Igbo Dilemma: Is Isolating Igbo People the Best Policy Option for National Unity? – Dr. Obidigbo

Founder and Chairman of the Osisioma Igbo Foundation, Dr. Chike Obidigbo (Osisioma Igbo), has expressed deep concern over the persistent challenges facing the Igbo people in Nigeria.

In a press briefing at the Best Western Hotel in Awka, recently, Dr. Obidigbo highlighted the severity of marginalization and offered potential solutions.

Dr. Obidigbo recalled the increased attention on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) since 2014 when the group started advocating for a referendum as the highest form of democracy.

He lamented that despite widespread criticism of IPOB’s methods, there has been no meaningful attempt to address the underlying issues, reminiscent of a renewed Nigeria-Biafra conflict. He also noted the abandonment of General Gowon’s post-civil war promise of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Reconciliation for the Eastern Region.

Dr. Obidigbo criticized the Nigerian government’s approach, suggesting that the continued isolation of the Igbo people is seen as a misguided strategy for maintaining national unity.

He specifically pointed to President Tinubu’s refusal to rectify the apparent marginalization in the reconstitution of Governing Boards for Federal Tertiary Institutions and Polytechnics, viewing it as evidence of the ongoing exclusion of Ndigbo from the National project.

Further, Dr. Obidigbo examined the cases of Mr. Sunday Adeyemo (Sunday Igboho) and Belo Badejo, President of Myetti Allah, highlighting discrepancies in their legal treatments. He noted that while charges of treasonable felony were dropped against Igboho, Badejo was acquitted of terrorism charges, raising questions about the equity of the legal system when compared to related cases in the country.

He also criticized the Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, for publicly stating that the only path to freedom for IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is through the courts, despite a Supreme Court decision dismissing his treasonable felony trial.

In light of these issues, Dr. Obidigbo proposed practical solutions to the challenges facing the Igbo people. He expressed hope that divine intervention would eventually bring relief to Ndigbo, signaling a call for justice and equitable treatment within the Nigerian federation.

Dr. Obidigbo’s remarks underscore a significant political and social discourse, emphasizing the need for genuine reconciliation and inclusive governance to address the historical and ongoing grievances of the Igbo people in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian state has continued to behave in such a way as if isolating the Igbo is the best policy option to guarantee the country’s unity. You must have noticed from the recent reconstitution of Governing boards of federal tertiary institutions and Polytechnics how one state produced as many as 25 candidates while the entire Southeast was allocated only 12.”

“I do not intend this to be a press conference; rather, an occasion to meet with you, my old and new media friends, and to share my personal views on the current dilemma of the Igbo Nation, with the prevailing socio-political and economic challenges defying Nigeria’s continuing search for economic stability, social harmony, and political unity.

“However, should you find my presentation worthy and in tune with your own thoughts on the Igbo question, please feel free to share it widely with your audience so that it could form the basis for further conversations on our collective dilemma.

“Before I proceed, can we humbly observe one-minute silence in honor of the over four million people that lost their lives during the Nigeria Biafra civil war as well as the five soldiers killed in Aba recently.

(May their souls and those of all saints departed rest in peace, Amen)

“The most painful thing about all these deaths, whether of our security personnel or of our civilians, youths, or women, is that they are all our people being destroyed; our youths, our so-called leaders of our tomorrow. When we willfully and ignorantly wipe them off today, who then will lead our already bleak tomorrow out of the current darkness we created through our ignorance and foolishness? “This is the only country I know that does not value the lives of her youths, in fact of anyone, infants, youths, men, and women. Our people are killed anyhow, everywhere, on the streets, inside praying houses, in their farms, in the markets, inside their houses. In fact, one can meet brutal death anywhere.

“I have therefore invited you to this meeting to share my pains and ideas about the current situation in our country, especially as it concerns our dear Igbo community. Renewed attention has been focused on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who, in 2014, started calling for the highest level of democracy, which is a referendum.

“Most commentators and critics have tried to condemn the IPOB methodologies, especially the suggestion for the possible secession of Biafra from Nigeria in protest against the continued Igbo marginalization. Even the worst enemies of Ndigbo acknowledge that we are still very much marginalized in this country. There is no doubt about it.

“Needless to say that the IPOB agitation gave room to a lot of attention to Southeast from both allies, friends, and enemies of Igboland. Either out of distaste for the methods adopted by IPOB or as a continuation of both social and economic blockade against Igbo, attention shifted away from the self-help efforts of NdIgbo to renewed plots for the subjugation of the people.

“No attempt was made to evaluate the level of implementation or otherwise of the General Yakubu Gowon’s promise of the Three Rs-Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration- which was made to the Eastern Region immediately after the civil war.

“Rather, a semblance of renewed war is still being waged against NdIgbo and even the entire former Eastern Region, but with particular emphasis on Igbo land. The orgy of violence and bloodshed in Igbo land began on a massive scale, putting a seeming lie to the famed Igbo respect for the sanctity of life.

“There have been allegations of false flag operations and fifth columnists using the cover of the agitation by the mainstream IPOB for a referendum to determine the basis of Nigeria’s unity, to cause mayhem, violence, and criminality in the Southeast.

“Let me state here that I condemn unequivocally any attack on security agencies and indeed, violence of any kind. The assassination of five soldiers in Aba Abia State some days ago is unwarranted, stands condemnable, and I agree that it is right for the military authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter. But, that should not be taken as an excuse or impetus for rash martial actions in the name of reprisal.

“Recently, the members of the National Assembly celebrated 25 years of democracy in this dispensation. But no mention was made about the issue of equitable distribution of political powers or spread of social amenities and economic opportunities.

“The killing of the soldiers at Obikabia in Abia State reminded of the breach of Owerri Maximum Security Prison in Imo State, which led to the massacre of several innocent youths of Igbo extraction.

“The enthronement of insecurity on otherwise secure and peaceful South East geopolitical zone comes as part of a broad plan of economic strangulation of the region. Businesses that tried by every means to thrive, despite official intimidations, multiple taxations, infrastructural deficits, a very hostile business environment, and several other forms of economic disincentives are now being literally forced to migrate in droves out of the South East to nearby states and elsewhere, otherwise to close down their operations in the South East. I am a living example and a witness.

“On the political terrain, it is worrisome that despite the creation of six geopolitical zones, which was expected to provide equal opportunities and inclusive leadership, the Southeast has not been supported to produce the president of this country. This imbalance in the leadership of the country underscores the other sore political points of lopsided allocation of the number of states per zone. While other zones have as many as seven and six states each, Southeast is being punished with just five states. This is sad when you consider that the National Cake is shared out on a state-by-state basis.

“The Nigerian state has continued to behave in such a way as if isolating the Igbo is the best policy option to guarantee the country’s unity. You must have noticed from the recent reconstitution of Governing boards of federal tertiary institutions and Polytechnics how one state produced as many as 25 candidates while the entire Southeast was allocated only 12.

“It is gladdening to note though that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu refused to endorse that obvious slight, but the development goes far to reveal the reality of continuing marginalization of NdIgbo in the Nigeria project.

“Not long ago, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, regained his freedom and re-joined his fellow Yoruba people after the Federal Government dropped all charges of treasonable felony against him for calling for the separation of the Yoruba nation from Nigeria due to the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen in Yoruba land under President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Also, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, the former Presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC), was allowed to breathe the air of freedom after the Federal Government dropped charges against the young man for calling for Revolution Now in Nigeria to address poor governance and bad leadership in the country.

“Just last week, the President of Myetti Allah, Bello Badejo, was declared innocent from the charges of terrorism after the Federal Government withdrew charges against him for setting up a nationwide Fulani vigilante to secure the country despite the existence of Nigeria security agencies.

In all these gestures of peace and reconciliation, the Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, came out boldly to declare that the only way the leader of mainstream IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, can regain his freedom is through the court, despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Nigeria had made a judicial pronouncement dismissing his trial for treasonable felony.”


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