Boko Haram: Is MASSOB Retrogressing or Progressing?
Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, the self-acclaimed leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is taking Ndiigbo to another level of woes in Nigeria if his call for Boko Haram system of bombing various parts of the country is allowed to be adopted by the group and allowed to take root in the Biafran territories of Nigeria. Uwazuruike's irk for clamouring for this deadly and unholy act adopted by the Islamic extremists called Boko Haram is that MASSOB has been preaching for the actualization of Biafra through non-violence for 12 years of un-recognition by the federal government, but rather, inimical acts were meted out to the members of the group by the Nigerian government's security agents. Congratulating the Boko Haram, Uwazuruike said: 'I congratulate them because it has taken me more than 12 years to preach the same language that they are saying today that Nigeria needs to be divided at least between Christians and Moslems, but the Federal Government has ignored me for 12 years.'
This Boko Haramic option may not be the best option for MASSOB if Uwazuruike feels that he is exhausted. He should not say because his group started with a non-violence agenda to its struggle but was neglected by the federal government who now recognizes Boko Haram because of the later's language of violence the group adopted. Yes. The federal government may have invited Boko Haram and it ignored the government and continues what they are doing, but the eye with which the world today sees the Boko Haram is not the same as with MASSOB. The Boko Haram is condemned all over the world, no matter who its alleged sponsors could be.
Uwazuruike advising the Boko Haram 'not to bomb the rural areas, where common people reside, but should focus attention on those who were clamouring for oneness of the country' is a call in futility. Human beings are human beings, no matter where they live. The poor also have relatives residing in those areas MASSOB wants Boko Haram to be bombing. Even, in those areas, how many of the 'Big men' have been chronicled were bombed by the unfriendly Boko Haram bombs if not the same poor Nigerians?
MASSOB cannot afford to be the enemy that the Federal Government and the world have in Nigeria by even supporting violence in the first place, let alone, when it joins violating mankind with munitions. Is Uwazuruike not losing credibility by supporting Boko Haram?
Since its formation in 1999, the world has respected MASSOB for its non-violence agitation in its struggle, but very sad that Uwazuruike is today selling the information of violence to its members. And if this begins, it will be the end of MASSOB in the world, because they will be hated. Just check between Isaac Adaka Boro and Ken Saro-Wiwa who fought for one course in different methods, who is respected in the world today. Boro took to arms, whereas Saro-Wiwa took to non-violence. They all died, but who among the two is remembered with love, respect and pity today? Saro-Wiwa.
It is this non-violence approach by MASSOB that has made Uwazuruike to be alive till date. Where is the violent Osisikankwu of Abia State today? He has died because he took to violence in his moribund agitation for Ndi-Ukwa of Abia State. No Igbo could have resurrected the Republic of Biafra of 1967 since it went into oblivion before 1999 through violence. Imagine that the outcome of the pogrom targeted against Ndiigbo in the Northern part of Nigeria, plunged Nigeria into a 30 month civil war. Ndigbo lost lives and property in that war. After the war, the issue of Biafra became sacred that anybody who discussed Biafra in the newspapers or on the radio stood a chance of being persecuted by the Nigerian government. But luck came the way of Biafrans in Nigeria through Uwazuruike. He broke that jinx by his establishment of MASSOB, which has been gaining prominence in not only foreign media, as usual after that war, but also in the Nigerian media and even sometimes discussed in the people's parliament because of its non-violence method of struggle, and here is Uwazuruike retrogressing to violence agitation. Ngwa nu!
Biafra is too big than violence, and Uwazuruike should know that MASSOB is rated higher than the toutish Boko Haram in the parameter of records. The world respected Uwazuruike and supported him that on Oct. 26 2007, he was acquitted from the prison of a treason charge after spending 3 years in the prison, and on condition that he should go and bury his late mother, who had stayed in the morgue than the dead itself could condone. The world respect Nelson Mandela whose incarceration brought world pity and got independence for the South Africa because of his non-violence struggle, even though that the devilish white people then were killing his people in inimical ways.
It was the world that persuaded Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, at the Federal High Court, after the proposal of granting Uwazuruike bail failed over three times, to acquit him, even though that it was not indefinite, he was asked to stay for a period of three months and come back to the prison. If MASSOB was a violent group, could Uwazuruike have been in the custody of two serving senators, Uche Chukwumerije and Ikechukwu Obiora, and two traditional rulers, Eze Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu (Eze Ndigbo Lagos) and Eze Nwosu Ibe (Eze Ndigbo of Abuja), at the time of granting him bail?
However, Uwazuruike won't because the Nigerian government felt that he deserved to die in the prison, due to the partiality to justice it played on December 19, 2006, when the leader of a militant group, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams and five others walked out free of charge from a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, and think of violence, whereas Ndiigbo sons and daughters who were connected to MASSOB were left to rot in the Nigerian prison.
Uwazuruike should not say that because before Adams' unconditional release, Dr Frederick Fasheun who led another faction of OPC was released on health grounds, and advocate for violence; the pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, put its head in making sure that he was released. Also, the Niger Delta warrior, Muhajid Asari-Dokubo, who was alleged, had caused all sorts of havoc, raising arms and annihilating innocent citizens with members of his deadly gang, the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteers Force (NDPVF), was granted bail through the legacy of a profound Ijaw leadership.
Chief Ralph Uwazuruike cannot afford to retrogress to violent struggle owing to the fact that his followers who were locked up on the same charges and who lodged complaints of ill-health were denied bail to seek medical attention. It is unfortunate that every time MASSOB is mentioned, everybody looks on the Igbo as if they were the architect of the many troubles in Nigeria. What will then be the fate of Ndiigbo in Nigeria if MASSOB finally goes haywire and adopts violence?
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was a man whose line of policy against Ndiigbo fired up determined quest to handle and slam Uwazuruike and his followers. Many efulefu Igbo bunch of favor-seekers helped Obasanjo so much and humiliate MASSOB. This made one fear for Igbo unity because when Afenifere and elders of the Yoruba leadership forum were asking that Adams, Fasheun and the rest OPC gang be released without charge, Achuzia and his confused prodigal bunch were busy trying to see what leftovers could reach them in Abuja.
Uwazuruike should know that the Nigerian government had looked for a tangible case to nail him forever aside MASSOB, so that the international community who had beamed its searchlight on MASSOB would not cough. He should remember that the Nigerian police on Jan. 14, 2010 rearrested him in a circumstance described in many quarters as, 'ahead of the governorship poll in the state of Anambra on Feb. 6, 2010'. To the contrary, a police spokesman said he was being held following a petition by an individual, Pascal Okorie, who was accusing the MASSOB leader of kidnapping him. This allegation came up when Uwazururike had been making sure that peace reigned without violence in his MASSOB agitation. What could have happened if he was into violence? He should understand the hand writing on the wall: Nigerian government and some individuals may have made it their duty to terminate sleep from Uwazuruike's eyes.
Mrs. Ngozi Uwazuruike who raised alarm during when her husband was put behind the bar for his allegedly involvement in the kidnapping saga should call him to order that he may have started talking than he can chew. He should remember that he was whisked away to an unknown destination neither known to her nor to the family members, by security operatives, when he was into non-violence struggle. What could have happened if he was into violence?
Uwazuruike should not venture into violent struggle because no government would accommodate violence, let alone, ours' that does not represent the interest of the people. Senator Ben Obi was not at Abuja, but at home, after the 2007 elections, because he challenged Obasanjo's wicked behaviours against Ndiigbo. Elections were conducted and results were given to the people who were never voted for, simple because they never challenged Obasanjo. Uwazuruike should know that the judiciary is not independent in Nigeria. However, if the elite say that they want one Nigeria, there is this insinuation that the Igbo masses want Biafra, but not through violence. He now sounds confused! Uwazurike cannot give the Igbo youths assurance that all their sufferings, abuses and persecutions, which pushed them into desiring a country of their own, would be achieved through non-violence, but here he is talking about joining the Boko Haram. We think he needs no more prison, but a psychiatrist, by this statement.
Written by Odimegwu Onwumere