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Friday, April 12, 2024

The Call For Southern Intifada



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By Muhammad Ajah
The Southern intifada must begin now. One more strike, the wrist of the nation called Nigeria may burst open. One more hit, the neck may fly off its shoulders. One more mayhem, the testicles may fall on the floor. When that happens, don’t be surprised.
Stupid people! one Rudolf Ogoo Oknokwo posted on the web, NigerianWorldForum.
Intifada literally means shaking-off or struggle for emancipation. It is an Arabic loan-word that came into use in the late twentieth century. The Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip sometime in 1987 in protest against the continued Israeli occupation brought this word into common use.
It should not be accepted that the Southerners are stupid, as claimed or insinuated by Mr. Oknokwo. It is definitely out of passion for what is palpable. Yet, in certain circumstances certain effort can create more hatred and rancor in the minds of Nigerians. The Igbo people, widely acknowledged by all, are the most patriotic citizens of Nigeria, though they have been politically subjugated since the civil war caused by the attempted cessation from Nigeria and declaration of Biafra Republic.
But it is accepted that the Igbo have contributed seriously to the building of Nigeria. There is hardly any village in Nigeria where an Igbo person is not found. In short, because of the dexterity of the Igbo and their inclination to business and development, it is widely said that no business thrives where there is no Igbo man. In Kano, in Lagos, in Maiduguri, in Kaduna and now in Abuja, the Igbo have distinguished themselves in the nation building. This is not to justify whether or not the existence of the Igbo in every non-Igbo community and their willingness to develop wherever they are in order since other ethnic groups have often proved the contrary, it is an attestation that the Igbo love Nigeria more.
Instances abound where non-Igbo living in Igboland have not helped in developing the land. They stay long in the places and refuse to learn the language. Rather, they attempt to spread their language and even culture in the area. There are stories of such people who dwell over forty years in the Igbo communities and refuse to acquire lands, not to talk of building. They only engage in their businesses and politics. It’s very unfortunate and unacceptable for the unity and progress of the nation.    
But the unfortunate thing is the religious divide and claims that the northerners are Muslims while the Southerners are Christians. It is this divide that is one of the greatest problems in the country. Christians in the north should be as free as Muslims in the South. They should enjoy equal rights like other citizens. There should be a national debate to practically realize this freedom. Sometimes, one wonders what really is the faith of he who kills a fellow citizen in the name of religion.    
For God sake, were our forefathers born Christians or Muslims? Why all these understandings, claims and counterclaims?
My dear compatriots, there should be love and understanding. Both Islam and Christianity condemn bloodletting. Killing a soul, without justification, in Islam is like killing mankind as a whole. But the two religions have become destructive weapons in the hands of politicians. God save Nigeria. God save the Igbo. God save Nigerians. Amen.
Earnestly, my belief is that the sufferings of the Igbo in Nigeria will be a triumph at last. It is said that he who laughs last laughs longer. The Igbo are just patient people. And another adage warns, “beware of the wrath of the patient.”    
For Mr. Okonkwo to presume that Boko Haram may one day strike Lagos may not be far from mere imagination. Boko Haram is a creation just like many political gangsters formed for political use but which went weird because of lack of control. There is hardly any state where political gangsters are not nursed by the people in power. Many Nigerians, like myself, have not understood why all these killings.
Truly, the Boko Haram killings have been going on for a while. Many unpatriotic citizens are hiding under this name to perpetrate their wicked acts, just like it happened with the Niger Delta crisis where criminals infiltrated the genuine cause. Niger Delta crisis started as a joke until some of the youths were recruited and armed by their politicians. As time went on, dialogue and bargaining were employed to douse the tension.
We can remember that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) often claimed any attack on government interests during the peak of the regional upheaval. Kidnapping for ransom was reported on daily basis. It gradually became clear that even people who were not from the region hid under MEND and sundry nomenclatures to carry out dastardly assaults. Mr. President himself once vehemently defended MEND on the grounds that MEND had genuine cause and so should not involve in such negative acts.
Except if Boko Haram has become an insurmountable entity, how can it hit Aso Rock? This kind of feelings should not portray our security as being so fragile or weak. The country had faced hard times and overcome them. It is just that the leadership is wary of killing innocent and law-abiding citizens in the course of applying force to quash any rebellious group. We know what happened in the Niger Delta, although the people were aggrieved on marginalization and alleged injustice and iniquity against them.
What is needed is for the security outfits especially the intelligence to intensify their efforts. Whoever is a trouble-maker has a home, a family and friends. He cannot succeed if he is not haboured by fellow citizens. But sometimes, it is reported that giving intelligent information to security outfits brings negative result to the informant who will be exposed to the criminals by the same security operatives. Such informants are then exposed to risks of attacks from the criminals. Which way, my people?
Whatever happens in Nigeria, we should not think of breaking into pieces or smaller countries. We should be thinking of creating more states so that development will go round and to the grassroots. North and South of Nigeria will be one and all these events will be history. It will be the United States of Nigeria (USN).
So Mr. Okonkwo, there should be no such choice left for the South to excise itself
from Nigeria BUT to exert itself in Nigeria. The South has the potentials to exert itself in this country economically cum politically if they can showcase political maturity and unity. These are what they seemed to have been lacking since from the past.
We must be very conscious of security intrigues from the West. We must always remember the American prediction of Nigeria’s breakage by 2015. We must resist this wicked insinuation by our collective selves.
Like many other compatriots, I was elated when Nigeria dismissed the terror advisory issued United States citizens in Nigeria by the US Embassy, warning of possible terror attacks on three major hotels in Abuja: NICON Luxury, Transcorp Hilton and the Sheraton Hotels. Such advisories were issued during the Niger Delta crisis but they did not yield any result than only created fear and confusion in their nationals.
While the National Security Adviser, Owoeye Andrew Azazi should be hailed for this brave stand, he should ensure that our security torchlight also beams outside the shores of Nigeria to track any foreign infiltration.
Muhammad Ajah is a poet, writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail mobahawwah@yahoo.co.uk

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