By Okonkwo Isaac Somto
For Family Writers
I just want to share this conversation I had with a friend from the north. I was having this conversation with him on the 23rd of March 2016 on why Biafrans need to break away from Nigeria, but he kept saying that Nigeria is one and he is praying for the country to develop and be free of corruption. But when I started asking him some serious questions, he began to open up until this happened:
Me: Do you sincerely believe that Nigeria is one?
Northern friend: yes.
Me: Do you think prayer can change Nigeria?
Northern friend: Absolutely.
Me: How come your people (northerners) hate Igbo-Biafrans and keep killing them at every chance they get? Yet you claim we are "One Nigeria", why do they love shedding the blood of innocent Biafrans.
Northern friend: *(No response)*
Me: For years now that you have been praying for Nigeria to get better, where is the impact of all these prayers? What has changed? Things are now terrible and critical than before. What has prayers done?
Northern friend: **(No response)**
Me: why you not saying anything?
Northern friend: (He gave me a weird smile and said :) Am listening.
(I was already beginning to get
Vexed up at his lack of response)
Me: Politicians in Nigeria have stolen over $700trillion since the so-called independence of Nigeria. How come prayers didn't stop them from looting the country? Where has prayers gotten Nigeria to? Why did prayer stop your people in the north from killing Biafrans?
(I kept staring at him waiting for an answer but he kept looking at me like a confused fellow but I continued)
Me: Dude, Nigeria was a mistake in the first place. Britain created Nigeria with the blood of innocent Biafrans and you expect such a country to move forward with such wickedness, envy and cruelty? How can 3.5million Biafrans die mercilessly and you are telling me "One Nigeria"? If it was your people that were killed like that would you still be saying "One Nigeria"?
Northern friend: Hmm (nods his head in shame) I feel your pain, seriously but Nigeria will still get better with time, we need to keep managing ourselves and keep the unity.
Me: What time? Manage what? What unity? You feel what pain? You better stop deceiving yourself, for more than 60years now things have gone from bad to worse. Please stop being so sentimental. Just be honest, quit being callous. Why don't you want Nigeria to break up, after all you told me that you Nigerians can do without Biafrans, then why is the Nigeria government stopping Biafrans from exercising their rights for self-determination, also killing them like animals and why is Buhari still keeping Nnamdi Kanu illegally in the Nigeria prison? Where is the justice and oneness?
Northern friend: Well you are right though, in fact let me be honest with you, the truth is that most of all this things done to you people, is a result of jealous and anger that other tribes have towards your people because of the way you people have dominated every part of the country. President Buhari shouldn't have gone to that limit. Killing fellow Nigerians is wrong. Because we are one Nigeria, Also...
(I interrupted him)
Me: Please stop saying one Nigeria and fellow Nigerians, because it’s annoying. Biafrans no longer want to continue with this forceful marriage, is it by force? There is nothing like one Nigeria, where is the unity and love? When Hausa-Fulani love killing Biafrans every time they get the chance to do so, even the Yoruba’s are jealous and envious of Biafrans because they feel inferior. Look at all the injustice going on in Nigeria, especially against Biafrans. Look Biafrans states and compare it with other states in Nigeria. No social amenities, no infrastructure, no good road, no good hospital, no good schools, nothing....go to the east and see for yourself. if not that Biafrans are blessed, very successful, hard-working and dependent enough to be able to do some things for ourselves I wonder what would have happened by now ..
(This time around am staring at him angrily and speaking very aggressively)
Me: How many investments do northerners have in the eastern region? How many Yorubas can boast of major investments in the east? Yet you say we are one. Do you know that Igbos are the most generous, cooperative, understanding and loving ethnic group in Nigeria?
Northerner friend: You do have a point. But why..
(I interrupted him again)
Me: Of course I have a point and it’s not just a point but a fact as to what's happening in Nigeria. The evidence is there for all to see. Besides...
(This time around, he did the interrupting)
Northern friend: Bro calm down.
Me: I can't be calm. Can't you see the injustice happening to Biafrans in Nigeria, can't you? Or do you want to tell me that you don't have eye or are you just pretending to agree that all is well, when its not? Put yourselves in our shoes. If all these things happening to Biafrans is happening to the Northerners or the yoruba's, tell me if there won't be riot and destruction? In fact by now, you people would have divided Nigeria with force and brutality. So please don't tell me to calm down.
Northern friend: To be honest I agree with you. Nigerians are not one, because there is no genuine love amongst all the tribes in Nigeria. But we can work things out and make Nigeria work.
Me: Finally you are coming back to your real senses but don't spoil it with this “Making Nigeria work" nonsense. How can Nigeria work, when it’s only the Igbo-Biafrans that are always cheated and treated unfairly by both the Yoruba’s and Hausa-Fulani's? Even the so-called federal government of Nigeria makes things hard for Igbo-Biafrans. Do you know Igbos are the only tribe in Nigeria that have tried to make this "One-Nigeria" slogan work?
Northern friend- How?
Me: Because they left their homelands, took their families and investments to other parts of Nigeria to live and invest there. Do you know that over 40% Igbos are living in the North with their families and with investment worth billions of Naira, while over 78% igbos also reside in the west with their families and with investments running in trillions of Naira. How can the same can't be said about the Yoruba’s and Hausas in Igbo lands? Why can't they go down to the east with their families and invest? Where is the "one Nigeria"? A Hausa man living in the east lives there mostly alone without his family and no serious investment because he still expects that war with Biafrans will never end, therefore he's prepared should a war start. He believes it will be difficult to flee with his family and investment, should a war erupt. Why is that so? Why such mentality, if Nigerians are one? Why are Yoruba’s so scared of taking their families and investments to the east if they believe in "One Nigeria"? Nonsense, don't you ever say Nigeria is one to me again, if you don't want me to get very upset with you.
Musa- Well I agree with you. Nigeria haven't really worked, our leaders are just busy stealing and looting money, that's all they care about. If breaking if the solution to end all this tribalism and discrimination, then let there be dialogue. Let everyone go their separate ways. To be honest with you am tired of this country and the way am seeing it, things are about to go from worse to horrible. F**k the things I said earlier, I was just been sentimental. Because I don't want Nigeria to break up but the truth is that we Nigerians don't like hearing the truth. We like pretending that everything is well when it’s not. Igbos have been on the receiving end of injustice. Anyway if we can break away without another war that's fine by me. Let’s go peacefully.
Me: There is no need for war, as long as Buhari and his army will stop killing Biafrans and decides to let Biafrans go. And let me tell you something, if Nigeria government thinks they can keep killing Biafrans and won't let them go, then they should know that patience doesn't last forever. We don't want war, we also don't want Nigeria, what we want is Biafra.
(Finally we both ended the conversation with an honest understanding)