–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:
ONE of the most sensitive issues of discourse in Nigeria today is the security challenges in the South East. It is sensitive not because of the geographical location but the people, the enterprising and resilient Igbo people.
There are two opposing perspectives to the issue and two opposing feelings therefrom. One is the perceived marginalisation of the Igbo people right from the end of the Nigerian civil war, which has been seriously aggravated till now.
This is often hinged on the palpable fact that the Presidency has eluded them since the dawn of our developing Democracy. The solution to this, as generally perceived, is the cry for a commensurate inclusion by the zoning of the Presidency to the SouthEast and or the appointment of their people to key positions of government et cetera.
The additional perspective is the outright desire and call for secession which is arguably brought about by the skewed federalism that disfavours them and the age-long Biafra question. This is ably powered by the separatist group which is presently at loggerhead with the Federal authorities. While the first perspective elicits a feeling of Nigerianess and opens the door for negotiations, the other creates a feeling of liberation, freedom and much-desired emancipation from the strangulating clasp of the Nigerian state.
It is against this backdrop that the recent outright denial and declaration of lack of support for the separatists by the political leaders of the Southeast, needs to be re-examined once again. Even the highly revered social cultural organisation, the Ohaneze, toe the line of these political leaders. Why?
There are those who have equally said that these politicians and cultural leaders do not represent true leadership of the region. Whether this is scientifically true or borne out of vengeful impulse, is yet to be seen.
Why would the leadership denies the “wishes and aspirations” of the people or why should a people equally reject the legitimacy of her leadership over the slightest “provocation”?
If the “elders” chose the path of peace and dialogue over that of possible violence, war and its attendant consequences, does that amounts to cowardice and betrayal as being insinuated in some quarters?
Also, if the people say that condescending to dialogue tantamount to living a perpetual life of political subjugation and marginalisation and therefore required to go their separate ways, could they be wrong? This is the knotty scenario the average Southeasterner finds himself today. May the voice of reason prevail.
- Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online