Friday, 13 January 2012

No roars from the lions in the south east

    Nigerians were greeted to a rude shock when the federal government in its bullish nature removed the ‘subsidy’ on Premium Motor Spirit-PMS- popularly known as petrol on the first day of the year. This shut up prices by alarming 120% increase from N65 to N141. this new development did not augur well with Nigerians, as most people took to the streets to protest. The NLC and TUC announced a total lockdown of the economy, embarking on an indefinite strike until prices are reverted back to the old rates. The have been protests in different parts of the country as youths have taken to the streets to register their displeasure at the insistence of an insensitive government to worsen their plight. All but the south east has taken bold steps in voicing their opinions. The Igbos seem non-chalant to the subsidy matter, and their governors have made audacious attempts at botching any [planned protests. In Enugu, the NLC leader was arrested under the guise of planning a civil disobedience and has even ordered its civil servants back to work. The same situation was replicated in Abia, when the governor threatened its civil servants with termination of appointment if they do not return to work. Even amongst the populace, there is an absent minded opinion of the subsidy removal, as most people go about their businesses except for banks and government offices that have remained shut.
     Several schools of thought have emerged in defense of the Igbos. Some pundits recount the bitter experience of the Biafran expedition as the reasons the Igbos do not want to be involved in the protests, claiming the Igbos were used as scapegoats during the civil war. These analysts claim that they Igbos feel cheated that they were used to pursue a reformist agenda, but were sold out by their southern brothers who aligned with the northerners. Ever since then, the Igbos have been marginalized out of the Nigerian mainstream politics, only playing subservient roles.
    Another argument defending the Igbo position draws its points from the fact that the igbos do not have any of their sons or daughters in cabal or as beneficiaries of the subsidy. As such, why waste our time to fight for thE cause of other people. Consequently, another school believes that the Igbos may be eyeing the 2015 presidency and as such would not want to jeopardize their position. Aligning with the present regime would cement their position. Some others have even argued that 90% of Igbo youths do not reside in Igbo land, as such the much needed
 driving force for the protests is absent. There have even been pro-subsidy removal rallies held in some parts of Anambra state in places such as Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
    An objective analysis of the scenario depicted above could be summarized under one word, which continually has been the bane of development and nationalism in this country: Ethnicity. It is rather sad that whilst others are trying to actualize the Pan-Nigerian project, some other have been allowed to be hoodwinked by their leaders who used sentiments that have further divided this country. This leaders, as others in the previous ethnic groups have succeeded in hiding behind the curtains of ethnic loyalty to prevent an imminent paradigm shift. Nigeria is a collective venture which all of us must be partakers.
      Saying that the Igbos were cheated as a result of the civil war is nothing short of cheap blackmail. If the Igbos are so disgruntled, then why partake in the Nigerian polity? Why do we have Igbo sons and daughters in the Nigerian government if they want to register their grievances? This is akin to speaking from both sides of one’s mouth. There is a proverb that says “the child that does not stay at home, never eats a hot meal”. If the #Occupy Nigeria protests succeed, the Igbos would be further marginalized
  It is high time Igbos and Nigerians at large shelve ethnic  affiliations and embrace Nigeria as a whole. The ongoings in the government has shown us that the bane of this country resides in our leaders, not in our cultural differences. Taking actions based on cultural backgrounds rather than objectivity is hypocrisy. I would like to commend those Igbos who have decided to shelve parochial interests to embrace nationalism. But to our leaders I say shame.

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