By Casmir Igbokwe
There is anger in the South-East of Nigeria, and understandably so. For one, there is total exclusion of the zone from President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. The dust of that exclusion was yet to settle when Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) raised another one. At a South-East security summit in Enugu last Thursday, MACBAN proposed the establishment of Fulani Youth Vigilance outfit in South-East communities. This, according to it, is to assist the region’s vigilance groups and other security agencies. To many people in the region, this is the height of provocation.
The scenario is akin to the monkeypox virus scare that trended in 2017. Soldiers had invaded the South-East in what was then called Operation Python Dance. They harassed, intimidated and killed many Igbo youths in that operation. People were still sulking from that experience when some military personnel tried going to schools for a free medical outreach programme. On sighting them, many pupils ran helter-skelter. Parents closed shops and raced to school to pick their children. Rumour had gone round that the python dancers had come to inject monkeypox virus into Igbo children.
Similarly, the Miyetti Allah people appeared to have good intentions in their security proposal. The tone of the national chairman of the association, Alhaji Mohammed Kirowa, seemed to indicate so. He said his group would solicit support and cooperation in adopting dialogue where problems existed. They also intended to report cases against their members to either the Fulani Youth Vigilance Group, state or local branch of the association.
However, there is mutual suspicion among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria today. Trust is completely lacking. It is worse when the name ‘Fulani’ is mentioned. Almost on a daily basis, news of the alleged atrocities of Fulani herdsmen is broadcast on traditional and social media. They reportedly have kidnap cells in different parts of the country. They are said to be ruthless, sometimes going to the extent of raping and killing their unfortunate victims.
The president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nnia Nwodo, emphasised this in his reaction to the MACBAN proposal. He described some of the ubiquitous cattle breeders as people “who have ravaged our farms, raped our women and slaughtered their husbands. As at today, they technically enjoy immunity from arrest and prosecution.”
This is the crux of the matter. MACBAN should realise that many non-Fulani citizens are now suspicious, uncomfortable and wary whenever they sight herdsmen in their vicinity. The feeling among this group is that there is a grand plan to Fulanise and Islamise the entire country.
The first thing the association should do is to win the confidence of its host communities. This it could do by prevailing on its patron, President Muhammadu Buhari, to rescue this country from ethnic tensions. It is a simple thing to do. All the President needs to do is to be a father figure to all. He should not only stop his crass display of nepotism but also begin the process of restructuring this country.
The association should also prevail on its members anywhere in the country to submit their AK-47 rifles to security agencies. Niger Delta militants did it during the regime of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and the nation is better for it.
They should also learn to tread softly when politics and security issues are concerned. This is because the more they comment, the more they inflame anger in the land. Endorsing the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, as the next President of Nigeria in 2023, for instance, is another display of idiocy. One is not jealous over their love affair with Umahi. But it is not for them to come and choose for the Igbo who should become Nigeria’s next President.
The major concern of many South-Easterners now is that the nightmare called Buhari Presidency ends as quickly as possible. They expressed this much after my intervention last week on the plight of the Igbo in Buhari and APC’s nepotistic regime. I have decided to give space to some of such views today to further show the sour mood in the region.
Below are some of the reactions:
Re: Is South-East still part of Nigeria?
The ethnic clique that continually enjoys the status quo is deeply scared that a South-East access to political power may lead to the dismemberment of Nigeria and the clique’s loss of their cherished stranglehold on Nigeria. Ironically, the same sadistic clique is always at the forefront of condemnation and obstruction of Biafra’s separate identity. The clique desires a perpetual unity of the horse and its rider who directs and or dictates where the horse goes and its no-go areas. Or is it not laughable that the very husband who sees nothing good in the wife is also seen frantically and ferociously objecting each time the wife seeks for the much-needed divorce? Pray, tell me, is this marital fraud not worse than economic fraud?
– Edet Essien Esq., Calabar South, +2348037952470
Is South-East still part of Nigeria? Your question comes handy. We are not. But I have a word for my brothers of Igbo nation. Go to the bible and read about what Isaac told Esau about his brother Jacob and his freedom. We are Christians and why Nigeria can’t make it is hate on Igbo. The so-called rulers of Nigeria should ask how £20 made a people millionaires in a few years. As of those Igbo in APC, they are toothless bulldogs.
– Michael I. Eze, +2348069576470
Casmir, my brother, you’ve succeeded in writing a legendary piece. It’s for the records. Incidentally, your write- up is exactly what I chronicled in my WhatsApp page on 12/6/19 (the so-called Democracy Day) and which I forwarded to a select group of friends. It’s never been as bad for the Igbo as it is in the present dispensation. But can our people learn? Can we come together? Can we ever subjugate our selfish and individualistic tendencies and forge a common front? Answer me.
– Chief Ben Okwuonu, Owerri, +2347063006088
Dear Cas, you may be right or wrong with your bugging question as to where the Igbo belong. While I served as a corps member in Kwara State in the late 1970s, I had an experience. There was a staff in the school I was posted to. He never gave me breathing space, abusing and insulting me at will. One day, I called him to find out why. His only reason was I refused to go out with other corps members for fun. I asked if he knew my origin, but he responded he cared less about that. I told him how we kill. He thus begged me to tell him where I came from but never disturbed me again. This is my only advice to South-East bloc of Nigeria. With the latest blacklisting of South-East, let all that matter in the zone keep mute and let us watch Oshiomhole’s Nigeria. The marginalisation is a carryover from the civil war. The Nigerian state’s hatred for the Igboman will end naturally. Just think of the success of the party in the zone, yet the party left the zone blank. That is their national unity and national integration.
– Livy Onyenegecha, Aboh Mbaise, Imo State, 08036174573
There was a country called Biafra, which was made up of the present Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states. But the most endangered states of the defunct Biafra now are Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. In Nigeria of 2015 – 2019 and 2019 – 2023, President Buhari and his cohorts in APC are above the law, otherwise they would not violate S.14 (3) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria with impunity and without question. With the exclusion principle against the South-East where is unity of Nigeria?
– Mr. Chinedu Ekwuno, 08063730644
It’s very unfair that APC didn’t elect principal officers from South-East. Where did APC South-East lawmakers go wrong? This injustice must stop, after all, we are one Nigeria.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
Was Prof. Humphrey Nwosu honoured over June 12, 1993, presidential election? South-East has been isolated from Nigeria by the PMB administration. Time will tell!
– Prince Iffy Klems Onyeador, +2348111117766
Casmir, thanks so much for your wisdom, courage and for being an honest person.
– Anonymous, +2348032398697
Our emphasis and concern should be on good governance. Appointments are for the appointees and their relations. We need good roads, potable water, jobs for our youths, power supply, security, etc. If all the ministers are from Bayelsa State, so be it. As for 2023, it is in the hands of God. After President Buhari lost in 2011, he vowed never to contest again and he didn’t go to court but God crowned him in 2015 against his expectations. In 1999, Chief Obasanjo was not looking for the presidency. God gave him. Same for Umaru Yar Adua; same for Jonathan. God will decide and it will be final.
– Anonymous, +2348033951445
Is South-East still part of Nigeria? IPOB says we are not part of the contraption, an entity created by colonial masters. Ohanaeze says South-East is still part of the country called Nigeria with the sobriquet ‘Zoo.’
– Anonymous, +2348064008255
- First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, June 24, 2019