One mistake an Igbo will be making today is to feel safe anywhere as a Nigerian. What they want that cannot be given is assurance about Igbo safety. The Igbo is naive being unconscious of the dangers he is surrounded with for decades. If he is aware of it what can he do any way? That's the dilemma facing the man. He should just go about his business quietly, getting killed whenever he may. Living as a second and third class citizen is a condition he must get used to, if he doesn't want trouble for his area and people any time.
After the Biafra surrender, Igbo land was deliberately garrisoned militarily, east, west, north, south and center, in anticipation of another uprising like the current one. The Igbo haters and adversaries of Nigeria did not take any chances about that. This was followed by extortion of all road users since 50 years ago in the form of indirect taxation which has continued till today. I am pretty sure about this because I am a victim.
Who knows what it will take to provoke the federal government to start war again. Will it perhaps take the imminent boycott of Anambra election in November which has been foolishly ordered by the current IPOB idol, Nnamdi Kanu? The government may be waiting on the wings for a semblance of chaos and lawlessness in Anambra state to take action as was done during the war? If the government is mild it will simply declare a lasting state of emergency there which will cordon the place off from economic and social activity. You know what the implications and dire consequences will be. It will take away all the freedoms we ever knew and impose all possible exploitations. Nobody knows the type of bombs Nigeria has secretly stockpiled for this purpose. Like joke, like joke, Igbo land can easily be reduced to rubble - another Aleppo in Syria, another Mosul in Iraq, another Yemen, Libya, Eritrea, Somalia and Southern Sudan. The world did not bath an eyelid when these vast areas were mauled and will not see what is happening if it should happen again in Eastern Nigeria.
This is the mortal fear of anybody looking at the Biafra issue today. We all share it. This does not render the case for Biafra irrelevant any way.
For me Biafra is an option for escaping personally from a Nigeria whose fate as a troubled state seems both irreversible and inescapable. If there is a choice between such a Nigeria and a sentimental Biafra that exists only in the realm of fantasy, I would choose Biafra because people's creativity there is more challenged than in Nigeria. Even though one may object to how Nnamdi Kanu is going about the rule or leadership of Biafra, a clear distinction can be made between the man Kanu and the concept Biafra. How Kanu came to the scene is providential. It has a semblance with Moses in the bible that came to challenge Pharaoh when he could have passed for a useless fugitive, a rolling stone, and untrained, homeless idiot, a handicapped person who stammered. But there is no leader in history that is as astute and competent as Moses was. He accomplished his task of leading the Israelites out of bondage and through the wilderness quietly and completely. He delivered them there before pegged off and kicked the bucket. Till today he was always remembered for his role. Nobody can ever forget Moses in history.
Now the fear is always genuine of what danger lies ahead on the way to Biafra's own Promised Land. On this Martin Luther King Jr. during his ordeal leading the human right struggles in America at the closing of a speech on 'Facing the new challenge' in Montgomery, Alabama in December, 1956 said:
There is the danger, therefore that after hearing all this, you will go away with the impression that we can go home, sit down and do nothing, waiting for the coming of the inevitable. You will somehow feel that the new age will role in on the wheels of inevitability, so there is nothing to do but to wait for it. If you get that impression, you are the victims of an illusion wrapped in superficiality. We must speed up the coming of the inevitable.
This makes marching, protest and demonstration necessary in standing up against injustice. I stand on this same protocol today over the Biafra issue. But it must be peaceful and non-violent. If the struggle for Biafra will not renounce violence from the outset until the end, it has to be dropped. There is nothing good in it for us if it is with violence. The risk factor of war will be roundly devastating, especially on the Biafra side. Forget how Nigeria thinks it will fare in a war. Nobody will wish to see war again in Nigeria on both sides after the first one. There are no pretences about this. War will be a pretence to wipe out Eastern Nigeria or the Igbo area and people.
The order to boycott Anambra elections can spark this dreaded war in a matter of weeks from now. In the interest of public safety in Igbo land, the people should go and vote as usual and elect the leaders in Anambra who will take charge of affairs (good or bad) in the state.
Disallowing election is Anambra state is meant to obstruct Nigerian governance in that part of Igbo land in order to assert Biafra. What will that achieve? In the absence of such governance, what? The vacuum to be created by that will lead to a self –destruct that will be impossible to discontinue. There is no way violence cannot be used in preventing the election. This is what everybody should rise against before it is too late. If all people of goodwill do not rise now, denounce and actually prevent violence in Anambra, the Biafra and igbo cause would have been lost for all time and big time in the Nigerian project. Dr King has ample arguments standing for non-violence:
There is the danger that……………those of us who have had to stand amid the tragic midnight of injustice and indignities will enter the new age with hate and bitterness. But if we retaliate with hate and bitterness, the new age will be nothing but a duplication of the old age. We must blot out the hate and injustice of the old age. This is why I believe so firmly in non-violence. Violence never solves problems. It only creates new and complicated ones.
The task before us now therefore is to achieve Biafra or one-Nigeria peacefully without violence or bloodshed. Any of them is still possible. We have made enemies more than friends in this Nigeria/Biafra project. If we have leaders, they should realize that their primary assignment is peace, not unity, brotherhood or greatness. From this side we need Nigeria or Biafra, one them. If we have peace, unity, brotherhood and greatness will come by themselves. Nigeria will stay. Biafra will go. Biafra will never die, since it once was. We do not need two of them, being neither here nor there. Biafra will smolder like smoke until the end of time. In fact our greatness lies in how peaceful we can end up being in the circumstances. We are in eternal search for leaders. In King's words, “the urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity – leaders not in love with money, but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.” The situation in this country right now is an emergency. But it is not being treated as such. It will explode. If it does not we are lucky, believe me.
(c) Christian voice newspaper