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Why Internationalcommunity should note the old military dictator in Obasanjo isabusing human rights of Igbos,
others in Nigeria

By Egbebelu Ugobelu

Special to

Nigeria's Gen. Obasanjo's latest incursion and rampage in Igboland(specifically, Okigwe town), where cars, buses, houses and hotelswere ramsacked or shot at, and where innocent people including thosewho were not MASSOB members, were murdered in cold blood, is cryingproof that pleading, moralizing, lethargy and fatalistic wishes donot work for former military dictators like Obasanjo. Also, it iscrying proof that non-violence demonstrations and marches do not workfor the likes of Obasanjo's government. Obasanjo's obduracy and abuseof human rights in Okigwe (and elsewhere) are steering us irrevocablyto one direction. We will face the challenge sooner or later. Thehorror Igbos are experiencing even intheir own land at the behest of Obasanjo, demands a change of focusand approach. We are in a civilian government not a militarygovernment. We are in a democracy not a military dictatorship. Inthis administration, Obasanjo is a civilian President no longer amilitary General. Why he has been behaving and acting as one we canneither tell or fathom. Nor can we fathom why Nigeria's governors andlegislators have allowed him to run amok with the power he does nothave. Somebody has to bring him back to his senses. Those who makenon violence change impossible make violent change inevitable andirreversible. Igbos need to prepare themselves now for thisalternative left to us. We have exhausted the other alternative andmust move ahead to protect ourselves from eventual annihilation. Thewhole world is our witness. For thirty-one odd years we have lived indeprivation and indignity. For thirty-one odd years we have actedwith commendable restraint in the face of extreme provocation. Wehave given so much. We have no more to give.
Peace lovers everywhere: The constant harrassing, jailing andsporadic shooting and killing of members of a non violence group,MASSOB, in Igboland and elsewhere by the Obasanjo regime is an act ofextreme provocation. It has been going on since the inception of thisnoble, unarmed, peace loving and harmless group. An unarmed group ina democracy has the right, vested on it by the constitution, todemonstrate or protest against any situation or action that it deemsto be detrimental to its welfare or the welfare of the group orpeople it represents. Massop is part of the freedom movement ofIgbos. It is a legitimate organ that enjoys the respect andconcensual acceptance of the Igbo people. Anybody who attacks, kills,maims, dehumanizes or violates the rights of this group, its leaderor followers, does so to the entire Igbo race. Any such act is andshould be seen as an act of provocation. It is an act that should bedecried and discouraged by everybody, including the President,Obasanjo, himself.

Therecent assault by the Nigerian army and police in the Igbo heartlandof Okigwe, under the guise of flushing out and arresting the MASSOBleader, Ralph Uwazuruike, which killed many people of the town, ismore than an act of provocation. It is a declaration of war againstthe Igbo people. The lesson of 1966 and the Biafra War has not beenlearnt by Nigeria or its leadership.

Igbos will not stand still as though straightjacketed and watchother people decimating their population. Igbos will not be insultedor humiliated in their own land as they are and have been everywhereelse in the country. Thirty million strong people will not allowthemselves to be mowed down at the whims and caprices of any leaderor people. Like in the case of 1966, our backs -Igbos backs- are onceagain against the wall. We have only one choice available. To fightback and save ourselves from eventual annihilation.

We are in a civilian government not a military government. We arein a democracy not a military dictatorship. In this administration,Obasanjo is a civilian President no longer a military General. Why hehas been behaving and acting as one we can neither tell or fathom.Nor can we fathom why Nigeria's governors and legislators haveallowed him to run amok with the power he does not have. Somebody hasto bring him back to his senses.

Obasanjo should know that freedom fighters of different persuasionexist among the Igbo at home and abroad. I belong to such a virileand sensible group of positive action believers. My group believes inresponsive and retaliatory action. We are very pragmatic people whodo not believe in wasting our time in futile adventures. We believethat action speaks louder than words. We believe in the only thingthat works, especially with recalcitrant people, like Obasanjo. Bloodfor blood, tooth for tooth, an eye for an eye. We believe in violentaction. We believe it is totally absurd to continue to allow Yorubasand Hausas, who contribute little or nothing to the coffers of thecountry, to use money made in our land and the eastern andsouth-south region to buy weapons and "intelligence" from the NATOpowers and subjugate, violate and vandalize us with same.
Ugobeluis the author several books on Nigeria's history and socio-economicdevelopment.

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Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
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