Before it became a national threat, in February 2016, I wrote under the title, Biafra Call – Land Of Rising Sun Or Armageddon where I warned against the use of hate speeches and why they should be tackled head on. I made several reference to the unfortunate situation that befell the tiny East African nation where RTLM radio played an ignominious role in inciting genocide.
For those who do not know, the landlocked East African State, between April 7 and mid-July 1994, an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandans were slaughtered simply because of what their Identity cards say they were Tutsi, Twa or Hutu. Despite the needless Nigeria Civil War (1967-1970), it was a conflict that was fought on dichotomy of one Nigeria/survival-known to be brotherly differences-not annihilate every living thing. Before it was permanently shut down, pirate Radio Biafra, like RTLM, started broadcasting racist propaganda; disseminate hate broadcast by instigating fellow countrymen against one another and referring to the rest of us-including non-conformist Igbos-as animals living inside the ‘Zoo’ called Nigeria. This has given birth to all manner of quit notices everywhere-here and there. In the north, an audio is in circulation now disparaging the Igbos creating anxiety especially to those who have lived and built all their livelihood in the core north.
In the said article, I made mention of the historic fiction of George A. Hent, The Young Carthaginian: A Story of The Times of Hannibal. Carthage like Nigeria, ridden in corruption, the richest and most powerful city in the Mediterranean region before 260 BCE went through three major crises (called Punic Wars). There is a big lesson from the experience of Carthage. The first war of Carthage was destructive and left anguish and pain behind, but economically, it was viable and strong; the second war shook it off-balance-though was still habitable for the Carthaginians; and the last war…Carthage as major force in the Mediterranean was nowhere to be found till this day!
Nigeria like Carthage, the economic hub of Sub Sahara Africa and the most populous black state with high Return of Investment (ROI) witnessed unforgettable civil war that ended 47 years ago with great loss of lives and unquantifiable properties destroyed. With that, it came back stronger and powerful. Next is Islamist sect in the North east. Though hopeful with current military decimation of Boko Haram, while still at war with the Boko Haram elements, some filth columnists who can only be regarded as enemy of the nation want to take us to path of total destruction; using Biafra as cover to destabilize the nation immediate after tension soaked general elections.
After keen observation and thorough evaluation, it can be deduced that Nigeria politicians are only after personal aggrandizement and economic prosperity by playing politics of division and patronage-for self-preservation. With what is happening now, if not fear of restitution for mindless looting in high places; may be, it is fear of deprivation of not getting one’s share from ‘national cake’. Not marginalization per se! No meaningful structure or restructuring will come soon until will have radical reordering of our national priorities against corruption which has bedeviled the nation for decade.
In cognate to ‘survival’ mantra of 1967, marginalization is now the new bone of contention. How can “one man turned what was the people’s will to fight a (senseless)war of survival into desperate and reckless attempts to achieve a personal ambition- even if it meant destroying the very people he purported was fighting to preserve”? – Mr N.U. Akpan, Chief Secretary to Ojukwu.
Where was the supreme leader of IPOB when General Philips Effiong, officer administering the defunct Government of the Republic of Biafra “wish to make the following declaration…that any future constitutional arrangement will be worked out by representatives of the people of Nigeria; that Republic of Biafra CEASES to exist”?
It all ended in 1970. We have come a long way from where we began as a nation and going back is not an option-to keep Nigeria as one single entity is a task for all of us. True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice, equity and equality.
Nigeria must flourish again.
Remi Otuneye, a Political Analyst, writes from Lagos.
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