Independence Day Broadcast; Another Wasted Opportunity By Charles Ogbu
Listening to president Muhammadu Buhari’s independence day broadcast, I was left wondering if there is any section of our law book that mandates the President to always gift his employers with threats whenever he wants to address them as against speaking in conciliatory tone as a way of fostering unity and nation building.
After spending over 100 days abroad, treating a yet to be named ailment with millions of public fund, president Buhari came back to the country, not to de-escalate tension but to escalate it by reading the riot act to everyone and anyone. Yesterday, he told the same path in his independence day broadcast. A shame, isn’t it?
Aside from reminding us of how he took part in killing over 2 million Biafrans during the Biafran war and threatening to kill more in his idiosyncratic arrogance, the Daura born ex-soldier again showed his deep-seated hatred and generational grudges for the people of the Southeast.
But he added small “jara” today by playing the now boring, tiring and outdated Divide and Rule card by promising to look into the agitation in the Niger Delta while swearing he would unleash thunder and lightning on the “hot-headed” and “irresponsible” people of Southeast.
In reference to the Nnamdi Kanu-led Biafra agitation in the Southeast, president Buhari said and I quote,
“I am disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there the consequences of such folly”
Just so we are clear, only a man whose very existence rests on violence will interpret a call for a referendum as a call for war.
IPOB is not asking for war. They are asking for a referendum which is the right of indigenous people recognized by all laws known to man. And the group is neither armed nor violent. No act of organized violence has been attributed to IPOB so far. All they do is stage rallies which have never witnessed even a stampede despite the large crowd.
And most importantly, the Biafra agitation draws its very oxygen from two things:
1. The refusal of some very powerful but retrogressive elements in the North to allow for a genuine restructuring of the country to enthrone justice, equity, fairness, and merit.
2. President Buhari’s highly divisive, vindictive, and mostly commonsensical bankrupt utterances, actions, and inactions since he assumed office as president.
Having stated these, I have some questions for president Buhari:
How many of his “hot-headed” Boko haram kinsmen did he warn when they (the Boko Haram terrorists) were killing, maiming and bombing schools, markets, churches, police and military installations with the attendant harvest of blood, something they are still doing even as I type this? How many? The answer is nil.
Instead, he (Buhari) was busy going from one radio house to another, defending the group rated the deadliest terror group by global terror index. Buhari didn’t just defend them, he made it clear that any attack against the terror group was an attack against the North. In return, Boko Haram nominated him (Buhari) as their mouthpiece in a failed peace talk with Jonathan government.
Since assumption of office, it is on record that he (Buhari) has released numberless Boko Haram senior commanders imprisoned by the previous govt of Goodluck Jonathan.
As I write, the Fulani herdsmen who share the same religion and region as president Buhari have continued to kill and maim only people living in a Christian dominated area, with govt-sponsored impunity.
Rather than warn these “hot-headed” Fulani terrorists, president Buhari has continued to protect them with a special military taskforce.
How can such a man retain the mindless audacity to call Igbo leaders “irresponsible” for not warning their youths who are only protesting the grave institutionalized injustices of the Nigerian state being aggravated by his own nepotism and clannishness??
Between President Buhari and Southeast leaders, who does the “irresponsible” cap look better on?
Let me remind President Buhari that he and all those who are opposing Restructuring are the biggest catalysts of secession. By actions and inactions, he (Buhari) has divided Nigeria in a way a million Nnamdi Kanu could never have been able to.
Those who think the Biafra agitation can be quelled with guns, tanks, intimidation, and cheap blackmail are grievously mistaken. Even if it is just an Igbo man that is left standing in this Lugard Cage, as long as the injustices and state-sponsored killings which necessitated the 1967 Biafra still persist, that one Igbo man will still cry towards Biafra.
A wise man once said and I can’t agree more, “peace can only be a child of an intercourse between justice and truth.”
President Buhari must understand that any peace that is not a native of justice can only be a peace of the grave yard which is no peace at all.
Charles Ogbu, a socio-political analyst, writes from Port Harcourt.