South-East Nigeria: Before It Is Too Late - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

South-East Nigeria: Before It Is Too Late

By Promise Adiele 

Last year, while delivering a lecture at the National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO) Lagos, a highly placed government official from Abuja attending the lecture asked me a question. Hear him. “Please Doc. How can we locate the voice of reason in Nigeria’s present, almost tragic circumstances”? Before his question, I had explained in detail, how Nigeria’s social, economic, and political malaise has continued to acquire monstrous shadows daily, therefore is responsible for the death of the country’s cultural fountain. His use of the phrase “voice of reason” in the question struck me immediately. From the benefit of hindsight, the voice of reason is not always popular. Yet, it embodies reality and incubates the truth. It is the voice of reason because it considers all the loopholes, pros and cons of a situation before it arrives at a submission. Expectedly, only reasonable people identify and adhere to the voice of reason while the disoriented and immature repudiate it, revelling in wanton delusionary convictions.  

According to an African proverb, what an elder can see sitting down, a young person cannot see it standing up. When Ogbuefi Ezeudu warned Okonkwo not to have a hand in the death of Ikemefuna in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, it was the voice of reason. Okonkwo, spurred on by a yawning desire for fame and recognition, ignored that voice of reason. It takes a reasonable man to recognize the voice of reason. Okonwko didn’t only join the group that killed Ikemefuna, he drew the last machete. The subsequent melancholy and depression were part of the negative psychological byways that led him to commit suicide at the end of the novel. The voice of reason is powerful. As the situation stands now, it is only the voice of reason that can halt the ongoing macabre dance of death and tragedy in South-East Nigeria.  

Over the weekend, I was happy following the triumph of Chelsea FC over Manchester City FC when both clubs collided in the European Champions League football finals in Portugal. I had celebrated my birthday on Friday. On Saturday, the celebration continued following Chelsea’s victory. The victory was more remarkable because those who like to take God’s position in the affairs of men had concluded that Manchester City FC was going to trounce Chelsea FC with many goals. The issue was not whether Man City would win the match but with how many goals. Well, the rest, they say, is history. You can defeat a man three times by mistake. In a country with a leadership deficit, where everything conspires to make one sad, it is always a welcomed development to enjoy the moment anytime one has the opportunity to celebrate. But my happiness was cut short by news in the South-Eastern part of the country. The truth is, South-Eastern Nigeria is at war. There is no better way to explain the situation. Friends and relatives living in the area have sent pictures of dead bodies littering the streets. Houses, police stations, INEC offices, public buildings are set ablaze at will. The roads are not safe. The markets are not safe too. The once serene, quiet enclave marked by hardworking and dogged success has suddenly become a war zone. The gory pictures and videos of death are worrisome. They drive me to depression.  

I understand the emotions in the whole South-East following May 30th, a symbolic date for the region. Besides that, I am worried that the region is degenerating into chaos and anarchy. If the region is agitating for Biafra, will burning and killing restore Biafra? I ask again, will the continuous burning of police stations, INEC offices, and sundry establishments lead to the restoration of Biafra? Although there are reports that military and police officers now kill youths in the region for fun, various news outlets also report that IPOB kills police and military officers too. That is sad. The once-thriving region, built from the scratch with personal sweat and determination, with minimal federal government assistance, has become a killing field. It would have mattered if the federal government of Nigeria is concerned or embarrassed by what is going on in the region. But the present government is lethargic and comatose. The government cares less about the fate of Nigerians. Given the documented loathing of the region, the current power protocol would rather have the whole area burn to ashes. So why play into the hands of your traducers?  

With the above issues in mind, I want to appeal to everyone, home and abroad to sheath swords and call off this mindless carnage in the South-East. You do not win a war by first burning down your house. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, understand what purpose the killings and burnings will achieve in the South-East. Our young people are dying every day. People are losing their businesses and means of livelihood. That, in the name of God, is not the way to achieve self-determination. If your enemy wishes you dead and cannot kill you, the same enemy will be pleased to watch you slaughter yourselves and burn your homesteads. Whoever is behind this internecine in the South-East should please heed the voice of reason, think twice and pause for a while. There is absolutely nothing to achieve by destroying a region that emerged from the ashes of war. That the region is what it is today is by sheer ingenuity. Most areas in the country massively assisted by the federal government cannot boast of what the South-East has become. Yet, unfortunately, South-Easterners are busy destroying their homesteads. The graves are piling up. Yes, funerals are becoming a daily occurrence in the region. If the voice of reason does not prevail immediately and this conflagration stopped, every South-Easterner will regret it.  

The unfortunate assassination of Ahmed Gulak in Imo State has also not helped the situation. IPOB has denied complicities in the incident. Then who killed Gulak? Anyone or persons involved in the killing of Gulak does not have a soul. The consequences of his death in the manner it happened can cause a breakout of violence and deaths. Surely, someone killed him. Already, the media reports that the police have apprehended those who killed Gulak. According to reports, seven of them were burnt inside a sienna vehicle and a further ten were shot and killed. I have mulled these events over in my heart to arrive at a reasonable conclusion why the South-East has become a battlefield and what purpose it will eventually serve. At least, given my profession and disposition, I can claim a level of cognitive abilities but this time, my head fails me. I cannot fathom the reason for what is happening in the South-East. Open grazing has been banned in the region officially. That should put an end to the menace of terrorist herdsmen. Then, why should the people in the region resort to damaging it?      

Once again, I call on all concerned parties to sheath their swords and let peace return to the area. Biafra will never be achieved through violence. Biafra will never be achieved through bloodshed. The South-East region has lost men and material a lot and this cannot continue. I have never seen or read anywhere that a man achieved victory by destroying himself. Let the killing and burning stop, please. Also, I expect, although not convinced that Mohammadu Buhari should be a leader. The South-East region is still under his territory as the president. His silence is ominous, never mind that victims of diarrhoea of the mouth are busy echoing his achievements since he came to power. Buhari should at least say something. Behave like a leader. Let him live up to his responsibilities. If Nigeria successfully heads to where the country is headed, history will never be kind to Muhammadu Buhari.   

When different parts of the country burned in the past, I berated the perpetrators and called on the government to halt the slide. In the same way, I am calling on all concerned persons and groups to sheath their swords in the South-East and let peace reign. All the governors in the South-East, all the military formations, Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB hierarchy, ESN, all community leaders, those who have one form of authority or another over the people in the region, should please, intervene and halt this slide to grave danger in the region. Ndigbo, let us not be stupid to destroy our region. If we do, we will be the greatest losers. If the region is destroyed, where will the people of the region call home? Self-determination is not a crime but it must be pursued with reason and a clear vision devoid of death, personal glory, and ambition. I come in peace.   

Promise Adiele PhD Convener, Third Force Movement

No comments:

Post a Comment