By Solomon Chuks
It is an age long tradition for leaders world over to copy good ideas from an established system that have utilized such styles to positively affect the lives of its citizens. But very sadly, most third world country leaders are usually poor at that. Even when they want to, they will at the detriment of others quickly copy only what will benefit their own people and zone. Few days back, precisely May 27th, while Nigerians were observing Children’s day, here in America, we were remembering and celebrating the wars fought by known and unknown soldiers. Dignitaries of various status assembled in various States to pay respect to their Galant men and women who fought at different times to secure their American identity. The intriguing aspect of the whole remembrance event is that 95% of the soldiers they celebrate annually did not die fighting in America but in battles outside American soil. They died to keep peace in other allied countries of America all around the world and yet America celebrates them.
So every year, as the ceremony approaches, NGOs, Civil society organizations government agencies, everybody gets involved. The super stores are usually not left out, even motor companies and big corporations. While some of them will lower their stocks and merchandise just to show appreciation others will give out promotions, and many will give out free gifts to people. These were all in a bid to commemorate the day and make those among them still living proud to have served.
On Nigerian side, our leaders may not be totally accused of not copying but the unfortunate and dangerous aspect of their copying is that theirs is characterized by greed and selfishness such that whatever they copy is only for their benefit and their zone. To buttress my point, Nigerian government woke up a forth night ago and decided to copy the Biafra idea of using radio to reach the agitating masses. Good copying I must say. According to them, it was to created to be used in reaching and negotiating them to drop arms against the people. That’s okay, but what they forgot is that the idea of a radio station camping they copied was equally designed for the same purpose of reaching the Igbos over matters concerning them and the peace of the nation as well. The same government gave N100 billion to the herdsmen considered as world’s second rated most dangerous terrorist organization. As if that was not enough, they now created a radio station to help them to network among themselves and further boost their morale for continued assault on Nigerian citizens, what an affront on the people’s psych.
The only deduceable excuse for their nepotistic crime is their urge to resettle the marauding Fulani militias according to them, and possibly buy them over to stop killing innocent people. But as clueless they are, they refused to see the same need to resettle over 50 million Igbo population who had hitherto fought and lost over 3.5 million people for no cause of their own. The Presidency was unable to hide their haterad and resentment for the other ethnic nationality in their choice of people to be resettled. They could not even pretend to love, as is always the case with other leaders, at least for the interest of those foolish appointees of theirs that have consistently betrayed their brothers for crumbs falling from them. If not for ethic cleansing, what could be the reason for the senseless arrest and prosecution of innocent citizens in the build up to May 30th? What is the justification for the incarceration of a people who simply engaged in their constitutional rights to a rally? Is it too much a demand that Patriots (which cut across board) who laid down lives for the unity of a nation to be remembered for their sacrifice?
Please do not get wrong, I have nothing against the establishment of a radio station for Fulani herdsmen but I have everything against hunting down people because they demand honour for their fallen heroes and heroines. Even at that, between a radio station and declaring a public holiday, which is more demanding of the government if I may ask?
In the same fate, a forth night ago, a serving Minister while playing out their script, threatened to close down perpetually an international airport because of ordinary water log on the runway. My question is, why haven’t the government close down all the airports in the far north where Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen have consistently made it almost impossible for planes to land and take off? Why didn’t they permanently close down Abuja airport the last time it suffered the same problem the Enugu airport is facing? What are they afraid of? Why must they choose to close down an airport just because it’s runway was poorly constructed possibly by one of their cronies? Why didn’t they arrest and peosecute the contractor that did the shabby job or force him to repair what he did wrong? What kind of leader for Christ sake will prefer to close down his source of revenue and for her citizens instead of fixing it to attend it’s full potential? Is this not a clear case of cutting off the nose to spite the face?
For any discerning Igbo man or woman, Nigeria as presently structured is a monumental embarrassment, and an affront to equity, justice, fairness and the civilised norms. The display of impunity and ‘I don’t care’ attitude of the President is a classical demonstration of idiocy and a painful huge joke that will continue to cause the nation a global let down. Take it or not, nothing will stop the Ndigbo or force them to renege from the clamour for May 30th as a Public Holiday in honour of their people. In my home even in diaspora, 30th May is a public holiday in honour of our brothers and sisters that were massacred and are still being massacred by Nigerian government and her agents.
With what is happening to the Igbos today, it is critically clear and very convincing now that the unity we have been trying to negotiate about in Nigeria obviously does not include the Igbos.This government has practically done everything to tell the Easterners that their stay is not welcome in Nigeria. And what do you expect from people you have abandoned to their fate to do?
Without mincing words, the collateral damage that, ‘I and my people alone syndrome’ have done in our society is so alarming. It has created bad blood that construed a social disservice to our collective consciousness and unfortunately, it has eaten deep into our fabric as a nation almost beyond redemption. It is said that, when we alternate ‘i’ and ‘we’, even illness becomes wellness. If only we can substitute ‘i’ with ‘we’, there’s no height we will not attend as a nation instead of hunting and killing ourselves for any reason.
In the next few days, history will be beckoning on the President to right his wrong against the Easterners and perhaps other regions. As he may be addressing Nigerians on the occasion of June 12, what he will say and the way he will say it will greatly determine how peaceful the next four years will be for him and Nigerians if at all he will be there till then. As he mounts the podium to address the nation, if I were him, I will in the spirit of unity pronounce May 30th a public holiday in remembrance of our war heroes the same way he made June 12 a ‘democracy day’. That will not hurt or kill anyone but it will rather help to heal the old wounds of the people and help him to consolidate on his deception. I have no doubt that such bold step would carved for him a place in the annals of history. Such gesture if he is bold enough, will be a nice way to start his second tenure and greatly reduce the bottled up tension from all quarters especially from my beloved Eastern Nigeria. The choice is however his. He can make use of the opportunity or have more agitation to contend with. But he should not forget that a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and that he that makes peaceful change impossible has make a violent change inevitable.
Solomon Chuks, a political commentator and activist wrote from California.