A Tale of Two Ikembas
‘Cut eye, cut eye, no go cut I into two.’
- Jamaican street proverb, inspired by Igbo Slaves habit of “Ijibeanya” or “Iloanya,” maliciously shutting and quickly re-opening their eyes in the wake of their white slave masters in Jamaican sugar plantations.
Cut eye, cut eye, of some Igbo against Nigeria, may not have cut Nigeria into two,but it has turned Nigeria into a nation with ‘special needs.’
- This writer’s take on the revolt of the Igbo Street against the Nigerian state under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
‘Had I known’ –these are three simple and innocuous words. Yet taken together they convey aterrible and ominously doomed remorse. “Had I known,” is one of the saddest phrases in the English language almost at par with the phrase‘I have been diagnosed with cancer.’My late father, Fred Okonicha Konwea, may his soul forever rest in God’s bosom, used to admonish me, “make hay while the sun shines, because the sun will not shine for you forever,”before going on to add the killer words “so that when you die, you will not have cause to sayin hell, had I known.”
In a curious mix of English and Igbo called “Engligbo” the Igbos would generally exclaim that “Had I known, buajookwu” which translates as “Had I known is a terrible remark.” And so it is indeed. You do not have to be in hell to have a “had I known” moment. I have had a few ‘had I known’ moments in my life and none would rank higher than my unpreparedness the day I met the late Chief Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu, Ikemba Nnewi, and ex Head of State of the defunct Biafra.
Had I known that I would meet Ojukwu that very day, the ensuing encounter may have transpired rather differently. It happened like this.
Sometime in October or November 1998, I was engrossed in a political strategy session with Col. Joseph Achuzia rtd., ex-Biafran warlord and Ikemba of Asaba at his Asaba home. Suddenly a shrill cry rang out of the blues. “Daddy, Daddy, Ojukwu is here”! It wasthe young Achuzia, panting as he ran excitedly into his father’s study.Like a man suddenly roused from sleep, Chief Achuziarose energetically to his feet, and frantically prepared to receive his eminent visitor and erstwhile Commander-in-Chief in the defunct Biafra.
On my part I was like a man who had received a 10,000 volts electric jolt. My heart was beating like a sledge hammer pounding away on an errant pieceof rock. My de-facto principal Chief Achuzia, had not pre-warned me that we would be hosting Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwuthat very day. Was it a matter of forgetfulness on his part? Was it due to the veteran warlord’s instinctive security reflexes? Was it that I had not yet completely gained his trust to be entrusted with such delicate piece of intelligence?Or was it a combination of all three? One may never know.
Achuzia’s study then was in a side house annex beside the main house. In it was a bed which Achuzia would occasionally use for a short rest. We left the side house and walked briskly across the courtyard into the main house. Ojukwu was already inside the ante-room located at the frontal part of the house.
As a mark of respect for his host and out of an appreciation of his own self-worth, Ojukwu and his companion remained standing in the ante-room until Achuzia went there to formally receive them. Then and only then did Ojukwu step into the living roomwhere I was standing and waiting.His male companion had a traditional flute in his hands and blew on it as they made their way into the living room.
Trembling with excitement I bent down as a mark of respect to greet Ojukwu. Achuzia quickly introduced me as a close collaborator and retreated into the master bedroom. Ojukwu stretched out his hands and I clasped it. His handshake was very firm. “Enyikedu (my friend how are you)?” He said. “Odinma, Ikemba Nnewi.(I am good, Ikemba Nnewi)” I replied. I also shook the hands of his companion who was not introduced but who I later realized was a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army and one-time Military Administrator of Oyo State.
Achuzia quickly reemerged with a brand-new bottle of brandy, some beers and several kola-nuts in a saucer. As the youngest man in the room and in accordance with Igbo customs and tradition, I took over proceedings while Achuzia took his seat.“Orji a biakwa nu (the kola-nut has come),” Achuzia said. I took the saucer of kola-nuts to Ojukwu. He placed his hands over the saucer, muttered a blessing, picked one nut out and told me to take it to Achuzia with words like “go and tell Achuzia that we have seen the kola-nuts he has presented to us and we thank him very much.”
I took the kolanut and saucer to Achuzia who took the nut and offered the customary prayers. He then broke it, took one half and chewed on it and gave me the other half to take to Ojukwu. Afterwards I proceeded to break the remaining kola-nuts and passed the saucer round first to Ojukwu, next to his companion, then to Achuzia before taking one myself. Something similar happened with the brandy. Shortly afterwards, Achuzia called me aside and whispered into my ears, “continue to entertain Ojukwu while I dash off to Asiodu’s house to alert him (Chief P. C. Asiodu) that Ojukwu is already here.”
A little background briefing is appropriate at this point. OnJune 8, 1998, the then maximum Nigerian military ruler General Sani Abacha suddenly died just as he was on the verge of transmuting into a civilian President having been adopted as a sole candidate for the Presidential elections by at least four out of the five official political parties. Before his sudden death the normally ebullient and irrepressible Nigerian politicians suddenly went mute as not one of them had the temerity to declare his candidature for the Presidency.
The only exception was Mallam M.D. Yusuf a retired former Inspector General (Head) of the Nigerian Police Force. I was so shocked at the timidity of the Nigerian political class and impressed by the personal courage shown by M.D. Yusuf that I wrote a hard-hitting opinion piece titled ‘M.D. Yusuf – A Man Called Intrepid’ which was highly critical of the Abacha regime and sent it to several media houses for publishing. I never saw that piece in print, but a couple of friends around the country said they saw it published somewhere and warned me to be ultra-careful.
Anyway, when General Abacha suddenly died and the succeeding military administration of General Abdulsalam Abubakar announced a plan for return to civilian rule, all the members of the Nigerian political class who had locked themselves in the closet out of fright, suddenly rediscovered their mojo. Several new political parties were born including the soon to be dominant Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Chief P.C. Asiodu, my own townsman, a technocrat was one of the people who declared their intentions to contest the Presidency.
A completely apolitical person but who nevertheless harbored great hopes for my country, I decided to closely monitor the dynamics of the political process particularly as my own kinsman was running for President. My entrée was through Chief Achuziaof who I had heard so much spoken about by adults as a toddler caught up in Biafra during the Nigeria Civil War. The reader may kindly refer to the war odyssey of my family recounted in the second part of my series on the last Nigerian Presidential elections titled ‘A Nation in Heat- No Tears.’ In those days even as a toddler, I knew that after the Biafran Head of State Ojukwu, the next most popular name on every adult’s lips in Biafra was Achuzia’s or so it seemed.
Achuzia’s name was mentioned in awe as well as in dread. It seemedthat he was the most effective and ruthless Biafran War Commander, feared alike by both Nigerian and Biafran troops. Achuzia was one Biafran General who was said to lead his troops from the very front. He was a no-nonsense General who was reputed to shoot deserters from the Army on the spot without much ado. Achuziaapparently killed very many Nigerian soldiers from the front and almost as many Biafran soldiers from the back, if you get what I mean.
As denizens of the same town, having met him, one on one for the first time earlier in 1998 at the palace of the Asagba of Asaba, I naturally gravitated to him. I wanted to observe him at close quarters and discover what makes him tick. I obtained an autographed copy of his autobiography and read it back to back. My intention was to debrief him thoroughly about the Nigerian Civil War and perhaps learn one or two things from him about strategy and tactics. Achuzia graciously received me warmly and for a while I inadvertently became his “Principal Staff Officer”.
It also transpired that an Igbo cultural research centre affiliated to the Abia State University, Uturu known as the Centre for the Advancement of Igbo Studies or something like that was organizing a colloquium on Igbo culture and Asaba was chosen as the venue. Chief OdumegwuOjukwu was to be the Chairman of the occasion while Chief P.C. Asiodu was lined up to be the Special Guest of Honor or something like that. Anyway, this was the background setting then and this was why Ojukwu came into Asaba on that faithful day.
Looking back, it seems to me that perhaps Chief Achuzia wanted to go and bring Chief Asiodu down to his house to meet Chief Ojukwu before all of them would then go together in a convoy to the venue of the Colloquium which was holding at the Old Delta State House of Assembly better known as the Asaba Ladies League Building along Dennis Osadebay Way, Asaba. I later learnt on the authority of Chief Achuzia that all three of themOjukwu, Asiodu and Achuzia were school mates at King’s College, Lagos with Chief Ojukwu and Chief Asiodu as classmates and Chief Achuzia a year or so their junior.
Anyway, once Achuzia left, without Ojukwu’s knowledge apparently, I was left alone with Ojukwu and his companion who I later suspected to be the retired Colonel Ike ChinyereNwosu, one time Military Administrator of Oyo State. Not being too much of a brandy man, I was nursing a beer and listening in on the conversation between the two. Ojukwu was in an expansive mood. Apparently on the way to Achuzia’s house, Ojukwu and his companion had been talking about the tussle for Eze-Igbo title raging in several cities across the country then in 1998. This conversation continued so passionately that they did not immediately realize that Achuzia had left.
Ojukwu recalled how several aspirants from up and down the country had been pestering him to grant them the staff of office as Eze-Igbos of various cities across the country. He recalled how two aspirants from Kano (or so) almost clashed in his house at Enugu on one occasion. His companion chipped in and recalled how he had tried to settle some Eze-Igbo aspirants at Ibadan when he was the Military Administrator. It was at this point that I realized that his companion was most likely Colonel ChinyereIke Nwosu.
All the while I said nothing. What could I say? Instead I slipped into my quiet observation mode. I suddenly got the impression that Ojukwu was recounting all these things for my own benefit and not for the sake of his companion who most likely would already be very familiar with the stories. Still I said nothing. In truth, I was tongue tied. To this day I regret why I did not engage Ojukwu in a conversation that day. I know it was out of shock and awe. But even then, it was clear to me that Ojukwu was in an expansive mood and very, very willing to talk.
Ojukwu and his companion condemned the seeming craze for Eze-Igbo title among the Igbo nouveau riche living outside Igboland. At this point of course, Ojukwu had already emerged as the Eze-Igbo Gburugburu i.e. the Eze-Igbo of all Igbos worldwide. There was a contradiction here I noted mentally. But to my eternal regret I could not bring myself to point it out. It seemed that Ojukwu immediately sensed my appreciation of the contradiction for without being queriedhe immediately (and for my benefit it would seem), proceeded to explain that he took the title only to humor the Igbos. A chuckle escaped from his lips.
Ojukwu also had some derogatory comments to make about OhanezeNdigbo and their limited capability of intervening in Igbo affairs. I sensed that he saw them as irrelevant compared to him in providing leadership for the Igbo. I made a mental note of this. Ojukwudefinitely understood the Igbo man’s psyche so intimately that up till the point of his death, he was the only man who could mobilize the Igbos around a cause and continually play the Igbos like a string. At this point his companion blew into his flute again to as it were humor Ojukwu. I could sense that Ojukwu loved this fawning adulation and lapped it up quite nicely.
If anything, this was an open invitation for me to move in with a probing contribution. All I needed to do at that point was to ask a question like “Ikemba, looking back, do you think the Nigerian Biafran war could have been averted?” or “Do you have any regrets about the war?” or “Was it really necessary to charge and execute Majors Ifeajuna and Banjo for treason?” or “Was it not a strategic blunderon your part to attempt to capture territory outside the boundaries of that part of Igboland which lies west of the River Niger instead of consolidating in Biafra?” or “You did not seem to have much respect for Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha and the first President of Nigeria. Why was this so?”
All I needed to do was to say something to engage Ojukwu and open a flood gate of delicate revelations. But like a failed striker in a soccer match, I had a wide and empty net at my mercy, all I needed to do was to tap in and score but I could not move my leg an inch – and the chance went begging.
What was my assessment of Ojukwu? It was very clear to me even at that point,that here was a man of immense, very immense gravitas and a very eloquent speaker to boot.The OjukwuI saw that day did not have a single shred of inferiority complex. He was a man supremely confident in his own skin.
I could sense that Ojukwu was not very comfortable with the fact that I was not contributing to the discussion. I could sense that he was not comfortable with the fact that he had no way of assessing me and forming his own conclusions about me. By keeping quiet, nodding here and there, and muttering “obueziokwu (it is true) occasionally, I did not give Ojukwu a chance to read me. And I could sense that he sensed that I was reading him. He was not happy to be in such a disadvantaged position. I could also sense that Ojukwu sensed I was not a fool but just playing dumb. It irritated him in no small measure.
In reality, I was star-struck. It was out of deep ingrained respect that I could not bring myself to say a word to Ojukwu that day. I erroneously felt that it would be very rude of me to personally and objectively engage a man who was Head of State of a country when I was a mere toddler in that same country (Ojukwu did not know this of course).
There is a self-confidence that comes from personal accomplishment - intellectual, artistic, political or social achievement. There is a self-assuredness that comes from being born into wealth or privilege. Then there is a confidence that comes from having made a personal fortune. Most importantly there is a deeper confidence that comes from piety and closeness to God. I had the sense that Ojukwu had the first two types of confidence.I sensed that Ojukwu realized that he was the intellectual inferior of almost nobody on earth. I sensed that he was a very, very bright and intelligent person. But the Ojukwu I saw that day was also a very restless man. You got the sense that he could never stay still. Even in his old age (this was before he came down with illness) he was bristling with unbounded energy. I also had the sense that Ojukwu had a great ego which needed massaging. Ojukwuin effect had a charm and a charisma that dominated his immediate environment like a heavy perfume.
Now one of the mistakes Nigerians make is to idolize leaders from their neck of the woods and demonize leaders from other parts of the country. In truth, most Nigerian leaders Ojukwu inclusive, are neither saintly icons nor ghoulish demons. Because I was observing Ojukwu critically that day, I perceived the whiff of a certain deep sadness within him. Despite all the bravado and movement, I could sense that Ojukwu was troubled. Was it that he was already feeling unwell internally and harbored some fears or misgivings about his own state of health and mortality?
Did he have any lingering doubts about the way Nigeria was evolving and the role of the Igbo within it? Did he have any regrets about the way he conducted the war- of what could have been if he had succeeded? Or was it something else such as a family squabble? Or was I just plain wrong in my assessment? Only God knows.
Suddenly however my moment – the scoring chance had passed. Ojukwu muttered something to his companion which I caught very well although it was not intended for my hearing. “I hope we do not have a bobby for companion this afternoon” he said. Without waiting for an answer, he turned to me and addressed me pointedly apparently alarmed at my lack of contribution. “Are you a Bobby (policeman)?” he asked. “Mba nu (Oh no), Ikemba Nnewi, abuhom (I am not),” I replied embarrassed at my own timidity. But my moment was gone for Ojukwu suddenly realized that Achuzia was not present. Achuzia had been gone for almost 30 minutes.
“Where is Achuzia?” he said. I was tongue-tied. Could I tell him that Achuzia had dashed off to bring Asiodu? If Achuzia had wanted Ojukwu to know that, he would have told him himself. I was lost for words. My blushes were saved by the sudden entry of one of the main conveners of the Colloquium, who was a Doctor or a Professor and whose name I cannot recall now.
“Everything is set in the venue” he told Ojukwu. Ojukwu and his companion immediately rose to leave. I followed to see them off somewhat foolishly. As we stepped out into the afternoon sun, lo and behold Achuzia drove into his compound. I heaved a great sigh at having been saved of a terrible embarrassment. Achuzia quickly told Ojukwu that he had gone to fetchAsiodu. “Is he coming? Ojukwu asked. Achuzia replied that Asiodu had told him to convey his excuses and to represent him at the Colloquium. “Let’s go then” Ojukwu said “We are running late.” Achuziamade for his car and told me “Get in, let’s go.” I got into his car and we led the convoy of three cars. Next to Achuzia’s car was the vehicle conveying the Chief Convener of the Colloquium. Following at the rear was Ojukwu’s car conveying him and his companion.
At this point it is pertinent to make another explanatory detour. The Asabaelite and intelligentsia had for long manifested traits of an ideological rift between a small western and pan-Nigerian leaning flank led it would seem by Chief P.C. Asiodu whose wife is Yoruba and who to all intents and purposes is a “Lagos-man” (no pun intended) and a greater eastern and Igbo leaning flank led jointly by the Asagba of Asaba, Obi Prof Joseph ChikeEdozien whose wife incidentally isalso Yoruba and Chief Joseph Achuzia.
Indeed, it was the internal contradictions of citizenship in Nigeria that forced Chief Asiodu to come back home and stay in Asaba for an extended period in pursuit of his Presidential bid. My personal appreciation of his body language was that he would have personally preferred to launch his presidential bid from Lagos where he had lived almost all his life. He had been quickly educated by the political realities on the ground, that it would amount to political suicide to launch a presidential bid fromoutsideAsaba, his ancestral place of origin.
Why did Chief Asiodu fail to attend the Colloquim of which he was a special guest of honor even though Ojukwu his former classmate was in town? I have a suspicion that Chief Asiodu felt that it would be political suicide in Nigeria for him (1) to be present at such an unabashedly Igbo cultural forum and (2) to be seen publicly side by side with Chief Ojukwu who had led a rebellion against Nigeria. He also felt that he could emerge president without the Igbo votes which Ojukwu was ready to pledge to deliver to him.
It must be recalled that at that point in time,Asaba and Nigeria was awash with rumors (premature they later turned out to be) that powerful Northern political blocs had endorsed Chief Asioduto become Nigeria’s next president. This was just before it became definitive that Chief Obasanjo was being drafted by mysterious forces to contest the presidential election and just before the time when he Obasanjo famously uttered the words ‘how many Presidents do you want to make of me?’ And so, it is perhaps understandable to suspect that Chief Asiodu did not want to do anything that would frighten his supposed Northern backers.
Did the powerful Northern blocs trick Chief Asiodu into the presidential race only to leave him high and dry when it mattered most at the PDP National Convention? Looking back and knowing how conservative Chief Asiodu personally is, I am of the opinion that there was no way he could have ventured into the Presidential contest if he did not receive assurances from highly placed Northerners.
Looking back too, I am almost certain that the Northern power blocs were startled by the way an Igbo in the person of Chief Alex Ekwueme (recently deceased)seemed poised to emerge as the presidential flag-bearer of the leading political party PDP and so had mobilized Chief Asiodu as a more ‘trustworthy’ Igbo capable of being entrusted with power. This was of course before they finally settled in on Chief Olusegun Obasanjo a Yoruba as being a safer bet for the Nigerian Presidency. This was at a time when the Yorubas were most aggrieved at the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections, believed to have been won by Chief MoshoodAbiola who mysteriously died on July 7, 1998 in military captivity. The Yorubas were then talking openly about secession from Nigeria just as the Igbos are freely using the s-word today.
Again, looking back,it would seem that at that point in time Ojukwu and the conveners of the Igbo Colloquium at Asaba had received and decoded the same signals emanating from the Northern part of Nigeria and decided to come down to Asaba to re-establish links with Chief Asioduunder the guise of ahastily arranged cultural forum before it was too late.
In any case by the time our convoy arrived at the venue of the meeting, the hall was brimming with people. The Asagba of Asaba was represented by the palace secretary and Olikeze of Asaba, Chief J.I. Iloba (recently deceased). After the usual protocols and introductory speeches, Chief Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu was invited to give his keynote speech. It was my first time of seeing Ojukwu speak in a public gathering. I had appreciated his complete mastery of the nuances of the English language while alone with him and his companion at Achuzia’s house. But his transformation from an eloquent speaker into a political demagogue and accomplished oratorat the podium that day was seamless. It seemed as if Ojukwu was saying to himself “this is what I was born for - to be at the podium.” I had the distinct impression that the sadness which Ojukwu inadvertently betrayed occasionally while at Achuzia’s house was that fate did not permanently leave him with a permanent podium to continually rouse the Igbo people nay the entire Nigerian people into a frenzy.
The speech he gave at the venue of the Colloquium was extra-ordinary in its range of emotions and reach of theatre. Apart from being charismatic, Ojukwu was also a master actor. He spoke extempore without any notes transiting effortlessly from Igbo into English and back into Igbo at will. The transformation from the Ojukwu I saw earlier to the Ojukwu standing at the podium was total. Here was an actor, a strategist, an orator in the manner of one of the Shakespearean classics, a seducer and a visionary in his favorite milieu. Ojukwu could effortlessly whip a crowd into an emotional frenzy. He was a man who could verbally induce a crowd to commit murder and they would respond with how many scalps do you want per capita?
At a point Ojukwu apologized to the people of Asabain particular and the Western Igbo in general for the pains they suffered during the Civil War. He started by recalling that his own Mother was from the West of the Niger. And so he said he was a son of the Western Igbo. By the time he recalled the Asaba Massacre, tears and I mean it real tears came gushing out from his eyes. Did he really mean it? Or was it one of Ojukwu’stheatrical gimmicks? Only God knows.
In one instance while noting that Asaba had borne most of the brunt of the Civil War and given Biafra some of its best commanding officers, Ojukwuwith tears rolling down his cheeks asked for forgiveness from Asaba people and the Western Igbo in general for the pains they suffered during the war.
The next minute Ojukwu was mocking some Asaba people. Here him, in vintage Ojukwu-speak (I am paraphrasing him here). “But we know that it is not all Asaba people that suffered during the war. Indeed, some Asaba people (read Asiodu here) made a fortune by collaborating with the other side all these years. We know all about them and the humongous fortunes they have made and are still making from Nigeria. And we are telling them to extend some of that fortune to their less fortunate brothers across the River Niger (read Igbo heartland). Please when you see them extend our message to them and collect our share for us.” The whipped- up crowd interrupted his speech at several points with standing ovation.
The colloquium over and after exchanging parting pleasantries, Chief Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu and his companion got into their car and headed back to Enugu from whence they came.
That same evening when Chief Achuzia and I made it back to Chief Asiodu’s residence, to debrief him, I somewhat mischievously personally relayed Ojukwu’s message to Chief Asiodu. Chief Asiodu laughed it off and said off-handedly the way only a man could say about his own classmate “Don’t mind Emeka (referring to Ojukwu). He has always been a little rascal.”
In time Chief Achuzia who I had accompanied once to an Ohaneze Delta State Branch meeting later emerged as the National Secretary General of Ohaneze. Chief P.C. Asiodu of course did not realize his dream of becoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but ended up serving as the Chief Economic Adviser to the elected President Olusegun Obasanjo. Chief Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi later became the grand patron and later still Presidential Candidate of the Igbo Centric All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He sadly died on November 26, 2011 in faraway London after a protracted illness.
Regarding Chief Joseph Achuzia, the IkembaAsaba, who I briefly worked with very closely, it became apparent to me that while not a strategist,he is a master tactician and consummate specialist in asymmetrical warfare. While Achuzia may not be very helpful in winning you the larger war fought over a very long period of time, Achuzia is the man to deploy if you want to win each and every battle you are faced with. It is simply not in Achuzia’s character to lose any battle no matter how minor. I could see why Ojukwu came to value his tactical military prowess so highly.
Achuzia only requires three things if you wish to deploy him for any critical mission. Number one, a very clear objective. Number two a very clear definition of what constitutes success and what constitutes failure. Number three, that you give him a freehand and wide liberty to arrange his battlespace to his own taste, not limiting him by what tool he may or may not deploy to achieve the stated objective.
Needless to say. Achuzia is that rare kind of human being, a born fighter who is more than willing and capable of weaponizing anything, and I mean everything that lies within his battle space. As I observed his maneuvers whenever he was deployed in those days by the Asagba of Asaba, Obi. Prof. ChikeEdozien, the image that always came to my mind was the relationship between the characters Don Vito Corleone and his special enforcer Luca Brasi in Mario Puzo’s epochal work, The Godfather.
Not surprisingly the Nigerian Army which he fought against during the Civil War also recognized his qualities in battle and engaged him as a consultant to ECOMOG during their deployment in Liberia and Sierra Leone. I personally saw several commemorative service plaques given to him in appreciation of services rendered to the Nigerian Army and ECOMOG which used to adorn his private study. But for his advancing age, Chief Achuzia ought to have been productively deployed as a Consultant to the Nigerian Army battling the Boko Haram menace in the North East.
Nigeria must nowcontend with the sudden rise of neo-Biafran sentiments against which typical occurrence I had severally advised the then incoming Buhari Administration not to instigate.
It is surely better to have all Nigerians within the Nigerian tent pissing out than to ignore, neglect and marginalize some Nigerians, inducing them into leavingthe tent and loitering outside,pissing in.Perhaps at this very moment, President Buhari is having his own ‘had I known’ moment. Perhaps right now he is saying to himself,“Had I known, I would have heeded the gratuitous advice offered by this writer motivated by pan-Nigerian nationalism and acted a little bit differently.”
It is never too late to change course when you are headed in the wrong direction, but time may already have run out for the apostles of change to change themselves for the sake of the very change they have so far professed solely with their lips.