This is the News Analysis segment of the Voice of Biafra International Broadcast.
For January 19, 2002
You have heard the news; now, the analysis…
The current Labor Strike could not escape anybody’s attention. But, what about the lesson—the message—of the strike? Does the government understand the significance? We doubt it. What the people are saying is this: the government is out of touch with the reality of the impoverished life of the average man and woman, including student, living in Nigeria. The people are telling the government: it is not just about Petrol or fuel, stupid. It is about Garri. It is about Clothing. It is about even Akara. It is about everything, including the price of textbooks. In the life of a deprived person, everything is really connected. Raise the price of fuel by 1 penny, and the multiplier effect which runs through every commercial and even non-commercial transaction, can add up to 1 Naira. The damage is like that of an exploding bullet: a small entry wound, and gaping exit-injury. Do you think this government will understand? I doubt it. So, the people won’t let the government forget.
One justification for this fuel price hike by the government is to help with IMF (International Monetary Fund) demands, with the hope that the pressure from the creditors on the Nigerian Government debt can be eased some. But, let’s visit the national debt of Nigeria owed to the International community. The original approximately $3B (by one account) has now ballooned up to almost $27B, although probably 6 to 7 times or so the original loan amount has been paid. Can any average person living in Nigeria say how he or she has benefited from this loan? The answer is, No. Why should this average person be made to suffer for the evil policies of the Government of Nigeria for all these years? Truth be told, there is over $27B of money stolen from the government of Nigeria (who stole it from the owners of the oil resources in the first place), by unscrupulous persons of rank and fame in Nigeria. Abacha alone got more than that; then, one has to add to that the loot of those he copied from and whom he tried to outdo, and you can get an idea. Even at the time of transition in 1999, the looting went on unabated. We have a solution for the government of Nigeria: Give $1B to IMF; ask them to use this money to recover the loot (which is in banks in the lenders’ countries). From the recovered monies, they can get their payment; and whatever is left over can be split between IMF and the people that live in, not the government of, Nigeria.
These issues are a lucky break for General Obasanjo and his government. We believe that the distractions caused by the Strike are a welcome relief for them, and they may try to exploit these distractions to that end. What is the General hiding from? For one, his role in illegally doctoring the Electoral Bill, for personal, selfish and partisan gain. Recall one of his spokesmen used to say that the President is non-partisan. But by the President’s own reported words, he wanted to change the Electoral Bill to reflect PDP’s desires. Never mind what is good for the people. All he cares about is what is good for PDP and for himself. What does PDP desire: perpetual, exclusive power, and control of the people of Nigeria, which ties in with what General Obasanjo wants—self-succession and one-party system for Nigeria. For all that, what good has either General Obasanjo or PDP, or both acting together, brought to the people living in Nigeria? You be the judge.
What else could General Obasanjo be hiding from? The cloud of suspicion concerning the possible role of his PDP party, under his leadership and direction, in the murder of Bola Ige and all the recent spate of killings. The people already know that the government will never tell the truth, nor will it even thoroughly and impartially investigate the murders. Then, how can the government, not to speak of the people, ever realize that the ultimate engine of these killings is one-Nigeria politics? People: the problem is one Nigeria; One Nigeria will kill us all. The solution is to get one Nigeria out of the Nations that live in the geographic area known by the name, Nigeria.
In the meantime, have General Obasanjo and his government learnt anything? Did you know that he is now working on buying arms, including missiles, from Iran? The Iranians are now calling the people of Nigeria their brothers, because they have been approached to sell lethal weapons to Nigeria. Of course, Iran has a point. Nigeria, after all, has been registered as an Islamic country, and is a member of the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC). General Obasanjo, on his part, acts and presents Nigeria in that light; we know who his masters are, and we know who really owns Nigeria. Muslim brotherhood aside, think about this: Why does Nigeria need more military weapons? Is there any outside threat to Nigeria? Is there any theatre out there where Nigeria can do what she does best—be a hypocrite, by trying to save other African countries from the same ailments which are crippling her, herself, and which she is incompetent to resolve for herself? General Obasanjo, why are you spending Oil money from Southern Nigerian Oil wells to buy weapons of destruction when there are no external enemies threatening Nigeria? Couldn’t you use this money to pay off the foreign debt which is your reason for hiking fuel prices?
In the light of this action and behavior, General Obasanjo’s New Year Message to Nigeria makes sense. This is called “projection” in psychiatry—a situation where one accuses the other of what one harbors in one’s own mind. In this message, General Obasanjo mentions war—“civil war”—several times. Don’t forget, though, that he invited the US to train his Army; the British never really left. He is transacting the business of procuring weapons and missiles from Iran. He is talking about civil war. HE IS THE ONLY ONE DOING IT—PREPARING FOR WAR AND TALKING ABOUT IT. Oh, but he wants us to believe that some other person out there or some group is threatening civil war!
General Obasanjo, we want to make sure that you hear and understand what we are saying and what we are doing. Nigeria has already failed as a country. It never was one, to start with. We are not interested in fighting your army. We want to get the Nations in Nigeria together so that we can talk and decide on how we can relate to one another, because our survival and wellbeing both collectively and as individuals, is in great peril. Perhaps you missed a point in your dealings with Iran. If you think that you are brothers with Iran, that’s your personal decision which you can personally live by. There are many other Nations living in Nigeria who don’t think so. What we are going to accomplish is this: those Nations in Nigeria who feel kinship with Iran can and should consummate that relationship as their National prerogative. The other Nations who have no reason to be bound by such a relationship have no reason to be subjected to, or subjugated by, it. This is a metaphor for both the problem and the solution of the current problems in Nigeria. We of course have nothing against Iran, and no insult is meant.
General Obasanjo: we are saying, Dialogue! not your civil war for which you are already preparing, but which you are blaming on the other party. A Sovereign National Conference is the answer—that’s what we have been talking about, but you have stood in the way. And, you have the guts to turn around and tell us that we are the problem. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. You are trying to force a union that has never existed, and you now even want to claim that God made it so—for a shame! You are saying that the Nations in Nigeria do not have the right or the wisdom to come together in a meeting to determine how they will relate to one another. You are saying that you will attack them with your army and your newly purchased weapons, or incite a civil war, rather than allow them exercise their God-given right to discuss and decide and come to a common understanding, the right of choice, the right of freedom. On top of that, you invoke God on your side. Shame! Shame, Shame!
It is people like General Obasanjo—who refuse to see the real problems of Nigeria, and hence fail to see the real solutions—that are the real enemy. It is they who have brought, and continue to bring, untold suffering and oppression to the people. They are the ones that have the army and the weapons, and direct them to kill innocent civilians and destroy their property with wanton abandon. The Vice President, Atiku, has taken a baby-step to finally recognize that the actions and behavior of his fellow Northern Nationals in the unnecessary, unprovoked, unjustified and unjust killings of Igbo Biafrans and other Southerners in the North is evil, and has found the courage to express that to Arewa, in a recent gathering to honor the late Sir Ahmadu Bello. Finally, somebody found the courage to speak up. In so doing, the Vice President begins to dissociate himself from General Obasanjo and his elk who refuse to recognize the evil that has torn Nigeria asunder, and who refuse to deal with it.
But, would that Vice President Atiku articulate in vernacular that the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, was an arch National who only tolerated one Nigeria because it did not affect or influence his Arewa Nation. In fact, he ran and controlled one Nigeria as a sort of protectorate of the Arewa Nation. Would that Vice President Atiku’s small step of courage be accompanied by a tiny bit of honesty, that he too would admit that Bello’s Nationalism, without the pretense of one-Nigeria, is the answer: each Nation of erstwhile Nigeria minding its own affairs with independence and sovereignty.
When that happens, the Biafra Nation will forgive that neither Vice President Atiku nor any ranking official has ever rendered a sincere apology to the Igbo Biafrans for the genocidal acts perpetrated by the Northerners on them, and for the murders of other Southerners living in the North.
As for General Obasanjo, we hope that he will think twice before he tries to subject the nations of Nigeria into a civil war. First, who is going to be on his side? Which Nation in Nigeria has he not offended by his style and arrogance and acts, and which Nation has not been impoverished by his ineptness? Even his army: if the Army is smart, which it is, the Army will remember that General Obasanjo has directed them in the past into operations against civilians, only for the General to dodge the blame and let the army take the rap and the ire of the people and the world. Speaking of the world, did not the European Union send him a letter about the hapless girl who is on Sharia death row, to the tone that the International community is fully aware of the cruelty that now exists in Nigeria in the name of state-sponsored Sharia? Can you see them supporting General Obasanjo in a war to force people to be subjugated to this type of condition? And, General Obasanjo should not expect the US to help him, considering that the Northerners sympathize with, or support, bin Laden and burn American flags routinely; nor will the US people keep quiet this time around when he attacks unarmed civilians in the South. And, where is he going to get the funds to sustain a war, granted that he has probably paid for the weapons already? Delta oil revenues?
By refusing to see the obvious, that a state of non-union had and has always existed among the Nations of Nigeria since inception, General Obasanjo is a danger to all the people of Nigeria. By refusing to acknowledge the great gulf in the nature of religion, language, culture, traditions, and now, legal codes, existing between the Nations of Nigeria, General Obasanjo constitutes a danger to the people in Nigeria. By failing to address these issues, and by blocking the one peaceful way and means whereby the people can exercise their right to dialogue and conference and National self-determinism, General Obasanjo is a danger to the people in Nigeria. By invoking another civil war and arming for it, then turning around and blaming unarmed people for that, General Obasanjo is the greatest danger to the people in Nigeria. And, when General Obasanjo claims and believes that God is on his side in all this, there can be no greater danger to the Nations in Nigeria.
Think about it!
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