Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on BBC’s HardTalk reveals while the Igbos are angry with Nigeria.
“My friends who are not from the East of Nigeria where Igbos come from often ask me why there is so much anger in the East and among Igbos. Some wonder why, despite the famed Igbo” wealth’ and enterprise all over Nigeria, the people still complain that Nigeria is unfair to them. Some insinuate that the anger comes from the loss of the 2015 election by Jonathan who the Igbos heavily backed.
And why is it that the current generation of Igbos are so angry as to contemplate carrying arms against the country? With lots following Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB with his secessionist message.
Those not following Kanu may despise his antics and rhetoric but are sympathetic to his underlying message. And what is that message? That Igbos don’t feel wanted in Nigeria.
That decades of official marginalization and discrimination should be stopped or they should be allowed to take their chances in a new nation.
First, for those who think this is all about Jonathan and Buhari. It is not. Igbos were disappointed that Jonathan did not win. But those whose candidates lose elections lick their wounds. It is allowed.
It happens when your candidate loses election. Why did the Igbos invest so much emotions in Jonathan, a non-Igbo from Ijaw? It was more because of the fear of their experience in the past 50 years. Nigeria has placed an embargo on any Igbo man becoming Nigerian president and Igbos understand this.
Jonathan was the next best thing. Other parts of Nigeria have supported their sons to the presidency. Some have bombed Nigeria into submission to get their sons to Aso Rock.
Igbos have little capacity to blackmail Nigeria to the presidency. They chose Jonathan as their “Igbo”. But that’s not to say that they are angry enough because he lost to contemplate going to war on his behalf.
Jonathan was not really the model of a President the Igbo would go to war for. And even his Ijaw people have accepted his loss.
So? Igbo anger has been building up in Nigeria since the 70s. As kids, people made choices in other parts of Nigeria school years based on the narrative of the Igbo place in Nigeria. They knew about the glass ceiling against Igbos
After the civil war, despite the “No winner, no vanquished” program, Nigeria placed glass ceilings and no-go areas for Igbos. The war reconstruction program was observed more in the breach.
There was the “abandoned” property program that was introduced to drive a wedge between components of the former South-East Nigeria.
While the country was too embarrassed to put the discrimination program down in an official gazette, it was there for anyone who cared to look. It was evident in the Igbo police officer who stayed in one position while less qualifies juniors progressed to become his bosses.
It was evident when no Igbo qualified to become the Inspector General of Police, or lead any division in the armed forces. It was there when “sensitive” or “lucrative” positions were shared in Nigeria and Igbos were conspicuously absent.