A CALL FOR A UNITED NATIONS BACKED REFERENDUM IN NIGERIA TO DETERMINE BIAFRANS AGITATION
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THE UNDILUTED OBJECTIVES OF THE BIAFRA AGITATION: AN EXERCISE ON THE CREDIBILITY OF THE BIAFRA ALTERNATIVE
As I sit and ponder the whole scenario that culminated to the present agitation by the Igbos for the Restoration of Biafra on one hand vis-à-vis that of the Yorubas for True Federalism, a lot of self-evident realities accord credibility to these persuasions. Inasmuch as I may not align with the kind of unguided utterances and irascible diatribes of Nnamdi Kanu and his modus operandi in the pursuit of the IPOB Agenda, I do not agree with the naysayers that Ndi Igbo are not marginalized in Nigeria. Infact, the series of marginalization of Ndi Igbo over the last 50 years has been acknowledged by no less a personality than the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. That a character like Nnamdi Kanu can be accorded such high level of recognition by the youths, women and elders of Igboland is an eloquent testimony of how unbearable the situation has degenerated. And our “Coordinator Vice President” said Nnamdi Kanu is not a leader of thought. I wonder what to call a man that has about 80 million followers in over 75 countries of the world?
You, as a non-Igbo may not clearly understand or appreciate what this cry of marginalization is all about due to the fact that you're favoured by the status quo, but remember the words of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Kindly consider my submissions below objectively.
THE IMPORT OF IGBO CLAIMS OF MARGINALIZATION
I don't feel angry or frustrated, anytime I read any article or posts by a Yoruba or Hausa/Fulani person questioning what Ndi Igbo mean by these unending cry of marginalization in Nigeria. This is expected because people that enjoy certain advantages over their contemporaries would always clamour for the maintenance of the status quo, unless otherwise. But I get perplexed, whenever I read guile posts from some mischievous Igbos resident abroad or those living here, but due to sheer cowardice, are afraid of speaking their mind on salient issues but rather choose to play the ostrich to gain cheap popularity. For the avoidance of doubts, especially to those who show genuine concern and empathy on the plight of the Igbos, irrespective of being Non-Igbos, the others who brazenly fern ignorance of the Igbo agitation and those who treacherously fan the embers of hatred against the Igbos on the basis on their legitimate claims. The following suffice:
THE CRUX OF THE MATTER
1. It's noteworthy that the Igbo agitation is not a form of hatred on other ethnic groups. I don't know why people are pushing such wicked narratives, or what they intend to achieve. Perhaps, to draw opprobrium towards Igbos.
2. This is not an agitation for Igbo Presidency or to take all the juicy political positions in Abuja. Although the occupants of such positions in the past, only used it to further their selfish, clannish and regional interests.
3. The Igbos are not seeking to appropriate the Oil wells of the Niger Delta or the land mass of the North or the resources of West. Far from that! If it was so, we would not be at the vanguard of the call for resource control in Nigeria.
4. The Igbo agitation is simply for Nigeria to give the citizenry equal opportunity within the Nigerian space. This is a rational demand for equity, justice, fairness, equality and excellence to all.
5. Precisely, the Igbos demand for a total restructuring of Nigeria to what we had in 1963, that was beneficial to all. This implies the redrawing of the fiscal, governance, political, military, socioeconomic, resource control and autonomous architecture of Nigeria to enable her people and others develop their homestead at their own pace and terms without being stifled of their entrepreneurial spirit.
6. When the system of revenue generation, resources allocation, governance and fiscal architecture of Nigeria is overhauled to at least what we had in 1963, with the Exclusive List for the FGN reduced to just control of defence and foreign relations of Nigeria, giving them only 20% of our national revenues. If the six regions are allowed to control 50% of whatever they produce within their land and allowed to build, develop their own infrastructure and enter into whatever alliances that can enhance the growth of their infrastructure and human capital without the overbearing influence of Abuja, the expectant results would be:
I) Igbos would be able to enter into alliances with the other regions to create mutually beneficial sea pathways into Igboland without recourse to Abuja.
II) What the expression in (I) above means is that all the trillions of naira, jobs, physical, fiscal and infrastructural development that are concentrated in Abuja and Lagos will now spread to other existing and upcoming cities in the various regional blocs. Our goods would be cleared in Onitsha, Warri, Calabar or Onne Ports. Those importers and big businessmen that struggle to buy houses in Banana Island, Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Maitama, Asokoro and the rest of them at cut throat prices will now create their own Plantain, Cucumber and Elizabeth Islands nearer home by the coast of the Niger river near the bridgehead and even in the hinterlands.
III) Regional Autonomy would also allow the regional government of the Southeast to negotiate and attract Consulate Liaison Offices of the US, UK, EU, China and other countries in Enugu, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Awka, Abakaliki, Owerri and so on. What this means is that my aged mother will not have to travel to Lagos or Abuja to secure her visa to travel abroad for vacation or on medical tourism. She need not waste resources flying to Lagos for a connecting flight to Dubai or India. Just imagine the aggregate and cumulative jobs, fiscal, physical and infrastructural development that this would bring.
IV) Regional Autonomy and Resource Control would enable the Southeast regional government to develop her education system to suit her people and not suffer the ignominy of having her children who score 200/300 in a Federal Common Entrance Examination denied admission into a Federal Unity School, only to allot their positions to kids from Katsina, Zamfara or Kebbi who scored 4/300, or worst of all, compelled to study Islamic/Arabic Studies instead of the Christian Religious Knowledge that formed the background of his upbringing from a Christian home, as it's obtainable now in Kwara State.
V) True federalism would also allow Ndi Igbo to harness and tap into all the solid minerals and other natural resources that GOD Endowed us with, without recourse to Abuja and other extraneous factors as it is obtainable today in Nigeria.
VI) It will also enable us have regional police that can easily checkmate home grown crimes and stop the murderous antics of the terrorist Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes.
VII) The inequality in the federating units (polling units, electoral wards, local councils, state and national assembly constituencies and states) created by the Northern military cabal in favour of the North would be resolved in the interest of all.
Believe you me, when all these international sea, air and land gateways are replicated in the Southeastern region and other regions, many indigenous businesses sited in other regions would relocate to their homelands. Imagine the level of unprecedented development that would be witnessed across the country. Again, Let the military, paramilitary, security and policy institutions are decentralized, rather than being concentrated in the North.
If Nigeria is restructured today to what we had in 1963; this agitation and cry for marginalisation will fizzle out. Ndi Igbo do not seek to take anyone's land without paying for it. We don't want a beggarly feeding bottle federalism. That the other ethnic nationalities are okay with the rot and perfidy in the land does not suffice an ideal society. We complain louder than others because the current wicked, warped, fraudulent and mediocre driven Nigerian structure stifles our entrepreneurial and free spirit.
For anyone who claims that the outcry of the people of the Southeast is misplaced, disturbing or deafening, I implore you to reason objectively and appreciate what this agitation is all about. Let's stop spreading shallow narratives. Let's probe into the primary causative agents that bred this agitation so as to provide the required lasting and sustainable solutions to it. No more elixirs or opiates!
In the absence of the above submissions or something close to them, I would say without mincing words: To your tent Oh Nigeria! Hence, the restoration of Biafra inevitably, the most viable alternative for the survival of the Igbos.
-Onodugo Krs Onu
Saturday, July 1, 2017
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