Business man cum politician Chief Joseph Ikunna has urged Nigerian ethnic group leaders to set aside ethnic differences and discuss how to achieve peace in the recent uprising happening at the North and South Eastern parts of the country.
Read his article below:
May the gentle soul of Nkiruka Anthonia Ifeanyionwu, a 21 year old student of the Federal College of Education Umunze, rest in perfect peace. This is yet another innocent life to follow the said, three million lost, during the Biafran Nigerian civil war. How many more Igbo lives must be lost, before we finally understand that we can achieve so much more, without disrupting our markets, the movement of our people, and instilling fear in those with alternative views? Peace, Peace, Peace!
I had the opportunity of meeting five pro Biafran young lads this evening and i decided to talk some sense into them, about the pros and cons of a potential Biafra, after which, each and everyone of them, marvelled by the truth and understood the reasons why a Biafra was not the solution to their problems. They wondered why no one was telling them the truth, and why our elders (i.e you and I) had not held meetings, seminars, workshops, Etc. In telling them the truth, and making them understand the pros and cons.
They admitted that they had been blinded in the ecstasy of herd mentality of following the crowd, and advised that I should go back to our leaders and get them to talk to the youth before it was too late. They admitted that all of them agitating for Biafra were doing so out of ignorance and a fear for feeling left out.
Whilst I agree with many Nigerians, that at the moment, there is no basis for unity in Nigeria, can I please take us aback in history, to where the various parts of the UK fought terrible wars against themselves for centuries, with a great dislike for each other, those of Normandy, Saxon, Scot, Viking, Etc, background/heritage battled for supremacy, achieving nothing for centuries, until by an act of parliament in 1707, they decided that, they would fight no more, but come together as one, and become a United kingdom. That was how the United Kingdom of Britain was born.
That unity made Britain rule the seas, where from, they went to conquer and rule a third of the world, and lead the industrial revolution, that has kept Britain wealthy till date.
Forgive my myopic view of life, but why can’t we be a nation? Why can’t each ethnic group in Nigeria, embrace the strengths of other ethnic groups, and ignore or tolerate our weaknesses for the sake of peace and progress.
Why can’t genuine and selfless leaders of each ethnic group come together to take control of the situation, and make everyone feel more comfortable with each other?
Is this not the time for a higher level of leadership to take over and put this great country on the right track?
Nigeria is not the only country with different tribes, nor is it the only country with different religions.
Whilst we may feel that the Hausa and Yoruba may hate us, do we honestly love them? Are we not all guilty of the same dislike, distrust, and anger?
Let us consider these facts, as we forge ahead. We can all do better than many of us are suggesting. There is no such thing as a peaceful or negotiated division. It will be bloody, and many lives will be lost.
Let us think like the mother in the bible, who stopped Solomon from chopping the baby in half, and said the other woman could have the child instead.
If we take the upper ground now, through strategic planning and the massaging of the feelings of all Nigerians, Igbos will end up part owners of Nigeria. They are spread all over, so who can take Nigeria from them, except they decide to give it up themselves?
Some will hate me for my words, some will think I am weak. Some will say I’m not a worthy Igbo man. But I say to all, I am yet to see, one war that has succeeded in making a people greater, even the Israelis we like to compare ourselves with, live in great fear, year in, year out, seeking a peace that may never come.
Let us make peace, by following our Christian values of turning the other cheek, and I guarantee you all Nigerians will be better off for generations to come.
Chief Joseph Chukwuma Ikunna