Chris Odinaka Nwedo
It is not wrong but right and an obligation of an enormous import for people feeling deprived, marginalized and\or oppressed to work actively to redress the abuse. It is positive and consistent with laws of nature and common sense to fight resolutely against threat to ones existence. Nature has given every existent the power of self-defense and she supports every smart use of this faculty.
It is an inviolable duty to save oneself from dangers of repression or subjugation of any kind, and a strong-minded ideological fight to surmount the jeopardy of dehumanization is endlessly positive. Nature permits every existent to go any length in defense of the precious gift of life. The imperatives for the forceful determination to live are consistent with the law of survival. This proposition is incontestable, truly incontestable because the truthfulness of the fact is decisively founded in nature. God has given to existent the inviolable independent force to remain existing and greater capacities to confront whatever threatens this vitality. This is why on societal level, a collective struggle for emancipation is objectively rationalized and supported beyond frontiers, often, with compassionate propaganda. A commitment for the support of the ideological battles of those feeling deprived is compelling and in some situations irresistible.
However, a distinctive factor that discourages and damages this human solidarity is unfailingly the methodologies of the struggle. Methodology for me is a system of methods and principles adopted as appropriate tools for achieving the goals of the struggle. The methodology in use determines the success of a campaign, and a bad methodology is intrinsically destructive. Methodology is a technique and it justifies a course. Methodology refers to the instruments for the ideological struggle. For instance, as much as the world is firmly united in the support for the State of Israel and discountenances frequent rocket attacks from Palestinian militants that kill or harm the Jews, the same world communities denounce vociferously as disproportionate and over reactive the actions of the Jewish army.
Jewish army kills hundreds of the Palestinians, destroys properties of inestimable value and destitute tens of thousands for a death of an Israeli. The army scatters the Palestinians in fearful dismay and terrifies the people with potent threats of extinction in attempts to execute ambiguous commands of the government to stop the militant attacks. On the other hand, the uncoordinated propaganda and the inarticulate violence by the Palestinian militants towards the Israeli were heavier burden to the Palestinian struggle because the senseless tirades and futile violent methods destroy every opportunity for the realisation of the objectives of their struggle. The inflammatory speeches and irrational violent behavior have been powerful factors impeding the ‘Peace Processes’ and prospects of quick resolutions of the crises. The illusions of magic effects of the violent methods by the militants damage the sympathy of those striving tirelessly to end perennial catastrophe and ‘enslavement’ of the Palestine.
When the methods for reacting to feeling of oppression are appropriate, the struggle against the malice is bound to remain focused and efficient and there will be momentous supports. On the contrary, if the instruments of the struggle become denigrated by the caprices of the front-line protagonists the inevitable cracks to be generated by this ill-disposition naturally extinguish the popular supports. The weakening of the flames from the support foundations can widen the fault-lines and expands the cracks for opportunities for infiltrators to destroy the project realistically. However, once distraction is permitted, in this brand of ideological struggle, by lack of caution in the structures of the movement, the concentration on the original premises of the struggle becomes impossible.
In the steam of this push, confounding noise of battle and intense stampede in the ranks of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, my concern is the methodology for accessing the objectives so that the ‘legitimate’ struggle can be saved from preventable crumple under weight of bad methods. Definitely, the crumbling of the dream is bound to cause the ruin of many. The untimely death of so many during the Biafran Day, May 30 2016 revalidates my emphasis on this decisive issue of methodology. I am baffled by the assumption that the life of an Igbo man has become so little and degraded that he is compelled to walk-out senselessly and gets slaughtered. The Igbo man is resilient, perceptive, and articulate among the other gifts, therefore, cannot submit so easily to eccentric and imprecise visions of magical land immured from pain and sorrow. It is strange to think that the Igbo man has suddenly become impulsive when it is not in his nature. I am convinced that many are straying being led by the neck by dictates of inauspicious propaganda packed full movement.
Besides, there are enough of these brands of movement across the continents that ended disastrously solely on account imprudent rascality of the point-men. For the fact that life is an inviolable gift, it censorious for anyone to discard his or her own imprudently for a project whose value is hard to interpret or understand. The right to liberty even when it is inalienable has heavier obligation. This obligation includes ones safety and the interest of the others. Nevertheless, for the sake of definitional challenges, I want to view the methodology in question from the perspectives below: The physical tools in the struggle, the intellectual tools in the struggle and definite goals of the top characters in the struggle.
The only objective of this reflection is to task the consciousness of the organisers and supporters of the IPOB specifically on the tools. It is incontrovertible that without prudent tools it will be impossible for folks to be constructive vehicles for the Biafra. Indisputably, many of these folks are susceptible and scarcely conversant with the narratives of the way they are galloping in the night with an insufficient shaft of light. The command to disobey, demonstrate and challenge legitimately armed and hasty Nigerian Army for a magical paradise is confusing. Nigerian democracy is profoundly imperfect; the only way to improve the quality is by active participation, intelligent negotiation, construction of positive alliances and insistence on justice and fairness. The ways of invectives, divisive propaganda and violence are antithetical to values that are genuinely positive. By insisting on positive processes in the struggle to avoid injury and abortion of the energies and supports, I am not intending to preach fear but solid effort for better access to the goal. Fear is out of the way. Fear is “failure of help offered by reason”. Reason prevents me from being an unreasonable critic of ‘common course’, the same reason makes it imperative for me to contribute positively in the realisation of a collective venture of my folk.
Physical tools in the struggle: It is appreciative that there has never been any use of force of weaponry in the movement, however, the inarticulate dictum and provocative declarations are deconstructive to Ndi Igbo as smart people. To deny that Igbos are smart people is parallel to negating an indubitable fact. Our nature as smart people should challenge to us to better methods of demonstrating resentments to the bad states of affairs in Nigeria. Oppression and repression are facts in Nigeria and it is hypocritical to deny them. Nigerians plod under intolerable injustices. It is the injustices, the man’s inhumanity to man by the few. This cruelty is diffusive and not limited to a particular area until very recently. At the time of the military, the soldiers ceased government for specific interests of its members and select elites, while the politicians hold and exercise power in the name of a people and in turn used the disposition to deepen the plight of the masses irrespectively. It is the understanding of many that IPOB struggle should be ideological struggle for justice and fair play, for economic and political emancipation of Nigeria from the tyrants, for quality development, for better system of governance that exposes and rewards excellence and productivity and for a society disposed to easy of living life and of doing business. Calling for Biafra as an ideology of detaching from Nigeria after investing so much is illogically and truly un-Igbo. Biafra is a consciousness, a think home philosophy of Ndi- Igbo. This consciousness cannot be realised in the context of today by secession. Secession is totalistically anti-Ndi Igbo. To secede implies we are stupidly leaving Nigeria we have built with costly sweat and going empty handed. No, Igbos are smarter than this indiscretion. The quality of this call if it is really true is from the enemies and the same enemies would want the secession to come true so that they may ripe were they have not sown
This actually suggested the need for proper understanding of the nature of people calling for the immediate secession and the ulterior motives. It is tempting to say that those behind the uncritical moves to clip away the Igbos from Nigeria are those without genuine interest of the Ndi Igbo, those who have no stake or have failed to stake anywhere. This is because even in the heart of Igbo land those who are gainful, and have real businesses feel harmed and ashamed by the activities of these destabilizing agents. In some circles among the Igbos, the Biafran movement has become distorted. It has become the opium of the stupid. It is gradually giving relevance to those who have failed to be really productive. The IPOB as a vehicle for secession of South easterners from Nigeria is unacceptable to the main stream. Even when the South easterners are victims of senseless violence in Nigeria it is not true that they have really caused any. The peaceful nature of the Easterners makes them unlikely group to support destabilization of Nigeria. Igbos are industrious and peaceful. However, it is deceptive to rule out the fifth columnists that make trouble for relevance in this imprudent secession project.
The infusion of diatribe, hate speeches and threat of breakdown of law and order components of the agitation are counter-productive and are potent invitations to tragic consequences. The abnormality demonstrates more clearly the existence the fifth columnists eager to make their points. The improperly disposed folks have turned the struggle upside down in favour of illicit interests. As it is now, there are those steaming and waiting for spark of any violence in the name of IPOB to hit the ground running in fiendish destruction of the innocent, the vulnerable and loot properties. In the meantime, the demonstrations or the civil disobedience so far have been intolerable collective punishment to the South easterners. It is daunting to conceptualize a methodology of this regular upset that will be devoid of massive disruption, discomfort, injury and bloodshed.
Earlier a peaceful demonstration attributed to organizers of IPOB ended in fiasco with endless chronicles of death, pains of bodily injuries and material destruction. Groups of renegades among the agitators conspired and rushed to Niger Bridge to ambush and pitilessly robbed the folks coming in from diaspora. In one of the series of the destabilizing protests, the only entrance to the zone from the North was locked for days by the protesters while many Igbo people remained helplessly trapped on the way. The anguish of this insensitivity on the victims was intolerable. Till today many of the victims of the blockade may still be suffering or dead as a direct result of barbarity. Besides, the locking out of the Ndi- Igbo by the so called defenders of the Igbo course, shops were looted, vehicles burnt, etc. In the end, the outing was comparatively catastrophic. In the reality of today, IPOB is an ‘extraordinary idea’. The struggle has needlessly consumed over 1,000 Igbos since August 2015. This is added to over 2.5 million innocent victims slaughtered 1967. For me it is flabbergasting.
It is an embarrassing slow death for Ndi Igbo to have repeated experiences of these sorts. It is clear that the presumable good ‘intentions’ of the IPOB point-men were not potent enough to prevent a tragic subversion. If they had what it takes to contain the rebellious members surely, they would not have ‘consented’ to the ruin that was brought upon the integrity of the movement. To the betrayers of the movement I say this blunders should not have been committed to avoid discrediting the movement.
Moreover, some unprincipled campaigners have turned themselves into Lords in their various small communities and using their prominence in the movement to tyrannize and humiliate the folks as they give impressions that they are benevolent protectors of the various communities. This exploitations or abuses definitely denigrate the universal goal of the IPOB. However, the abuse is a necessary part of it as long as we have among us crude opportunists ready to take laws into their hands rebelliously. For the organisers, the agony of Ndi Igbo can neither tolerate nor sustain this movement in these hard and terrifying times. For now, I am bothered by the following questions: firstly, do the IPOB lead-campaigners have clear and definite vision of efficient instruments for accessing the ultimate goals of the movement; secondly, what are the hopes for accessing the tools not immediately available particularly on the international levels, thirdly, what are the real goals of the movement? fourthly, are these goals feasible in the context of today fifthly, what does realisation of the goals mean in the context of collective interest of Ndi Igbo and finally how prepared are IPOB secession campaigners to manage the success if the goals become achieved?
It is incontrovertible that having a clear understanding of definite tools for accessing the objectives of IPOB gets the project speedily accomplished. An erroneous start discharges negative signals. A negative signal multiplies skeptics; skeptics put spanners on the work and bait cynics to ruin the movement. To be noted is the fact that nothing is as bad and dangerous as handing over the complicated movement over to people of skillful diatribes. Because their arrogance and reckless utterances provide irresistible enticement to spirited detractors. Proficient invectives as flag-bearers turn the light off on the way. The haughty has the potential to destabilize both the movement and folks at the same time.
By the methods of the arrogant, the folks are bound to be embarrassed until prudence is permitted to preside. And even when the blame games fail to turn to bruising fights, they implant strong distastes that discourage enthusiasm for the movement. Daily so much time are wasted, shops left unattended to as folks gather to contest and wrangle over some new controversial statements from the structures of IPOB. Some of these statements are divisive and illusive. Some are nonsensical attacks on folks differing in the approach but of the same commitment. The continued reliance on disparagement, callous statements and verbal abuse or name-calling demonstrated that the front liners in the IPOB may not have had access to ‘approved’ methodology characteristic to that brand of ideological struggle.
I insist that a call for secession of Ndi Igbo is ill-time and ill-willed, the agitation cannot come from the ‘Igbos of substance’, because they understood that the divisive propaganda is antithetical to Ndi Igbo and therefore prejudicial to their interest. The ‘Igbos of substance’ are well- travelled and well-connected. They are conscious that “the trend today is that nations are coming together and bridging gaps of differences for mutual cooperation under a new world order of globalization for a better society…” Those fanning the embers of ethnic hatred and war may claim to represent the Ndi Igbo as the fundamentalist groups Boko Haram claim they represent the interest of northern Muslims. The religious militants have slaughtered citizens indiscriminately; have attacked religious houses with horrendous narratives. It is therefore imperative to say that those stirring up the embers of disunity, anarchy and confusion in the name of Ndi Igbo should redirect their energy to areas more productive to the collectivity of the Igbos. The collective interest of Ndi Igbo is a more stable, prosperous and united Nigeria.
Nigeria is politically fragile, therefore, primordial agitations and hate speeches can only reproduce acrimony, resentment, disunity and intensify underdevelopment. We need to eschew circumstances that encourage and/or elevate values of destructive primordial sentiments. We must see ourselves as one and the same people in the cooperate responsibility of making Nigeria a place of peace for quality development.
To be continued