First, I congratulate our brother Nnamdi on his release. I believe he was not supposed to have been there in the first place. Not because the security agencies were wrong in his arrest but because there were better and more effective ways of going about his convictions and avoiding this ordeal. We can argue all we want about how arresting him made him popular (or is it notorious) and how the government could have ignored him but have we thought of how ignoring him could have emboldened many others across other tribes? No government worth its name would allow any individual no matter who or for what reason to threaten its territorial integrity. Go around the world and find out.
But then everything happens for a purpose. Can we see that purpose? That's why I'm writing.
Having said those, it is my fervent prayer that we Igbos can now take a deep breath, put on our age old Igbo wisdom, devoid of all the showmanship and braggadocio and focus on what's more objective, realistic and better for all of us.
If there's one good thing that came out of the Nnamdi Kanu's saga, it is greater awareness of the plight of Ndi Igbo. Not that many did not know but as usual many cared less always selfishly grumbling inside and waiting for another to be the sacrificial lamb.
I have argued severally and I do not need to repeat the fact and my conviction that an Igbo nation under Nigeria but with greater autonomy that will give it greater control of its human and material resources will serve us better than a sovereign nation of Biafra or whatever another name we elect to call it particularly under the realities of today. The reverse might have been the case 30 years ago maybe but not today.
I have argued that whether by accident or design, the Igbo nation today is too heavily invested in Nigeria to pull out. Some keep talking about the amalgamation of Nigeria as though they forget the role of God in the affairs of men. Many have been in difficult marriages but somehow managed to make it work, not because of love but because of other factors that cannot be ignored like children, family etc. Of course, nationhood is a more complex proposition but the simple things of life give us a clue on how to handle the more complex. In fact, it will be a disservice and immoral for anyone to seek to push the Igbos out of Nigeria and in my view, even more, fool hardy for Igbos to seek to pull out themselves.
It is my candid view that now that Kanu is out of prison, we can now have that sincere conversation devoid of sentiments. I believe if all the energies expended by Igbos, young and old, illiterate and educated, old and young were channeled over the years towards getting the Federal Government to accede to the restructuring of Nigeria, we would have achieved that and gotten on the way to self-actualization and that is what we must do.
Self-actualization does not always mean secession. After all, an Igbo man still remains under his family and his father, bearing his name and still achieve self-actualization.
Hard as it is to accept, many of us Igbos should realize that marginalization in Nigeria is not an exclusive wrong done against Igbos. I know it is natural to talk, think and fight for our own cause but if there is anyone oppressed or marginalized anywhere in humanity, then no one is truly free, not even the oppressor.
There are many tribes in the North that have suffered untold victimization, malignment, oppression and marginalization for longer and worse than Igbos but this erroneous belief that the North is one and the same people has misled many Southerners and Igbos to believe all is well there. What if we reached out to such people in sincerity and truth, earn their trust and forge a mutual partnership that will form a formidable opposition against the Hausa/Fulani that we all see clearly has a political advantage in Nigeria?
I hear and read many postures that "the North does not want the Igbos to go" and I wonder again if they are really in touch with reality. Which North? The North is no longer the picture of ill-educated, cattle rearing 'abokis' (or Awusas that Nnamdi used to call them) that shine our shoes in Owerri and Umuahia.
I have a large collection of Northern friends who are exceptionally polished, educated, broad and progressive-minded who are willing to speak the truth to both the cultural, religious and political establishment. My friend, Muntaka Ahmed Badru readily comes to mind.
I have also already said that there's no monolithic or homogenous North. The geographical North might be predominantly Muslims but they are not holistically Muslim. There is a decent population of indigenous Christians too. Don't believe the hype. The real North is more than ever ready to go alone today if push comes to shove. Having been faced with that threat of secession for decades, the North did not just fold its hands and wait.
They equally prepared for a life without or after Crude oil. Just look at the advances made in the areas of education, technology, human capital development, infrastructures... etc over the years while still maintaining their cultural and religious institutions and retaining their affinity to traditional allies like Saudi Arabia. Let us not overestimate our self-worth, please.
Can we Igbos now call off the pity party, tone down the rhetorics and stoop to conquer for the sake of our future generations?
Can we now call and hold our own leaders who are our kith and kin (past and present) to greater account? We read about Nothern youth chasing their leaders away but we forget that some of our own leaders have done worse but we rather defend ours and reward them with Chieftaincy titles (High Chief, Super High Chief etc) and Church Knighthoods. Yet we form civilization and superiority over the North?
Can we return to the basics of Igbo culture and tradition which are rooted in accountability, abhorrence of evil and truth?
Can we play our politics right by realizing that no man is an island and diplomacy and tolerance are key? Even in a supposed Biafra, will the Anambra man believe the Imo brother is Igbo enough to lead him? Will the Mbano man trust the Mbaise brother enough to concede to him?
Can our youths realize that abuse is no argument and change their attitude? You cannot move forward by behaving like your captor or oppressor for then what's the difference?
Can we quit this name calling, abuse, hate and cheap populism by our elites and intellectuals to hoodwink the simple minded, stop talking at each other and start talking to each other?
Please let us all do the needful. Get our acts together and channel our energy and resources towards devolving Nigeria into a True Federalism where component units including my beloved Igbo will have greater control of their individual destinies while still reaping from the benefits offered by being part of a big Nigerian state.
If we show that clear signal, I know for a fact that we will get support from the true Northerners, not these selfish and two-faced politicians. I'm ready to champion that.
Then Nnamdi Kanu's travails would not have been in vain.
Taa bu gboo.
I remain @Uchenna Chukwunyere Diala
Always keeping focused.