Dear Mr. Ibraheem Dooba: Since your letter ( http://www.saharareporters.com/article/letter-ndigbo ) published in Sahara Reporters turned out to be a disguised political campaign solicitation asking Ndigbo to vote for Buhari for the presidency of Nigeria, let me, reciprocating your own style of story-telling, start from there with two stories of my own.
It was New Year’s Eve, 1983. Shehu Shagari was President of Nigeria, and had been for 4 years. Alex Ekwueme, an Igboman, was Vice president, tipped to succeed Shagari. They called that period the “Second Republic of Nigeria” (beware of “countries” that count in “Republics”—they don’t work and they don’t last!). The North and other powers-that-be in the rest of Nigeria had sworn that an Igbo man would never be allowed to hold any position of influence or significance in Nigeria any time, any day, following the Biafra war—a genocidal war by Nigeria against the Igbo, no less. The Igbo should not even smell the presidency. Therefore, Ekwueme could not be allowed to be President of Nigeria. On that day, it was General Muhammadu Buhari who was sent to make sure this did not happen; he overthrew Shagari’s government. While Shagari was placed under “house arrest” in a comfortable mansion, Buhari imprisoned Ekwueme in a maximum security dungeon reserved for dangerous criminals. What was Ekwueme’s crime, other than that he is Igbo, and that he could have (yes, might have, only—) become the President of Nigeria?
For the next story, let’s advance to circa, 2006. Once again, Buhari is the star. It was in those heady days for WIC (World Igbo Congress), before our prediction came true that WIC was going to amount to nothing (because it had refused to advance a pro-Biafra agenda). The usual WIC jamboree was on in the USA, and Nigeria was really scared about MASSOB having successfully sensitized the Igbo regarding Biafra actualization at home. So, they dispatched their favorite Igbo-Biafra killer: Buhari. Buhari came to the WIC jamboree and held a formal private session with the Igbo WIC leadership—an event which drew so much controversy. During that session, Buhari told the type of stories you told of the Igbo in your letter, in order to please his audience. Then, he told them that the Igbo had a great chance of capturing the presidency of Nigeria in 2007. But, there was one catch: the Igbo could not get the presidency unless they ditched the idea of Biafra and renounced Biafra actualization, Buhari threatened. Well, fools that they are, WIC officials dropped any support for MASSOB and for any pro-Biafran activism. But that was not the end of the story. When election time came around few months later, Buhari was campaigning for the presidency of Nigeria for himself; he was not supporting Igbo presidency at all; he did not even mention the Igbo as deserving it. Of course, the Igbo got nothing. Buhari had succeeded in doing it again, to the Igbo!
I liked your letter when you said meaningful things. What you said about the Igbo is not news and not new information; while true, it carried not too much import, except perhaps to educate other Nigerians and remind them that those Igbo qualities are what they, Nigerians, are truly and really envious, jealous, anxious and threatened about, enough to not want the Igbo around—even if it means that they will literally kill the Igbo; and yes, indeed, they kill the Igbo routinely. Which (not wanting the Igbo in their midst) is fine: the Igbo should have their own country, from where to relate to or interact with others when mutually beneficial, safe and secure, and as agreed upon.
Which segues into the meaningful things that you said in your letter and that I like very much:
1. The Igbo want Biafra (even Muslim Igbo!); yes, that’s the real Igbo desire; we want and will get Biafra;
2. Nigeria should be split; that the Northern masses do actually want that, too. Great for you / them, it should also benefit you / them and all;
3. It is the elite who continue to insist on one Nigeria because they are the only ones benefitting from one-Nigeria and benefitting from the suffering it is causing the peoples condemned to live as such—yes, Igbo elite are among them.
So, I ask you: why don’t we all work together in liberating each people and each nation trapped by force and fear in unworkable one-Nigeria? If you spent half the effort you spend working for Buhari on finding a way to liberate your own people, we will all succeed, sooner than you think. As a hint, the world today is running on the engine of Self Determination: every ethnic nation has the collective right to take control of its own people, resources and destiny, regardless of the subtending State. Supposing we all exercise that right at the same time—each people for its own nation—see how not-so-impossible that is? Even in places where there is no inter-ethnic national friction within the same country, citizens have claimed the right of Self Determination to sack their unresponsive and anti-people State governments. That’s how it is done. We can do this. We should be doing this.
Finally, I hope that you can see that if there is treachery, your Buhari is the most treacherous of all in these matters; and I must say, he represents not just the North in this, but Nigeria as whole; pity, a fine and honest man like you should get tangled with him. Which is why we advise all to steer clear of Nigeria—especially Nigerian politics. Nigeria will suck in and corrupt even the most angelic of us in every way, and any way. Is that happening to you already? The promise by Buhari to fight corruption is so childish: who can promise to de-odorize a pit-latrine and expect to be believed? Please don’t be so naïve. Many Igbo will go to vote, out of the qualities which you describe so well about them, but that’s all in all a foolish act; 2015 Igbo presidency is yet another deception, where Buhari alone has been involved in two previous deceptions of the Igbo in this area. In any case, what Nigeria needs is not more elections—rigged, unsafe, unfair and non-credible as they are. Nigeria is already broken; it just needs to be broken up formally. The Igbo voting in this election merely waste their time. Biafra is our destiny, not Nigeria. And Buhari, for one, is personally against Biafra.
We do not “do” Nigerian politics, we do not do Nigerian elections, we do not do Nigerian census, we do not participate in Nigeria: we just want out—now. We want Biafra. That’s what our people tell us, and so we advise them accordingly; that’s what they want us to work on for them—for us: Biafra actualization. Therefore, what we do is get our people to realize their right to Self Determination so that we can exercise it now. There is no future for Ndigbo / Biafrans in Nigeria. Hopefully, other ethnic nations in Nigeria can, not only, come to that true conclusion for their own respective selves, but will also want to do something meaningful and effective about it, using the same Self Determination principles.
Thank you. “Will the genius make the choice?” Yes: the genius chooses Biafra.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD
A Biafran Citizen