EKWEREMADU AND BIAFRA
Senator Ike Ekweremadu is the Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. While Africastallestman respects his office, Africastallestman must question his position on Biafra/Restructuring of Nigeria.
Africastallestman will be shirking its responsibilities if the erroneous analysis is not challenged. Due to the exalted position of his office and the genetic gullibility of Nigerians/Africans, any utterance of the distinguished Senator is gospel truth. But is it really? You be the judge.
“We know very well that the toad does not run in the daytime for nothing; if it is not after something, then something must be after it. Although Nigeria is not new to agitations of all kinds, the nation has of recent been caught in a cacophony of agitations by different groups and sections of the country. In particular, these agitations have been most pronounced in the South-east, where the activities of various pro-Biafra groups have been most pronounced.
There have also been loud and well-meaning voices in the South-east and all over the country strongly canvassing a restructuring of the country.”
“All these point to the fact that there is widespread dissatisfaction over how Nigeria is presently constituted and run. The South-east region, in particular, has, no doubt, been at the worst receiving end of the structural imbalances with ripples of disequilibrium in the distribution of resources and opportunities since the end of the civil war in 1970. This, as we know, are at the root of the disquiet and agitation by various
groups for a sovereign state of Biafra.”
“Therefore, the renewed and aggravated agitations across the South-east, the hero status of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the growing pro-Biafra sentiments in the South-east, and the widespread feelings of alienation and disgust with the Nigerian project since after the 2015 general election can be traced to the mistreatment of the region, which graduated from marginalization to exclusion, based on the 97 percent and 5 percent policy of the present administration.”
“However, while our people have every reason to be aggrieved and the right to vent their frustrations and seek equity and justice by democratic and non- violent means, we should also not allow our emotions to rule over our reasoning. As our people say, it will not be good to hear that the she-goat delivered in tether when elders are at home. Questions would eventually be asked. History would inquire if no elder was at home when the toad put to bed and the baby toad grew up a puffed creature because no one cared to stretch its hands or legs.”
“There are two major opinions as to the way forward for Ndigbo at a trying time like this. We have mostly the younger generation, who believe they have had enough of the Nigerian union, which they have described in unprintable terms.
The other is restructuring, which seems to appeal more to the older generation.”
Beyond sentiments, it needs to be emphasised that Nigeria is a sovereign state, with a defined territory recognised by the international community. She is a member of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), among others. This territory includes the South-east region.
While the right to self determination is guaranteed under the international systems, specifically the United Nations and African Union, this right has laid down procedures that must be religiously followed.
For instance, while the call for referendum is legal; they do not come by fiat. Referendum is the ultimate result of wide and long negotiations, consultations, and processes involving the international community as we have seen in the cases of Scotland in the United Kingdom, Catalonia in Spain, Quebec in Canada, and recently in Puerto Rico as well as the successful secession of East Timor from Indonesia, Eritrea from Ethiopia, and South Sudan from Sudan.
No international community was involved in the Scottish referendum, quest for secession in Catalonia, or demand for secession by Quebec in Canada. Puerto Rico is a US Commonwealth. It enjoys all the rights of US citizens except that they cannot vote in US elections. Puerto Rico can vote on a referendum but it is not binding on the US. The referendum is to become a US state and not an independent nation. The US Congress will definitely pay attention to the results. Currently the push for statehood is not unanimous.
The United Nations facilitated the independence of East Timor by facilitating a referendum in 1999 after a civil war.
Eritrea fought and won its independence after a self-organized referendum without involving the international community.
http://www.bbe.com/news/world-africa-13349395 http://www.nytimes.com/1993/0 4/24/world/eritreans-voting-on independence-from-
The international community especially the US under successive Presidents played a major role in the independence of South Sudan from Sudan.
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/07/us- played-key-role-in-southern-sudans-long-journey-to- independence/241660/
“Unless these due processes are observed, as in the case of Eritrea, East Timor, and South Sudan, such enclaves will not be recognised as sovereign states by the international community. I have followed incisive arguments on this matter and looked at the history of other secessionist efforts in other parts of the world. For example, about 43 years after it broke away from Cyprus in 1974, with the help of the Turkish Army, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Northern Cyprus) is yet to be recognised as a sovereign nation by any nation because of lack of due process. The citizens can only travel with the passport of Turkey as citizens of Turkey, not Northern Cyprus. Today, there is widespread agitation by citizens of North Cyprus to be rejoined to Cyprus.”
The present situation in Cyprus was the aftermath of a Greek-backed military insurrection in 1974. Turkey is not a member of the European Union; therefore, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized by Turkey, is a pariah enclave.
Turkish troops remain in North Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion. The Republic of Cyprus (Greek) headquartered in Nicosia is recognized by the international community.
Greece is a member of the European Union, so is the republic of Cyprus. Greeks evicted from North Cyprus abandoned their properties. “There is no widespread agitation by the citizens of north Cyprus to be rejoined to Cyprus.”
There are attempts to reunite both parts of Cyprus by both sides but the presence of Turkish troops remain an obstacle. This is also a Christian (Greek Southern Cyprus) vs. Muslim (Turkish Northern Cyprus) conflict. Sizable populations of Muslims and Christians can never exist in the same country. The Muslims will always want to be in control. To Muslims, there is no separation of religion and state.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/0 7/28/world/middleeast/28refuge es.html https://stateofmindl3.com/2015/ 03/04/christians-are-
“There is also the case of Somaliland. Almost three decades after it declared itself a sovereign state from the Federal Republic of Somalia, the best the self-declared Republic (British Somaliland) has achieved is recognition as an autonomous state, but still part of Somalia in spite of the fact that Somalia is a failed state.”
Another irrelevant and unconnected example. There is no functional state in British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, or Somalia. The whole Somalia is a failed state and al-Shabab (an Islamic terror group) can strike anytime in Somalia.
“We also have the Russia-backed breakaway Eastern Ukraine, which still uses the Ukrainian international passport and currency, several years after. It does not matter that it is backed by Russia, a world superpower.”
Another irrelevant example. Eastern Ukraine has not declared itself independent or has it been recognized as an independent state by any nation. Russia is using Eastern Ukraine where Russian is widely spoken to destabilize Ukraine. There are Russians who are now Ukrainian citizens as Ukraine was part of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
“In the Caucasus, the breakaway South Ossetia and Abkazia from Georgia are only recognised by Russia more than 10 years after. They can only travel as Russian citizens with Russian international passport. The international community still recognises them as citizens of Georgia.”
They are breakaway regions backed by Russia but not independent states. A breakaway Biafra backed by the US is better than the present state of the Igbos. Yes, it can happen.
Igbos need to coalesce around a visionary leader and expel sycophantic traitors. Currently, the only acclaimed Igbo leader is Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Ndigbo also need to understand both the local and international political tides and sentiments to be able to make the right choices because the considerations for self-determination go beyond just the South-east.
Already, extreme utterances and actions by some key elements in the agitation for Biafra are taking tolls on our goodwill, friendship, and the sympathy we enjoy. Insults hurled at religious and political leaders of other regions are not helping us, politically.
Today, discordant tunes over the boundaries or territories of a prospective sovereign State of Biafra is growing in proportions with the hard wickets hurled at our neighbours & compatriots.
Indeed, as things stand today, the greater part of South-south region have continued to discountenance the idea of Biafra, perhaps, for these utterances or fear of becoming a minority within another sovereign state.
Only recently, the Governor of Rivers State was in Sokoto to reiterate that the people of Rivers State are rather in support of a restructured Nigeria, not a sovereign state of Biafra. Similarly, the people of Delta State have reiterated that Delta State, including the Anioma cultural zone, which is Igbo, will not be part of Biafra.
The truth is, times have changed, and so have political interests because 1967 is different from 2017. So much water has passed under the bridge and we have to be realistic.”
No one is being forced to join Biafra. It is the careless utterances of our fake political leaders and oil block beneficiaries who do not care a hoot about the generality of the suffering Igbos.
The Governor of Rivers State made a political visit to Sokoto State to create some goodwill. The PDP Governor is being hounded by the Buhari APC Government for defeating the APC in Rivers State.
This Governor has higher political ambitions to be President of Nigeria. If Buhari can be President of Nigeria, anybody can be President of Nigeria.
Rivers State is one of the strongholds of IPOB (Independent People of Biafra). People may vote differently in a referendum as Nigerian Governors represent their pockets and not their Constituents.
As I earlier said, there is serious clamour for Northern Cyprus to rejoin Cyprus. Beside the frustrations from isolation, the economy is also at the heart of it. The Monday, June 26, 2017 edition of UK’s newspaper, The Telegraph estimates that the reunification of the tiny island could boost its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by GBP5 Billion.
South-east’s political future should therefore be put in context of its economic interest and survival. The Igbos have larger chunk of their investments outside the South- east. Our people have invested heavily in every nook and cranny of Nigeria. They are into trading. Imagine a situation where a Republic of Biafra would have to depend on Nigerian passports to travel out. Importantly, as I mentioned earlier, we are not certain that the South-south will go with the Biafra idea. And in the event that they do not, what are our options for economic survival? Flowing from this, what guarantee do we have for international support if the main oil bearing region pulls out, knowing that no nation is a Santa Claus?
The Igbos love low hanging fruits but there are risks. Igbo properties are destroyed by organized Northern mobs (Almajiris) on a regular and recurring basis outside Igbo land especially in Northern Nigeria. Igbos should invest in Igbo land and Nigeria will come knocking.
Innoson at Nnewi supplies the Nigerian Air Force with spare parts.
Oil is a limited resource. The wealthiest nations in the world do not have oil. Luxembourg and Liechtenstein are landlocked countries with some of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Oil will become economically irrelevant as the world makes the transition to renewable energy.
Biafrans will need Nigerian visas to travel to Nigeria, and Nigerians will need Biafran visas to travel to Biafra. Biafrans will be treated and paid as expatriates in Nigeria and they will repatriate their earnings to Biafra instead of investing in Nigeria. Biafra will experience tremendous growth.
“Nigeria has never been as divided as it is today. The hate rhetoric is getting worse by the day. Parting ways under such level of bitterness could be risky to the investments and lives of the South Easterners.
Realistically speaking, is it possible that all Ndigbo living in the other parts of Nigeria, many of whom were born and bred outside Igbo land, and have been well assimilated by their host communities will return home? Many have never visited home and do not even speak lgbo language. Can we realistically expect those who have their investments in other parts of Nigeria to willingly abandon them and head home?
Although international systems seek to guarantee the security of lives of peoples and their properties on either side of the divides, should there be a self-determination process that leads to the emergence of a new nation, such guarantees are not absolute and difficult to enforce, especially in a society such as ours. The quit notice and hate spewed by the Arewa youth to Ndigbo point to the fact that all is not well. And it calls for caution because the mother hen does not run without looking back to know the fate of her chicks.”
Nigeria has always been divided but the looters from all parts have always been united by corruption. This corruption blinded them to agree to Nigeria as presently constituted. They wanted to replace the European masters so eagerly that they ignored the landmines. Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello only agreed to be part of the political gossamer if he was in the driver’s seat.
It is asinine that Igbos continue to invest outside Igbo land, given the hatred bestowed on lgbos because of their drive, industry, innovation, and resourcefulness. Imagine lgbo investments in Abuja transferred to lgbo land, that would greatly boost the economy of Igbo land.
The lgbos living in Nigeria outside lgbo land, and not speaking or understand lgbo language are “efulefus” (fools) and will surely regret their stupidity. Arewa has always been issuing quit notices to lgbos since 1945 and are going to issue more followed by beheadings and burning of properties.
https://africastallestman.com/20 17/06/16/it-is-only-a-matter-of- time/ https://africastallestman.com/20 17/08/06/you-have-been-warned-and-given-a-quit-date/
“Right template for Restructuring
The other option left for us is a restructured federation. Ndigbo need to develop and market what it believes to be the right template for restructuring. The Eastern Region was rated the fastest growing economy in Africa in the First Republic because the regions were relatively autonomous; resources were largely developed and controlled by the regions.
I believe Ndigbo will thrive, probably more than other regions, under a federal structure that guarantees substantial autonomy, justice, equity, security, and prosperity for Ndigbo wherever they live.
What we need is a federalism where each constituent part fends for itself to promote industry. We need a federal arrangement that guarantees and allows every constituent state or region to be primarily in charge of its aspirations and preferences to catalyse competitive development. We need a mutually agreed arrangement that allows every component to take charge of the security of lives and properties of citizens through decentralised policing, while the Federal Government takes care of defending our territorial integrity. We need a federal arrangement where the best excel and does not have to be sacrificed in the name of federal character. We need a restructured federation where the Igbo man or woman, and indeed, every Nigerian can live and ply his or her business without any form of discrimination, molestation, and destruction of his or her life and property on the flimsiest excuses. Igbos should be better off in a federation where they freely exercise their democratic rights without being hounded and killed by security forces.
We need a federal structure that guarantees smart and efficient government. And I believe these are possible if the leaders and constituent parts of the nation come to the table with sincerity of purpose. We should push for that, please.”
The Hausa-Fulani have a history of violence. They have already restructured the country to their advantage by awarding themselves most of the population, most of the legislative seats, most of the new infrastructural developments, control of the security apparatus, and the right to dole out oil blocks and import licenses. Is Dangote more astute than Igbo businesspeople? He cornered the essential commodity market in Nigeria by monopolizing import licenses made possible by the Hausa Fulani oligarchy, military or civilian.
The Hausa-Fulani oligarchy is holding every Nigerian tribe on the wrestling mat and will not give up unless knocked off (Crusade) or pushed away by the referee (International Community).
(i) Going forward, we need to set up a committee for a continuous engagement and moderation of IPOB, other pro- Biafra organisations and their leaders to avoid hate speeches and reckless statements that will make us lose our friends and sympathisers.
(ii) We need to send a team of South-east leaders to have yet another meeting with the Presidency, this time to tell them, in clear terms, the need to address the fears and complaints about marginalisation of the people of the South-east by this government, which is fueling the agitation in our region. Government needs to take concrete steps and demonstrate commitment in addressing the said complaints. This will help the South-east leaders to manage the restiveness.
(iii) The lgbos must continue to emphasise restructuring, which is presently enjoying acceptance by the South-south, South-west, Northern-central, and well-meaning people from other parts of the North. I believe that at the discussion table for restructuring, we will have sufficient allies that will enable us extract a good bargain for a just and equitable society, where we will, no doubt, excel. Ndigbo need a bigger space to operate.
In fact, Nigeria as a country is even a small space for the enterprising spirit of the Igbo, hence our people are scattered all over Africa and are capable of dominating the economic space.
(iv) We need to send delegations to different entities of the North, especially Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Maiduguri, Adamawa, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, among others, to engage the respective governors and top traditional rulers and clerics who will also help to moderate the utterances and actions of the Northern youth. These, I believe, will secure the lives and properties of our people all over the north and avoid their possible mass movement ahead of the October deadline contained in the threat by the Northern youth.”
(i)Talk is cheap. Have you set up the committee? Killings by jihadist Fulani herdsmen invite “hate speech.” Would you want their victims to write love poems for their killers? Has the Sultan of Sokoto condemned the killing of Igbos? Does he need a delegation or committee to do the right thing?
The sick President only listens to the cabal and his security chiefs are running amuck. When are you going to form this team or committee? How many committees are you going to form?
As Deputy Senate leader, how many motions or resolutions have you introduced in the Senate condemning Igbo marginalization, maltreatment, and murder (MMM)?
(ii)The present wicked APC government is an Hausa-Fulani-Yoruba alliance. The lgbos will have to liberate themselves by themselves. While the citizens of the South South, South West, and North Central support restructuring of Nigeria, their “errand boy” leaders are still tied to the Hausa-Fulani umbilical cord, as they enjoy the crumbs from the Hausa-Fulani table while smiling at their suffering tribal members and Igbos.
You are an Igbo Leader, how many times have you met the President over Igbo MMM? You are right in stating, “…this time to tell them, in clear terms…” because the Igbos are not part of the Presidency, which is meant for them.
(iii)Talk is cheap. When are you forming this delegation? You are the Deputy Senate leader or are you really? Killing of Igbos had been going on in Northern Nigeria since 1945. The Igbo State Union helped stem the tide until it was proscribed by the politically naive Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo. His reasoning was that a unitary government will promote Nigerian unity. It is his stupidity that is costing Igbo lives today.
Yes, the Governor of New York recently went to Texas to beg Texans to stop killing New Yorkers. Really! It shall never happen in a real country.
After touring Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Maiduguri, Adamawa, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, and Jigawa, your committee might also go to Gabon, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Libya, South Africa, Rwanda, and Kenya to beg those countries to stop killing Igbos. And you claim to be the Deputy Senate President of a country. Please stop deceiving yourself. Nigeria is an Emirate of Sokoto. Are we slaves begging for the “Massa” to stop whipping us?
Igbos want a country that functions for everyone and not a bargain for anyone.
(iv)”Here you go again.” Does the President control the States in a presidential democracy. Sending delegations to States under a presidential system to implore their citizens to stop killing Igbos implies that Nigeria is not a country. This is akin to the Nigerian Senate, where you are Deputy Leader, confirming agency heads and then turning around to send delegations to those agencies asking for equitable treatment of all Nigerians. Is Buhari, the President of Nigeria or the President of Northern Nigeria? You have confirmed that these agencies control the sick President Muhammadu Buhari or that Buhari is acting out their script. This is also exactly the way the Nigerian Senate operates – begging Saraki to dole out favours – instead of moderating Presidential actions!
“Finally, whatever choices we make, we must not allow ourselves to be ruled by our emotions, but by reasoning. The same tree stump does not trip a wise man twice. We must learn from the past and act wisely and decisively. Likewise, we must endeavour to present our demands in a civilized manner and in a language that is cognizant of other people’s sensibilities, not in a provocative or rancorous manner.”
Senator Ekweremadu is the Deputy President of the Senate and delivered this address at the meeting of South-east governors, National Assembly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Igbo leaders on political developments in the South East.
I agree, “the same tree stump does not trip a wise man twice.” It is unbelievable that Igbos will not emulate Hausa-Fulani cow millionaires resident in Igbo land whose only investments in Igbo land are folding mattresses, water kettles, and praying mats. Another round of abandoned property is around the corner.
The properties abandoned by Igbo Boko Haram refugees from the North are worthless. Hausa- Fulanis are offering one kobo to a Naira worth of property, to acquire them. When will the Igbos learn?
Instead of fighting for Igbo dignity, you and your fellow Igbo Federal legislators have accepted the master(Hausa-Fulani)-servant(Igbo) relationship.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu, are you going to emulate M.I. Power Okpara whose economic achievements you alluded to, earlier in your speech? His hometown is close to yours. He will not be Deputy Senate President and not fight for his people. A fighting floor member, Senator Ike Ekweremadu is preferable to a compliant, docile, and irrelevant Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.