Buhari, Owerri And The Dot In A Circle By Ozodinukwe Okenwa

2 months ago 29

President Muhammadu Buhari visited Imo State last week. And during the working visit he commissioned some projects executed by the Uzodinma administration and addressed some selected stakeholders in the state including the Ebonyi state Governor Dave Umahi and the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor who came visting as well. The President spent just four hours or thereabout. The entire state was subjected to a military lockdown with combat helicopters hovering menacingly above. It was like a war zone with almost every  federal security structure represented in a show of force.

Addressing the assembled dignitaries President Buhari decked in a traditional Igbo 'isi-agu' dress spoke about how the Igbos are controlling the Nigerian economy and how they are enterprising. He said it was unthinkable how and why the Igbos are agitating for a separate country given their presence in virtually every nook and cranny of the country.

The average Igboman is a habitual traveller and adventurer. And wherever they go they try to dominate the environment! This unique spirit of 'integration' is not given to every ethnic group.

While the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) leadership had decreed a sit-at-home in protest against the presidential visit and against the continued incarceration of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the people of Imo state stayed largely indoors mainly because of the security siege before and during the visit.

Governor Hope Uzodinma was reported online to have hired hundreds of youths and bused them to the airport to welcome the President. As a Supreme Cult (sorry Court) imposed Governor Uzodinma would eternally be grateful to Buhari and the APC judicial fixers at the federal capital territory for pulling off a judicial heist that led to his emergence as Governor despite coming a distant fourth during the guber poll in the state!

The judiciary in Nigeria suffers from the worst executive interference and emasculation in our history. Never before had the Judges and the hallowed chambers been so ridiculed, not even during the military dictatorships of Generals Babangida and the late Abacha. Today the lawless Department of State Services could afford to invade court rooms and abduct prisoners of conscience (like Comrade Omoyele Sowore) even when they were granted bail!

Scandals and disobedience of valid court orders under Buharism demonstrates our steady descent into despotism. Those who looted the treasuries are never convicted because of the weakness of the system. Some are working under Buhari as Ministers and others are 'hiding' in the National Assembly with immunity. Yet Buhari claims he is fighting corrution!

President Buhari's 'successful' visit to Imo state (the hotbed of the violent agitation for the Biafran nationhood) went a long way to reinforcing the popular belief that (1) Gov. Uzodinma is unpopular among Imolites (despite his megalomania, bravado and magniloquence). And (2) Buhari and the Abuja cabal see the Igbos as an indispensable ethnic group in the Nigerian project. 

But the importance and useful contribution of the Biafrans to the economic development of the nation has become a stumbling block as it were to their 'freedom'! They must, therefore, endure whatever injustice or marginalization thrown their way staying put forcefully inside the so-called zoo.

Nigeria is a federal house of commotion, nay horror, featuring bloodletting on a daily basis. The amount of persecution and oppression Igbos face in different parts of the country must be addressed if many of us would see reason with Buhari's sermon on the Owerri 'desert'. Empty rhetorics cannot solve the problem. Neither would hypocritical preaching on the contrary would.

For us Buhari has demonstrated his executive loathsomeness towards the Igbos. And the Biafrans, on the other hand, have demonstrated their lack of affection towards him by giving him five miserable percent in the presidential polls. 

Unless the Igbos are fully 'integrated' into the mainstream Nigerian politics playing the equal-partner role in politics and economics Nigeriana then more Nnamdi Kanus would emerge to continue challenging the nonsense they call leadership at the federal and states' levels.

President Buhari had, during an interview with Arise TV crew in Abuja, scornfully described the Biafrans as a "dot in a circle". That disgusting appellation and profile of a great people east of the Niger had generated some controversy at that time. Tee-shirts with labels of 'Onye Dot' became a hot cake in the South-east. 

Saying the Biafrans had nowhere else to go as if they were 'encircled' in a zoo-like situation is tantamount to presidential irresponsibility and executive joke taken too far. But the truth of the matter is that Buhari can never convince the majority of Igbos of his administration's impartiality and patriotism when it comes to the issues of federal appointments and distribution of democracy dividends.

It, therefore, beats one's imagination hearing the same embattled President eulogizing the Igbos and pretending that all was well. Yet all is not well! From Abakaliki to Enugu, Awka to Owerri down to Umuahia the situation remains tensed with state-sponsored terrorism taking down innocent folks.

The detained Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho would not have made name and money for themselves if Buhari had not failed as a leader. The perceived Fulanization and Islamisation agenda is what is fuelling the secessionist agitations. Many non-Fulani Nigerians are feeling alienated accentuating ethnic and religious divisions and consequently jeopardising national unity.

When there is a little breakdown of law and order anywhere in the south-east then our security personnel suddenly become professionally active and effective but when terrorists, bandits and the Fulani herdsmen commit crimes up north or somewhere in Benue State then we hear about amnesty, negotiations or payment of hefty ransoms for their abducted victims to be released. Double standard, isn't it?

Governor Hope Uzodinma and his Abuja executive guests ought to think twice before assaulting the sensibility of Imolites who still feel short-changed by the judicial abracadabra in Abuja that led to the emergence of the APC as the ruling party in the state. We all know that Imo state remains a PDP stronghold.

SOC Okenwa
[email protected]

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