By ANIEBO NWAMU
A new Nigeria will emerge within the next four years. That’s my prediction. Shall we have a better country or not? All I know is that the situation will not be pleasant, just as it isn’t now. Between 2019 and 2023, the majority of Nigerians will, finally, begin to face reality and return to where they should have been much earlier.
I have no congratulations to offer Nigerian politicians on their inauguration this Wednesday, for I’m writing this from south-east Nigeria where I hope to observe a sit-at-home in honour of the memory of my father and 3million other Biafrans (and maybe 3million other Nigerians) cut down by evil forces masquerading as lovers of Nigeria. It’s good that Yakubu Gowon, TY Danjuma, Olusegun Obasanjo, David Mark and some of their minions are still alive to witness the state of the country for which sake they committed the fratricide of 1967–70. There is no longer any doubt that “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be accomplished”, the battle cry of the invaders of Biafra, was a hollow gimmick. Or, was the civil war instigated by the West that always sought opportunities to sell their arms and ammunition or take over oil wells? But what happened to the brains of those who were used to kill their own brothers?
The curses placed by the innocents on their assailants 50—53 years ago seem to have started working. Today, the enemy is no longer “Nzeogwu’s brother” or “Ifeajuna’s sister” but a marauder whose lust is to kill and destroy whoever and whatever stands on their way. I believe what they call “Boko Haram” is not a gang of poor, jobless beggars; it is a well-funded and well-directed army being used to actualise a hidden agenda. Otherwise, why do we still have the armed forces, Nigeria police, DSS, NIA and dozens of other agencies? Does it mean nobody knows how this terrorist group is funded or the people behind them? Why has none of these agencies sustained by public funds not been axed? The more security votes are dispensed, the worse the insecurity situation becomes, yet few are raising eyebrows. Common sense tells every reasonable person that any ransom paid from the public purse is an indirect appropriation for strengthening the “enemy”.
Imagine army generals and police commissioners intermittently issuing press releases to warn “unpatriotic elements” and “foreign collaborators” to steer clear of “derailing Buhari’s second term”. From their air-conditioned offices in Abuja or Lagos, they’re always “making concerted efforts” to be “on top of the situation” or deny reports of their humiliations by the enemy. Meanwhile, ill-equipped and poorly armed soldiers are being killed by better-armed terrorists. Almost every community in every part of the country has lost a son or two fighting a war they didn’t understand in the north-east.
But why? Why are people this wicked? Just to satisfy a few whims and caprices, they’re sacrificing their own compatriots. Just to have access to stolen oil or mine gold and diamonds with little challenge, they’re murdering unarmed, starving and harmless villagers and razing their homes. Just to have a market for their weapons, they’re sponsoring ignorant and jobless hooligans to levy war on their country and their continent. Worse, these wicked godfathers of crime don’t even offer the “black things” they use to kill and destroy a chance to think rationally: drugs of all kinds are always available for their “fighters”.
Forty-nine years after the so-called defeat of Biafra, only those who shot their way to power in order to loot our commonweal still talk of “this great country”. Once they’re out of power, they begin to complain about what is wrong with Nigeria. They’re never happy. They’re never healthy. And see how they’ve been dying miserably in large numbers.
To restructure Nigeria is a task that must be begun before the generation that fought Biafra die out. The “next level” should witness our last struggle for restructuring. Every day that passes without our leaders taking a step forward is a wasted one. Is it not said that only a mad person does one thing repeatedly and expects a different result? Nigeria is not working; it will not work until we return to where we were at independence in 1960.
When some people accuse the Yoruba of having betrayal in their blood, this is what they mean: For at least 25 years before 2015, the Yoruba were at the forefront of the quest for restructuring. Once they succeeded in getting to the centre, their agitation died down. Now that they’re anticipating a bad sign towards 2023, they’ve begun to proclaim “restructuring” from their rooftops once again. Hardly a day passes without one reading a release or the other from shadowy groups canvassing the position of the Yoruba on Fulani herdsmen, Fulani radio and Fulani rapists and kidnappers. The groups are obviously sponsored perhaps by politicians who are not getting the right signals as politicking for 2023 gathers steam.
Only the Igbo have been consistent – and have been walking in the right direction. The middle belters who were used to fight Biafra seem to have realised their folly, having lost almost all privileges enjoyed by the “victors” of the fratricidal war. I just hope young people from the south-east won’t offer “pythons” another chance to murder them for mourning their loved ones this Thursday. They’ve been told to stay in their homes and not organise rallies.
As for the “pythons”, I advise them to go to the theatre of war waged by Boko Haram and “bandits” and leave unarmed civilians in the south-east and south-south alone. It was the same action their kind took during the Nigeria—Biafra war: they murdered innocent men, women and children in villages but couldn’t go to the war front as expected of true soldiers. Never again! Please, we should be left to mourn; it’s our “next level” of hope.
The effect of the current war waged by terrorists is only beginning to be felt. There are darker days ahead. Those billions of dollars used for procuring fighting equipment must be accounted for, because they were all imported. The treasury will continue to bleed, as funds that should be used to provide more essential things such as power, education, rail system and health get diverted to terror fights. By crippling the economy, the war may eventually lead to Nigeria’s disintegration. The so-called minimum wage has no meaning – it has been devoured already by inflation, even as the naira is set to be devalued again. [You may not get a dollar for N1, 000 by this time next year.] In two short years, no state or federal government may be able to pay salaries, just as the country may no longer be able to service its $25billion loan. [And creditors like China might start knocking at the door.] When soldiers can’t get their pay at the end of the month, they can’t be forced to fight on empty stomach. Better funded insurgents may then meet little resistance as they seek to overrun the entire country.
Nonetheless, I have nothing but best wishes for President Buhari, state governors and other officeholders who have now entered a new term. While they rejoice they should understand, however, that the next four years will be the hardest period in the country’s history – much harder than the civil war years. Our lawmakers, I hope, will see the need to reduce their jumbo pay. All looters of the treasury may not be able to enjoy their loot in peace anymore, and that is for those lucky enough to stay alive. The table will certainly be shaken vigorously before 2023.
Connect with Aniebo:+234-8054100220 (SMS/WhatsApp only)