I write with a heavy heart, on this Christmas day, as a result of what is going on under your leadership regarding the Biafra agitation and the leader of the IPOB (Indigenous people of Biafra), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. Let me first say that I, as an Igbo person, supported your election and campaign passionately for it on social media, but I am now on neutral grounds, because of the way you are handling the cry for Biafra though I will always support any good strides you are making for the people of Nigeria.
Some of the reasons I supported you are: 1. Your wife said during a pre-election interview that you promised to lead by listening to the concerns of the people and doing what the people want.
- As a former soldier in the United States Army, I knew that the discipline you have as a retired general of Nigeria Army is what is needed to clean up the corruption that has long retarded the progress of Nigeria.
However, during your interview in the USA, I believe at the State Department after your election you were asked a question about how you would handle the Niger Delta on amnesty and women issues, your answer was that and I quote, “constituents that gave me 97 percent votes cannot, in all honesty, be treated equally with constituents that gave me 5 percent.” Both videos of your wife promise of your leadership and your admission of prejudicial treatment of people who did not vote for you is there on Youtube for anyone and the whole world to see.
Mr. President, the problem with this whole situation is that with the way you are currently treating the IPOB matter means that your wife has lied about you wanting to lead by listening and leading according to the needs of the people. Moreover, I, as your initial supporter, was very bewildered and embarrassed when I saw that video where you admitted that you would lead by preferential treatment of those who voted you into office. Those who voted you into office are majorly from your region, the north, as well as the Southwestern region.
Igbos were the ones that only gave you 5 percent vote because they did not trust that you would lead with integrity. And guess what you are doing now! You are proving them right. You are showing that their fears were valid. Mr. President, leadership requires that you must be fair to all and sundry no matter how you feel about them. You cannot lead with a vindictive spirit to get back at those who didn’t want you to win.
Just look at President Barak Obama for example. Barack Obama has and still suffer from a severe opposition of a great number of Americans who don’t like him, but guess what, he still leads everyone with equal and fair treatment.
A leader that is temperamental enough to vilify a group of people because they did not vote for him is not yet a leader. A seasoned leader overcomes all negative emotions that tempts him to mistreat any section of people under his leadership. Otherwise, it is a dictatorship and not democracy. Also, remember that many Igbos and Yorubas, who did not want you to become the President, accused you of being a dictator, and I have to say that you are proving them right for holding Nnamdi Kanu hostage.
I must mention that I am not for or against Biafra. I am for peace and fairness for all. If it were within my power, I would lead my people, the Igbos, to focus on what they are good at and leave Politics to those who want it so bad. On the other hand, I have seen that my people are very unhappy in Nigeria and feel grossly marginalized. And since they have been bold enough to start a protest, they need to be heard and not ignored or shoved aside. They are human beings with feelings, values, and aspirations no matter how inconsequential anyone might see them.
So in that case, I support that there should be a referendum and due process to make a country of their own. Now there is a possibility that we may not get all the required vote to amend the Nigeria constitution; but in that case, we would have seen that due process was given and anyone that fights it would be called a trouble maker. Right now, the trouble maker is the leader that have imprisoned the leader of a group that wants to move on to a better world for themselves. YOU are the trouble maker, Mr. President! You can stop all this by releasing him and demanding for him to go through the right process.
I have written partially on this in the past and to your attention as well hoping that your social media crew would bring it to your attention, but I have not seen any meaningful or positive action taken towards this case. Some people have advised me that if the Igbos really want to secede, they would not have to go through you and others have educated me as well that all that is needed is for the IPOB to forward a motion for Referendum through the Nigeria National Assembly.
You might wonder why then am I writing to you if we knew what steps to take. I am writing to you because you are the President of a country in turmoil who has the power to quell the disaster that is brewing under you. The solution to put a stop to the agitation for Biafra is in your hands. All you have to do is take a leadership step by releasing Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and advising him and the group to begin the process of Referendum. If the motion holds, good, if the motion fails, then you have done your job as the President.
May I please remind you that the British, the Russians and the UN have wisely made suggestions for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu and for Nigeria to allow a Referendum to go through, but with all due respect, it all seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The only response I have seen from your office is a statement that NO GROUP WILL BE ALLOWED TO TEAR NIGERIA APART. Mr. President that is not a responsible statement in the midst of what is going on.
Nigeria has never really been one. There is a deeply ingrained spirit of tribalism in Nigeria that has infected the political and economic fabrics of the nation of which is one of the biggest reasons driving the Biafra agitation. Igbos feel totally marginalized and rightfully so. This situation is like a bad marriage where one partner is very unhappy and keeps wanting out of the relationship, and the other partner refuses to corporate because the relationship benefits them more.
Your energy will be better served fighting Boko Haram rather than fighting IPOB agitation that has a simple solution. And I must say that how you are handling this situation makes it look like all of a sudden Mr. Kanu has become more dangerous than Boko Haram that is still killing people actively in Nigeria when Mr. Kanu has not killed one person. When people protest for a cause, it is the responsibility of the leaders to address the issues surrounding that cause, not imprison the individuals. The cry for Biafra did not start today. It has been going on for ages that also led to the massacre of over one million Igbos around 1967. I am not a good student of history, so I will not pretend to go into it. But I am sure you know what I am talking about.
I implore you to please listen to right conscience and make the judgment that will bring positive resolution to this case and prevent lives from being wasted over a civil war. You have the power to do this by the simple step I have mentioned above. Once again, let me say it again. Release Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and instruct him and his group to go through the right channel through Nigeria National Assembly to put forward the motion for a referendum. Though you are old, you still have a young family that will live on after you. What legacy do you want to leave?
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Ex-US Army Captain
(Source and photo credit: Sahara Reporters)