Opinion

Buhari’s next level – If you are Igbo, you are IPOB, By Ikeddy Isiguzo

Access Bank

THERE is no need for further debates about where President Muhammadu Buhari stands with South East, Igbo. If you are from those parts he profiles you as a member of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). Don’t waste your time trying to convince him that Igbo and IPOB are not the same.

Buhari delights in hurting Ndigbo. His recorded interview with Arise Television on Thursday was another opportunity that he would not miss to make his point that he had no qualms about increased military operations in the South East, his favourite part of Nigeria for military expeditions.

“IPOB is like a dot in a circle, if they want to exist, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having business and property, I think IPOB doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Anyway, we’ve said we’ll talk to them in the language they understand, we’ll organise the police and military to pursue them, that’s what we can do and we’ll do it,” the President of the Federal Republic responded to a question on how he intended to manage the security crisis in the South East.

In clearer terms, all Igbo people are IPOB. The business people who take pride in their contributions in different parts of Nigeria are IPOB and “the way they are spread all over the country, having business and property” has not escaped the President’s attention. Are IPOB investments in Nigeria safe when the President is not guaranteeing the safety of their owners?

All that Ndigbo expect is equity from Buhari, no preferential treatment. How does a President who has sworn to be fair to all muster the sort of hatred that Buhari reserves for Ndigbo? Those who have chosen to live in denial have heard it again.

Buhari in one second threatens to deal with Ndigbo. Next he is telling them the challenges they will face if they leave Nigeria. “If they want to exist, they’ll have no access to anywhere,” Buhari consoled himself.

Some bad news for the President. Some landlocked countries are doing well even in Africa where most forget that Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi are landlocked. If IPOB are as troubling as Buhari suggests why should their landlocked area bother the President?

Ohanaeze had asked Buhari to apologise for his earlier threat to teach youth in the South East lessons they were too young to imbibe from the Civil War. He is already carrying out the threat.

His clarification about “the language they understand” is important. His minders had tried to explain it away. The President told Arise, “Anyway, we’ve said we’ll talk to them in the language they understand, we’ll organise the police and military to pursue them, that’s what we can do and we’ll do it”. He has erased any doubts about more attacks on the South East.

The shoot at sight order for armed criminals; the President reminded us was still in place.

Armed Fulani herdsmen, who are foreigners, are different. The President did not say so exactly, but it was obvious that he would want our traditional hospitality to guests to be extended to these killers until Buhari decides what to do with them – a decision he has made long ago.

Thanks to Arise we can confirm that the President is in-charge of his faculties. Selective amnesia is a ploy he puts to good use. Forget the incoherence, the ignored questions; the President has become an expert in guile.

He is animated once Igbo and Fulani herdsmen are mentioned. He offers each group what he considers appropriate sentiments. He also never forgets to absolve himself of his constitutional responsibilities.

“I’ve told governors who came to me to complain about herders and farmers crises to go back to the old system where traditional leaders, police, traders and elders meet regularly to discuss security situation in their localities and solve them. Governors can’t go round and win elections and then sit tight and wait for somebody to do their jobs for them,” said the same President who is sending the police and military in pursuit of Ndigbo.

Everything must be done to stop the “we can do and we’ll do it” threat of Buhari to South East. Ohanaeze Ndigbo alone cannot handle this.

FINALLY…

THOSE who claim Buhari said nothing about killings in Igangan, Oyo State, are wrong. You have to listen beyond what Buhari says to understand him. The President said armed Fulani herdsmen were foreigners. He was trying to figure out how to manage them. The attackers in Igangan must be among the foreigners he is protecting.

NORTHERN Elders Forum, NEF, needs to be reminded ever so often that its meddlesomeness is unhelpful. Whether the South East leaves or stays in Nigeria is a constitutional issue in which NEF has no role whatsoever. Its prescription of conditions for the referendum is another of its annoying insults.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues

 

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