In their Press Statement of June 27th, the Arewa Youths had given the Igbos ultimatum to leave Northern Nigeria latest by October 1, 2017. Many people regarded their action as treasonable and a threat of genocide. The Governor of Kaduna State and the Inspector-General of Police declared that they should be arrested. They were not arrested. Rather what we heard were series of statements from some Arewa leaders supporting their action. One such leader is Prof, Ango Abdulahi, a former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Consequently, the Arewa Youths continued in their belligerent threats and mocked the arrest orders.
President Buhari who returned to Nigeria on August 19, 2017 after 103 days in Britain receiving treatment for undisclosed ailment, in his very short and pointed speech, did not address the Quit Notice to Ndigbo by Arewa Youths; nor did he condemn the virulent Hausa hate songs being circulated as a mass mobilization tool for the Looming Genocide against Ndigbo.
The President did not even address the renewed insurgence of Boko Haram; nor the rising agitation from East, South, West, North Central and even from well-meaning people in the Arewa territory for renegotiating the future of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which some banally call restructuring and so on. Some leaders in his position would have, in good conscience, even commented on the development in the crises that had rocked the Peoples’ Democratic Party as having brought a respite to a situation that could create a major political crises to the country.
Rather, President Buhari used this maiden opportunity to declare war on the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Boko Haram, thereby equating the two as terrorist organizations. It was as if President Buhari was brought back to declare war on IPOB, Mr Nnamdi Kanu and Ndi-Igbo.
A few days after, the Arewa Youths followed by calling on President Buhari to arrest Nnamdi Kanu and try him for treason. As if in obedience to their call, the President asked the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to commence the process of arresting Nnamdi Kanu. We want to stress that the opinion of many Arewa leaders that Nigeria is their conquered territory is at best only an illusion.
Since this macabre dance started, many Ndigbo in the North for fear of a looming genocide, have continued to leave the North where they have lived for the better parts of their lives to the South East where they are like refugees. This still does not qualify anyone for arrest. Many hate songs have been waxed and released to the Northern masses as a mobilization tool for the D-day and yet no one is arrested.
Nigeria is currently struggling to contain Boko Haram insurgency in the North and can ill afford to add militant resistance in the South East, the South-South and other aggrieved parts of the country, to say the least.
Indeed, those who are President Buhari’s close associates and handlers have failed to inform him that even within the 103 days he was away, so much has changed in the political tempo of Njgeria. The situation has gone beyond Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB. The entire country is now engulfed in a political crises hitherto unknown in its history. It is no longer the North versus the South. It is no longer a coalition against the Igbos. The SONG OF FREEDOM can be heard in every nook and cranny of the nation except in the comfort zones of those who trade with the destiny of the people.
The ALAIGBO DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (ADF) admonishes Mr President to take it easy. He should begin by clearing the dangerous debris around him. He needs God-fearing men around him.
His headache is not Nnandi Kanu or IPOB or the Igbo nation. It is not even the South–South, the North Central or the West. His headache is how to create an enabling environment for the various nationalities to come together to decide WHICH WAY NIGERIA?
Mr Nnamdi Kanu is a prisoner of conscience. Nigeria is now swarming with many people like him. If you incarcerate him again, it will not relief your headache, it will even explode. For the avoidance of doubt, this type of attitude of creating two kinds of citizens; one those above the law ( Arewa Youths) and the other, those that will be blackmailed by the punishment of the law even when they commit no offense (IPOB) is one of the things that fuel most of the agitations all over the country. No reasonable Nigerian wants to live in a nation with such level of inequity, prebendalism and obvious threat to national unity schewed against some of the nationalities that constitute the nation. Mr President, Nigeria has never been as divided as this except during the genocide against Ndi-Igbo (1967-70); you need therefore to rethink your strategy in order to avert unnecessary tension in this polity. Nigeria’s unity is negotiable, that’s all that Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB are pointing at and therefore needs redressing. Nobody is a slave of the other in this country. If there is no law obliterating divorce in Nigeria, it is ironical to think that by mere wishful thinking that Nigeria will remain as it were a model of abusive marriage.
You prayed hard and sought desperately to rule Nigeria once again. God has granted your wish. Little did you know that you were inheriting a country with terminal illness. Mr President, you should be reminded that Justice Ademola’s court granted Nnamdi Kanu unconditional bail that has not been vacated by any court yet you refused to obey this order; instead, you dealt with the Honourable Justice in the most ignoble manner that the country has never witnessed before. You also went ahead to obtain this notorious bail against Kanu. We pray that you change your mind to rule with equity and good conscience.
Prof. Uzodimma Nwala
Prof. Nath Aniekwu