The Igbo never lectured or counseled other parts of the country on how they would behave or act before producing those who had led the country as Presidents. The Igbo never lectured or tutored the North, the South West and South South, before they produced Presidents for the nation, at one time or the other.
And the question now is; do the Igbo need all these unsolicited and irritating lectures or tutorials from other parts of the country to produce the next President of the country, like others had done severally before now? The answer is NO. I see these needless lectures as mere blackmail.
There was never a time, and I stand to be contradicted, the Igbo met, either virtually or physically and decided to form either the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) with Ralph Uwazuruike as the anchor man or to form the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as the helmsman.
In other words, the Igbo never met and agreed to come up with either MASSOB or IPOB. Only Uwazuruike and Kanu can tell the stories of both MASSOB and IPOB. The reasons or ideas behind their formations. And what they had intended and still intend to achieve with the groups.
The Igbo also never converged and agreed that their sons and daughters should join any of the two groups. Those who had identified with any of the groups had done so as a matter of their personal or individual choices. It was never the decision of the entire Igbo.
I am concentrating on the five core-Igbo states of Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
Each of these states has a House of Assembly, where laws are made or bills passed into laws. And motions moved and passed. And to the best of my knowledge and just like most other people, none of these Houses of Assembly in the South-East had passed any bill into law in favour of either MASSOB or IPOB. None had moved a motion in favour of any of the groups.
Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo has never endorsed MASSOB or IPOB. Or, even spoken in favour of any of the pro-Biafra groups. That is to say, there is nothing anybody can leverage on to conclude that, all the Igbo, as a people, have become MASSOB or IPOB members or supporters.
It is also not only in Igboland that such clannish or tribal groups exist. Such groups have been existing, long before now, in various parts of the country like the North, South-West and South-South. And the rest of Nigerians didn’t use such developments or the groups’ activities to assess the rest of the people of such places, with regard to their beliefs in a united Nigeria. Or to rely on such circumstances, to deny them, what was believed to be due for them.
Why would the issue or the activities of IPOB in particular be used or be allowed to be the overriding or the determining factor of whether the Igbo would produce the next President of the country or not?
And the whole thing has become a tool of blackmail or propaganda. It has become an insulting tool. That, those who have sworn not to see an Igbo man becoming the President of the country would now be using the IPOB outings to talk down the presidential ambition of the larger Igbo.
In 1967, before the declaration of Biafra by Odumegwu Ojukwu, after the Aburi Accord had failed, he summoned a meeting of all the stakeholders, including traditional rulers, the clergy etal, and they gave him the green light. But in this case, none of the Councils’ of traditional rulers in any of the South-East states or the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers has spoken or acted in a manner that would suggest or mean that they are backing secession. So, where have these blackmailers drawn their inferences? These blackmails are only energising the contention in some quarters, that the 5th or even the 6th columnist might be behind all these attacks in the South East. Beyond the much orchestrated unknown gunmen. Or “ungun known men “. Or
Even those who should know better or are expected to know better, have been in the fore-front of this belligerent and itching campaign of calumny, against the Igbo, over the next President of the country, using IPOB’s demand for a State of Biafra as an excuse.
The South-East has about 15 senators in the Senate and perhaps more than 50 members in the House of Representatives. And since 1999, the story has been the same. Have they, either as a group or in their individual capacities made mention of Biafra? Or backed MASSOB or IPOB? The answer is also NO. Then, how has MASSOB or IPOB and their activities become the entire Igbo activities? That some Nigerians would want to use their activities to deny the Igbo the opportunity of producing the President of the country in 2023.
Even some governors from other parts of the country have continued to say that, the Igbo cannot be talking about Biafra and at the same time, talking about the President of the country. Who are the lgbo talking about Biafra? Some other notable politicians outside Igboland have also continued to argue that the agitation for Biafra has denied the Igbo the opportunity to produce the nation’s president in 2023. How are the Igbo talking or demanding the State of Biafra? How did they make the request or how are the Igbo craving for the State of Biafra?
These blackmailers are indirectly telling all lgbo to join MASSOB or IPOB. Otherwise, they would not have considered the opinions or the stand of IPOB or MASSOB on the issue of Biafra, more than the opinions or stand of the South East governors, prominent lgbo entrepreneurs, clergy, parliamentarians from the region, etal, preaching fervently and talking tough, for a united Nigeria.
A lot of bloody religious riots had happened in various parts of the North even long before the advent of Boko Haram. And for sometime now, Boko Haram has remained berserk or deadly. Nobody had said or argued that the North would be denied the presidency of the country because of those bloody religious riots or because of the activities of Boko Haram. Reason being that, such bloody religious riots or the activities of Boko Haram were not the concensus or agreement of the entire North. And they have not been denied anything on the basis of all that.
The South West had not been denied the presidency of the country because of the agitations or activities of some tribal groups in the area like OPC and so on. It didn’t stop the rest of Nigerians from making Chief Olusegun Obasanjo president.
The activities of militants in the South-South did not also prevent or discourage majority of Nigerians to settle for a president of South-South extraction for the country.
Why is it that, each time it comes to the Igbo, people would begin to change the goal post at the middle or toward the end of the game?
If the major political parties, PDP and APC, and the big players in the system, have decided or conspired to zone their respective presidential tickets to another part of the country against the popular demand or quest that the Igbo should produce the next president of the Country, they can go ahead to do that. But they should not use IPOB as an excuse. Because, such excuse or reason would not hold water. lt won’t fly. lt would neither be here nor there.
Boko Haram had taken states or communities in the North and hoisting their flags. The group has been waging war against the nation. But IPOB or MASSOB has not taken any community in the South East.
And if the North had produced presidents more than the rest of the country, put together, inspite of these odds or ‘idiosyncrasies’, why won’t the lgbo be allowed to produce the next president of the country?
And the follow-up question is; if a northerner succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, will that stop the onslaught of Boko Haram? The response can’t be in the affirmative.
If the South West is allowed to produce Buhari’s successor, will that stop the activities of Sunday Igbohos of this world? Or stop the activities of OPC or the Oduduwa group? The answer is also NO. Why would the IPOB activities now become the only consideration or reason to deny the lgbo, the opportunity of producing the president of the country in 2023? And they know that when it happens, it will be in the overall interest and benefits of the nation and her people. Things would begin to happen for good, to all intents and purposes. The country will be driven with speed, to the fast lane. No more ‘flooding’. Read my lips correctly.