Our hearts are weighted down in profound grief; our sight is blinded by flowing tears; our composure is surely unhinged by the terrible thing that has befallen the peoples living around Lagos and their relatives.
How do you console the bereaved? How do you recompense the loss? How do you mourn our beloved dead? Who will mend our hearts? Who will fill the rent in our psyche? Who shall hold our head up in the day? Who shall buoy our spirit at night? Who shall accompany our soul when conscious?
We hurt. We weep. We miss. We struggle. We ache. We despair. We cry. We hope. We wish.
Some of us have seen this type of horror before. Biafrans uprooted and disrupted from Northern Nigeria in 1966. Biafrans who experienced the war of self-preservation, the Biafran war, thirty years ago. Biafrans in Kaduna and Jos in the last 2 years. Our present grief only forces upon us the memory of our past grief. We cannot help but connect the dots left by the darts of pain and suffering shot at us by Nigeria.
Remember the players? General Danjuma, who supervised the killing of Ironsi and Fajuyi. General Danjuma, who supervised the murdering of Igbo-Biafran Military officers in cold blood in 1966. He was callous then; he still is callous today.
Witness his lack of genuine remorse. Witness his lack of sensitivity. In any other country, the Defense Minister would have resigned. Not in Nigeria! Not him! What’s a few casualties to him, whether it be zero as he and General Obasanjo claimed initially, or the few hundreds that he finally admitted to, or the few thousands that is more accurate but we would never know? General Danjuma witnessed more casualties when they starved Biafrans to death 30 years ago.
General Danjuma had the audacity to tell the grieving people that the Military will conduct their own investigation, but they will not reveal the results to the people! What effrontery, considering that the whole problem is easily and readily traceable solely to the Military of which he is the head? Is it not the same lack of accountability that has always emboldened the Military to wreck Nigeria, loot Nigeria, and rape Nigeria repeatedly?
All the while, we never hear of him sending the Navy or any branch of the Nigerian military to aid in rescue efforts, or at least aid in the body-recovery efforts. It’s easier and quicker for him to oversee the Nigerian military kill and maim civilians of Nigeria and destroy their villages and property than it is for him to deploy the military in the service of needy people of Nigeria.
Now, we are given to understand that there was a previous incident on a smaller scale, a sentinel event, which the military ignored. We also now understand that some military personnel had brought up the issue to the attention of their superiors before, but nothing was done. What could be more negligent? Where does the buck stop, if not at the office of the Minister for Defense?
Yet, the military has been allocated the lion’s share of Nigerian government budget all along. What the military leaders did not steal as juntas, they spent on an arms-buying spree, with no threatening enemy in sight. They forget the people in the country they were foresworn to defend: the people died from poor health care and poor nutrition and from poverty in general, while the military was busy buying shiny weapons. And they even forgot to maintain the already existing stockpiles, and to maintain the armories, which is the direct cause of the present suffering. We are not even going to bother to mention the fact of unpaid salaries and entitlements to the soldiers. Where is General Danjuma?
Where is General Obasanjo? He, too, presided over the genocide of millions of Biafrans by the Nigerian army; did he develop his callousness at that time, thirty years ago? We know that what happened at Oddi did not faze him, nor did Tiv-Junkun massacre, in the recent present, although he presided over, or instigated these military actions against unarmed civilians and their dwellings and property. So insensitive was he to the magnitude of the current calamity that he is reported to have yelled at the people to
Imagine that! These are the same people whose votes he literally bought to get him into office. Perhaps, he realizes that fact: the people did not really vote him into office; he actually bought his way into the office of the Presidency by buying each vote with Naira and dollars. Why, then, should he not speak to the people with disdain and disrespect whenever he felt like it—like now, in spite of the shocked and dazed state of the people?
General Obasanjo had the bad taste to remind grieving people suffering from the result of the negligence and mismanagement of the military, of which he is the Commander-in-Chief, that he was not supposed to be there in the first place speaking to them. The occasion was not worthy of his presence, he was insinuating to the people. The people’s plight, their losses, even on this scale, and by such means, were not significant enough to merit or warrant General Obasanjo’s almighty presence!
Perhaps, General Obasanjo did not like the fact that this tragedy was going to upset his globetrotting habit? He might have to cancel his umpteenth trip to the United States, and his trip to South America. Whatever he had planned to do on these trips must be more important to him than the events happening now in Lagos Nigeria? Such misplaced priorities! And this is the man that chides the State Governors about traveling abroad? And this is the President whose government has issued injunctions against foreign travels by government officials?
What we see is a level of incompetence exhibited by General Obasanjo and his Defense Minister, General Danjuma, unparalleled even in the history of underdeveloped countries. We see a President more interested in his own personal foreign travels than in the affairs and welfare of the people who live in Nigeria.
We see a President and his Defense Minister exhibiting the true colors of their administration—insensitivity to the needs of the people, lack of concern and / or inability to maintain or provide even basic physical safety for the people, and sheer arrogance.
We see a President and his Defense Minister who harp about the dividends of democracy at every turn, but who have never practiced democracy, or at best have a warped version of it. After all, General Obasanjo set the example of lack of accountability of the military to the people when he excluded the military, which, mind you, was responsible for the killing and sacking of the unarmed civilians, from the inquest into Tiv-Junkun incident and other previous like-incidents. Hence, it was quite natural for General Danjuma to declare that the military would conduct their own inquiry into the recent Lagos incident, but would never make the findings known to the people.
Yet, tomorrow, General Obasanjo will very eagerly point accusing fingers at others whom he believes are trying to cause the breakup of Nigeria. He threatens and wants to go out and kill them as enemies of Nigeria. Little does he see that his incompetence and his hypocrisy are making sure that Nigeria will complete her death as one country. Little does he realize that his insensitivity and anti-democratic actions are putting the final nails in this coffin, one Nigeria.
For almost forty years, General Obasanjo and General Danjuma have been involved in all the significant events that have ruined Nigeria. Today, as the President and the Defense Minister respectfully, they do remind us of some ironic twist of fate, as together, they finally run Nigeria into the ground, so that they may be correctly identified and credited for the evil which they have wrought and brought to this region, so that they may finally be seen for the incompetents that they are..
We mourn, and we want General Danjuma to resign and make atonement for his iniquities. We grieve, and we want General Obasanjo to resign, or at least not seek re-election—assuming that there will be such elections. We want General Obasanjo to stop talking of democracy, because his ideas and ways are the exact antithesis of democracy and decency. We want him to stop talking of defending the crumbling one Nigeria because all he is doing is forcing us to be killed, and he can’t and / or won’t protect us.
We weep, and we want the Nations of Nigeria to recognize that Nigeria is too large, too unwieldy, too divided, too different and too fragmented to be governed as one entity, and continued efforts at such will only continue to kill us all. Only arrogant, egotistic, antidemocratic, incompetent and inept egomaniacs desire to force the peoples together so that they can fulfill their own personal agendas, at the expense of the safety, security and survival of hapless individuals, peoples and nations unfortunate enough to reside in the geographic area known as one Nigeria. Let us mind our own individual Nations, now.
We grieve, and we know that Biafra is the answer for us. Hail Biafra! We shall not perish with a sinking ship called one Nigeria, though we are chained to posts in her gallows. We have broken free of those chains, and we take our own destiny in our own hands. God created us free; we desire no less. If we are wrong, then, God is all wrong.
So may you be consoled by Chineke, your Chi.