By: Sam. Onwuemeodo.
June 5 (Newshour.com.ng) – Those who had read the history of wars or who had studied about wars, would not find it difficult to conclude that, for the eight years of General Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidency, it was a continuation of the civil war against the people of the South East. But Undeclared. And it’s a common knowledge that, actions speak louder than words.
From May, 2015 to May, 2023, Buhari fought the second Civil war against the lgbos, meticulously, but lost both in the short run and in the long run. ln the final count. He woefully lost in the final analysis. At the end of the day.
From all indications, Buhari showed that he had Laboured for years in the past, to become the president of the Country, just to deal with the lgbos. To wage his own kind of Civil war against the South East people, using the office of President.
While those who had presided over the affairs of the nation before him, at that level, had tried or made concerted effort to restore sense of belonging to the lgbos or narrow the gap created by the civil war between the lgbos and the rest of Nigerians, Buhari came and submerged or stifled the progress so far made in that regard.
After the end of Civil war in 1970, every patriotic Nigerian had known that the lgbos were grossly alienated and needed to be reinstated or reintegrated or rehabilitated or hooked back to the national “grid”, for the sake of posterity and national integration.
That was one of the reasons behind bringing to bear, the National Youth Service Corps’ Scheme by Yakubu Gowon on May 22, 1973 , under Decree No. 24. And it was launched on June 4, 1973.
What’s the message here ?. That, all those before Buhari with regard to the leadership of the nation had been conscious of the unity of Nigeria and with the lgbos in focus.
Giving reasons why he had chosen to support Peter Obi for the 2023 Presidency, Olusegun Obasanjo said that, he had committed murder for the sake of the unity of the Country. And he would be contradicting himself if he would not support an lgbo in the circumstance to become President. Or, to lead the nation as President.
You could see a man sincere to himself and to his God. Even in the first civilian government after the civil war, which Obasanjo supervised or midwifed in 1979, with Shehu Shagari becoming President, Alex Ekwueme, an lgbo, was Vice President. The voice of the lgbo gradually began to become loud again. And it was about nine years after the civil war.
Shagari himself had in his inaugural speech in 1979 at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, talked about the need for ” ONE NATION, ONE DESTINY”, reminding all and sundry that the unity of the Country was paramount.
Shagari went a long way to demonstrate that. He unveiled Emeka Anyaoku who has continued to do exploits for the nation, by appointing him Minister of External Affairs. Created a Special Ministry for K.O Mbadiwe. Appointed Dr Sylvester Ugoh, Minister for Education and later I.C Madubuike. Dr D.C Ugwu was Minister for Health. Paulinus Amadike was Minister for Youths and Sports. Big names began to emerge again among the lgbo in the nation’s polity . And so on. But what was the import? The trauma, the psychological trauma of the civil war began to evaporate among the lgbo. Began to be forgotten. Began to diminish to a very large extent.
Even the Military governments that had come after Shagari also operated to show concern and commitment to the reintegration of the lgbos into the main stream. Sanni Abacha of all the people, in 1993 appointed Paul Agbai Ogwuma an lgbo man from Ngwa in Abia State the Governor of Central bank of Nigeria, CBN. He stayed till 1999 and Could be adjudged the longest serving CBN Governor.
Obasanjo came in 1999 and continued to show and demonstrate that lgbos need total rehabilitation in the nation’s project.
ln his government, lgbos became President of the Senate at certain times . Igbo became INEC chairman. Became lnspector General of Police. Became Central bank governor in the person of Chukwuma Soludo. Became National Chairman and National Secretary respectively of the Ruling Party then, the PDP. Made Ministers of grade-A ministries. Made heads of some major and Sensitive Boards and Commissions, like the one headed by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa. Andy Ubah, lgbo, was more or less the ” Chief of staff” to Obasanjo, because as Special Assistant on Domestic and Special Duties, he had exercised too much powers, and whether given or acquired didn’t matter .
Under Obasanjo, lgbos felt totally reconnected to the nation’s power socket. Feelings of fulfilment came back to lgbos under Obasanjo. Igbos in business could no longer be harassed and taxed unduly. That was the situation. The situation until Musa Yardua and Goodluck Jonathan came respectively. Under them, the juicy situation Obasanjo enhanced didn’t change much.
Then, Buhari came and decided to take the lgbos back to the era of 1966 to 1970. The period of the Civil war. The only difference being that, Buhari’s own war against the lgbos had no military formations. No organized military operations. But politically, economically and Security wise. He staged the ” Second Nigeria Civil war with the lgbos as the sole targets .
He made sure that the lgbos didn’t have anything to do with the headships of sensitive areas like the Ports, Customs, lmmigration, Finance, Education, Health, EFCC, NDLEA, Police, Army, State Security Services, SSS, Leadership of the National Assembly, Leadership of the big political parties, NIMASA, FAAN, and All the key ministries.
lgbos were totally detached from the nation’s government for the eight years of Buhari’s Presidency. For Buhari, EFCC was set up to deal with the lgbos only. Perhaps, the reason his kinsmen have continued to head the Commission. And they have continued to give the impression that lgbo land is the only place you could find corrupt people.
Buhari destroyed all the progress made before him in terms of the reintegration of the lgbos to the nation’s polity or network . And the man didn’t care about whose OX was gored.
With the way he had spoken about the 2023 general elections and even the way the INEC man, Yakubu Mahmood spoke , Buhari was determined to ensure free and fair elections. He had in mind of leaving that legacy behind.
Reason being that, he and his cabal never believed that the Peter Obi’s Presidential venture would fly. They had thought that it was for the fun of it. Some said, only five people were locked up in a room and making the whole noise for Obi via social media platforms.
So, abinitio, they were serious with the BVAS stuff. The naira notes change and the BVAS projects were all aimed at ensuring free and fair polls, perhaps, in favour of Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. Obviously not in favour of Bola Tinubu.
It was when they began to get reports from the polling units across the states, from their agents, about the Obi tsunami, that they decided to call the BVAS stuff a bluff. To abandon the promise of fair and fair elections. To go against both the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act with regard to the February 25 Presidential election.
It was the Peter Obi fever that forced Mahmood to act in a hurry. To act before it was too late. And he did. He had no option. He executed his own Part of Buhari’s war against the lgbo.
The attendant outcome of this unjustified war against the lgbo by Buhari is that, he burnt his fingers. Totally. He placed his teeth on the edge. The war he waged was not justifiable. lt was unwarranted and unprovoked. He therefore lost . He lost all, including the average popularity he came in with in 2015. The man lost all he had in his misgivings against ndi lgbo. You don’t fight people unjustly. You would ultimately lose . You would lose your deposit, including your initial deposit.
As we write, Buhari has emerged as the worst president in the nation’s political history or journey. Nigerians are united in this assessment. He has this baggage. This stigma. Somebody scored him 0/0. ln other words, his Presidency was VOID. Neither here nor there.
The major beneficiary of all these is Bola Tinubu. And it’s not his fault. He could not have personally made himself President. My only concern initially was that, he would have been a Statesman or a Nationalist by allowing a South East man to pick the APC ticket, because the South West people had occupied the office of President for eight years and the office of Vice president also for eight years.
Now that Tinubu has become President, two things are bound to happen with regard to the fate of the lgbos . Either he treats the lgbos the same way or better than the way Obasanjo treated them during his time as President or continue Buhari’s war against the lgbos . lf he toes the part of Buhari , that would become the third Civil war against the lgbos . Tinubu also has the option of carving out a niche for himself by treating lgbos as veritable or valuable partners in nation building. As one of the major pillars holding the nation. One of the major tripods on which the foundation of the nation was laid.
The ball is in Tinubu’s court and the way he is going to play it, would equally determine what he gets at the end of the day . Let him do the right things and enjoy the favourable verdicts of man, history and posterity. Or, do the wrongs and have himself to blame. But it’s advisable he goes for gold.
There is no village in the thirty Six states of the Country and of course, Abuja, you would not see an lgbo man or woman living and doing business to contribute to the progress of that community. And by implication, of the nation.
That is to say, the lgbos are the pivots on which the wheel of the nation’s unity rotates. They therefore deserve better deals . Anything in the contrary, would be damaging. Worrisome . Let BAT make his choice on the route or lane to follow. Whether he would serve God or Mammon. Or, even Baal. The decision is his own.
While we continue to clap for Jesus.