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Biafra: How The Intellects Miss The Point, Embrace The Culture Of Speaking Half-truths

 Biafra: How The Intellects Miss The Point, Embrace The Culture Of Speaking Half-truths Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, for those that know him, is n...

 Biafra: How The Intellects Miss The Point, Embrace The Culture Of Speaking Half-truths

Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, for those that know him, is not a name to be thrown around loosely. He is a Professor and a former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, NHRC. He is not a type that uses words carelessly. Infact, every word he chooses has its important place in the sphere of discourse.

On February 14, 2022, his opinion article titled: “Nigeria and the price of sovereign innumeracy” was published on Punch Newspaper.

The article summarily highlighted three events that plunged Nigeria into a dicey state of unaccountability and politico-economic mismanagement.

Those are the 1962/63 national census, the 1964 federal elections and the 1965 elections in the old western region.

In their usual fashion, but in a display of double standardness since Jonathan's era, he refrained from directly blaming Buhari. Instead, he deflected and talked about how Nigeria has been troubled from before the emergence of this administration without pointing out that Buhari has been a constant from 1966 coup. 

The history of mismanagement and miscalculation by Nigeria as outlined by Chidi Odinkalu started from the controversial census of 1962/63, irregular federal election of 1964 to old Western region of 1965 misconducted elections leading up to the civil war in 1967/70, the Yakubu Gowon fiscal irresponsibility of cement importation, the unpublished census of 1973, the oil and gas windfall of 1973-1975, the unproductive military era of General Obasanjo that threw up Shehu Shagari and Alex Ekwueme. The Umaru Dikko rice importation licence reminiscent of the cement importation debacle, the Buhari coup of 1983 and the Babangida counter coup of 1985. The 1993 annulled election unofficially won by Abiola, the enthronement of weak Ernest Shonekan, the palace coup of Sani Abacha, his death, and the lacklustre tenure of Abdulsalami Abubakar and the imposition of 1999 shari’a constitution. The recycle of Obasanjo from 1999 till date is relatable to this generation.

While this history is of utmost importance, it is incomplete because it smartly avoided ruffling feathers by including the role of United Kingdom. For the purpose of clarity, it was United Kingdom that unconsultationally forced the merging of northern and southern protectorates, despite knowing that such union is like mixing oil and water. The Professor cleverly avoided mentioning that southerners(Biafrans especially) have been the casualties of United Kingdom’s instigated violence of divide and conquer since 1943 in Jos, the present day Plateau state. Again, in 1953 in Kano, there was a spontaneous anti-independence riots leading to loss of many Biafran lives. Again, why would a sane person not include the fact that before the 1967 continuation of the United Kingdom’s war of attrition, the Eastern region(Biafra) had one of the world’s fastest growing economy under Michael Iheonukara Okpara? Why would a simple question of why that region has no embassy, international cargo and commercial airports, seaports and infrastructure, 52 years after the war, not be asked? The truth is that there is a determination and competition from the intellects to tell the story from the middle. A point of less or no conflict of interest. After all, the same abusive, racist and white supremacist colonialists trained them. 

As an example, Professor Odinkalu used to head the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC). Now ask a simple question: Who funds NHRC? It is still the same people that conscionably colonized you. Is that not the solid definition of ‘conflict of interest?’ However, if you ask me, I will say that there seems to be a sense of privilege conferred on these supposed elites and intellects for the simple reason that they are the chosen ones and the rest of us subhumans. There lies their loyalty!

So, in reality, there is a sense of deference and half-truths from the Odinkalu’s, Soludo’s, Okonjo-Iweala’s, Moghalu’s of this world, who want to mention a few that churns the stomach and releases the bile from the duct. How could someone, who by the way is lettered, be talking about the political and economic injustice without talking about the social injustice? Is it that a hard really to figure out that social injustice leads to political injustice, which in turn, leads to economic injustice? 

Nobody should take Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu and his generation seriously, until he starts talking about social restitution and justice. This must start from complete decolonization of Nigeria. That in essence means the organizing of a ‘referendum’ and the seeking of the indigenous peoples consent on the establishment of a nation of patriots. Anything less than that is an effort in futility!

Written by Chibueze Daniel

Edited by Ogah C S Maduabuchi

For Family Writers Press International.


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