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Uwazurike: Selective justice!

Posted by By JOE IGBOKWE, Lagos on 2007/07/03 | Views: 338 |

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Uwazurike: Selective justice!


Pained by the condition of the Igbo 25 years after the civil war in the project Nigeria in 1995, I wrote the book, Igbos: 25 years after Biafra. My aim of writing the book was not only to encourage and motivate my people to stop complaining of marginalization and take affirmative action but to prick the conscience of other Nigerians that time has come for us to put the war behind us and forge ahead as one united family to join the human race.

Uwazurike: Selective justice!
By JOE IGBOKWE, Lagos
Monday, July 2, 2007


Pained by the condition of the Igbo 25 years after the civil war in the project Nigeria in 1995, I wrote the book, Igbos: 25 years after Biafra. My aim of writing the book was not only to encourage and motivate my people to stop complaining of marginalization and take affirmative action but to prick the conscience of other Nigerians that time has come for us to put the war behind us and forge ahead as one united family to join the human race.

I reminded other Nigerians that Americans fought the bloodiest civil war in the history of mankind but were able to reconcile after 10 years, with no real victor or vanquished. Ten years after the American civil war, the defeated South Americans were fully re-integrated into the mainstream politics. I had challenged Nigerians then to stop forthwith the official exclusion of Igbo in the sensitive sectors of our national life so that these energetic and widely travelled people will release their energies for the common good. Now, 12 years after the publication, Nigeria is still behaving as if the war just ended yesterday.

We were told that Nigeria used to stand on a tripod but today one leg has been cut off completely and the tripod can no longer stand firm. The Eastern Region as we used to know it in the 60’s with Ndigbo as a very strong force to be reckoned with has been broken into two zones (South- East and South-South) with South-East being the smallest among the six zones in the country.
In Nigeria today, the South-East has the least number of states, local governments, members of the House of Representatives., Senate and number of ministers. Igbo nation goes with the least number of revenue allocations every month.

A school of thought has told us: " All victorious parties and powers at the end of every war determine the outcome of that society. You cannot hide the victim." After 37 years, we had thought that the victorious parties and powers would have shared enough loot and enjoyed enough privileges to remember that the victims are watching and praying. They are still sharing the spoils of the war without caring a hoot about the condition of the victims.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo arrested and detained Alhaji Asari Dokubo of NDPVF, Dr Fasheun and Otunba Ganiyu Adams of OPC and Chief Ralph Uwazurike of MASSOB more than two years ago. Dr Fasheun and Otunba Adams had since regained their freedom.
Recently, President Yar’Adua released Alhaji Asari Dokubo leaving behind Chief Ralph Uwazurike of MASSOB who is an Igbo.

Now, this selective justice has thrown up many questions: If the leaders of NDPVF, OPC and MASSOB were seeking self-determination of their peoples, why is Uwazurike’s case so special? Is there really any clear difference in the demands of the leaders before they were arrested by OBJ? Are we suggesting that Uwazurike will not be released because he is an Igbo from the marginalized South-East? What points do the victorious parties and powers want to score by releasing other Nigerians and leaving an Igboman behind?

Are the victorious parties and powers not sending clear signals to those of us who were very young during the civil war that since our fathers were defeated in 1970, we too can still be defeated in 2007? Can’t we learn a lesson or two from Rwanda and Burundi? Can’t these people realize that no condition is permanent? Do they not know that we are now in the digital and internet age, and that what obtained yesterday may not be feasible today?

Have we not stolen enough for the real owners to take notice? What will Nigerian leaders gain by their penchant to ridicule the Igbo who have contributed immensely to the growth of Nigeria? Of what use can any liberated slave put his attempt to ridicule a proud people whom history told us jumped into the Atlantic Ocean and died in the days of the slave trade instead of being forced to America to serve the White people as slaves? Nigerian leaders are hurting the Igbo and I pray that other Nigerians will not lose sight of this fact.

Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) raised an alarm in the days of the late Gen. Sani Abacha that Igbo are being short-changed and robbed by excluding them in the serious business of running Nigeria and few weeks ago, the senior advocate of the masses did the same when DIG Onovo was short-changed in the Nigeria Police. If you push somebody to the wall, he is likely to fight back because he has no other place to go. If other Nigerian leaders have demonstrated insensitivity and lack of respect for the Igbo, I believe that President Yar’Adua who is a university graduate knows that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. President Yar’Adua should, as a matter of urgency, release Uwazurike to go home so that genuine reconciliation which Gowon, Obasanjo, Shagari, Buhari, IBB, Abacha could not do because they did not go to any university to take lectures in humanities and social sciences will now take the center stage.
JOE IGBOKWE,
Lagos

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