Former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Dr. Abdul-Jhalil Tafawa Balewa, has said that it is falsehood to say that Igbos are hated in Nigeria. Also said that most of the people agitating for Biafra were not born during the war.
Dr. Abdul-Jhalil made the statement in part of interview with Sun while speaking on national issues and the issue of Biafra agitation.
The call for secession by a section of the country has been variously interpreted. Some are of the opinion that it is a subtle call for Igbo presidency while some hold other views. Why in your opinion is the call more vociferous this time around?
It is perception. I remember a story about a man who went round about a town with a hat that was on one side painted white and the other side painted black. People on one side of the town saw that he had a black hat while other saw a white hat.
On the issue of secession, it is very important for any government to better explain whatever it is doing to the people. Otherwise people may give different interpretations to what is going on.
I believe very strongly that if that is done and everybody knows what government is doing and what they have to do to be able to help the government better, if everybody or if 75 per cent of the country understands this and have this kind of attitude, we will have a better country.
I don’t think we will have any secession. Nigeria is incomplete without the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Hausa, the Igala, the Fulani, Edo and so on.
Those calling for secession are of the opinion that Nigeria does not want them, alleging that the current administration has grossly marginalized them?
How can Nigeria not want the Igbo? There is no city in this country you won’t find the Igbo. This is a complete falsehood and I don’t want us to continue to promote this falsehood. Most of the agitators calling for secession are people who were not born during the war or people that have lived abroad for most of their lives.
No Igbo person living in any other part of the country feels this way. And most right thinking persons in the South-east know that we must live together. God put us together; let no one try to put us asunder.
Still on the issue of secession, there seems to be no consensus among the Igbo. While some are calling for Biafra others feel it should be restructuring. What do you make of this discordant tune?
Igbos are republicans; they meet, discuss issues and come up with one voice on their deliberations. In other parts of Nigeria we have Emirs, Kings and Obas, they are usually the conscience of their subjects.
The main appellant for Biafra, one Nnamdi Kanu or Arewa youths do not fit into any of these cultural norms. Until Dr. Chris Ngige became governor of Anambra, South-easterners thought they were not getting anything from the center.
These lies have been sewn in peoples’ minds for eons. Let these agitators question what their governors have done or are doing with their states’ allocations.This is where their quest should start. What is happening is very very discordant with the reality on ground.
If people are talking about restructuring, the idea will fizzle down now that the problem in the PDP has been doused because it seemed before as if power was lopsidedly given to one part of the country, that was why some people were standing up for restructuring. And it looked as if the North was very much against restructuring.
If you look at any part of Nigeria you will see that there is no reason for any part of Nigeria not to do well. There is mineral resources deposit galore, we have very fertile land, even where there is desertification, we have the water trap technology to improve our agricultural output.
So, those that are yearning for Biafra it’s because they didn’t experience the war. They didn’t realize how many people died during the war. Some people say people died on both sides during the war.
There were no both sides, there is only one side- the people that died were Nigerians. It is about time we need to find solution to our problems. Whatever the problems are let’s sit down and think about how to solve them.