Femi Aribisala

Nigerian political elites from other ethnic groups such as Femi Aribisala, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, and Femi Kayode have separately weighed in on the Biafra matter.

From Femi Aribisala’s perspective, the secession calls from the Igbo tribe is justified. However, he spotted internal traps that could make the tribe loose out again in their fight for independence.

First, he unequivocally said that the Igbos were the economic pillars of Nigeria. He described them as resourceful; a trait which he says they are often envied for.

“Even the bitterest adversaries of the Igbo cannot but admit that, as a people, they are very resourceful and ingenious. Indeed, this has often been the cause of their envy and dislike by others.”

“Nigeria would be a much poorer country without the Igbo. Indeed, Nigeria would not be Nigeria without them.”

See Also: Fani Kayode: Nigeria Is For All Not Only For Northerners

Aribisala said the industrious spirit of the Igbos was intensified with the 1966 Civil War.

“The terrible civil war provoked homespun industrialization in the South-East. Military blockade left the Igbo with little alternative than to be inventive in a hurry”

Aribisala took the time to identify the various ways Igbos have immensely contributed to the progress of Nigeria. He went on to list out reputable personalities from the tribe in different sectors.

Without mincing words, Aribisala said it was rather one-sided that the tribe has been consistently deprived of producing a president.

He pointed out the pathetic truth that Igbos have only enjoyed presidential leadership for 6 months out of 54 long years, since independence.

Aribisala gave an example with the American history when the Southern part of the United States was politically marginalized. So far he noted that series of presidents have emerged from the region, giving the people from the region a sense of inclusion.

Linking it to the Nigeria-Biafra situation, Aribisala is certain that having an Igbo president will be a good healing measure for Igbos.

While he admitted that the Nigerian government over the years have done an awful job in giving the Igbos a sense of belonging, he also clearly stated that Igbos have in their own way contributed to their suppressed state in the country.

See Also: Secession: One Nigeria Is A Folktale If North Keeps Being Favored

He bluntly said that while the tribe has produced seasoned personalities in the country, Igbo politicians are nothing to write home about.

“Within the framework of Nigerian politics, the Igbo also have a fundamental problem. Out of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have by far the worst politicians. They have no recognizable leaders, and have no discernible strategy as to how to negotiate power at the center.”

Femi Aribisala said the Igbo tribe were disunited and seem to antagonize each other from within.

“The Igbo seem to hate themselves as much as they hate others. They seem to fight themselves with as much venom as they fight others. Every potential Igbo leader seems to have more enemies within than without. This must not be allowed to continue.”

Assuming responsibility for the pains of pro-Biafrans, Aribisala personally tendered an apology for the hideous crimes committed against the Igbos during the civil war.

“The Igbo need to forgive Nigerians. No one who lived through the horrors that precipitated the secession of Biafra and led to the civil-war cannot but admit that the Igbo were abused and mal-treated in one of the worst pogroms ever. It was not just that they were senselessly massacred in their own country; it was that they were butchered.”

He pointed out that holding unto the grudges of the past will not give them the objectivism they need to fight.

“Forty years have now gone by. The Igbo may never forget what happened to them and, indeed, should never forget. But it is past time for them to forgive.”