by Ukonu Obasi
I have taken time to watch Buhari’s interview at Al Jazeera, especially where he was asked how he would deal with the Biafra question. First of all, I will say that from his response, and body language, it is obvious that he doesn’t care for the lives that have been lost, and may have been in support of the order to use deadly force on unarmed protesters. When your president, who took a solemn oath to protect and defend you, shows no interest in your life, and may indeed be colluding in killing his own citizens, then it may be a time to review your citizenship of that country.
I listened to Mr Buhari, and while I have previously never been a supporter of the agitation for Biafra; when I see a president who doesn’t care if his citizens live or die, where there are those who are happy to see their fellow citizens shot and killed for doing nothing more than protest, when I think back that in every part of the country that Igbos live, they are the scapegoat of any trigger point, being killed and their property destroyed for things they have little or nothing to do with them, when I think how they are told time and time again that they will never rise to hold the highest office in their own country and indeed have never held that office in many decades, then we indeed have to reflect on our membership of this nation.
It has always been clear that their are ethnic bigots who have issues with people of different tribes and ethnicity, it is also clear that there are people who have a dislike, even hatred for the Igbos, for whatever their reasons are, however to hate someone, is quite different to killing someone. You can hate anyone you like, that’s your business, but you have no right to kill anybody, least of all using the very power of state that was meant to protect people.
Mr Buhari in his interview while showing an astonishing level of disregard for the lives of his citizens made a very good point; there is no need to protest. The Igbos should organise themselves, join a political party on mass, and use it to negotiate our peaceful separation from the Nigerian state. Yes, that’s what we should do.
When people don’t want you, when they abuse you, when they exploit you, they kill you, tell you that you cannot be anything in your own country, surely these same people will not have a problem if we leave peacefully. I am not calling for war, no one wants violence, but we cannot continue in this way, especially now Nigeria has a president who doesn’t care if we live or die.
Now not everybody wants Biafra, I am not convinced myself. Which is why we should have a referendum within the Igbo nation, to decide if we want to leave Nigeria or not. If that referendum should show that Igbos want to leave, then we should be allowed to leave peacefully. Other nations do it, we won’t be the first, we won’t be the last.
If it’s the oil that is the problem, then they can keep it by all means, especially if the Niger Delta want to remain part of Nigeria. They can crave the map around Igbo land. We won’t be the first sovereign nation that is surrounded by another. I know this is a controversial statement, but I make it because my conscience will not allow me to keep quiet. I am neither politician or social crusader.
Ukonu Obasi is a public health manager based in the United Kingdom. He is also a political analyst and social media activist. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.