RENO OMOKRI, HIS DEFENSE, HIS SUGGESTION AND MY OPINION
When the morning sun comes it has this gentle soothing warmness on the skin that makes it refreshing to expose children and the old. Once that afternoon sun displaces it, the harsh reality of what the world is becomes apparent especially with the perspiration rate.
Likewise, as we have watched from the sidelines the various contributions making waves in our polity, the condemnations and approvals given by both actors on the national discourse. I will like to comment on recent Reno Omokri’s comment about the Igbo.
Having read carefully your suggestions and condemnations with respect to the agitation and the young man heading the recent movement for Biafra’s actualization
You are correct when you said that what the Igboss need is friends and not enemies, men that would be able to build bridges and not raze them but hear me a few word do not get angry.
In 1960-1967, Nnamudi Azikwe built that, made friends both within and across the Niger. What did that get him? A rigged National Election. While I disagree with you that he started as Zik of Africa and ended as Owelle of Onitsha is on this premise. His antecedent which is unrivalled is universally agreed even which you attest to.
Zik as an Igbo man cherishes the Igbo title and as it is customary in Igbo land, to Africans he was the Zik of Africa but that age was replaced with independent African nations; to the Nigerians he was the president or to the world but to the Igbo man he is first of all Owelle of Onitsha before any other title. Also he was fondly known to belong to a people that lost the war and the system made sure that nobody from that region held sway in political arena. Notwithstanding whenever you discuss the nationalist movement and pan Africanism you must mention him.
Why compare him with Nelson Mandela? Mandela became the president of south Africa went on to become the president in a free election and handed over government after wards. This man was robbed and it was the British that did this with the help of their ally in the north. Of course you will not forget his contribution to making sure that the nation didn’t go to war. So if you want to press home your point by calling him the Owelle of Onitsha it is what he is to you. Some others could decide to call Mandela the Mandela of Madiba a village of Mvezo.
The man from the north they celebrate every May in Kaduna with the hate speech that has gone on for decades without condemnation. What was his name again? The Sardauna of Sokoto Ahmadu Bello, and the man that was favourable described by Ojukwu as they president we never had: Awolowo.
While it is unfair to compare the later despite their role in this nation, Zik remains the Zik of Africa and can never be taken away. When your children study African history or Nigeria they will learn of the man and what he did. Perhaps they would have opposing views.
Until then let us look at another Igbo man in the person of Alex Ekwueme in his bridge building and alliances funded his party. Who aborted Shehu Usman Shagari’s administration? It was Buhari, a scheme orchestrated to cut short his emergence as the president and head of government.
GENERALIZATION OF THE IGBO.
It is on record that you cited the contribution of Yoruba men in building bridges, making alliances and friends just like the north. While I agree with you on the importance of this I will also like to point to you that it is improper to hypothetically check the validity of untested actor base on general characterization. Who are you to say that if it was an Igbo man that was in the position of Olusegun Obasanjo to surrender power to democratically elected government that he would not? While you sing praises of the man and never hid your admiration for him; his penchant misdeeds, greed, corruption and love for spending government money (FESTAC 77) is equaled only by Ibrahim Babangida’s donation of Billions of our money to Islamic states coalition.
Let see if it was a fluke, his tenure was rounding off and quickly the third term bid was hatched and money were carried off in big bags, national assembly was bribed, allowances hiked and all these were done for the man that relinquished power so easily in the 70’s; what changed? Except it was a fluke or he made a mistake? Only the man can answer that.
So you are now in the mind of Gen. Aguyi Ironsi to know that he would have held on to power? Was it not Odumuegwu Ojukwu that told Yakubu Gowon that he is not the next superior officer after the death of Ironsi to command the position of head of State. It was a Yoruba man Major General Babafemi Ogunipe. He was spoken for by an Igbo man what did he do? He struck a deal with Gowon administration and took position as the Nigeria high commissioner from where he died in 1971. Two years after the war.
This was necessary to maintain the line of leadership therefore military decorum should have naturally followed it course. What do you call that? His brother has already been executed by monsters in military uniform.
After the first coup which was tagged Igbo coup was averted, Ironsi after imprisoning men involved with the coup, to encourage the North and others surrounded himself with Hausa Fulani soldiers that also had him murdered. An action that took his life, what about thousands of others protected by Ojukwu that notwithstanding let us continue with the discussion on making friends and building bridges.
Before the war, Awolowo was released from prison by Ojukwu to spear head the Oduduwa separation from Nigeria. What did he get? Betrayal and official allegiance to the federal military government that gave him the finance minister from where he orchestrated the police of blockade and economic impoverishment.
Apart from few brave men from Niger Delta most of the people, your own people our own brothers have always seen the Igbo as their enemy. This was evident in the war. Once they gave you the states you were clamouring for what did you do? You abandoned the Igbo, your friends for the juicy states and showed the enemy the way to the hinter land. It was also in your own region that the abandoned property was pronounced and executed with finality.
You’re forgetting that this is Nigeria, every ethnic nationality must fight their own battle. We fought a war not against Nigeria but against international superpower and their conspiracy. Yes we lost the war not because we had no friends but because we were betrayed by men we thought were our friends, our brothers.
On your point that Goodluck Ebere Jonathan appointed the Igbo to positions before now never smelt by them since the war such as chief of army staff, secretary to the state government etc. Who when every man and woman in this country was afraid to say it declared that Umura Yar’Adua’s health has deteriorated to the point that he can no longer lead and that a cabal was running his government, that we need Jonathan to stand in as acting president and later a substantive President. Who publicly declared that Jonathan should be sworn in as president? It was an Igbo woman, Prof. Dora Akunyili of bless memory. The whole north called her all kinds of names, the senate already dominated, afraid and castrated would only take months to declare a doctrine of necessity.
While we condemn unreasonable use of words to insult people we should also know that the right of every man to self determination is sacrosanct. We commend Jonathan for the good things he did for the country like in the economy but in some quarters he is also criticized for been weak, among his brothers they said he did nothing for them and Nnamudi Kanu has pointed to that fact while opining that he prefers his wife.
ON IGBO AND LEARNING DIPLOMACY.
While I agree on this that the Igbo need diplomacy more than ever rather than the confrontational orientation we see today. There is time for everything but if any other tribe was to be in the position the Igbo man find himself, do you think they would have acted differently? I trust not. A simple example is the June 12, that was just one, the Niger delta crisis is two. What do you say of Boko haram? It is clearly not diplomacy it was the north making a statement of intent. However while the others have profited in the game, the Igbo has failed to some extent.
By definition it is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of their race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. In some countries, they have a law which defines hate speech as speech, gesture, or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it incites violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected group, or individual on the basis of their membership, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected group or individual. Every ethnic nationality in the country is guilty of these openly and or in the closet of their homes and in the unexpressed words in their hearts.
Regardless of the foregoing who invented hate speech in Nigeria? Of course it is the north when they declared the entire south as a subjugated territory, a wife to be married and submissive to his husband’s caprices. It was the north when they decided to turn the entire national to Islamic nation with continuous unhidden declaration of that intent partly in an inefficient and poorly grafted constitution.
These hate speeches were backed by both British and North regional government that resulted in the massacre of thousands of southerners mainly Igbo in Jos, Kano, Kaduna etc in 1940’s.
The Biafra war has numerous war criminals walking the street of Nigeria unpunished, protected by global powers. So why not if we decide to punish them let us start from where it started and punish everybody.
On hate speech using radio kudirat we also saw the version of the Yoruba’s after June 12 annulment. Can anyone tell me who condemned this people? Nobody. Are we saying it is good and should be left unchecked? No but while you are checking it make sure you do not violate the right of another man like our President that want every man to keep the rule of law but will not.
Hatred can not only be expressed in words, it can also be acted without given voice to it. I will not like to talk about Mr. President Buhari and his legendry hatred for the Igbo. It is something the national polity is contending with now. What about the criminal constitution that we swore allegiance to? When you favour a section of a country in the name of federal character what is that? It’s hatred in action. What of when you use religion to kill people of other tribe what is that? This is hatred in action. So before we throw stones, let’s check where we live.