By Lawrence Nwobu
For anyone who still harboured any doubt about the great lie Nigeria is; the disharmony, oppression, tribalism, injustice, marginalisation, domination, ethno-religious conflicts, “born to rule syndrome,” internal colonialism, corruption, misrule, vandalism and lack of patriotism that all together constitute the grand unravelling of Nigeria should now dispel that doubt. The irony of a lie is that it eventually unmasks itself. 46
years ago, Yakubu Gowon and his collaborators shamelessly lied through their teeth that they were fighting a “war of unity” to bring back into Nigeria those Gowon as head of state refused to protect while they were being massacred just a few months earlier.
To prosecute the so called “war of unity” Yakubu Gowon used the same officers and soldiers who carried out the gruesome pogrom/genocide that caused the war in the first place, and lied to the whole world that his campaign was aimed simply at unifying Nigeria. Even while the evidence of the atrocities committed by his troops in Benin city, Asaba, Onitsha apostolic church, the rape of women, systematic burning of houses and the intentions of genocide borne by the pronouncements of his officers/civilian collaborators and radio Kaduna proved otherwise, Gowon and his goons continued their lie of a “war of unity” to a global audience.
But where is Nigeria today? 46 years after Biafra, the unravelling of the “war of unity” scam has come to rest on our doorsteps. Nigeria is today a failed state and a nation at war with itself; torn by increasing strife, ethno-religious conflicts, Sharia states, institutional injustice, ethnic militia’s, terrorism, monumental corruption, tribalism, unrelenting disharmony and social chaos. The Nigeria the opportunists, bigots, hypocrites, hate mongers, mass murderers, looters and liars like Yakubu Gowon and his infamous goons falsely claimed they fought to unite has increasingly become what it always was; “an impossible nation.”
The same crowd of “soldiers of fortune” and civilians who claimed they fought for Nigerian unity is ironically the same group; singlehandedly responsible for the monumental looting, despoliation and destruction of the nation. They destroyed Nigeria so much that they left us without electricity, without roads, without pipe borne water, without railway lines, without functional hospitals, without functional schools, without functional refineries, without functional steel plants, without jobs, without a national airline, without food, without security, without social justice, without harmony, without peace, without love. The question might be asked; how can a group that claimed to have fought for Nigerian unity turn around and destroy the same nation? The answer is simple; because they were mere opportunists and bigots who never believed in Nigeria. They fought for crude oil and an opportunity to line their pockets and consolidate regional domination.
Truth is; the vindication of Emeka Ojukwu began soon after the conflict. By 1990 Major Gideon Orkar and his group had seen enough fault lines in Nigeria to attempt a failed coup that removed the core North from the rest of the nation. As Nigeria unravelled further and the contradictions, internal colonialism and injustice became more obvious, the campaign for a sovereign national conference began and has gathered steam since the 90’s. Notably, the likes of late Chief Anthony Enahoro who as minister of information was one of the stalwarts of Yakubu Gowon’s war time regime, spent the last years of his life struggling for the convocation of a sovereign national conference, after having realised much later the deceit of the so called war of unity. Lt General Alanni Akinrinnade, an erstwhile officer who fought on the Nigerian side is one of the arrowheads of a sovereign national conference having also realised the deceit of the one Nigeria scam.
Chief E.K Clark an erstwhile Yakubu Gowon cabinet member amongst others is now in the SNC camp. There is a strident national movement vociferously campaigning for a sovereign national conference that includes the breakup of the nation as one of its aims. What Emeka Ojukwu saw several decades ago, many have come to see now. The widespread campaign for a sovereign national conference is a stinging historical rebuttal of Yakubu Gowon, the North, their allies and the false “war of unity” propaganda. It has exposed the lie of the war and vindicated erstwhile Biafran leader, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu. Paradoxically, Gowon and the North are afraid and opposed to a sovereign national conference, yet these are the same people that falsely claimed years back that Nigeria is a harmonious entity that must not be allowed to break because of a narrow group of rebel leaders. So why would they now be afraid of an SNC? Because they know that Nigeria has unravelled, the truth has become self evident and any opportunity of free dialogue and choice could to lead to the breakup of the so called one Nigeria that most have come to understand as a fraud that only represents in the main, injustice and Northern hegemony.
Conclusions: The Necessity Of A Sovereign National Conference
In light of Nigeria’s tragedy of nationhood, the necessity of a sovereign national conference cannot be overstated. Sovereignty ultimately resides with the people. Freedom and dignity are the inalienable rights of every individual and group and those rights confer on all the right to self determine. There was no such place as Nigeria before the British imperialists stepped foot on the shores that constitute the geographical area and forced disparate groups into a strange contraption for the sole purpose of servicing her imperial interests. The convocation of a sovereign national conference to self determine their future in or out of Nigeria is thus a sacrosanct fundamental right of every group within Nigeria.
Preventing, opposing or delaying the exercise of such a fundamental right is a violation of the inalienable rights of every group, the laws of natural justice and an attempt at enslaving or colonising others. Nigeria as presently constituted is unsustainable and rejecting a sovereign national conference only serves to invite an inevitable evil day. No nation built on force, exploitation, injustice, marginalisation, inequality or hostility as is the case with Nigeria can endure. This is a bitter truth Nigeria must contend with. The freedom, dignity and democratic will of all within the Nigerian geographical expression must be respected by convening a sovereign national conference that confers the right to self determination where all ethnic nationalities must dialogue as equal sovereign entities to decide their future in or out of Nigeria. Having travelled through the ravages of a needless war and an aftermath of injustice, misrule, exploitation and internal colonialism, Nigeria has unravelled; and the only solution is the necessary and immediate convocation of a sovereign national conference!
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu