I have read what I may describe as excerpts from Mr Uzor’s speech to Igbo supporters of the governor of Kogi State at Lokoja. The emergence of IPOB has thrown up arguments about what is the right direction for Igbo future. IPOB have stated their stand. Orji Uzor is probably trying to become the leader of the other school of thought.
Nnia Nwodo and Orji Uzor may share some ideas but they are not exactly the same. Nwodo acknowledges the facts of the oppression of the Igbos and attempts to position himself in-between the hardliners like IPOB and the compromisers like the Igbo governors. Orji Uzor is different. He ignores genuine Igbo grievances and peddles a bit of personal concepts and a bit of HausaFulani postulations.
At Lokoja, Orji dismissed the practicability of a Biafran nation. He argued that we can all join hands with fellow Nigerians to make Nigeria work. He enjoined Igbos to jettison the agitation for Biafra. In his own opinion, we can use negotiations and diplomacy to arrive at our paradise which is Igbo presidency.
Let me say that I disagree with Orji. We had already tried every solution that Orji had offered and it did not work. The foundation and structure of Nigeria makes Orji’s ideas unworkable. After the civil war, the Igbos pursued a pacifist ideology; we just minded our business and yet at every moment we suffered humiliations. Alex Ekwueme was Vice President as we played into mainstream politics. Azikiwe’s NPP formed an alliance with Abubakar Rimi’s faction of PRP in Kano and NPP won in Kano.
Was it not mainstream politics that Orji Uzor himself loaned PDP 500 million naira in 1999 to fund PDP. He Orji also gave Obasanjo who came out of prison bankrupt one million dollars to fund his campaign. Were these not playing mainstream politics? Where did it take Igbos? Has Orji forgotten how Obasanjo and Anthony Aneni plotted to destroy him? Who killed Dokibo, Harry Marshall, Bola Ige, Funsho Williams? We are usually too quick to forget. It is alright to express optimism about Nigeria but I am afraid to say that it is blind optimism and faith.
I recognise the need for these debates to go on. In democracy, debates help to determine what course of action to follow. The only problem is that our HausaFulani opponents do not believe in debates. They more often than not resort to murder as a weapon for political solution. To them debates are hate speech. It is only not a hate speech when they are the ones dishing it out. To them to call Igbos kafri, baby factory, drug peddlers, kidnappers, nyamiri is not hate speech but probably compliments. It is a pity that Orji keeps including in his comments the condemnation of hate which is directed at IPOB. And Orji is yet to give a speech condemning the activities of herdsmen and murder of IPOB protesters.
Orji and co are free to pursue their line of thought. IPOB are equally free to carry on with their opinion about Igbo future.
The Orji group’s angle looks like a continuation of the failed order. The IPOB angle has popular followership and appears to be marching on tremendously.
Written by Igwe Emenike