The Nation

Open letter to Buhari and the new Cabinet on the Biafra Agitation

Mr. President, Council members, ladies and gentlemen, I send you glad tidings from my abode; I refuse to congratulate you because you do not deserve our cheers, but rather our sympathy and prayers.
This sympathy is because you promised a lot under the “change mantra” – good roads, good housing, employment generation, 5000 Naira to 25 million poor Nigerians, regular power supply, cheap petroleum product and infact, cooking gas to every household, paid employment to every graduate and many more very lofty promises.
Yes! Nigerians loved it but there is a snag, the oil prices are low, below $50, and Charles Soludo the former CBN governor warned against such promises during Mr. President’s campaign. Now there was a prediction, just yesterday, that the oil prices are likely to remain so for the next five years. Wow!!! That is why you deserve pity, more so that Nigerians have started asking for the payment of the 5000 Naira promised to poor Nigerians, including its arrears for six months.
All the stated above are pre-requisites for peace and security of lives and property, but the real challenge now is the seeming agitation for the dintergration of Nigeria by a few young men of South-Eastern extraction, whom I feel are good people but are unfortunately fed poisonous ideas of believing that someone, somewhere is eating their cake without working for them.
They have been fed the belief that if they are let go, their areas will flow with milk and honey, become paradise on earth and there will be no challenge of life; some even believe that they will not need to work as hard to become very rich and prosperous. Hearing all these, you know that indoctrination is at work; these were exactly the same messages that was fed to youths in the North-East that made them believe that with the establishment of a caliphate everything they have ever wanted will be at their beck and call; but we can see what it has turned out to today. South Sudan is also a sound example for all to see.
On your part Mr. President and members of the federal executive council, what is required urgently is not to castigate anyone or dehumanise any of them or even politicise the problem at hand, as that was the greatest problem of the North-East, in which while some felt the previous federal government was involved, they (the then federal government) saw it as being opposition-sponsored, and now that the opposition is in power and the ruling party is in opposition, we can see that the challenges have refused to go away.
See it as it is, Mr. President, council members, a budding ideology that requires a counter-ideology to tackle, not the propaganda of casting aspersions as some people have begun to do, calling the agitators miscreants, thugs and all what not. I have consistently said that, having lived long enough in the South-East and speaking Igbo fluently, I know the Igbo man as being peace loving and only wanting to carry on his business and for it to prosper. It is unfortunate that indoctrinators have managed to sown their poisonous message into the heart of the average Igbo youth, so the Council most immediately develop a counter-message and action to be fed these agile young men and women, as natures abhors vacuum.
I wish that Mr. President, you and the Council will summon an Igbo stakeholders’ forum to enable the government to better share a progressive message of its plans for the Igbo within the larger federation and de-radicalise the youth, while – similarly – the police must be called to do their job professionally with civility, as any aggressive action will only aggravate the tense situation which some people want to take advantage of. The police should be made aware that civil and peaceful protest is a part of democratic tenets.
In addition, the federal executive council should set up an arbitration committee of people with sound ideas like the Atiku Abubakar’s Amnesty programme and creation of Ministry for Niger Delta, which late President Yar’adua took hold of to bring lasting peace to the South-South region that had been under violence for over 35 years.
This I submit to council for consideration as you inaugurate.

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Christian Voice