How Gowon, Obasanjo and Sharia fuelled Biafra agitation, by Chima Amadi

General Yakubu Gowon
General Yakubu Gowon

Across the world, history has taught that wherever and whenever injustice and unfair treatment of a people flourish, the oppressed have always resisted against their oppressors and over time, will inevitably become a force to be reckoned with. If this happens, just like in a human body, the whole system struggles. When everyone cannot play by the same rules in any environment, the centre begins to lose equilibrium and may consequently too lose grip. This is actually the problem of Nigeria. Unfortunately, Gowon and Obasanjo laid this ugly foundation. When unfair treatment becomes a way of life in any society, the entire system will become a rolling bomb. This is because one can only suppress a person or a people for some time, but not forever.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever (Isaiah 32:17.

I guess you will find similar wisdom in the Koran too. Fairness will always produce peace and its result has always been a lasting security for everyone. The whole context of righteousness, fairness, justice and equality, put simply may mean – that those who work hard should be allowed to keep and reap the gains of their sweat, but not mocked. While those born without spoon should be encouraged to grow, to rise to the top, those born with diamond spoon should be taxed, but not deprived or completely disempowered of their God given nature. While trying to encourage social equality, the Nigerian type of quota-system for example is evil rooted in envy. It is an example of what injustice and unfair treatment is all about.

Immediately after the Nigeria/Biafra war, Obasanjo, Gowon, Buhari, Yar’Adua, Babangida and co, decided it was time to punish the Easterners for the war. This single decision was the architect of all the corruption in Nigeria today. They taught themselves and their subordinates that everything could be maneouvered, all they needed were to be non-easterners. They founded quota-system, looked for and found reasons to justify injustice and unfair treatment of Easterners. They taught the Easterners too to mind their own business and that Nigeria is not for everyone. Sadly, Nigeria never recovered ever since. Gowon and Obasanjo laid the foundation of corruption in Nigeria and with the help of their likes, have since watered it into a giant tree.

In Nigeria, quota-system is a part of almost 50 years of continuous punishment of the East for losing a war. Quota-system is there to make sure that even the little kids from the East will not know justice in Nigerian classrooms. It is there to make sure they are treated unfairly. It is there to undermine them regularly and to deny them opportunities for promotion, training and employment. Quota-system is the mother of all corruptions in Nigeria. Today, these same people pretend to be champions of one Nigeria which they actually destroyed with their unfair treatment.

The Rochas and the Amaechis are on their own and I really do agree. Kick the Easterners out of Abuja and kick them out of Lagos. Thanks to Sharia laws, they have been kicked out of 12 Nigerian states already and counting. How would you like to define the word arrogance? Did we all forget that the long bridges in Lagos, the dual carriage roads in Kano and almost everything in Abuja were funded with the money that comes from the East? Did we forget that the money to “reconstruct” Festac Town was donated by rich Easternes from the luxury of their wealth, few years after a war in which they lost everything? How did the reconstruction of Nigeria after a bitter civil war forget to include the battle ground and focused rather on places where no fighting took place?

Make no mistakes, the masters of the plan to defund the East, to starve them of their God given wealth are the same people who created the present Biafra agitation. There was a time to reconcile and to rehabiliate, but Nigeria laid a different foundation. They laid the foundation for the likes of Nnamdi Kanu to thrive, 45 years earlier. Those who introduced quota-system are responsible for the current Biafra agitation. Those who refused to commission a seaport in Calabar or in Port Harcourt, even when Lagos is congested are responsible for the present Biafra agitation. Let’s us say the truth. Let us talk 40 years of federal funded investments in Nigeria and compare it with the location of those investments, then find out where the money came from. It is all about injustice against the Easterners. How can corruption fight corruption? Do you want to know what fuels Nnamdi Kanu and those IPOB youths on the streets? They are the victims of 50 years of quota-system, deprivation, unfair treatment and name calling from Obasanjo, Gowon, Buhari, etc. These are the people to blame, for they forgot that they cannot bully a people forever. The chickens have come home to roost.

Even as they channelled all the federal investments with oil money to Lagos, Kano and later to Abuja, a functional seaport in Calabar or Port Harcourt could have been enough to help the struggling Easterners boast their own economic activities. But the syndicate of Gowon, Obasanjo and co, never allowed that to happen. They choose rather to ignore the fair distribution of the oil boom; they ignored justice and economic inclusion of the East. They ignored the wisdom and the bedrock of unity, which is fairness.

Moreover, they encouraged the spread of Sharia as religious tool to fight Easterners. We all know that Sharia is not ordinary customary law or religious dogma, since the Constitution separates religion from the state. It therefore poses a danger and contradicts the idea of one Nigeria and unity among the federating units. To non-Muslims, Sharia remains a dangerous weapon of the oppressors. In fact, Sharia should have no place in Nigeria. It is better practiced in places such as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen with at least 90 percent Muslim population. Those practicing Islam is only 40 percent of Nigeria’s population. When you force religious laws on government in a multi religious society like Nigeria, you wittingly create two sets of citizenships. You also create a poisoned atmosphere for the secular state laws to function.

Those who pretend they want one Nigeria are the same people who quietly, but sincerely wish her dead – through their actions. I think they have no conscience. But it is not only Gowon and Obasanjo, but all those spitting fire and promising brimstone on pro- Biafra protesters. The problems they created with Sharia and Boko Haram is spreading like cancer across the entire length and breadth of Nigeria. Through their arrogance, they are fueling the fires of Biafra, an ideology which should have been handled with care. They probably do not realise the harm they are causing. Again, Nnamdi Kanu, is only comparable to a shock-observer to their recklessness. Invariably, they are the ones wishing Nigeria dead.

Always remember – no time wasted, steps walked, journey covered, efforts made, no wounds and bruises sustained in the course of regaining one’s freedom of any kind is stupid and useless. Until one regains his freedom of equality, his fights can never be deemed too much or overzealous. His fight will remain dignified. In fact, the fight to regain one’s freedom is the only fight that is worth the life of the fighter. It is so, because without freedom, one has no life at all. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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