Discordant tunes greeted the agitation for the Sovereign State of Biafra Thursday following the disagreements among eminent Igbo personalities on the contentious issue at a book launch in Abuja. The book “The Audacity of Power and the Nigeria Presidency-Exclusion of the South East in Nigeria’s Power Politics and the Spectre of Biafra” written by Godwin Ifeanyi Udibe and Law Mefor brought together the likes of former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, Senator Ben Obi, Enyinnaya Abaribe and Udenta Udenta. Ben Obi, Udenta, Abaribe and Nnamani, Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo represented by Senator Obi lauded the efforts of the authors, stressing that for a truth, the marginalization of the Igbo people is real.
“The book is a narrative of what has been happening to a group of people from the South-East. It is about how a people have been systematically harassed and denied,” Obi stated in his opening remarks. For Senator Nnamani, what the Igbo needs is the restructuring of the Nigerian State to pave way for each of the federating units to grow at their own pace. “Our people stand to gain from restructuring rather than agitation. By July 6th, it would be 50 years we went to war. I participated in Biafra war. Some other places that didn’t go to war are not doing better than us.
If you take a look at Abuja, particularly hotels, about two-thirds of them are owned by people of the South-East or the South in general. The Yoruba are talking about restructuring, not exiting the union. I am here to encourage our people that the idea of having our young ones who ought to be in the classrooms, parade the streets, demonstrating and trying to kill themselves or get shot at, will not help us.
The Igbo can still do it; we are known for our ingenuity, our industry…We have to be at the place where decisions are being made. Igbo are better off in Nigeria if there is restructuring and we are not afraid to compete. We are asking for a level playing field and we are prepared to compete. This is better than agitation. Go and read and get good certificates,” he said.
The book reviewer, Udenta Udenta also spoke in like manner, calling on those pushing for agitation to shelve the idea. “We cannot solve any problem without being able to influence the National Assembly to make laws that would work for the people. The new Biafra is a broken memorization of a lost hope; it is utopian… In creating a new Biafra for example, I, a hard working intellectual who may want to contest election in my own local setting within the new Republic must contend with the billionaire class that may not have abolished the monetization of politics.
If politics is still monetized, if you have wage labourers and wage employers, and gender issues; how do you create a nation if you suppress all these other identity issues and expect everybody to answer only one name?” However, a former Commissioner of Information in Imo State, Nze Elvis Agukwe took Senator Nnamani to the cleaners, asking what has become of the education of the Igbo people in the political power game. “We must continue to agitate for if the North is using Boko Haram to press home their interest, we will use agitation to press for power.
Despite the level of our education, we have been left empty-handed,” said the ex-commissioner in a veiled response to Nnamani’s charge that Igbo youth should pick up their books and read their way to a brighter future. Expectedlly, the former Senate President exited the venue of the book launch, visibly angry at the Agukwe’s choice of words and the manner of his expression.