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De Moment of Truth

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When this material was first published last year in July 2016, the intention was to draw the attention of President Buhari to urgent need for him to relax his grievance towards Ndigbo.

When this material was first published last year in July 2016, the intention was to draw the attention of President Buhari to urgent need for him to relax his grievance towards Ndigbo.


As we all know, so much has changed between then and now. For example, leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been released from detention thereby reducing tensions all over Nigeria. However within the same period, Arewa Youths issued an ultimatum to Igbos living in the north to make their exodus before October 1, 2017. Although they have withdrawn the ultimatum, but the apprehensions still remain. Then PMB, in a rare show of change of attitude towards Ndigbo, said that he would capture Ndigbo in his subsequent appointments, which only time will tell. The material is reproduced below without revision. Happy reading.

It is Soro-K, a popular musician in Owerri locality who in one of his songs entitled: “Onye Nonso”, raised the issue of his estranged brother in the lyrics. The lyric of Soro-K's music tells us the story of when he travelled to Onitsha to see his brother with the hope of getting some help from him. According to the story, the Musician reached his brother's house and knocked on the gate so that he could be let into the house.
On enquiry, the gateman told him that his brother was away on a business trip. As for his brother's wife, the gateman told him that she too travelled and would return the following day. Downcast and dumb founded by the maltreatment he received from his own brother, who lied about having travelled to avoid helping his brother whereas he was actually in the house, Soro-K questioned himself: Is he really my brother? Why is he estranging me? This story of Soro-K and his estranged brother is in a way analogous to the subject of today's discussion because it aptly captures the alienation of Ndigbo under the regime of Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari, supposedly an Igbo man.
During the period preceding the 2015 general elections, when the mere mention of the name Buhari was an abomination, being a man known for his anti Igbo stance and religious Puritanism, it was the Governor of Imo state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha who in his comic ingenuity told Ndigbo that Buhari is an Igbo man, imploring them to vote for him. In his novelty, Owelle told the gathering in one of his campaign tours that Buhari was born to Igbo parents and that his original name at birth is Okechukwu. Although not many people believed his sugar- coated sermons about Buhari being an Igbo since he avoided relating him to a specific town, but it is agreed that Owelle's propaganda made a reasonable impression on the electorate which resulted in a good showing by Buhari when the votes were eventually counted in the South East. Buhari was also conferred with a chieftaincy title by HRH Eze Ikonne of Abia state which was generally seen as a baptism of being an Igbo. Adorned in his Igbo regalia as an Igbo chief, Okechukwu Buhari toured the whole of South East as an "Amaala", a son of the soil, campaigning for votes. His electoral fortune brightened from 19,310 in 2011 to 198,248 in 2015 with Imo alone contributing 133,253 and he eventually won.
That Ndigbo gave Buhari their kinsman the helping hands with which he was able to win the election to become president is not in doubt. What is however doubtful is whether President Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari recognizes that he is an Igbo man as Owelle Rochas Okorocha made us to believe. This doubt arises from the fact that under his government, Ndigbo are subjected to the highest level of alienation, marginalization, oppressions and threats of being "crushed" as he was advised by Northern Elders' Forum, thus leaving tongues to wag that President Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari, MOB, is an estranged Igbo man.
The first shocker came from his omission of Ndigbo when he appointed his kitchen cabinet, that is the team of his personal staff which was the first appointment he made. Ndigbo complained to no avail contrary to initial expectations, having relaxed their opposition to a Buhari presidency with several of them in his campaign organization. Some of those personalities include Dr TOE Ekechi and Chief Princeford Ozumba. While Ndigbo were still grinding their teeth, Buhari shook them in October 2015 when he bundled Nnamdi Kanu into prison and has refused to release him despite having been granted bail by a court of law. Yet Kanu was ignored by previous presidents as his Biafra campaigns were not violent.
It still baffles me as to why inspite of the condemnations that followed his first lopsided appointments, Dee Okechukwu still went ahead to omit us from the team of security heads and service chiefs. He gave the Chief of Naval Staff to a Calabar man in South South and Chief of Defense Staff to a Yoruba man in the South West. He gave the remaining positions to his other kinsmen in the north and abandoned his Igbo kinsmen. This means that Ndigbo would never participate in meetings where the security of Nigeria is discussed. This is too bad. Why would Ndaa Okechukwu Buhari allow his Igbo kinsmen to drown in a bucket of water? Why? Why? Why are you treating us this way, Ndaa Okey?
It also seems that policies of the federal government under Buhari are anti- Igbo and quite alienating. For example, the 2016 federal budget allocation of N2.9bn to South East geopolitical zone is scandalous compared to huge allocations to other zones. That peanut allocation to South East is just anchored on a policy of "let my people go". An analogy can be drawn from that budgetary allocation and when the mouth of a baby is rubbed with oil in order to claim to have fed him. This is not good at a time when the cooperation of Nigerians is needed to move the nation forward. In fact, no previous federal government ever maltreated Ndigbo to this extent.
The manner in which the federal government reacted to the invasions of Igbo communities by armed herdsmen is also another evidence that our kinsman cares less of our wellbeing. In situations where security agencies looked the other way when armed herdsmen attacked communities and killed innocent people, the only response was that the rampaging invaders were foreigners or that police authorities were waiting for illusive signals from Abuja. But when the Augwu people in Enugu assembled to search for their missing house wives suspected to have been kidnapped by herdsmen, they were rounded up and locked up in prison at Umuahia from where 76 of them were arraigned before a court and prosecuted.
The essence of highlighting some of the low points of this government towards Ndigbo is to bring to the fore how they are being marginalized and alienated from governance. Although Mr President may argue that Ndigbo votes for him were scanty but he has to appreciate that it was nevertheless a tremendous improvement to what he garnered in 2011. As a politician and a national leader, President Buhari is supposed to be a working encyclopedia on Ndigbo which would have enabled him to understand that by their egalitarian nature, Ndigbo support winners of elections not minding that they didn't lend their support. He should learn from Obasanjo who not only that Yorubas didn't support him but were also fighting him after the election. In his wisdom, Obasanjo looked at his kinsmen and told them that he was going to wear them out. By the time he was going for a second term, Obasanjo literally won votes more than the registered number in Yoruba land. The lesson here is that instead of pointing AK47 at Ndigbo, Buhari should extend carrots to them. He should relax his frown upon Ndigbo by releasing Nnamdi Kanu and take corrective actions to bring some Igbos on board his kitchen cabinet and security heads. It is not and will never be an achievement for him to continue estranging his Igbo kinsmen. Ndaa Okechukwu Buhari should not allow Ndigbo to drown in a bucket of water and God will continue to bless him as hearkens to their cries.

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