Why violent agitation harms Igbo interest
By Matthew Onwuasonanya
THE South-East is another killing field. Criminals riding on the back of self-determination agitation have taken to terrorist tactics and seeking to impose their writ through illegal sit-at-home orders, murder and destruction of public facilities. Analysts see this as a sure sign that security agencies are being overstretched, leading to frequent slaughter of soldiers and policemen while terrorists ambush and kill troops, overrun military posts and steal their weaponry. For sure, again, this may get the entire geo-political zone to where even those behind it may not have contemplated, unless they rein in their offensives.
From security to economy and social life, the zone is fast crumbling. Mondays have already coming under severe strain with more repercussions set to hit other sectors. In the midst of these self-inflicted existential perils, other parts of Nigeria are watching, or even mocking. What with barrages of ‘revelations’ and prophesies coming from otherwise revered preachers from other ethnic configurations of the country suggesting lack of empathy to the new plight of an omissible part in the geo-political equation.
On daily basis these wanton dislocation of Igbo land from the national hub gravitates to more shame denominated in loss of lives and properties. Before now it could be dismissed as pockets of isolated incidents in far-to-reach communities but by the new year’s turn, many urban towns had come under serious threat, from Anambra to Enugu, Abia to Ebonyi and Imo States. Local government secretariats are burnt in either daylight or nightfall arson. Traditional rulers are randomly selected and attacked, some maimed and some shot dead. Private citizens’ businesses are not spared as livestock are set ablaze.
School premises are razed; people are cut down in voting queues and some people still look for ‘foreigners’ to hold responsible when they should not look beyond their nose to get the real culprits. But this merely scratches just the surface of the anagram, for like or loathe it, Igbo land may not know what have come over it until it is time to count the cost.
Yes, this is true because an average Igbo will not hesitate to relapse into marginalisation of the zone in national affairs. But nobody even of the most meekly of reasonableness, would not be confused with calls for self-determination by a rack of mostly ill-informed masses mixed with those who answer their leaders’ clamour for an Igbo man to be in Aso Rock after the next general election as a sort of balancing act. Here, then, lies the conundrum as to what the Igbo really want from other parts of Nigeria.
Do they want a go at the highest office in the land, the presidency? Or are the Igbo seeking a divorce from their union with the rest of Nigerians? This, no doubt, is a Catch-22 dilemma that must be winnowed one way or another – and fast too – as another election year knocks around the corner.
Yet, the snag is not solved by any stroke of logic when among Igbo commentators there are still so many espousing shambolic sympathy for those goading Igbo land to another round of self-immolation, by playing their megaphones. But that exposes crass myopia or political naivety of highest order against anyone who think there is any way Igbo may benefit from this orgy of killing in the South East zone where more than two-third of its death toll are, surprisingly, borne by Igbo.
This is time for self-examination by Igbo and anyone presumably working for its interest before matters spin out of control. It can never be time for needless grandstanding or playing to gallery for cheap popularity. Little wonder, then, that well-meaning leaders such as Governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, are leaving no stone unturned in getting Igbo Land occupy a pride of place in the comity of the Nigerian nation, by taking the bull by its horn through pragmatic lifelines for justice, truth, forgiveness and lateral bold steps forward. It behooves on all to rally round him to ensure that the vision of this technocrat and world player of global repute delivers what will make every Igbo man or woman to walk tall among other Nigerians.
A word is enough for the wise, the saying goes for in the final analysis, nobody discards his or her treasure on dunghill and expects his or neighbour to give it any more value than a dung.