Nigeria: A Larger Chibok

I am a Nigerian and will continue to find joy and pride in carrying the green passport. However, like Judge Orweil observed, 'In time of deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' there is that tendency for some people sympathetic to Abuja to put on me a toga of a rebel.

I have always argued that sanity and decorum will return to Nigeria, the day we wake up and decide to revamp the moribund truth telling industry. Nigeria is a society that swims in deceit and any attempt by men and women of integrity to tell the wolves they are not sheep is always greeted with unimaginable terror. For students of history it will be difficulty to forget that Dele Giwa, the revered and famous editor of the Newswatch magazine lost his life while defending the truth.

For the fact that good leadership have remained an elusive trophy in Nigeria since the return to Civilian rule in 1999,I think Nigeria and Nigerians will continue to miss Gani Fawehinmi and will continue to clamour for likes of A.J.V Obinna, lamido sanusi,Femi Falana, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Okey Ndibe, Chido Onumah and Bishop Hassan Kukah.

As a Catholic, the profile of Monsignor Obiora Ike, Fr. George Ehusani, Fr. John Ode and Bishop Kukah like Archbishop Oscar Romero have remained a deep source of inspiration for me, let me hasten to say that I borrowed the title of this article from the lecture Bishop Kukah gave at the international family and political conference of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria. Walahi! I agree with Bishop Kukah. However, for me, Nigeria is not only a large Chibouk but a bigger Somalia and mightier Afghanistan. His Lordship, deserve an eagle feather for telling the truth at noon a feat the many a Nigerians will not achieve even at night. Bishop Kukah has proven he is an apostle of truth, a true shepherd who is not only the 'man of the people' but also a man with the people.

Hear him, '.. both the sambisa forest and the chibouk girls are a metaphor for the dilemma of a failing nation suffocating from this forms of greed corruption they express, the brutishness of life that we referred to above'. The saying that difficult road leads to beautiful destination' by the Chinese cannot be truer here. Had the heartless haramist not acted the devils script, how will Nigerians and the international community know that the Irish priest wears short under his cassock? The chibok saga had exposed the deceit and hypocrisy of the BSG and FG. Chibok is Nigeria identical twins.

A town with no accessible roads, a town with a dilapidated building serving as the only secondary school in the Local Government Area, a town were human beings share drinking water with animals due to lack of portable water, a town where electricity have remained myth or rather a fairy tale, a town that only hears that the BSG and FG ensures the protection of life and property in the pages of newspaper or the lying mouths of government officials, a town where the life of a law abiding citizen is not worth more a penny, a town immune against government presence by Government itself.

Senator John Mccain exposed the existential reality in Nigeria, when he posited that 'we didn't have to wait until a practically inexistent government in Nigeria gave us the go-ahead before mounting a humanitarian efforts to rescue those 270 adducted girls' Truly, the pitiable, blamable and messy situation in Nigeria makes the death of Aminu Kano, Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Kute, Bola Ige and Tai Solarin more painful.

It is true that with the GEJ led FG Nigerians have not seen a pot of gold after rainbow. However, that does not deny the point that the administration has scored some points. When Nigeria was rescued from the hands of Kaduna mafias with the doctrine of necessity during the ill-health of Alhaji Musa Yar'adua and his eventual death, fortune smile on GEJ because he was the second in command. From east to west, north to south, the message was clear and hands clapped, legs danced and mouth sang to the outer dismay of some people who thought it was their 'droit absolu' to lord it over other sections of the country and who have in the past years made Nigerians gentiles in the own synagogue.

No doubt my pen is not in love with Abuja but all the salvo's I have fired to Aso Rock have been issue based and nationalistic in perspective. I am an active citizen and a writer with socio-political interest and as such, don't see reasons why I cannot give out my precious penny for any government policy and programme that will put smile on the faces of Nigerians.

Here, since half bread is better than none, the half bread GEJ is giving Nigeria and Nigerians is better than none and a step in the right direction. Before the coming of GEJ, the Northern Mafia's made Nigeria their heritage and imposed their whims and Caprices on other Nigerians. Their idiosyncrasies were law if not dogma. Despite the fact that Nigeria was built on three pillars, they ignore the Yoruba's and Igbo's and made the minorities in Northern Nigeria 'a willing tool', and ruled Nigeria like their fiefdom, pilling and squandering our natural resources. However, now that GEJ is in the drivers seat, they are carrying wolves were there is none for fear of drinking the concoction they administered to other Nigerians for over 38 years of our national life.

Pre-GEJ, Ndi-Igbo, a nation among the pace setters of all people in Africa, active in commerce and trade, education, religion, marvelously skillful in all circle of human endeavours were treated like war trophy. However, GEJ have made these crimes a past tense with the inclusion of Ndi-Igbo in his administration. The appointment of two Igbo sons Dele Ezeobia and Ifejerika as the Chief of Naval (Frm) and the Chief of Defence staff (Frm) is a welcome development for Ndi-Igbo.

The creams of a politician's ,excellent academicians, accomplished administrators of Igbo extraction dotting the space of GEJ administration is a 'noveau venu' in Nigeria were Igbo have suffered hitherto for being Igbos. The rehabilitation of Enugu-Port-Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Abakiliki, Ahamufu-Nsukka federal high ways is achievements that deserve eagle feathers. It is worthy of note to state that the GEJ administration ended what can be referred to as the air enslavement of Ndi-Igbo. Before now any Igbo son or daughter had to travel to Lagos, Abuja or Kano before making it to the outside world.

With the up grading of Akamu Ibiam airport to an international status, Ndi-Igbo can now enjoy the status to most widely traveled Nigerians without any bottle neck. With the flag off of the construction of the second Niger-bridge, it will be difficult to dispute the fact that GEJ is the proverbial dry meat that 'chi' has thrown into the mouth of Ndi-Igbo. If GEJ is able to put all machinery is motion to ensure that the second Niger Bridge becomes a reality, then, he will have proven he is indeed the true friend of Ndi-Igbo. While we expect the overhaul and revamp of the Eastern railway lines especially the Enugu-Umuahia-Aba axis, the juicy presence of federal projects in the South-east will be a political corner kick against the Northern mafia as the race to Aso Rock approaches.

Now that the open vista of hope is cascading down in and around Imo like the 'Ferim ruwa' waterfall with the unparallel development stride of Imo State government under the 'commander of free education' one cannot but smile. At least, a political Moses who bears in mind the 'Kpim' of government to be large extent is 'to ensure the greatest happiness of the greatest member' (-Apology to Jeremy Bentham) is sitting in Douglas house.

The socio-political cum economic revolution going on in Imo State is a pointer to the fact that 'the fact that things have remained bad for so long does not mean that change is impossible'. In those days gone by in Imo State when the follies of mediocre, political jobbers, bootlickers and minions were praised as façade of wisdom, Imolites suffered because people orientation developmental went on exile.

At time past, even socrate with develop bare hair thinking as Chike Obi with his wizardly mathematical prowess will not solve the political equation on how a state with one of the finest human and natural resources in Nigeria will be swimming in poverty. Just recently, I ended a short holiday in Imo State and was marveled at the pace of development going on there. Earlier, I had watched on AIT while in Abuja on how Governor Rochas Okorocha, like the legendary king Midas of Greek mythology was turning everything he touched in Imo state into gold.

However, I chose the path of Thomas not for any other reason but the fact that one needs to be very careful while dealing with Nigerians politicians because many of them dish out the menu of falsehood without regard to honesty and integrity.

Today, Imo State has been rescued from the hand of Abuja kleptocrats who only visit Owerri at month end to share the state allocation. Imolites are really enjoying the benefits of good governance or better still using our lexicon the 'dividends of democracy'. Owerri is now a modern mega city. I will not fail to mention the massive Urban-rural road constructions going on in all the local government of the state.

At Orlu, Owerri Okigwe, the three main towns in Imo State, government has transformed them from a village status into modern towns, with the presence of good road networks, five star hotels, modern market, state of art the hospital, and ultra-modern secondary school.

I am not from Imo State neither do I have any particular interest there. However, the all round development going on there is pedagogical, if since 1999 all administration have done half of what the government of Rochas Okorocha is doing,then Imo State could have become a Mecca of sort.

Nigerians need to learn from Imolites, apart from the fact that they are the heart of Ndi-Igbo, Imolites are about the most exposed and educated people in Nigeria . They don't play party politics, but politics of issues and values. It has always been like that in Imo before some looters from Wadata plaza started dipping the hand into the same pot of soup with Imolites. An average Imolite don't care about so the called zoning system that is trying to tear Nigeria apart.

Despite the fact the Chief Achike Udenwa is from Orlu and ruled for sight years (1999-2007), Imolites still elected Rochas Okorocha from Orlu after they chased former, Governor Ikidi Ohakim (from Okigwe) out of the Douglas house through the ballot in 2011. Nigerians can learn much from Imolites when it comes to playing politics that is devoid of ethnic, tribal, religious or regional sentiment.

I am greatly happy that Gov. Rochas Okorocha did not disappoint Imolites. Indeed, his administration is victory for the people. For the first time, after the golden era of late Dr. Sam Mbakwe of old Imo State (present Abia and Imo State) Imolites can now with pride say 'we have a government'. This is a reality I can bet my precious penny for.

In Nigeria, it is not out of place to find people who will question the reason why one should the excavate the evil of the past to hurt today. Personally, I believe in letting the sleeping lie but not at the expense of truth and history. For many who believe that there is no marriage between the past and the present, the Pope emeritus argued against the School of thought when he opened that, 'the past is never simply the past. It always has something to tell us, the path to take and the path not to take'.

Here, the sense of event that led to the bloody and avoidable civil war will remain chiseled in the stones of history. But most importantly, the happenings, since GEJ became the landlord of Aso rock has called for a visitation to the shine of history because many a people, like the proverbial cunning fox that would arrive when the war had been won have being claiming victory even when Nsukka zone in Enugu State is more populated than their entire race in the world. Personally, I also believe that like the snake removes it slough, to get refreshed, one must let go a lot of things in life. However, here, it is a different ball game because as an informed observer of the Political drama since the birth of civilian rule in 1999, I have watched politicians exchange 'yes' and 'no' if they are identical twins.

when late Col Odimegwu Ojukwu (the first graduate to enlist in the Nigerian Army) with a popular mandate of Ndi-Igbo was propelled by the progrom in Northern Nigeria and other injustices declared that the marriage strange bed fellows was over, with the declaration of the peoples Republic of Biafra, in 1967, Rtd General Yakubu Gowon with the help of Northern Mafias and the crown hid under the banner of ' one Nigeria' to commit one of the worst crime against humanity. When the Northern elites needed a 'Judas' to thwart their destiny of Ndi-Igbo, the Ijaw nation was at hand to do the kissing. Before some people will put on me the toga of an ethnic bigot, let me hasten to make some disclaimer. I for one, don't believe in the superiority of any ethnic or tribal group. I relate with people base on their value, character and principles and not tribe, religion or political affiliation. Having said this, it is a pity that the Ijaw nation under the leadership of Chief Edwin Clark is threatening other Nigerians for some perceive injustices in the political arena. It is even funnier that the Ijaws think they eat their cake and have it.

They joined forces with the 'Hausarized' military to ensure that Ndi-Igbo were wiped out of the earth surface. With their mouth oily and palms greased, the Ijaw Elders like Clark saw nothing wrong with the despotic regime of General Gowon government that mowed down the Igbo nation. From Nsukka to Umuahia, Asaba to Uli, the blood of Ndi-Igbo followed to the amusement of Ijaws.

Pitiably, Chief Edwin Clark that represented the Ijaws as the commissioner of information, under Gowon 'saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke in evil as the continued to enjoy his people share of the nation cake. Him and other Ijaw bortlickers and betrayers like General Isaac Boro and KenSaro Wiwa, not only made sure the 'Original Aburi Accord' was a failure, they killed, banished, rejected and avoided Ndi-Igbo like the Jews of old will avoid a leper. General Boro in particular, was the Chief executioner of Ndi-Igbo in River State. He made sure no trace of Igbo's was left in the Oil city of Port-Harcourt. He and his foot soldiers also succeeded in sowing anti-Igbo sentiment in the Ikwerrr's ; I hope the Ikwerre's will realize that they have been asked to marry a man who killed their father.

No doubt the war and the Ijaw betrayal have come and gone. However, it will remain something that Ndi-Igbo have since forgiven but will never forget. Now that the like of Asari Dokubo and Chief Edwin Clark are making nasty statements all over the nation because an Ijaw President is being 'intimidated' as they claim, it has become more relevant to ask these one million Dollar question.

Were the Ijaws not in the Niger Delta when our beautiful girls and women were openly raped in Asaba by Uncircumcised Hausa-Fulanis? Where did Chief Edwin Clark and his Ijaws Brothers keep their voices and strengths when over a 500 healthy Igbo civilians were rounded up in Asaba and cruelly murdered? Was the Ijaw nation hypnotized into inaction when General Gowon who in office but under the power of Hausa-fulani mafias opened the gate of hell on Ndi-Igbo?

Truly the evil that men commit live with and after them. Ijaws who gave Ndi-Igbo stones when they asked for bread and viper when they asked for fish but forgot that the cane that was used to whip the senior wife is surely being kept in the ceiling and waiting for the captivating junior wife too. Ken Saro Wiwa who helped in crushing the Igbo's was hanged by General Sari Abacha. General Bora after killing the Igbo he could find in Port-Harcourt and destroying their business and property was also sent to his grave by his Northern masters. Now, the same Northern marauders are fighting to ensure that GEJ suffocates politically.

If not that is suicidal to join the Northern power drunks in messing up GEJ and the entire Ijaws nations in 2015, and more importantly, that Nigerians wish to enthrone the supremacy and primacy of the Nigerian constitution and welfare of Nigerians above any sectional or tribal agenda, it could have been a nice experience for Ndi-Igbo to take a 'sidon de look' approach as some marauding Northerner's mess up GEJ and everything Ijaw in him.

I make bold to say that GEJ presidency and the so called National cake the Ijaws are enjoying today, will remain a debt they owe Ndi-Igbo . Once again as always, Ndi-Igbo have proven to be the proverbial benevolent spirit. (Apologies to late Prof Chinua Achebe) that have cracked a political kernel for GEJ and the Ijaws. It is expected the Ijaw Nation will not only be humble but also do the needful towards Ndigbo in the future.

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Articles by Eze Martins-hassan Esomchi