Open Letter to His Excellency,
Professor Yemi Osinbajo,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Aso Rock Presidential Villa
On behalf of this coalition and all the peace-loving people of Northern Nigeria, we begin this letter by commending your efforts towards finding a lasting solution to the lingering Igbo-induced crises that is undoubtedly overheating the polity.
We sincerely believe Your Excellency’s good intentions as shown by your prompt and genuine actions towards ensuring peace and stability in holding talks with leaders of the North and the South-East.
Though we do not doubt Your Excellency’s bona fide concerns for the peaceful resolution of the crises, we nevertheless have reservations as to the efficacy of this approach in ensuring lasting solutions.
Our doubts are informed by the following historical antecedents that have characterized the behavior and conduct of the Igbo in Nigeria and previous efforts at containing them.
- The Igbo of Eastern Nigeria manifested their hatred for Nigeria’s unity barely five years after we gained our independence from the British when on January 15, 1966, their army officers carried out the first-ever mutiny that marked the beginning of a series of crisis which has profoundly altered the course of Nigeria’s history.
- By that ill motivated cowardly and deliberate action, the Igbo killed many northern officers from the rank of lieutenant colonel upwards and also decapitated the Prime Minister and the political leadership of the Northern and Western regions but left the zenith of Igbo leadership at the Federal level and the Eastern region intact.
- In line with the Igbo plan, General Aguiyi-Ironsi took advantage of the vacuum and, instead of returning power to the remnants of the First Republic government, he appropriated the coup and attempted to consolidate it for his people.
- Army officers of the Northern Region were eventually compelled to execute a counter coup on July 29, 1966 following a coordinated series of brazen provocations from the Igbo who touted northerners on northern streets by mocking the way leaders of the region were slain by the Igbo. This unfortunately resulted in mob action which resulted in the death of many Igbos .
- And when Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, from the North took over as Head of State following the counter coup, the Igbo through Lt. Col. Ojukwu, characteristically refused to recognize Gowon.
- Ojukwu declared the secession of the Igbo people from Nigeria and the formation of the republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967 resulting in a civil war that led to the tragic deaths of more than 2 million Nigerians.
- It is important to note here that the Igbo eventually capitulated and conceded defeat in an unconditional surrender, not an armistice, on January 15, 1970 which renders any talk about Biafra at any other time, a repudiation of the terms of that surrender signed by Phillip Effiong and other biafran leaders.
- In a shot out of the blues, the Igbo have over the last 2 years regrouped and fiercely and openly started discussing Biafra again under Ralph Uwazuruike of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State Of Biafra MASSOB.
- This was given greater impetus by a more furious Igbo rogue group called the Indigenous People Of Biafra IPOB under Nnamdi Kanu who even operates an illegal radio station spreading hate and war messages across the nation, calling other ethnic groups all sorts of names and threatening them with violent extermination. (Ref: vedeo on YouTube).
- The activities of the Igbo under Kanu’s IPOB has grown exponentially ranging from ordering people of other regions out of the South East – particularly the Yorubas and Hausa /Fulani from the South West and the North respectively, to open declaration of the amassing of arms and forceful total shutdown of the entire South-East. (Ref: https://www.google.com.ng/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.itrend247.com.ng/2016/03/breakingchaos-as-ipobmassob-orders.html%3Fm%3D0&ved=0ahUKEwiW8rvW88TUAhWFLFAKHeVCBm4QFggsMAY&usg=AFQjCNHg9_V3LC2cqHM_Q1Mu7pGl206Jyg&sig2=pZ6tM7DHshyaI4FqoQx79Q
- KANU and IPOB have declared full allegiance to a so called “Republic of Biafra” and continue to preach hatred and war virtually every day, and not for once did any Igbo leader call them to order. Instead, many of the leaders including Mr Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, the most senior elected Igbo, pay Kanu courtesy calls to prove that he is speaking for the entire Igbo. It is glaring to all that Kanu has serially breached all the terms of his stringent jail conditions in total disregard to the sanctity of our justice system . And yet the Authorities are thunderously silent .
- Even the latest statement by the South-East Governors Forum signed by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State in a response to the Northern reaction, did not condemn Kanu and Uwazuruike but characterised their action as “peaceful”. Ref: https://www.google.com.ng/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.informationng.com/2017/06/igbo-quit-notice-press-release-south-east-governors-forum-must-read.html&ved=0ahUKEwiN57n09MTUAhWJZ1AKHW6eAkkQFgglMAI&usg=AFQjCNGENaGoryeq0zs3t8NRCqx0bjG6DA&sig2=n3AD6FKnapYUo16hcAJsCQ
- While all this is going on, neither the Federal Government nor other regional leaders of the North or West nor the international community ever found it necessary to call these renegade groups to order or in the very least admonish their leaders to do so. And none of the Igbo leaders holding various positions in this government ever disowned IPOB or condemned its operations until lately with Governor Rochas Okorocha’s mild condemnation after the Kaduna Declaration by our Coalition .
GROUNDS FOR SUSPICION
Given the unrepentant antecedents exhibited by the Igbo as highlighted above, we strongly believe that the gruesome picture that the Biafran agitation represents is beyond a few people showcasing to Your Excellency that the Igbo will eventually heed the call for peace and desist from their dangerous campaign against Nigeria.
The seed of hate planted in the name of Biafra is evidently so deep that the ongoing interaction between you and the leaders from the South East can not in our well informed opinion douse or address the underlying deep seated underlying problems (See Asaba Declaration).
We base our concerns on the following grounds.
- Despite the fact that the Igbo have been the most accommodated and tolerated of all the ethnic groups of Nigeria, the renewed incessant, spiteful and vile threats and insults on Northern leaders and their people, culture and religions that are the targets of this venomous agitation for Biafra, can hardly be addressed through a series of two hours dialogues.
- As if to prove this, barely hours after Your Excellency’s meeting with the South-East leaders, the Biafran Igbo openly disowned the leaders and dissociated themselves from the meeting. (Ref: https://www.google.com.ng/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/06/ipob-to-osinbajo-your-meeting-with-igbo-leaders-without-kanu-unacceptable/&ved=0ahUKEwjHueSn8cTUAhVJI1AKHZmQD6wQFggqMAM&usg=AFQjCNHwiwuEKgcK9l5zQLUzfXyPu1aQ7A&sig2=HbfcbWt6wiZZfiDiXuz6MA
- More disturbingly, Kanu has openly claimed that the Biafran agitators have amassed arms in readiness for a war of secession which is quite conceivable given the fact that since 2009, catches of dangerous weapons routinely smuggled into the country and occasionally intercepted by the Nigerian authorities , were all traced to Igbo sources. (Ref: https://www.google.com.ng/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://247ureports.com/2014/05/25/boko-haram-three-suspected-arms-suppliers-arrested-in-enugu/&ved=0ahUKEwjVoNef8sTUAhUEYlAKHRRsB58QFghHMAg&usg=AFQjCNHlUhTYo4s8B0kQNz-0jeHR34MTDA&sig2=EEM5w7RzNKyGFvHnmjmBkA
- The situation continues to be baffling and alarming and therefore unacceptable – especially with the Igbo political and opinion leaders openly legitimizing the violent comments, insults, threats, hate speech and anarchy that the Biafrans led by Nnamdi Kanu are making against the North and the Nigerian state in general.
- They have enthusiatically given Kanu the platform, patronage and symbolic legitimacy through an ignominious display of homage, reception and open embrace.
- Concerned by the fact that the Biafrans have confessed to arming themselves for a violent breakup, we feel that it is risky for the rest of the country particularly the North to go on pretending that it is safe for us to co habitate with the Igbos given how deeply they are entrenched in our societies .
- And since evidently the Igbo have not been sufficiently humbled by their self imposed bloody civil violence of 1966, we are strongly concerned that nothing short of granting their Biafran dream will suffice.
- And since the Igbo have virtually infiltrated every nook and cranny of Northern Nigeria where they have been received with open arms
as fellow compatriots, we strongly believe that the region is no longer safe and secure in the light of the unfolding threats and the fact that for a long time, the Igbo have gone to extra ordinary lengths to ensure that in their domain in the South East, Northerners and Westerners are as much as possible disenfranchised from owning any businesses whereas in Kano alone, they own not less than 100, 000 shops across all the business districts.
- That since the younger generation of Nigerians makes up for more than 60 percent of the nation’s population, it is our hope that they inherit this country in better shape so that they can build a much better future for themselves and their offsprings in an atmosphere that is devoid of anarchy, hate, suspicion and negativity that characterize the polarized, and clearly irr