*EMINENT ELDERS FORUM (EEF): EXCELLENT ANALYSIS, TIMID RECOMMENDATION* – PROF OBASI IGWE
Thanks greatly to the Elders for even attempting to come to terms with the terrible calamity that Nigerians have been going through since 2015. But they missed on some points:
1. The blame rests squarely on President Buhari and his team: the people he “can trust”, and not the APC as a party. Almost everything complained about that that team is pursuing is against both the Constitution and the manifesto of the party. In effect, the party was highjacked by the team that many call Cabal. This is no concealed truth; it’s been open and complained of for a long time.
2. The terribly dangerous extent that these extremists have pushed the country have gone beyond the solutions attempted by the 2004 recommendations and as such other solutions must be sought if Nigeria has to be one country.
3. Igbo politicians or leaders meeting other Nigerians and seeking “solutions” MUST stop further dividing the Igbo and “betraying” them. For no just reason certain all-knowing Igbo leaders corruptly went and evolved what they called Six Geopolitical Zones that had almost all nationalities united as homogeneous blocs while rendering the Igbo cruelly divided into three separate, uncoordinated and weakened “dots” deprived of their age-old maritime traditions, and started a massive press campaign to market the treachery. If present Igbo leaders can’t work to unite the Igbo in any new solutions as other true leaders have done or doing theirs, they should stop the leading and allow the Igbo nation and masses to bear their cross. There is not a single member of that Elders Forum whose ethnic nationality is not contiguously united, except the Igbo, and the Igbo elements are there propounding “solutions” with them without their own concerns being part of the “solutions”. From experience in meetings with many,
*THIS IS THE POSITION OF THE IGBO AND ANY IGBO LEADER *WHO* *DOES NOT * SUBSCRIBE TO IT*
*IS ONLY LEADING HIMSELF/HERSELF:*
1. Nigeria must be a truly secular state based on the Common Law tradition and with no room for a parallel Sharia law. This in part involves the abolition of the Caliphate system and it’s Emirate arrangements that are the source of all manner of feudal subjugations, violence, terrorist and Northern atrocities imposed on and paid for by other Nigerians. If any Igbo or other leader cannot utter this existential threat to everybody he should go and try other issues.
2. An immediate practical end should be brought to the killing of the Igbo and other Easterners, Southerners, Middle Belters by either the armed and protected Fulani, or on the pretext of fighting a contrived war against a secession that does not exist anywhere except in radio broadcasts. Neither the ESN, Amotekun or any other vigilante is fighting the army or government; why should the army be waging war against those lawfully protecting their peoples against the Fulani AK-47 terrorists killing, maiming, abducting, raping and destroying other Nigerians?
3. It insults the intelligence of Nigerians to be talking about so-called State Police in 2021, when almost everyone is suspecting that the military-security services have been so pruned and/or undermined to be serving ethnic/sectarian objectives. There must be a total overhaul of the military-security services in structure, doctrine and deployment to reflect the ethnic and secular character of Nigeria; English, not Hausa or anything else must be the language in use in them; and the armed forces must be precluded from internal police functions. This is the only context in which State Police can be reasonable if we are not to have a tribal army overpowering a State Police and pointing a gun at a state Governor to do someone else’s unconstitutional bidding.
4. All appointments and promotions made by this government since 2015 should be reshuffled to reflect the federal character provisions in the Constitution. We have seen how the trusted “my people” have performed and it is time for a rescue mission by all peoples if not already too late.
5. Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho and other political prisoners in Nigeria should be released unconditionally and compensated. We don’t know whether we are under a military, civil-military, military-civil, taquiyya government or whatever. Regardless, the one elected in 2015 was supposed to be civilian and should be tolerant of diverse opinions. The atrocities being committed or sponsored in Nigeria are the crimes, not resultant agitations for self-determination. No Igbo or other leader should ask for a “fair trial” for a Kanu or Igboho who have already been either tortured, or dehumanized and anticipatorily pronounced “guilty” by people harbouring all manner of animosity against the Igbo and other Nigerians.
6. The foreign troops in Nigeria, some of whom are alleged to be from “Libya” should be returned by the federal government to their sending states. If the federal government continues to appear unwilling to do this, state and local authorities should be assisted to flush them off their areas.
7. Those forced into IDP camps by Fulani and other fighters should be assisted to return to their ancestral homes with their names and rights restored, and their tormentors brought to justice.
8. The various schemes meant to snatch lands and hand to the Fulani or achieve a contiguity to the coast – Grazing Routes, Grazing reserves, cattle routes, cattle colonies, water resources, ports concessions, etcetera should be terminated. A law-abiding Nigerian should be free to live anywhere, buy land from the natives for his business – and pay taxes there. There can be no exception to the rules of private enterprise.
9. The contents of treaties, agreements, understandings and protocols entered into on behalf of Nigeria since 2015 should be released for popular examination, to ensure the country has not been sold off to anyone, anything.
10. Since it’s now crystal clear that it has almost nothing positive to offer maybe except for the trusted, for the remaining 21 months, the government should commit itself to peace and harmony and nothing else, and leave that as it’s “legacy”. Nigerians have had enough of kinetics, security policies, strategies, degradings, etc almost all aimed at the South and Middle Belt. Six years totally wasted and 200 years back to the jihad. To somehow ameliorate the damage the recommendations can be applied immediately if the government so wishes. He who deposits a cow dung has an obligation to remove it. This government will be an irreversibly total failure if it does not *reverse* it’s policy of love of a section/97% and hatred and war for another/5% or “dots”.
The Elders Forum tried but they need to go further. Thanks greatly.
Prof Obasi Igwe, an emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Writes from Nsukka