The former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazuruike, have been in the lead on Igbo affairs. Their patriotism is no way in doubt, but something’s definitely wrong with their advice to their people.
Not too long ago, Ezeife advised Igbos living in the north to return there and take care of their businesses while he pressed for the compensation of their losses from the federal government (FG). Uwazuruike urged same. During the killings, he sent buses to bring his people back even at high risk. But after that risk, he still encouraged their return because of business and property. I know in Igboland, to gain acceptance is a hard nut: at each stage, one’s sincerity, commitment, sacrifice, name them, come under scrutiny. Any omission or suspicion of it leads to instant exodus. So for these men to be talking and some listening means they’ve earned significant trust. I treat them with that respect.
But tell me, life and property, which owns the other? The life that earned a property is gone, what earns the next? You tell your people to return, yet you don’t have the power to defend them, then what have you said? Brother, go and die. True, they return, and true, they die. When I use the word mindless for the bestial behaviour of zealots in the north, it isn’t derogatory. It is what it is. How then do you freely return to such environment and expect a mindless person to earn mind because you’re around?
The first thing that defines good leadership is preservation of life. Once this is missing, leadership becomes misleading. Have you read about Israel going to war for a citizen killed? Have you seen Americans invade a nation because their citizens are held hostage? Have you heard them advise their citizens to quit a smouldering environment? It’s because they understand and believe in the sanctity of life. And for them, it’s the first thing. Yet they’re independent nations, they’re strong; you Igbo, you’re not independent, your strength is submerged but you advise your people to go to the slaughter, exactly what strong and independent nations avoid. Judge.
People get up to travel; unsuspecting, they ride to the park, someone comes from nowhere, detonates a bomb; a twinkle, all their business plans turn to body-parts hanging on electric poles and their rescuers walk on blood to gather them. You turn around to talk about compensation, business and property. FG, FG, you keep shouting until the next happens. No people manage their people that way. There’s a body called Ohanaeze which is in charge of Igbo affairs; since they haven’t heard, OHANAEZE, YOUR PEOPLE ARE DYING.
You sit back again to ask, why is it that it’s only Igbos that raise voice when their people are killed whereas other ethnics are involved too? The answer is, both they and the Igbos are incapacitated because they can’t act alone; knowing this, they advise their people to play safe and reduce presence up-north. The result: their casualty level is low. Since sanctity of life is also blurred in them, they regard that level as tolerable and hence retire to grumble in their rooms. In contrast, Igbo voice must rise because they die in hundreds. You may also add that their entrepreneurial nature takes them everywhere money is to be made. But money-making without safety-thinking is slothfulness.
The choice now is: tell your people to quit the north or defend them. Since you’re not independent, tell them to quit the north; when Nigeria puts its house in order, anyone that wants to return can do so at his/her risk. This is the safer option because it saves everyone the trouble of escalation. What’s happening in the north is nothing other than a class-war. The nothings want to overthrow the somethings under the guise of religion, ethnicity and all that. This column alerted the northern elite a long while ago. They won’t see it until they see it. Unfortunately, the social coupists have very low and obtuse worldview that letting them succeed is letting humanity come to zero. Whether they’re ignorant of Islam or not isn’t the issue; if they succeed, their rot becomes the knowledge. As earlier alerted, if this mindlessness continues, violent groups may emerge and the ensuing bestiality, who can predict?
Now terror moving to Lagos is a red line. But it isn’t enough to say so, it must be powered by social dynamism. The people have to say NO and seen to stand by it. Port-Harcourt and Enugu should not sit back to say, ‘It’s there, it’s not here.’ It’s time to close ranks with one another including mindful northerners, not Adamu-Ciroma’s ilk. Advisers, careful.