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Why Obasanjo will regret hisanti-Igbo instigations

By Cornelius Akubueze
Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand NigeriaCentral.com

"Donot forget that the civil war that almost divided this country wascaused by resource control. If Biafra had won, I would have beendead, your governor would not have been in the position he istoday." Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, March 2001

Those were part of his keynote speech at the 2 days "funeralvisit" to Bayelesa State of Nigeria, mid-March 2001. To say that mostNigerians were disappointed for such divisive and inflammatory talkby the head of state of today's Nigeria would be an understatement.This was one of the reckless comments by Obasanjo, a retired Yorubaarmy general whose colleagues foisted upon Nigerian in May 1999 in ahurriedly arranged and bought election.

Increasingly,many Nigerians, including myself, are convinced that these are severestrains of sycophancy and crass appeal to narrow interests in theperson of Olusegun Obasanjo. Who in his right mind would be makingcomments and behaving in the manner in which this loose canon hasbeen acting as if he had been ordained by God to carry out judgmenton the Nigerian peoples of the earth.


Nigeria's president, retired GeneralOlusegun Obasanjo, needs to be reminded that he and his cronies arenow dealing with the children of that Biafra war era whoseaspirations and resolve are entirely different from those he fought.His anti-Igbo instigations can become his eternal liability if thenext conflagration his actions are building come to pass. When hemakes these crude outbursts, he not only makes himself appearill-equipped to lead a country like Nigeria or any Third Worldcountry, for that matter, but also rekindles in our minds the factthat the Biafra/Igbo children of the 1967-1970 war lost everything,peaceful childhood, a year or two of organized academic peace and nowa part of our future. But we'll not let Obasanjo do that, again. Noway! He is underestimating our will against anti-Igbo hatred, at anyquarters.
One may wonder why I classified his visit to Bayelsa state as a"funeral visit," It wasn't long ago that the same Obasanjo sent abrutal team of Nigerian armed forces to destroy and, in fact,physically level the town of Odi (in Nigeria's Bayelsa state),killing citizens of Nigeria, whom he had sworn to protect anddefend.

Going by Obasanjo's actions and statements, one can easily deducethat he has lost it all, initially, he had bloated belief that he wasthe messiah come back, that God has sent him to rescue the nation heand his Northern oligarchy bastardized many years ago.

His election, one of questionable happenstance; it was indeed notan election of a democrat but a choreographed cajoling of a despot byhis military cronies, Abdulsalam, Danjuma and IBB, a conspiracy ofsorts. After two years in office, one would have expected this secondtimer to be articulate and sensitive in dealing not only with thehydra headed economic chaos, youth unemployment, illiteracy,dilapidated national infrastructure and national debt but a drasticefforts in healing the damaged psych of the polity.

Unfortunately, after his first two years of globe trotting, he hasfound a nitch in recreating his self fixating perception of heroismin participating in genocide of Igbos, killing of innocent Biafranchildren whose only crimes were gathering at relief centers forrefugee food supplies from red cross and caritas. On severaloccasions Obasanjo has gloated by reminding Igbos, they were a"defeated" people in the Nigerian Biafran war. This not only runscontrary to the no victor, no vanquished position of the federalgovernment of Nigeria but is unfortunate for a presdient of anycountry which survived a civil war. Also, it exposes his ulteriormotives and long-held malice against the Igbos.

During his Bayelsa "funeral" visit this March 2001, Obasanjoreminded us that he fought the war to defend the oil sector that hascreated multimillionaires among most of Obasanjo's kinsmen of theYoruba southwest and the Northern elite. But he left the south-southminorities and south eastern states where the oil wells are dug, andtheir environments are in ruins.

General Obasanjo needs to be reminded that he and his cronies arenow dealing with the children of that Biafra war era whoseaspirations and resolve are entirely different from those he fought.His anti-Igbo instigations can become his eternal liability if thenext conflagration his actions are building come to pass. When hemakes these crude outbursts, he not only makes himself appearill-equipped to lead a country like Nigeria or any Third Worldcountry, for that matter, but also rekindles in our minds the factthat the Biafra/Igbo children of the 1967-1970 war lost everything,peaceful childhood, a year or two of organized academic peace and nowa part of our future. But we'll not let Obasanjo do that. No way!

Because his words certainly manipulate and fuel hate and andmalice against the 32 million strong Igbos, Obasanjo makes itdifficult to forgive and forget that it was his Yoruba cohorts andother Northerners, notably his fellow Ogun State kinsman, the lateYoruba leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who engineered and rationalizedhis policy of "starvation is a legitimate instrument of war"(1967-1970). It was this position that made it Nigerian governmentpolicy to watch and cause the daily deaths of other Nigerianschildren of Igbo and riverine minority descent; they were forced andstarved to die because their parents sought to form the republic ofBiafra. It remains painful, dehumanizing and agonizing; the death bymalnutrition and Kwashiokor, as parents watched in mortal anguishwhile the Obasanjo and other army officers fed fat on Nigeria'sresources.

Obasanjo's continuing hostility against the Igbos remind us thateven after his Northern colleague and leader of the Nigerian armedforces at the time, Gen. Yakubu Gowon declared a false "No victory novanquished" it was Obasanjo's kinsman Awolowo, who with AnthonyEnahoro served as the principal architects and promoters of thestarvation policy, declared that for all Igbos and Biafrans,regardless of how much they had in the banks prior to the escalationof hostility (1967-1970), only 20 Nigerian pounds will beexchanged.

It's like having $100,000 dollars and you're given $20 only! Manydied of pressures and heart attack. No people have been subjected tosuch cruel atrocities and still remained a part of the polity. Igbosendured and still strive for Nigeria's progress (a chronicle of theendurance and x-ray of aspects of the policies aimed at emasculatingthe Igbos form a chapter in Chido Nwangwu's forthcoming book,BIAFRA:History has No Mercy!) Obasanjo should be remindedthat we the children of Igbo have forgiven those cruel and unjustpolicies but cannot forget such hostilities amidst continuing hatefulacts and statements.

As Obasanjo continues to instigate anti-Igbo sentiments andcreates a hostile atmosphere in the country, we'll hold himpersonally and officially responsible for any actions which placeIgbos in danger, again. This time, we'll not defend ourselvesmildly.

Finally, if he has forgotten, retired Gen. Obasanjo needs to knowthat even after the Nigerian armed forces were backed from 1967-70 byalmost 70% of the rest of Nigeria and offered technical andoperational support in by Russia, Britain, Egypt, and, in part ,bysome major United States corporations, they are still no match toIgbo (Biafra) ingenuity - then and now!
Akubueze, based in New Jersey, will serve as a specialcorrespondent for NigeriaCentral.com and USAfrica The Newspaper.

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