By Frank Opara
When some people are pronounced dead, there’ll be no need for autopsy. You should know that it is the ‘hate’ in their hearts that killed them. The reason for this is clear. It takes fewer nerves to laugh than it takes to express bitterness.
Rising from an alleged statement by Prof. Wole Soyinka, that the Igbo’s, in the just concluded elections, voted according to their ‘stomach’, a certain Abdulrahman Abdulyekeen made a rabid comment on Facebook on hearing that Soyinka had refuted and distanced himself from the said accusation. He wrote: “I regretted that he denied the news item. Igbo’s are worse(sic) than what was allegedly attributed to Soyinka.”
Recently, Dr. Adeniran Abraham Ariyo, a medical practitioner based in Texas U.S.A, called for attacks against the Igbo’s. A clear case of ethnic cleansing!
Before him, the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, threatened to drown all Igbos, including my beautiful cousins residing in Lagos in the famous Lagos Lagoon if they voted against his choice candidate.
I once approached a landlady whose apartment I wanted to rent. To my surprise, her first question to me was, “Where do you come from?” She immediately averted her face in dissent and abomination when I pronounced the four letter word, Igbo.
She never minced words by the way and manner she reinforced her gesture that she’ll never rent out her apartment to an Igbo person. All attempts to get her have a change of mind by my agent met a brick wall as she gently reminded me that I was asking for the moon.
I don’t want to believe that the Igbo’s are the most unwanted tribe in this country. And I beg to disagree that they’re the most hated.
The greatest enemies of this country are those who fan the embers of ethnic division, consciously or unconsciously; those who are consenting to play the ethnic card at the slightest opportunity. They are insensitively wicked!
I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier write up, that no tribe is superior to another. None of us can claim to have selected his or her tribe. It is God who created us and placed us where we belong.
I’m not here to join issues with anybody or engage in any form of divisiveness over the said issue.
It is true Soyinka himself has publicly denied ever making such hateful and derogatory speech about the Igbos. And I would like to hold brief for this same guy who I understand, put his life on the line and lent the Igbo’s the voice when they needed it during the course of the Nigerian/Biafran War.
But we cannot deny the fact that whoever was behind this mischief has unwittingly rekindled the unnecessary acrimony that exists between the Igbos and the Yorubas.
To put it in context, the present acrimony between the Igbos and the Yorubas was the foundation laid by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who founded Egbe Omo Oduduwa. He advised Gen. Yakubu Gowon to cut off food supply to Biafra during the civil war in Nigeria, which led to the collapse of Biafra.
To add insult to the injury, in his bid to exterminate the Igbos, he nullified the Biafran pounds and all the business tycoons of Igbo origin who had millions of pounds in Biafra, were given a meager 20pounds of the then prevailing national legal tender.
Having said this, when people are not conscious of where they are going, or even know where they’re going, there is always a great temptation to swerve into a new route that is within their compass. The present unconventional political alliance that completely deviates from Nigerian political history should not be conceived as rum that intoxicates.
Therefore, I urge especially my fellow brothers in the South west, and the rest of Nigeria to imbibe the spirit of cooperation and desist from political actions to make themselves unnecessarily relevant. Destructive unhealthy competition will not lead us anywhere.
Nigeria is for all, and all Nigerians should eschew bitterness and rancor, negative and destructive stereotype and embrace the spirit of love and unity. We must not allow the Nigerian project to fail.
Otherwise, posterity will not forgive us.
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