Masterweb Reports: Dr. C. K. Ekeke reports

I began writing this piece in the wee hours of Good Friday after seeing the lengthier version of the massacre of Biafra prayer warriors being gunned down by Nigerian soldiers at a High School in Aba city few weeks ago. I could not believe what I was looking at – peaceful prayer warriors being shot at by soldiers for praying and singing to God to give them Biafra, praying out of their frustration of a hopeless situation due to lack of job, infrastructure and basic necessities of life. Even those who sustained bullet wounds were begging for help and the Nigerian soldiers passed them by without offering any help. Then suddenly I saw various military trucks arrive at the massacre scene to pick-up the dead bodies and carted them away. 

What I saw was sacrilege and beyond belief. The perpetrators of Aba High School massacre must be held accountable. They and those who authorized such atrocity must never go free. The blood of innocent children of Almighty God are crying out and God of heaven will never pardon such brutality and massacres. Nigeria is cursed and unless it repents and ask for God’s forgiveness, Nigeria will never be.

These are without doubt perilous times in Nigeria; an era of political gangsters and hooliganism, of violence, killings, massacres, religious ignorance and intolerance, authoritarian and corrupt political leadership, fragmentation, secessionists, and anarchists. Just look at Ekiti and Rivers State.

Nigeria is rapidly falling apart and disintegrating and the rulers, leaders, and elders are doing nothing about it.

The truth of the matter is that Nigeria is faced with problem of nationhood along with many serious socio-economic-political-religious challenges. Moreover, the Nigerian nation is fundamentally flawed and yet, many sections of the country don’t want to hear about it, are not willing to talk about it and not don’t bother to tackle and fix it.

Today, Nigeria is besieged with many convoluted challenges namely – ethnic hatred and strife, religious conflicts, terrorism, bad political leadership, government corruption, lack of infrastructure, public healthcare crisis and disease epidemic among many other socio-economic and moral degradation such as—crime and violence, lawlessness and injustice, poverty, economic inequality, resource control, hunger, joblessness, hopelessness and population growth. 

However, one major crisis facing Nigeria is the issue of Biafra and the on-going agitation for Biafra self-determination as well as young Biafra youths peaceful protesting for the release of Mr. Nnamdi kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and executive director radio Biafra, who is currently in detention. Mr. Kanu was arrested by the Nigerian State (Department of Security Services, President Buhari/APC government) last October for speaking out against gross injustice, marginalization, and oppression of SE region of the country. 

The continued and undemocratic detention of Mr. Kanu and several freedom fighters by DSS, against court order has escalated the call and demand for Biafra Republic and this agitation led by millions of IPOB members worldwide can spell doom for Nigeria, Africa and the world.

We know that conflicts and challenges are inevitable in life. There will be conflicts as long as people dwell together – either within a family, or in community, or within a nation, etc., conflict will occur. Conflict is a normal thing. Conflicts usually occur for variety of reasons – usually due to desire for recognition, power, honor, pleasure, money, and superiority. When selfishness, self-centeredness and selfish ambition and self-desires become the primary focus for people, conflicts will surely occur. Conflict is not a bad thing as long as it can be managed in a healthy way and respectful manner. 

However, when conflicts and disagreements are left unresolved between peoples, or tribes, or races, or nations, etc., it can escalate into unimaginable violence. Unresolved conflict can persist and simmer if left unresolved. No wise person should ever write-off or ignore unresolved conflict – because it festers, multiples and can escalate into unmanageable crisis.

What distinguishes leaders is the ability to take charge to resolve unresolved conflicts. If conflict is not confronted, it will lead to chaos and anarchy. Wise people and thoughtful leaders handle conflict with care, courage, and compassion. Great leaders never ignore or compromise with conflict, rather a great leader confronts conflict and challenges, crises with courage and strength.

Biafra is Nigeria’s major unresolved conflict and for Nigeria to move forward, Biafra must be addressed and resolved once and for all.

This is a great opportunity for President Buhari and his administration to show and exercise leadership rather than write-off Biafra and call it a joke. Biafra is not joke. Biafra is not dead. Biafra has not expired. Instead, Biafra is a genuine dream for millions of us who have never benefited anything being Nigerian even though crude oil flows from my backyard. Biafra will linger, persist, simmer and if not handled correctly this time can explode into monumental proportion.

President Buhari must address the issue of Biafra rather than massacring young and peaceful Biafran protesters and locking up Biafra sympathizers and IPOB leaders. That’s cowardliness. Even acquiring more war weapons from America, Britain, Pakistan and secretly joining the Alliance of Islamic countries can never intimidate Biafra to remain enslaved in Nigeria. Nigeria and the world cannot subjugate a major tribe of 60-70 million people to be their guinea pig. Nigeria must do what is necessary and morally right to resolve Nigeria’s hostility with Biafra in order to live in peace. 

President Buhari and his advisers and supporters must take the case of Biafra seriously and not disdain the cause. Biafra is not an inconsequential tribe or region. The President must rise up to the true purpose of leadership.   The point I trying to make here is, even the ungodly and ruthless rulers have a basic awareness of morality and a love for serene, peaceful and purposeful society, and not to resort to violence, killings, massacres, and war.

The major challenge of Nigeria is the issue of nationhood and Biafra’s unresolved conflict.

Since amalgamation, Nigeria has allowed itself to wallow in religious and sectarian violence, political leadership failure, economic crisis, moral crisis, and corruption and security challenges.  The nation will not stand and cannot survive as currently constituted and governed.  The ethnic bias and hatred, injustice and manner of governance at the federal level against Ndigbo are satanic, evil, and mischievous.  And if these anomalies are not curtailed or eliminated through a candid dialogue by all the stakeholders, Nigeria’s disintegration will just be a matter of time.

ince the return to democratic government in 1999, Nigeria has not had good leaders but hooligans and military gangsters masquerading as politicians that pillaged the nation’s wealth.  Nigerians have not really enjoyed any genuine political peace and national prosperity despite enormous blessings that God endowed on her but wicked policies, marginalization, violence, bombs, terrorism and irrational killings of innocent citizens continue to undermine its development and progress. 

The Nigerian State has been ruled and governed by military and political dictators that continue to deny the masses basic things such as security, order, peace and basic needs of livelihood.   For fifty-five years, Nigeria has had military dictatorship, political hypocrisy, and extravagantly indulgent corrupt judicial system that oppressed the poor, women, young people, children and minority members of the nation.  Despite her enormous human potential and abundant natural resources, the promises of democracy have been a dismal failure. After sixteen years of democracy, Nigerians – especially people in the Eastern region are yet to see the so-called “Dividends of Democracy.” 

For Nigeria to remain a united, indivisible nation with its rich diversity, endowed natural resources and blessed human power, the anomalies and injustices in the system must be eradicated or rectified.  The rectification of these anomalies is not going to happen by a bunch of greedy politicians behind the doors of the National House of Assembly and Senate. It needs to involve all groups. Nigeria needs to restructure to accommodate the desires and aspirations of all the variant groups that make up the Nigerian nation. 

I think the time is now for the President to free Mr. Nnamdi kanu and all freedom fighters incarcerated in order to have a serious dialogue and discussion with them and other stakeholders of Nigeria on how to move forward with the issue of Biafra and other challenges and hostilities.

There is too much suffering and hopelessness, unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, death-trap roads, religious ignorance and intolerance, insecurity, and corruption in Nigeria. There is even more anger and frustration in the East because of wicked polices and marginalization against the region.

Nigeria is at a tipping point and if these challenges are not be addressed quickly, Nigeria risks to be another . The frustrations and must be handled courageously through national dialogue and peaceful resolution. 

There is need for a dialogue and a reconciliation commission. Recently a commission was setup to rebuild northeast of Nigeria because of the mayhem the murderous sect – Boko haram caused in that region for so many years now. 

Has the Nigerian State (Hausa/Fulani/Yoruba Oligarchy) seriously thought about and considered setting up a commission to rebuild SE region – especially after the wicked war they waged against the region and systemic marginalization of the region of  the last 50 years – including divide-and-rule tactic and oil pollution that have decimated the ecosystem of SE and SS regions. Has the Nigerian State ever considered paying reparation to Ndigbo for confiscating their properties, houses, business, and cash in Banks in Nigeria during and immediately after the civil war ended? Has it occurred to Nigeria that SE/SS regions needed to be rebuilt from devastation caused by bombs of Britain, USSR, Egypt and most Arab countries against Biafra land during the civil war?

The Nigerian nationhood and issue of Biafra must be addressed if we really desire to live in peace and fulfill our destiny as one united country. I believe that without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be order, unity and peace in our country. The Nigerian State must ask for forgiveness for their evil, wicked and atrocities against Ndigbo. We cannot move forward as a nation and fulfill our common purpose and destiny until ethnicity, tribalism and injustice are addressed in Nigeria. Nigeria truly need a national identity that harbors ethnicity but promotes national identity entity, if not we must break-up the country, which by the way has become a union and den of death until date. 

The amalgamation of Nigeria has been costly and Ndigbo has paid so dearly for it. The impelled amalgamation of the variant groups that make up Nigeria today has been problematic and costly to manage due to ethnic jingoism and diverse dynamics of interests and loyalties of the various groups. 

Since Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, she has had only turbulent periods of political crisis, religious violence and ethnic warfare that led to unforgettable genocidal civil war of 1967-1970 that claimed nearly six million lives and left her surviving citizens with so much bitterness, hatred and rage against one another.

After fifty-five years of independence, Nigeria continues to flounder due to gangster government, political hooliganism, and culture of impunity, culture of lawlessness, callousness, covetousness, greed, money worshippers, egotism, avarice, anger, bitterness, and hatred.  

Nigeria is yet a not a nation. A lot has been said and written about Nigeria as a nation. The late visionary leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo once observed that “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English,’ ‘Welsh,’ or ‘French,’ The word ‘Nigeria’ is a mere distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not” – Chief Obafemi Awolowo, 1947.

. It is time to fix it or undo this satanic and adulterous union.

[My candid and wise advice to President Muhammad Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo]
Former presidents and heads of State—Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Gowon, General Obasanjo as well as thoughtful Nigerians such as Wole Soyinka have called for dialogue, peace, unity and for the President to trade softly and address the issue of Biafra and other challenges facing the nation. 

Dear Mr. President Buhari and Vice President Osibanjo, if I may humbly offer you both this piece of advice:
You must rise up to the challenges of leadership. Great leaders are always born during time of adversity, conflict and hostility. Leaders must see in troubling times a testing ground for developing strength, faith, and courage. Please know that those in position of power and authority will always be confronted with challenges and conflict. Leadership challenge will occur where there is weak character and compromised leadership. Wise and strong leaders do not compromise. Strong leaders know how to face crisis, challenges and conflict with courage and wisdom. Conflict and challenges are inevitable in the life of a leader. Wise leaders handle conflict with care, courage, and compassion. 

 “The 21st century has been characterized as a century of chaos, conflict and challenges. Leading in this century will require tactful negotiation and conflict resolution skills.  Great leaders never compromise but rather confront challenges, crisis, and conflicts with courage and strength. If crisis and conflict are not confronted properly, wisely and compassionately, it will lead to chaos. Conflicts must be dealt with and resolved amicably. Any leader who compromises with violence and crisis will succumb to it. You don’t resolve conflicts by being cruel – rather it escalates and in the end, all loose.

War and massacres should not be your first option to deal with the issue of Biafra or even with any other conflict and hostility. Use dialogue and other resolution tactics. War should be the last option after every peaceful option fails. Acquiring military tanks from America, warheads from Britain, jet fighters from Pakistan and secretly joining Islamic Alliance for weapons in order to exterminate Biafra – a group with strong 40-60 million people will never succeed. You’ll be worse than Idi Amin of Uganda or Hitler of Germany if you succeed in such satanic conspiracy. And the world would never let you do that.  Those advising you are mistaken and dead wrong.

And by the way; you, Mallam Sunisi, El-Rufai and other Muslim fanatics can never turn Nigeria into Islamic State. The North can become Islamic Republic but not Nigeria. Nigeria must work or divide in peace. It does not make sense to force a major tribe in this 21st century high technology collaborative and innovative world to remain enslaved and captors in Nigeria. Please rethink your options and actions before it is too late. A word is enough for the wise.

I also think it is time for all variant groups that make up Nigeria to genuinely forgive one another, bury its tumultuous past and fractured history in-order to live together and peacefully again. The Yoruba must also come clean and do their own part. Without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be unity, peace, and prosperity. 

The declaration of the end of the war slogan: “No Victor No Vanquished” must be revisited and properly implemented, otherwise Biafra agitation will continue to linger and persist. As long as Biafra lingers, Nigeria will continue to flounder and will not be able reach its full potential as a nation.

Happy Easter to all Christians in Nigeria and around the world.

C. K. Ekeke, Ph.D. ( Email: [email protected] ), is a theologian, author, activist, and leadership lecturer. He’s competing the writing of a book: “The Trouble with Nigeria: Why Nigeria Continues to Flounder,” to be published this year.

*Photo Caption - Map of defunct Republic of Biafra

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