Published On: Mon, Sep 25th, 2017

Who will fight Nigeria’s injustice?

By Chimeziri Franklin

Mohammadu Buhari was elected president of Nigeria largely on a promise of anti-corruption. He so sang this gospel that we expected a clean sweep of all that is wrong with Nigeria. Sadly, however, two years on, Buhari has been displaying a very narrow definition of corruption. If the North has dealt cruelly and unjustly with the South especially Igbo for decades and Buhari remains comfortable with it, we must look for another messiah.

Mass murder of Igbo by Hausa-Fulani started in 1945 and repeated in 1953 before an Igbo-led coup killed four leading Northerners in 1966. But victorious in war,   and in control of state power, Northerners published and sustained the lie that Igbo were the first to draw blood.

Exclusion of Igbo from power became the order of the day.  Nine years later, an Igbo in the person of Alex Ekwueme broke through to the vice presidency of Nigeria. But on seizing power, Buhari humiliated Igbo by throwing Ekwueme and the Igbo hero Ojukwu in jail without any proof of corruption against them.

Important projects would either not be sited in Igboland or be quickly killed by starving it of funds. Economics recommended Igboland as the location for a steel project, but the Federal Government (FG) sited the project elsewhere. FG built airports in Katsina, Bauchi, Minna and Yola, but Imo and Delta had to sweat out an airport for themselves.

Jonathan’s little adjustment of government composition in favour of the long marginalized Igbo provoked Boko Haram to kill more and more Igbo. Jonathan fought Boko Haram but Buhari rose against him. Boko Haram is deprived youth. Why are you killing them? Igbo decided that Buhari shall not rule Nigeria again, but the other half of the South made it possible for the man to triumph again.

Before he included Igbo in his cabinet, he had filled ninety-five percent of other strategic positions. Of course, his Northern appointees were only too eager to reflect the boss. Many Igbo were sacked and very few new ones hired. Seeing that the new leader was punishing them, Igbo tuned increasingly to Biafra secessionist activists.  Buhari forces then visited more killing, maiming and imprisonment on them.

Importance is attached to Federal appointments because who is in what position can bring a people ruin or prosperity. A Boko Haram terrorist turned Christian has confessed how muslim soldiers colluded with them to kill Christians in Plateau State. The soldiers were sent there to keep peace, but when leaving a Christian compound, they informed the terrorists who wouldn’t fail to go and massacre the defenseless, unsuspecting people.

Late media practitioner Chief Innocent Oparadike narrated how he was forced to quit his job as editor of the New Nigerian newspaper. Muslim gangs were looking to kill him so that the job could go back to a Northerner. He applied for police protection, but the police commissioner, a muslim, considered Christians unbelievers, undeserving of police protection.

Tales abound of how personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (usually Northerners) perpetually prey on Igbo importers and traders. The most recent tale is Evans, the robber and kidnapper saying he joined crime only after Customs men deprived him out of his motor parts business.  You’d remember how easily Fulani herdsmen in Igboland kill, maim, rob and rape their hosts – under Buhari’s watch.

IPOB members have been provoked too often, but they wouldn’t be killers. Yet when Buhari gave orders to crush terrorist groups, he included this non-violence group in the number.

Given their unholy conduct as officers and armed men, you’d think the Northerners will be majority of prisoners around the country. But imprisonment tends to reject them and admit Southerners. The mass murderers — Boko Haram frequently get only a slap on the wrist when they surrender because they are muslims. How come? The police, the military, the judiciary — deciders of who is to be arrested or tried and jailed are usually Northern-led.

In favour of the North came a policy of education whereby Southern students with scores of 250 are denied university admission, but to their face, students from Hausa-Fulani states who scored 130 are admitted. Also for the North only, lieutenant-colonel is directly promoted to major-general. Worse still, today he is your trainee; tomorrow he shows up as your boss because he is neither a muslim nor a Northerner! A humiliation many have died lamenting!

Take a look at electoral creation! The military dictators decided the number of seats or voting strength the Southern tribes would have in the House of Reps. What they achieved was advantage for their section and their tribes in every decision-making. Desperate attempts have been made to impose disadvantage on Southerners.

Fraudulent census figures have been part of the making or justification of these disparities. From personal experience in the Far North, I can swear in the name of God that the 1991 census was compromised. My superior, a Northerner cooked up names and figures and instructed me to enter them and I cooperated. I wasn’t sure of my safety if I resisted him. Colleagues later told me that such manipulations were widespread in the region.

Now, the entire South have united against the unjust situation by calling for restructuring of the country, but Buhari, the anti-corruption preacher, is working against their peaceable proposal. Even former military president Ibrahim Babangida and former vice president Abubakar Atiku have thrown their weight behind restructuring, but mighty Buhari has passed the buck. He hates the proposal. Only a man of justice and fair dealing can heal Nigeria.

Franklin, a historian and marketer, lives in Lagos

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