Let’s assume there were accruable deficits from the Nuremberg attack of Senator Ike Ekweremadu to Igbo separatist movement IPOB, the glorious (yes, glorious) appearance of its leader Maxi Nnamdi Kanu at the European Union congregation of September 10, at its Brussels’ conclave, must have restored the movement’s balance to solid green, from any shade of red, aftermath the Ike’s show. Without doubt, majority of my Yoruba brethren is still anti-Ndigbo, despite the confidence-building rapprochement between the genuine leaders of the two ethnic blocs and there could be justification for the grassroots’ anger, if the commercial conducts and a times, the away-politics of Ndigbo in the South-West, particularly in Lagos, come into play, as the balance for trust, reliability, trade-truth, shared humility and abiding neighbourliness.
Yes, it could be frustrating loving an average Igbo trader, businessman or even politician, operating around one’s neighbourhood. For a race with scarred sensibility and warrior mentality, and some may add, damaged conscience, unconditional understanding is required to understand such a people.
If Ndigbo still feel till today that it can only thrive in togetherness strictly with its own, it is pertinent to see beyond the parochialism of One Nigeria, One Nation that has only existed in the greed of those with controlling levers of power to understand why Ndigbo are insistently desirous of becoming a big fish in a small ocean of their landlocked domain, when it could still be a big fish, growing fatter, in the bigger Nigeria ocean of orisirisi (odds and ends).
For sure, Ndigbo didn’t become an agony neighbour overnight. Like the cantankerous Never-Trump US Rep. Ilhan Oman said, some people did something, in describing the monstrosity of 9/11 bombing, a nation did something to one of her own between July 6, 1967 and January 15, 1970 and still doing something to the hurting one and funny enough not expecting the beaten one, not to cry. The beaten one, will cry mana, (pardon my code-mixing) and unlike the rest of America which has continuously raged at the Somali-naturalized American, the rest of Nigeria, in reverse gear, is taunting the one, that needed reassurances that forcing the race to stay in the Nigeria space, was a genuine effort at everyone, becoming family again.
If such a fellow wants out, why force and forcing him in?
To force her way out of Nigeria, where she feels treated as surplus to requirement, Ndigbo has over time, become brash, proud and loud, almost insufferable, a racial trait I feel, was deliberately developed for the rest of Nigeria to just cast her out. As if in a game of wit, the rest of Nigeria (Hausa and Yoruba precisely) has refused to let go, without an overt silver lining the edginess to the diagonal relationships, would ever be smoothened. So what is the way out, for the unloveable and the seeming unstoppable?
Except for public display of political correctness, the soul of an average Ndigbo is already severed from the soulless nation called Nigeria. You ask if I share the race’s sentiment. I’m for new things and the simple argument that won me over was from Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams, SAN, the unsung brilliant scion of Timi the Law. “If UK that wedged us into a country is renegotiating its future, why must we hold on forever to what such a Kingdom gave us. Why cant we look at what they gave us again after almost 60 years”. Brilliant, isn’t it?
I’m for a renegotiated Nigeria. Thankfully, it is the song everywhere. Even Buhari’s Aso Rock said it was for it, though before the 2019 poll. Hope nothing has changed after the exercise. Two Octobers would make it 60 years of the borrowed nationhood, governance structure and deliberately-skewed political power distribution, to heavily favour the North, which has been unabashedly garrulous in “victory”.
Whatever you want to say about Kanu, his overseas advocacy is pumping the debate on togetherness and the forms it should take. The Nigerian government may pretend for all it can, that he’s just a pest that would be blown away with time, if ignored. Unfortunately for the current operators of the Nigerian state, this guy and his message are perching dangerously on where he could not be left alone for too long and can’t be smashed anyhow, for precious things, not to go into smithereens with the blast.
I like the phase Mr. Kanu has moved his secessionist message. Guess he had read Madiba’s Long Walk To Freedom. There is no point wasting precious lives in the name of confrontation with security agencies. Buratai and his men are trained to kill, only intellectualism can maim them. Yes, blood is always required to uproot status quo, but Biafra has shed enough. Fortunately for IPOB, save for a couple of dramatis personae, the current administration is headed and loaded to the hilt, with provincial fellows. If Kanu could keep his head and continuously tap into foreign influences, contacts and platforms, soon, he would be seated side-by-side with the Nigerian delegation at the United Nations, possibly including his tormentors-in-power. Someday, the ear of the world, would arch to the real Nigerian story and nobody would be able to stand in the way of the debate on the future of our togetherness.
You ask where is Yoruba in all of these. After Gani Adams’ local activism landed him the prestigious Iba title, the gap has been yawning for genuine emancipators. Though the pretenders around are just into the bokoto (cow) politics of 2023, the usual fire-brigade approach, well known with our sporting activities, may still work for Yoruba next year when Nigeria @60, would be entering a crucial phase, regarding her future. Somehow, everyone would be ready and I will personally be praying for Nnamdi Kanu.