Posted on Mon 19 Aug 2019, 08:31 AM

It is not unexpected when lots of reactions poured in on the trail of this incident. A former Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, shamefully dragged out of an event he was prepared to deliver the keynote speech. He was almost stripped and had to be whisked away as the rampaging attackers were not yielding to pleas from their compatriots.  This event is tied to the culture of his people and those who served him this mortifying meal, are his kit and keen.  

What has remained consistent is that most reactions flow from the depth of emotions swelling over the group called IPOB or against the Lord and Master kind of politicians Nigeria is cursed with. Most people, no matter how analytical they may be, are caught in either of these or a mix of both. But after sleeping and pondering over what may soon become a trend of very frequent occurrence, deeper concerns begin to spring up. 

Continued claims that Nigeria is on the path of development that cater for the good and wellbeing of the larger number of citizens will amount to extreme case of self-deceit and living in denial.  What this attack on Ike Ekweremadu has sent out, is the re-enforcement that there is so much anger and resentment in the land.  Government and her agents can bully, intimidate, subdue and even terrorise citizens at home into silence.  Government can negotiate ‘settlements’ here and there without pinching the real issues of widening gap between the have and have not.  Granting of amnesty to suspected criminals could be adopted as state policy. Banditry and violent attacks on communities may become the new normal as security agencies feed fat on the people’s misery. Every possible measure of subjugating dissenting voice could be adopted. Interestingly, they all have expiry date boldly written on them.

Now, while protests, rallies and agitations are crushed at home, those outside of the jurisdiction are beginning to take over the driving seat.  Unfortunately, drawing from the Ekweremadu experience, the approach may not give room for negotiation or intellectual engagement. We all should know that mob action drains every element of reason. The consequence is that gradually, the International communities will give more listening ears to those who believe that the successive governments in the country has brought the once Giant of Africa on her knees.  Those who believe that in addition to the poverty capital of the world, Nigeria is where nepotism and elevation of mediocrity lives will begin to attract the sympathy of the outside world.  

Needless to debate how Nigeria can fare if her friends find enough reason to turn their back.  We are still a totally dependent country. Politically, economically and even socially, Nigeria will struggle to survive for a reasonable duration without foreign aids and patronage.  

Another aspect of this incident that still worry many neutral observers is that Ike Ekweremadu was the highest Igbo man in government while he served as the Deputy President of the Senate. He spoke up at each point when Igbo interest was on the table.  He coordinated the engagements that secured the bail granted to the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, in April 2017.  Unfortunately, IPOB is accusing Ike Ekweremadu of attracting and supporting the military operation PYTHON DANCE in the South East. 

The military operation was an executive responsibility carried out at a time the relationship between the executive and the legislature, where Ike Ekweremadu serves, had broken down completely.  So, on the 14th of September 2017, he was reported in the media to have described the military operation as needless and ill-conceived. 

“The military siege to the South East is uncalled for because there is no prevailing situation in the region to warrant it in the first place. Instead, it is the Python Dance that appears to be creating problems and raising tension in the region. The agitation in the South East at the moment is best resolved by way of dialogue and a sense of inclusion.”

If IPOB members could find justification to assault the same man that provided the highest support it has enjoyed in government, who then will be spared?  If citizens feel that the only way of being heard is by adopting violence as language, who can predict the end of the matter? 

It is important to recognize that there is no part of Nigeria today without a reasonable volume of ‘marginalized’ multitude. Therefore, looking at the Ekweremadu experience as an Igbo affair will be very misleading. The only difference is that unlike most others, Ndi Igbo will not die in silence for too long before asking questions and demanding instant answers. They do not suffer fools gladly. 

Wisdom demands therefore, that political leaders and those holding power in trust should prepare to account for what they had done on behalf of who they did whatever they did.  It is now obvious that if accountability is made difficult or impossible back home, IPOB has shown that such demand could still be carried out elsewhere. 

Before moving to other issues, where is Nnamdi Kanu? What has he said after the assault on his benefactor, Ike Ekweremadu?  Is it safe to conclude that the once concrete IPOB structure is still intact?  Is it possible that the ranks of the organization have been infiltrated and a dummy sold to the public?  Many questions, few answers.

Haven gone through this, it is important that Nigeria and her citizens must admit that:

1. The current system on which Nigeria operates is not likely to survive for too long

2.   Those who are insisting that the unity of Nigeria in non-negotiable may be the real threats to the concept of ONE NIGERIA.

3.   And so, there is urgent need to engage every section of this country in sincerity. Everyone should have a reason to not just feel, but actually belong to this blessed entity called Nigeria.


Follow Uzonna Ononye on twitter @UzonnaOnonye

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