply suppress. Keep the frustration behind and forge ahead perseverance is the answer. Ndigbo who are holding enviable positions have not stopped lamenting and urging for the deplorable roads in the eastern be put to use and several others.

We can collectively fight the battle without wasting blood. The day of reckoning will definitely come in future, when there will be left with no option than to give us our rightful peace. Ndigbo are dugged entrepreneurs, first class in marketing, goods whether the law allows them or not. Our vast and diverse industrialists are global. We urge the talented entrepreneurs to look inward, by providing employment opportunities for the teeming youth. Embark on aggressive NDIGBO ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECONOMIC PROGRAMME. Open branches of your factories in any part of the Eastern zone. Encourage accelerated education and skill acquisitions. Rescue the zone from economic hardship by engaging in productive ventures to explore and boost the economy of the area through the God given talent. Massive productive ventures and employments for the youths who are eager to work.

In the mind of average Igbo people the followers of Ralph Uwazuruke MASSOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu IPOB leader, seem to be exactly the same people who believe that Igbo are working toward secession in Nigeria to be declared independent nation known as Biafra. The incident which pushed people of Eastern Region to the wall, and burst for self actualization in the name of independent nation BIAFRA has not reared its ugly head again. And should they, we may not use one method twice, like people who do not have pool of options. But it is generally worrisome and defies the sense of reasoning the uncanny approach Comrade Nnamdi Kanu adopts. The processes are unknown and strange to the well respected Igbo sons and daughters who have made name and are still unrelenting in the annals of history in academics, industry, and governance and in politics. Can those who are presently holding the mandate of the people be excluded from the venture? Not possible. Kanu should learn manners, show respect and honour to his elders. Let him be informed so many of his age mates and even younger ones of Igbo speaking have made wonderful contributions and taken greater risks, to actualize financial and political INDEPENDENCE of people, than what he has designed. He should identify and adore them. Seek advice from the experienced and elders. Total isolation is leads to the pit.

Ndigbo are no cowards to be easily chased out of Nigeria, our elders in the past shed their blood and expended energy and zeal for Nigeria to be great. We are strong stakeholders. There is nothing new in Kanu’s message, hypnotizing the youths of Ndigbo into ocean of misinformation, dishonesty and deception can only lead to fanaticism, and loss of focus. A time the Arewa Youth threatened that all Igbo in the north should leave before 1st October 2017, what tangible plan or strategy has Kanu taken to nip that in the bud. NONE. Maybe he hopes the killings and death of Ndigbo would have risen to unimaginable number, then his TRUMP, UN, EU etc will come to give Biafra. The deaths do not matter. Again thanks to our elected, governors; Engr Dr. David Nweze Umahi, and several other Governors from many other States, National and State assembly members. Renowned Igbo sons and daughters, passing sleepless nights, injected tireless efforts to avert the looming danger, which would have made the last civil war a child’s play. The advice to change our name from Ndigbo to Biafra does not make sense.

The sovereignty of UK, US, Germany, China, not even any other nation is not extended to Nigeria.

It is an illusion to look forward to US – Trump, UN and EU to salvage our agitation, something that has never yielded fruit in any part of the world. What have they done in Syria? What did they do in Rwanda, Niger, Sudan, Burundi etc. The recent new device US is using in terms of assistance, is to supply arms weapons to one of the warring zone in conflict to enhance killings. The earlier we pursue a feasible course without the ploy of threatening with independent Biafra so as to avoid reprisal violence targeted at destroying huge business structures of our brothers and sisters in the North and other parts of Nigeria, the better in placing our wisdom and priority in proper perspective.

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Nigeria is not contesting the most populated/popular blacks in the world. It is also associated with a nation that has the most number of agencies/departments to be identified with shoddy results remedying the situation by having another establishments eases that process of cultivating pipe for fund siphoning at the end blowing open corruption and financial mismanagement.

Look at the Nigeria identity management commission (NIMC) and jettisoned the previous registration exercise done in 2005/2006. Then centres, average four were opened in every INEC ward and simultaneously, lasted for a known period. Hard copies of the National Identity Cards were later distributed nationwide. Since I was registered for the new one 2012 at Abakaliki the only centre in Ebonyi State, to date I have not received the permanent card. I am not alone.

The commission would shamelessly tell, the company handling the production has not delivered. Huge thanks and praise go to engr. Dr. David Nweze Umahi, Executive Governor of Ebonyi State for paying heavily to have registration centres in all the Local Government Areas, transporting the staff providing generating set, computers and other logistics for the federal staff and national assignment. Otherwise the people of Ebonyi state will not register. What an irony of fate. Difficult to reconcile.

He took the funding, to avoid the repeat of ugly incidence of alarming under – registration of the people of Ebonyi, during the 2006 head, census conducted by national population commission. There are some damages that cannot be readily rectified; over half people of Ebonyi State did not register then, because the Adhoc staff mainly NYSC were not directed to get to them.

Again the ongoing shabby voter’s registration exercise by INEC since April at Local Government Area, one machine per LGA, the governor of Ebonyi state has indeed spent a fortune providing fare for INEC staff, gen and petrol, logistics, ink for temporary cards, computer machines and accessories. And fare/feeding of the people from various wards to go for registrations. Some people would go over four times before it gets to them; INEC is not ready for this work. Why are we going backwards, from few machines above five per ward at the same in 2010/2011 to none now? Is this a sign of growth or depletion? Why embark on continuous registration, instead of making data capturing machine available in every polling unit. Any voter’s card used for two elections should be discarded so that we do not deceive ourselves by building names to add to the 2010 register without expunging the names of those already dead since then. I have discovered that those at the whelm of affairs derive joy in punishing others.

There is no way we can get it right if every recognized polling unit is not attached with data capturing machine for voter’s registration and national identity registration, nationwide. Unless the lopsidedness is a deliberate device to unduly punish some zone, it leaves much to be desired.

I am to know of any other part of the world such woeful bank verification number (BVN) exercised could be successfully conducted, cards of the biometric data captured are not issued and nothing is being done about them. It is very unfair how we are allowed to be poorly treated.

Shall will be looking forward to the next census of house to house registration nationwide come 2018. Two years late. Something that could have taken place 2016 after the 2015 general election. It will be dangerous to consider the opposing opinions of the likes of people in the band wagon of Rt. Hon Yakubu Speaker House of Representatives, ad vocation shift to after 2019 general election. I am aware Nigeria has never respected the ten year demographic review. Each year we assign a figure of population without indicating how we arrived at the figure. The earlier we do accurate biometric data capturing, to know many we are aid planning the better for us.

The same method and process used by INEC, NIMC, BVN, NPC, one person owning four cards containing exactly equal and some information. Folly to say the least. I watched some enlightened countries conduct census, using biometric system – capturing palm print showing the five fingers and footprint, the five toes indicated. The numerous youth yet employed could be engaged with the paltry N30,000 monthly. N-power programme of the federal government will be adequately utilized. The NPC should be the recognized body to do reliable registration with detailed information to replace, other multiple cards.

Independent national electoral commission (INEC) could now be charged with the singular responsibility of conducting credible election. At all levels, State electoral bodies are ceremony bodies there to ridicule election process and should be discontinued. In order to escape meddlesomeness by INEC of election and voter’s registration separation is the solution. Electorate cried foul during 2015 general election at the time INEC introduced card reader to verify authentic voters. The general malfunction of card reader did not foil the exercise. In some other places, it will be vehemently resisted, shifting the goal post at the middle of the match. A very sensitive thing as general election, to allow strange test running not provided in the constitution, or in the amended fortune to serve as strong instrument.

The improvement and stability of the card reader now can pass the test of time. It now leads me to support those advocating for electronic voting to the extent the mark of the print during voter registration continued by card reader will also be electronically be matched to confirm the thumb print on the used ballot paper for the election.

Rigging with continue to be the order of the day unabated unless such measure is strictly adopted. Rigging carries inescapable burden of clashes, violence, killings, and intimidations, maiming forgeries abuses, brutalities and destructions. Redress sought afterwards but no award in return. Every Nigerian seeking election or disappointment or contract displaces unquenchable desperation. Desperation breeds corruption. So surface scratching practiced by Buhari administration will hardly reduce corruption.

There are general calls for re appraisal of some government agencies, to find out if the right things are being done. Any occasion that drugs you to the police that require thorough investigation, the outcome will be very disgusting. Moving to the important locations you will be required to pay and buy frivolous demand at the end which arrived at nothing.

Why prosecution can’t be diversified. Allowing police the monopoly is a serious disservice to court process/proceedings. Trainings and conferences, seminars, workshop should be organized for the Nigeria police and employment of well talented youth into the system should be encouraged. It will harmful to address shortfall of personnel by approving of the state police. State police will speedily security system collapse.

At sometime in 1986 President Babangida established Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), some Nigerians were taken aback and wondered what the police traffic unit would be doing. The battle for supremacy lasted for years until clear out independence was granted to the Corp, simply to protect pride. Today we have National Civil Defense Corp, National Peace Corp just name them, doing virtually same work haphazardly, unchecked. Nigeria police functions, and state, service security to prosecute, and other trained in the art of prosecution independent or government employed lawyers and non complement.