By Maazi Obinna Akuwudike
Events in the South East in recent times, have shown that the Nigerian government is gradually losing grip of the country.
It becomes very worrisome to see an entire region, obeying an entity that is not even the government, over the constituted government.
In the South East today, the work calendar is gradually changing, with public and private organisations, observing the Monday Sit- at- Home, and government both at the central, and in the South Eastern states, totally helpless to control the trend.
Schools have started meeting to decide if Saturday would now become a school day, while Sunday and Monday become the new weekend in the region.
Surprisingly, all this has been achieved with little or no force by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, led by their currently incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The state governors have issued threats to workers and businesses, but since they cannot guarantee the safety of the people and businesses, they have practically succumbed to IPOB’ s Sit- at- Home order.
That goes to show the level the Nigerian government has lost power in the South East.
The Muhammadu Buhari administration, probably because of his military background, believes everything can be resolved with force.
If they have been studying the trends since the beginning of this whole crisis, they would have observed that force have achieved nothing, instead it have made the situation worse for the government, and given more strength to the IPOB.
Other regions are also watching, and with all the clamour for self determination and session from the Nigerian entity coming from many quarters lately, the Buhari administration should have realised that their approach to the matter have failed, and probably come up with a new approach to this political issue that threatens the unity of the country.
Keeping Nnamdi Kanu holed up in DSS dungeons have not yielded any fruit, rather it has put Nigeria in very precarious situation, with the recent enquiry by the United Nations, over the method of extradition of Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya.
Even with Kanu locked up, the IPOB suddenly seems to have become stronger, and this should have informed the Nigerian government that the matter has gone beyond Nnamdi Kanu, and negotiation may be the only solution now, before matter get really out of hand.
Somebody suggested that President Muhammadu Buhari should visit Nnamdi Kanu in the DSS detention centre, and dialogue with him.
I would have loved to see both men sitting face to face in Aso Rock, in Buhari’ s office discussing.
Isn’ t it time we change tactics? Isn’ t it time the Nigerian state address issues with dialogue instead of force?
The IPOB is not a violent body, despite attempts by the government to paint them as such. They have been hunted and killed in their numbers by the Nigerian government, yet they have grown stronger by each blood that is shed. Does that not inform the Nigerian government that their approach isn’ t working?
Before they started calling for an exit from the Nigerian entity, what were their concerns? Marginalisation, abandonment, selective treatment. These were issues that led to the clamour for Biafra by the numerous separatist groups that have emerged in Nigeria.
Since after the war, the Igbo man have been struggling to find his place in a country he should call home.
The Buhari administration practically amplified every negative treatment they have been forced to go through, and this is the root of all this matter.
It is time to take a step back, and appoint people who can help talk the government out of the situation we find ourselves.
Buhari’ s 5% and dot comments must be withdrawn publicly so that every Nigerian is given that sense of oneness.
Appointments must no longer be tribally or religiously selective, but must cut across the entire nation, with the Igbos given a sense of belonging in the affairs of this country.
Under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua and even under former president Goodluck Jonathan, the Igbos were carried on quite well, which was why 80% of Ndi Igbo did not know the name Nnamdi Kanu, until after he was arrested by the Buhari administration.
Nnamdi Kanu laid a plan to stardom and the Buhari administration helped him get there.
The genie is out of the bottle so we must find a way to manage the situation but continuing in the way we are going using force, would not calm the situation, rather we are setting the nation up for more trouble.
How does President Muhammadu Buhari want to leave Nigeria when he leaves office? What does he want to be remembered for? The man that restored peace and unity in Nigeria, or the man that set the ball for the destruction of the country rolling?