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Governor Nyako: It Takes A Genocidal Maniac

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By Emmanuel Onwe
Anyone fearful of the adverse consequences for the unity and progress of this nation posed by Boko Haram should similarly be apprehensive about the grave impact to our national cohesion that the virulent anti-North prejudice and bigotry that have exploded in the South portends. Hate, too, is explosive and inimical to the best interests of a nation seeking unity in diversity and mutual respect. [The Muslim North is not Boko Haram, Broadside, New Telegraph, March 15, 2014].

It is evident from the recent inflammatory memorandum by Governor Murtala Nyako to the governors of the 18 states of northern Nigeria that the cycle of political letter writing by politicians is yet to run its full course. The grand objective of the letter writers is clearly determinate – the toppling, by legitimate or treasonous means, of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. But Nyako goes a step further; he has maliciously prepared the ground for a possible holocaust against the Igbo.

Friends, in the fundamentalist court of Governor Nyako, the President of the republic has been found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. The existence of Boko Haram is denied and the existence of a presidency-sponsored brigade of cut-throats is affirmed. And if you wonder: On what reliable evidence did he base his guilty verdict? Well, in his primeval jurisdiction, the guilt is first established and then international non-governmental organisations are invited to assist in investigations and gathering of the evidence. We live in bizarre times, indeed.

It is a truism that poor writers make poor thinkers. If Nyako's memorandum is a reflection of the quality of his mind, then what a chaotic, bitter, hateful, hypocritical, and juvenile mind he's cursed with. In style and diction, Nyako's memo is embarrassingly pedestrian, typifying the mediocrity that has held sway in the Nigerian armed forces over the last four decades. His effort shames the exalted admiralty. In a meritocratic society, he would have had no business ascending to the office of Vice Admiral. But in its primary and wicked intent to inflame passions, the memorandum did not just flow from the soft point of a pen. It was a chronicle written on a granite plate of ethnic hatred at the steely point of political subversion.

Should Jonathan lose the presidential election in 2015 and a Nyako-supported-leadership emerges, people of “Eastern Nigeria” should brace themselves for revenge slaughter based on the crime of phantom genocide. History's testimony to the anti-Igbo genocide of the 1960s is still ringing loud and dangerous. If pogrom was the answer to an alleged ethno-biased coup d'état, then the repercussions for an alleged genocide might well be permanent extermination. If you are a citizen of eastern extraction in this country, you may treat Nyako's memorandum lightly at your own grave peril.

This ruse concocted by Nyako is a potent launching-pad for “Operation craw-craw” to parallel or eclipse Operation Araba – the revenge coup d'état of July 29, 1966 under which the slaughter and annihilation of the officer corps of Igbo origin, from the first Major General the nation ever produced to the lower cadre of Second Lieutenants, was executed. It presents a perfect opportunity to re-enact the Abandoned Property heist – the military decree-backed theft of a living and present people's property. If people who ran for safety from Port Harcourt to Aba, a distance of less than 100 kilometres, were presumed to have permanently forfeited their property, then the looming ọsọ ọgụ in which Easterners will be compelled to embark on exodus from Abuja to Enugu for safety will see their stupendous real estate declared “Gifted Property.” The principal actors in the Abandoned Property grand theft are still very much around, more politically powerful and influential, with greater appetite for illegitimately acquired wealth and heightened anti-East prejudice.

A band of vengeful and powerful old brigade, made up of Nyako and men of his ilk, are embittered by the dramatic turn of historic events that saw the ascent of a citizen they presume to be nyamiri to the Presidency. That it happened in their life time under circumstances that allowed them to claim dispossession gave rise to a form of psychological brutalization from which they are never likely to recover. This psychological derangement has manifested in abnormal conduct by men such as Nyako.

The existential dilemma suggested by the memorandum betrays the helplessness and paralysis at the heart of northern leadership. And those looking for culprits should look no further than poverty of imagination, visionlessness and selfish material gluttony, which combined to cripple the region and bury its modest promise. Northern Nigeria is whimpering under the black clouds of apocalypse, make no mistake about that. And again if you ask, whose fault is it? The answer is rich in complexity and calls for a treatise. But a simple generalisation will suffice for the moment.

Those in positions of leadership in our nation are placed on the challenging scales of good and evil. It is far easier to do something mighty and evil than it is do that which is noble, distinguished and good. From amalgamation through independence to this Fourth Republic, our union has been unique in the problems and promises it presented and uniquely has its leaders been challenged. Catastrophically, however, the Nyakos of the North, greedy, venal and unenlightened as they were, held sway for far too long, thus bequeathing the republic with the products of their primitive and retarded ways. And the sharpest brunt has been borne by their own region.

In their old age and with the ugly evidence of their neglect and criminal misrule staring them in the face, some of them, such as Nyako, have grown increasingly apoplectic with rage and disappointment, as the North convulses in instability and spews the smoke from the fire of half a century of degradation. But the cowardly Nyako has not got the balls to lay the blame and responsibility where they belong. Why so do when there is a convenient peg on which to hang the ragged coat of a battered and regressing region? Blaming Jonathan, the presumptive nyamiri infidel from the East, will do just fine. A dangerous brew of lies, vague conspiracies, sub-literate invocation of perverted history and outright insults become the ingredients of their denial. It is frightening that the Nyakos of the North are still at that stage.

The Kübler-Ross model, otherwise known as the five stages of grief (a series of emotions experienced when people are afflicted with catastrophe) shows how victims start with denial and advance through anger, bargaining, depression before finally arriving at a state of acceptance. At over-seventy years of age and presiding over squalor and deprivation, it's doubtful that Nyako will advance much farther than the first stage.

In his memorandum, Nyako sought to rely on the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to establish his phantom genocide allegation. Below is his citation:

“International Criminal Court Charter broadly defines genocide as:

•         Mass killings of human beings
•         A deliberate action by a government that embarks on a policy that denies a group basic social amenities.

•         A deliberate action by a government or group of people who embark on campaign of hatred against the innocent.”

All these and much more took place during the Nigerian Civil War. Nyako was an active player in that war. Nyako was commissioned by the Nigerian Navy in 1966 and held command duties in Benin, Obuma, Kwa Ibo River and Ekpe from 1966 to the end of 1969.

In the course of this period, it is alleged that he ordered and personally participated in the slaughter of refugees fleeing from various war fronts in 1968. Testimonies of women he allegedly raped and drowned in Kwa River in the late 1960s have come to light. Stories about children he allegedly plucked from their mothers' breasts and then proceeded to cast them into the river to drown are now being narrated. Decommissioned Biafran soldiers are standing ready and willing to testify to Nyako's crime of deliberately and with malice aforethought sinking boats ferrying war refugees to safety, drowning thousands of mothers and their babies. He stands accused of blockading relief supplies from the International Committee of the Red Cross, leading to mass starvation and deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent children.

In the corpus of criminal law, both international and domestic, the doctrine of statute of limitations does not apply to criminal matters. In that connection, therefore, Nyako remains a legitimate target of potential criminal investigations for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. President Jonathan ought to instruct the Attorney General of the federation to commence investigations into these allegations forthwith.

Accusing easterners of complicity in genocide is not only a malicious falsehood but pointing his blood-soaked finger at the very people against whom he committed unspeakable atrocities is taking hubris by Nyako to disdainful heights. It takes a genocidal maniac to put on display such reckless stupidity.

Citizens of northern Nigeria led this nation for 38 years, down the very precipice of a terrific abyss on which it now totters. No citizen of eastern Nigeria had ever written an accusatory memorandum holding the entire northern region culpable for the actions of eight men. The citizens of the South-South of Nigeria who today stand collectively accused of aiding and abetting a cut-throat genocidal administration were the staunch collaborators of the Nyakos in the course of the Nigerian Civil War from 1967-1970. The Second, Third and Fourth Republics witnessed an inflexible support and collaboration between the people of the South-South and northern Nigeria, shunning, most blatantly, the efforts of Dr Azikiwe's Nigerian People's Party (NPP) to construct a regional political and economic solidarity between 1979 and 1983. Are the chickens coming home to roost?