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Regional Hypocrisy & National Delusions


By James Ogunjimi

Most of last week was spent debating the idea of Biafran agitations and narratives about the civil war. While some groups argued that marginalization of the Igbos no longer happened, others disagreed and insisted that the conditions that necessitated the breakaway back then were still present today.

Then came discussions about the sit-at-home declared by two pro-Biafra groups: MASSOB and IPOB to mourn the loss of the Igbo nation in the civil war.

This week may have started slow politically with a few misyarns in Ekiti and misplaced priority in Enugu, but the biggest news of the week chose today to break.

Some Northern Youths under the aegis of the Arewa Consultative Youth Forum decided to make a declaration. They gave Igbos in the north of Nigeria an ultimatum to return to their states or risk attacks. Annoying, but that’s not the hypocritical part.

After this announcement was made, nobody was arrested and hounded. Nigerians have reacted to this news and eventually, the Kaduna state Governor reacted by calling for their arrest.

Where the hypocrisy comes in is the part where there has been no statement from the federal government and the “call” for arrest by the state governor has not been carried out.

When Audu of Chocolate City erred, it didn’t take long for him to be arrested and bundled away. When Apostle Suleiman was accused of inciting his members to kill herdsmen, the DSS didn’t waste time to come after him.

It becomes a mystery then why a call for the arrest of these youths has not been carried out. As at this evening, these youths and signatories to the order asking Igbos to vacate Nigeria’s north were preparing to issue another statement.

The national delusion about this is that the Presidency has not responded to this. Where are the Presidential spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu? Why has the acting President not responded?

A statement of this kind is capable of tearing this nation apart. One begins to wonder then why there has been no response to this. When similar moves were made in the past, the Presidency was quick to respond.

Why is it easier for the Presidency to send soldiers after unarmed Biafran protesters but difficult to respond to this? Why is it easy to break up peaceful meetings while statements like these are left unchecked? Which poses more threat to national unity: the peaceful protests or the order to leave forcefully?

When Fulani herdsmen slaughtered people all over the country, this was the same response they got that gave them confidence. It is dangerous that these arrogant youths are still allowed to move free to the point of even planning to hold another press statement. It is the kind of hypocrisy that stinks horribly.

It is disgraceful that in a nation that claims to be unbiased, peaceful protesters can receive more attention than arrogant youths whose statements are capable of tearing the country apart. It’s a shame.

But perhaps the biggest shame is that leaders who should be speaking against this sharply are silent about this for whatever reason.

If Nigeria is going to remain one, these youths must be arrested and charged. Anything short of this will encourage others to go the same path. Evil unchallenged will breed more evil. Nigeria needs to nip this evil in the bud once and for all and it can only start with the arrest of all the signatories to that ultimatum.

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