ON BIAFRA, THE ELECTION AND THE CALL FOR BOYCOTT
Oil flippantly kept soon begins to draw ants whether sweet or bitter.
Few hours ago, I was glued to the IPOB Radio. I listened carefully to their steadfast call for a boycott of the 2019 General Election. They told the masses to sit at home on 16th February as a way of showing “the zoo”, Nigeria, and the international community that they were serious about their quest for secession. A referendum, they said, should decide our faith.
What was their mantra? The right of a people to demand of their society just as much as they gave to it; the right of a people to travel, live and thrive in every part of Nigeria with fear of intimidation; the right to live and to let live. I was in near total agreement with Kanu on this matter. Nnamdi Kanu: the current leader of IPOB.
So as I mentioned earlier, I agreed almost totally with Nnamdi Kanu. His demands were not strange to us. We had heard them before. From Ghandi of India, Mandela of South Africa, Luther King Jr of America to Ojukwu of Biafra, these issues have always formed the major bearing for every movement towards social reengineering.
As Igbo people would say, the kite should perch and the eagle should perch; either one that says the other should not perch should break a wing. But what happens when the tree belongs to eagles? Will the kite be compelled into staying as a slave to the convocation? No, we hold this truth to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed, by the creator, with the inalienable rights to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
So am I in agreement with the creed of IPOB? Do I support the call for boycott? Before I give my opinion on that, let us do a brief background check.
In 1967 when Ojukwu declared the sovereign State of Biafra, some basic facts informed the announcement:
- The brutal killing of over 50,000 Biafrans in different parts of Nigeria
- The refusal of Gowon to heed the Aburi accord
- The desire of the people to secede from the union
- The hope for international support
- Over 3,000,000 Biafrans had been swallowed by the civil war
- Gowon was still unwilling to stand by Aburi
- The people still wanted to secede
- The promised international support never came
- Biafra collapsed into Nigeria
- Ojukwu fled the country
The tragedy of history is that men seldom learn from it. History always recycles in different forms. Yesterday, it was pool, today, it is Nairabet. In 2015,
- Buhari became president and promised Nigerians equity
- A score of Biafrans were murdered by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and the herdsmen in Biafra land
- Buhari systematically marginalised Biafrans in his administrative appointments
- Biafrans cried woe. They wanted to secede from the union again
- Nnamdi Kanu’s voice gained greater prominence. He was the voice of the people
- Nnamdi Kanu was arrested
- Nnamdi Kanu was released from prison
- Biafrans rallied around him in their quest for independence
- Nnamdi Kanu assured them of support from the international community
- Biafrans volunteered to constitute a militia
- Buhari struck in the shade of python dance
- Over 2,000 were killed
- Foreign aid never came
- Nnamdi Kanu fled the country
- Buhari remained president
- The Boko Haram and herdsmen killings continued
The fight for freedom is noble and never succeeds without cost. John Henry says, give me freedom or give me death. So if death is the price that some must pay to free our children from the shackles of permanent psychological bondage, then nothing, I agree with Luther King, shall be more redemptive. But what happens when the prospect of death exceeds the sheer promise of sweet freedom. What happens when history is reinvented and the people’s woe reenacted in a different time and form? What happens when the tunnel stretches and the retrospective seer assures us there is no light at the end of our chosen path?
Then we may quit sacrificing yam tubers and turn to our own selves. We may choose a different path and sacrifice even our own blood.
An old Indian saying holds that when a dog bites one the first time, the dog is mad but if the same dog bites the one a second time, the individual may be mad. Since the 20th century, we have complained, appealed and arraigned. We have conscientised the world on the fact of our condition. We have used all the means listed to fight for truth, freedom in our pursuit of happiness. Have we succeeded? No. Maybe it is high time we tried a different approach.
Nigeria is made up 6 geopolitical zones. According to the recent figures released by INEC, South East and South South, Nigeria, have the least number of registered voters. They constitute about 25% of the voters. Now this means that whether the two regions vote or not, a vast majority of votes will still be cast on 16th. These votes will decide who the next president will become, whether Biafrans liked the person or not.
#Fact: If we vote, we will stand a chance of influencing who the next president will be. If not, a president will be imposed on us.
Recall that on 28 March 2015, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan got near 100% votes from Biafra, but on 29th May, His Excellency Mohammadu Buhari was sworn into office.
This is 2019,
- Biafrans are being killed in different parts of Nigeria
- Biafrans suffer political marginalization in the country
- Nnamdi Kanu is calling for a boycott of the General Election
- Nnamdi Kanu is promising Biafrans help from international community
- Neither Nnamdi Kanu nor his parents are in Nigeria
- We have a right to vote
- Should we vote?