OCHIE Igbo, a socio- cultural group comprising of Igbo professionals, both in Nigeria and the Diaspora, has noted the continuous institutionalized victimization of Nd’Igbo and resolved to stand up for the collective interest and security of Nd’Igbo.
Shortly after the 2015 Presidential election, the impression was created that Nd’Igbo had put all their political eggs in one basket and, were, therefore, pilloried and demonized for expressing their preference in a civic exercise.
While the insult on Nd’Igbo raged, appointments into Federal offices were skewed against them in clear breach of constitutional stipulations that support the Federal Character principle. At the height of that ominous and dangerous marginalization, some political rabble rousers canvassed the view that Igbo can go to hell.
In total disregard for Electoral Act that presupposes freedom of choice in elections; Igbo were threatened that voting a particular political party would earn them a mass burial in the Lagoon.
In continuation of that dangerous narrative, when the National Assembly elected their principal officers and an illustrious Igbo son, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, emerged as the Deputy President of Senate, another round of Igbo denunciation and intimidation began. Simply, they couldn't fathom how this Nazarene reared his head, from an opposition party.
Systematically, the perception has been sustained that being Igbo in Nigeria translates to committing the worst crime known to man. In private and public, the average Igbo is treated with scorn, suspicion, and condescension, especially by functionaries of government establishment.
We wish to state in all fairness that this negative profiling of Nd’Igbo did not start with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. But without a doubt, the demonic policies of ostracism against Nd’Igbo became much accentuated in the present dispensation.
While the terrorist Boko Haram group began their murderous campaigns, Nd’Igbo, especially in the north, were seen as the main target only for the music to change when there were no more Igbo blood in sight to spill.
Yet, having relocated to other parts of Nigeria to carry on with their legitimate businesses, the ubiquitous herdsmen turned violent and Igbo areas, particularly farms were despoiled, even as elderly women and men were slaughtered in reckless abandon.
As if that was not enough, Nigerian authorities mobilized police, military, and paramilitary personnel to occupy every space in Southeast to ensure that Nd’Igbo live like a conquered people. As security personnel man every road in the region, road users are subjected to unimaginable trauma.
Presently, the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise has shown a marked continuation of this obnoxious plot against Nd’Igbo. Not only has scant and malfunctioning equipment been sent to the Southeast, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for inexplicable reasons insists on carrying out the registration only at local government council headquarters.
Given this development, young school leavers that just attained the voting age of 18 have the added burden of raising as much as N2, 000 or more as transport fare to and from the council headquarters to get registered. In a curious contrast, the same INEC has laid out elaborate plans, taking registration gadgets to internally displaced person camps in the north, where even under-aged children are captured with nonchalant zeal.
Ochie Igbo plans to engage the Southeast caucus in the National Assembly to find out why CVR should be taking place only at the council headquarters in the zone rather than wards. Very worrisome is the fact that most times, upon reaching the council headquarters, INEC staff would complain of nonavailability of fuel to power the generating sets. Could this be a calculated attempt to reduce the participation of Nd’Igbo and credit them with inferior voting figures?
Prevailing Political Situation In Nigeria:
It is against the foregoing that we met and reviewed the prevailing political situation in the country.
There is no doubt that having ensured through hook and crook that political power, notably the Presidency returned to the north, the north has seen that they have been conned a second time politically.
In the greed for political power and desperation for the highest office in the country, the north, which claims political superiority, was given a weak option. Now, the health condition of the President has once again brought back memories of the past seven years.
But, instead of taking responsibility for its own political miscalculation, Nd’Igbo are singled out for victimization. Recently, a police officer was quoted as saying that if anything untoward happens to President Buhari, he would kill 200 people. Those who have been following Nigeria’s political history will know what that means and from where the 200 people would come.
Some time ago, the Deputy President of Senate was stalked by a Hilux van with suspicious looking occupants in Abuja. It was only the dexterity and driving skills of Ekweremadu’s driver that averted what was clearly an assassination attempt.
Having failed in that plot, recently a letter exposing another plot to use security agents to incriminate, incarcerate and eliminate the Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, was read on the floor of Nigeria Senate.
We wish to alert Nigerians and the international community of another devious plot to levy genocide on Nd’Igbo in Nigeria as a way of truncating the present democracy, which has thrown up another sphinx an oddity.
The only enemies known to Nd’Igbo are poverty and disease, as such as a people they have continued to exert their time, talent and drive towards eradicating those evils. Our detractors have mistaken our love for good life to mean readiness to suffer indignities or slavery in the fatherland.
When members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) came together to interrogate the double standards and discrimination against Nd’Igbo, they were criminalized for championing the cause of self-determination and a redefinition of Nigeria’s statehood.
We find that while the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, charged with a treasonable felony has been bonded under outrageous terms; a clandestine plot is being hatched to isolate the occupant of highest political office in Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Also in the Senate, Chairman of Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Senator Sam Anyanwu, has undertaken the committee’s assignments with patriotic zeal and forthrightness unexpected of a first term senator. Some of these assignments, on account of their enormous impact on the polity have opened him up for devious clandestine plots.
Consequently and in the light of the foregoing, Ochie Igbo has resolved that as Nigeria looks forward to another decisive election year, 2019, there is only one choice open to the country. It is either we determine Nigeria’s future as civilized citizens or take the barbaric option.
No longer will Igbo be made to bear the burden of Nigeria’s faulty structure. Until Nigeria settles its ambivalent and twisted political economy, Restructuring, Self-determination, and Secession remain alternative options on the table.
It is often said that those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable. As Nigerians pray for the quick recuperation and return of President Muhammadu Buhari, let us also pray that nothing untoward happens to Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Sam Anyanwu or indeed any Igbo person in the prevailing political machinations in the country. You cannot deny Nd’Igbo their voice on how Nigeria should be governed and deny them exit from the Nigeria project at the same time.
Dr. Chukwuma Orji
Mr. Theo Nwoba