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Self Determination and “Thirty Pieces of Silver”

By Remi Oyeyemi
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“I have learned to hate all traitors, and there is no disease that I spit on more than treachery.” - Aeschylus, a Greek Poet (525 BC TO 456 BC)

“Life is not an easy matter… You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.” - Leon Trotsky (1879 -1940)

The anti- abortion coalition in the United States of America came out with a commercial during this Christmas season to the American people. The message has as its kernel how “one unaborted pregnancy saved the world.” The “unaborted pregnancy” without any doubt and by any means pointed to the pregnancy of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The message is not mistakable. It is clear and unambiguous, that if the pregnancy of Jesus had been aborted by Mary because of its special circumstance, the whole world would have remained “unsaved and in sin”

Unfortunately for this anti-abortion coalition they forgot to point to another “unaborted pregnancy” that cost 6 million Jews their lives, several other millions of Britons, French, Polish, Russians, Africans, Americans, Italians, Germans and Japanese their lives between 1939 and 1945. I am very sure that it would have been better if the pregnancy of Adolf Hitler had been aborted to save the world the agonies and pains witnessed during that period and the several millions of lives that were needlessly wasted.

The above situation is analogous to the present political situation which is serving as the context for the self determination struggles in Biafran and Ooduan Nations. Within these Nations, there are different shades of groups advocating self determination and independence. Some of them are sincere. They are genuinely patriotic and are seriously concerned about the Ndigbo and the Yoruba Nation as well as their peoples. Some of them are opportunists. These opportunists see this clamour as an opportunity to make money and bleed those who are willing to put their money where their heart is. They have no interest in anything. They have no loyalty to Nigeria or to the Yoruba Nation or the Biafran cause. They are just seeking the opportunity to make some moola.

Another group is the political dealers, who are seeking to control and maintain their political stranglehold on the peoples of Yoruba land and Igbo land through party politics. They pretend that they do not care about the self determination groups and their struggles. But they actually care but not because they want independence for Yoruba Nation or the Ndigbo, but because they want to undermine the struggles for self determination to ensure their political advantage to be able to continue to exploit the people of these Nations for their own ends.

Belonging to this group are political office holders and their sponsors, who are worse than profiteers. They prey on the misfortune of the Yoruba people and their Igbo counterparts and isolate their political opponents as the devils reincarnate when indeed, they are not different from those they seek to demonize if not more devilish. Their real intention is to divert attention from the goal of freedom by stage-managing “political food fights” amongst themselves.

Amongst them are some Senators, governors, members of House of Representatives, party political “leaders”, ministers and their sentries. The political parties they belong to do not really make any difference. Their interest is one and only one. To maintain political hold on the Yoruba and Igbo Nations and use such as negotiating chips at the Federal level while the children of Oodua and Ndigbo continue in political and economic misery and bondage.

The APC would blame the PDP. The PDP would blame the Labour Party. And the Labour Party would turn around to blame the APC. The vicious circle continues. It is all a game. It is a game to confuse the people. It is a game to divert the people. It is a game to maintain control. It is a game to derail and detract from the mission. They are all beneficiaries of the unjust Nigerian State. They are all purveyors of enslavement and subjugation. They are enemies of freedom.

This particular group, because of their financial wherewithal appropriated from looting the States of Yoruba and Igbo Nations, have embedded paid sentries in all the Self Determination groups. The main responsibility of these paid sentries is to undermine the self determination groups, cause confusion, and ensure lack of cohesion of purpose, mission and vision. This group exploit the prevailing poverty in the Nigerian Nation –State and corral vulnerable members of such independence or self determination groups from Europe, Canada and the United States as well as from across the Yoruba and Igbo Nations.

To this end, otherwise respectable personalities have become ghosts of themselves. They have been derailed by “thirty pieces of silver” and sold their consciences by compromising their own beliefs. They have become a parody of themselves and their integrity stained. They have lost the moral claim to leadership and the trust of their followership. They have become a source of shame to those who were once proud of them and filtered away the love, trust and respect of those who believed in them.

Some of those who have been corralled, when cornered and faced with questions from friends, colleagues and or admirers, would speak from both sides of their mouths, sputter, stutter, stammer and stumble shamefully. Their age, intellectual and academic achievements become devalued. They are then perceived differently. They become objects of banters and jokes and ridicule. Behind the scenes, they engage in subterfuge to convince those who bought them with “thirty pieces of silver” that they are loyal and dedicated. They blackmail others who do not share their principle of perfidy and badmouth them.

Often you find them in big and small gatherings sermonizing about the need to overlook the illicit acquisition of wealth and the conscienceless pilfering of our commonwealth either from Nigeria or from the Yoruba and Igbo States. They make excuses for crude and cruel kleptomania as they point to the “generosity” of their paymasters. They justify irresponsible governance in the Southwest and Southeast States. Where the sufferings of the people are too obvious and conspicuous to be explained away, they keep ominously silent, thereby giving opprobrious credence to tyranny over our peoples.

In any struggle, political or whatever, there are bound to be traitors and conscientious perfidious elements. There are bound to be opportunists, profiteers, dealers and marauders. For every Jesus Christ, there has been a Judas Iscariot. For every Caesar, there has been a Brutus. For every Duncan, there has been a Macbeth. For every Obafemi Awolowo, there has been a Ladoke Akintola. For every Thomas Sankara, there has been a Blaise Compaore. For every Patrice Lumumba, there has been a Mobutu Sese Seko. For every Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, there has been a Mohammad Zia – ul – Haq. For every Benigno Aquino, there has been a Ferdinand Marcos.

As a result of this, it would be foolhardiness, to assume that there would not be dealers and traitors for the gathering storm of the Yoruba self determination struggle and the brimming fire of Biafran Independence. In Oodua land, from Ilaje-Ese-Odo to Sepeteri and from Jebba to Badagry, the momentum is gathering. In every discussion among the children of Oodua, the issue is “Why can’t the Yoruba go it all alone?” “Why can’t we break from Nigeria now and declare our independence?” “Is it compulsory that we have to remain in Nigeria?” “Can our receding fortune within Nigerian be checkmated?” “Why must we continue to be part of this shame and disgrace?”

In Yoruba Nation, the struggle is still in its adolescent stage. It is walking around in spirits. It is in crisis of identity and role confusion. It is prevaricating between initiative, courage and decisiveness. The consciousness of the need to be free is already pervading and pervasive. The bent of the desire and aspiration of the people is very obvious. It is evident that the sons and daughters of Oodua are waiting for a catalyst to set the ball rolling. But the old is talking about it. The young is contemplating it. Everyone is wondering about it. The impatience is mounting and the fire is already lit. It is about to turn into a conflagration.

In Biafra land, the Ndigbo is a step ahead. From Enugu to Owerri and from Aba to Afikpo, the fire of Biafran freedom is already burning. It is no longer a matter of discussion. It is now a matter of action. Igbo land is lit with the fire of freedom. It is now burning like it never did since 1967. The sons and daughters of Ndigbo have taken their destinies into their hands. They have decided to be the captains of their own souls. Everyone is standing up to be counted in or be counted out. The die is cast. The train has left the station. The freedom bell is already ringing.

While those who believe in the self determination for the Yoruba Nation should continue to fight for their dream, they should not be unmindful of the Judases planted among them by the professional politicians from amongst the Yoruba, who are fixated on looting from the Nigerian Commonwealth at all costs. The same goes for the freedom seekers of Igbo Nation. These professional politicians have no qualms about selling their people for a poisonous pot of political porridge. What they would do at the national level is what they have done and are still doing across the States in Yoruba and Igbo lands - stealing our money and our future and still expecting us to be grateful for it.

These traitors are sermonizing about a Nigeria that has failed. They are preaching about a country that is still a toddler at 55 years of age. They are collaborating with the subjugating rulers of the Nigerian State. They are trying to demonize others who are determined to be free. They are pleading with the youths of Oodua and Igbo Nations to choose slavery and subjugation as an option. They are asking the children of Oodua and the sons and daughters of Igbo land to give up their dream and their desire to be in control of their destinies.

These governors, their political parties and their sponsors as well as their serenaded sentries pretend as if they love Yoruba land or the Igbo Nation. They are not even bold enough to say that they are inheritors of blood money and a crooked political system. They have no courage to admit that they benefit from a warped and corrupt country that is designed to impede freedom, peace, prosperity and progress. They are too ashamed to admit that they are tools of an oppressive oligarchy. They are trying to deny their identities as neo-oligarchs in a Nigerian Nation State that prides itself in subjugating and impeding the freedoms and the dreams of its peoples.

Those who are determined to advance this struggle should not be deceived by those who go around with the titles of “Professor”, “General”, or “Chief.” They should not imbue with any respect any “Senator”, “Governor”, “House of Representative Member”, “National Leader”, or “Party Leader.” They should not put their stock in the political office holders who are the beneficiaries of the unjust system that the Nigeria incubus has foisted on the Yoruba Nation and the Ndigbo. They should hold suspect those with verbose titles such as “Pastor”, Reverend”, “Imam”, “Overseer”, “Founder” or what have you.

The battle for freedom is never done. Its field is never quiet. Those who believe in self determination should continue to pursue their dreams. They should never, never give up. They should not be discouraged. They should not be intimidated. Those who seek self determination within the Nigerian context should also persevere and be persistent. Until there is an open debate that would lead to referendum which would point to what the people want, the struggle continues. No amount of media censorship, traditional or internet or social media, would prevent a date with destiny by the Nigerian Nation-State.

It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. The struggle continues as Nigeria awaits its appointed date with History and Destiny.

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”

- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961

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