You Weep For Plateau: Did You Weep For Efik? – By Duncan Odey
First, I write as a human in compatriot spirit will all humans, second – as a proud Cross Riverian of (maternal) Efik extraction; and third – as a disenchanted Nigerian; disenchanted enough to be pondering my own separate nation.
Now, what’s my story? Below is my story:
Just days ago, Fulani people – yes, Fulanis, whether herdsmen or Miyetti Allah or FUNAM murdered my Nigerian “brothers and sisters”, my fellow humans in significant numbers, in the Plateau.
Am I upset? Yes. Am I grieving? You bet, I am. But am I feeling funny and a bit disconnected from it all? Yes, I am feeling not only funny and disconnected but I am also feeling that this whole mourning, outrage and anger about the Plateau killings is insincere, duplicitous, and profoundly lacking in stark appreciation of history.
You might ask: What history? It is a history banned by those who rose to power on the ashes of a genocide they committed. It is a history banned in schools out of a sense of denial; yet it is a history still accessible to anybody and everybody. In substance, it’s a history of blood, of massacres, of genocide, and of pogroms unpunished; and other evils untold.
It is a history of a Nigeria where ONLY Igbos (and some non-Igbo Eastern Nigerians, like my people – the Efiks) have largely borne the brunt of massacres and genocide since 1945 at the hands of Fulanis, assisted by Hausas, some other northern Nigerian tribes, including the very Plateau people that were just massacred just days ago.
On the other trajectory, it WAS a history of “northern brothers” against the East. Now it IS a history of Fulani turning on their “northern brothers”. That’s funny; that causes some disconnection.
It is also a history that is on a constant rollercoaster. Yes, a rollercoaster where – in 1966, 67, 68, and 69 to 70, you gleefully joined in the massacre of your Eastern brethren that did nothing to you. You stupidly joined in committing genocide dishonestly called a civil war to “unite” Nigeria; to unite a Nigeria that is now massacring you that largely bore the brunt of the bloody uniting.
Now, you weep. Did you weep for Eastern Nigeria; Did you weep for Efik? Did you weep for Biafra? If you didn’t, you lie. Weeping must come with some honesty; weeping must be well-deserved; otherwise it’s called ‘crocodile tears’.
You killed my father, my younger brother, my beautiful cousin (after raping her untold), thinking they’re all Igbos; or you knew they were not but you killed them anyway because they came from the East, lived in Jos beside you and spoke Igbo. You didn’t care that they also spoke Birom. Now you weep for Plateau; you weep lies and insincerity.
Then you pulled out a young, wailing, innocent Igbo woman out of the train in Makurdi and slit her belly and brought out a budding Igbo embryo and ‘killed’ it. Now, you’re being killed in Agatu and Makurdi and you want me to weep. Yes, I weep but I also wept for my people killed in times past by your people. That’s what makes me different from you – your weeping is one-sided, and you have killed before; I haven’t. And I not only wept in 1967, I took matters in hand, declared myself free and fought back. Have you? Keep weeping whilst they keep killing.
That’s why it’s a rollercoaster – now you’re in front, next you’re in the rear. They spin blood, you spin tears. They kill, you weep and then your tears dry. They come back and kill again – one head of cattle for two two heads of humans; then you weep. A rollercoaster, a vicious cycle of weepings and killings. That’s your Nigeria, Buhari’s Nigeria. That’s not the Nigeria my forefathers helped most to liberate from foreign occupation.
It was me in 1967; today, it’s you. I weep for Plateau, but also I weep for before-Plateau. Who do you weep for? Only Plateau? You lie. Why don’t you also weep for Agatu, Egede, Jos, Madalla and all the Central Nigerians caught up in the web created by their parents? Do you discriminate in your weeping, just like you discriminate in all things Nigerian?
Why don’t you weep first for Eastern Nigerians killed by your parents? Did you weep for young Eastern Nigerians (yes -Biafrans) cut down in their prime by Buhari’s Python Dance? Did you weep for Nnamdi Kanu. Did you weep for an IPOB that can’t hurt a fly, yet you joined in declaring them terrorists so you can go for another kill like you did in 1967. If you didn’t weep for these, you have no moral right to weep for Plateau.
Are you ashamed of your past, your 1966-1970? Are you a Gowon, a Danjuma, a Bissala, a Domkat, a Shelleng, an Useni, a Walbe, a Mark, an Ochefu, an Unongo, a Tsav, or worse – a turncoat or what? If you are, then search your soul; do some contrition; make an atonement and seek the face of God – again; only then can you weep honestly.
What about you – the “One Nigerianer”? I tell all of you this: If you weep for Plateau and it’s recent deadly forerunners and you don’t weep for 1966-1970, you lie, you cheat, you are undeserving. Danjuma, your former maestro has told you what to do; yet you do nothing but weep. What are you waiting for? Where are your balls? Did you lose your mojo?
Are you waiting for an Nnamdi Kanu that had the guts to fight back (with strong words) but whom you joined in suppressing? Have you now seen the sense in his sermons of freedom from oppression that is as unrelenting as your never-drying tears?
You weep; excuse me, please man up and take matters in hand. That’s what gutsy men do. Self-defense is a constitutional right. Self-determination is not a crime but a right under the laws of federation of Nigeria.
Stop saying you killed Igbos or Easterners in the past for them. Stop saying you fought Biafra for them. Stop saying you killed Ijaw, Efik, Ibibio for them. Don’t you get it? They don’t care; Buhari doesn’t care, Buratai is biased (Danjuma said it all and first), your entire security chiefs are comprised of them; and they see you as a kafir, an infidel, a willing tool, a half-wit to be deployed at will against Biafrans (and sometime all the South) Then, when it suits them, they dispense with you, they turn their guns on you; and dishonestly call it farmers-herdsmen clash. Are those priests and children farmers also?
You knew all these, yet you didn’t weep. But now, you weep for Plateau. Did you weep for Efik? Stop weeping; demand Referendum. That’s the ONLY way out.
I would’ve liked to reply Duncan Odey directly… For someone who seemed diverse in culture and experience, his narrative are too emotional to be analytic and therefore too myopic to present a thesis for palliation… If he wants to go that route, we may as well go back a little into history and study how Nigeria was forged for economic benefits of external masters, welding together ethnic bands who have been and still were engaged in national wars for centuries on end. The Efik may be reminded of unfinished hostilities and how they found they’ve become one with an ‘enemy’ in a war not yet concluded. Unless the story is that the geographical mass called Nigeria was an Eldorado before 1967?..
Every side have suffered greatly but then its natural to feel the pain that’s near you and feel that the neighbors didn’t sympathize enough. With this kind of narrative of Duncan’s, Hausas and Fulanis succeeded for over a century to divide and rule the segments efficiently, conceding fragments of military “luxuries” to the Benue Plateau foot soldiers who even lorded it over their own brothers_ how can that represent us as a people?. Do your own people whose twins you sacrificed to demons out of ignorance demand that you weep for them first before you weep for the collateral damage of a needless civil war?
As Nigerians, history is an embarrassment and a burden we all must bear, and hope that we learned lessons forged in senseless human sacrifices again and again. Where do we draw the lines then? Must we insist on first addressing a huge wrong meted by ignorant blood accustomed miscreants who were expert puppeteers and widen the backlog of fresh bloodbaths created by their descendants or do we, who supposedly know better, now forge a bridge our fathers could not and face the common enemies together, forcing them to shape in or ship out?
Don’t think they won’t try to come for you again, we are the obstacle blocking you from their view. They hope to level us to see you better, or have you forgotten that you stand in their way to the Atlantic Ocean?
Remain there and grumble about yesterdays woes or join your strength to ours to ensure they leave you and your children alone tomorrow. When they succeed with us, you will be too weak to face them by yourself. The choice is yours.