President Buhari’s trip to any part of the south east will naturally stir curiosity any day. The reasons are obvious. If anyone, therefore, expects to read the full gist of his recent visit to Imo in the news, it is normal. But, judging from the pervasive quietness presently, those of us waiting for such gist may have to wait more. The attendant comic relief of the President’s cream-colour trousers – shape, size and all – might just disappointingly suffice as the requisite gap filler.
It was reported that President Buhari gave reasons why the Ndigbo should not secede from Nigeria. That speech is fundamental. Nigerians should see its content, as the Igbo are not alone in the secession struggle anymore; there are others. The circumstances of Nigeria’s togetherness are still being interrogated intensely. The apparent lull in the agitators’ demand can’t then be misconstrued as status quo acceptance. Isn’t restructuring creeping in gradually on its volition now?
Some of the ingredients of restructuring are up for sale in the open market already. They are two for one kobo. One. Southern states have said “No” to open grazing. Ondo and Benue earlier championed the anti open grazing law. This is opposed to what the FG demands and commands. Two. Some southern governors have intensified their request for state police. They have even birthed local security outfits in their states. The FG doesn’t want state police or local security outfits. Three. Two southern governors are at the vanguard of VAT collection in their states. River state is the ‘rebel’ leader while Lagos follows and becomes the first state to sign the VAT bill into law. Four. Katsina state governor two weeks ago charged the people of his state to start defending themselves against bandits. He joined his Benue state counterpart who first made the call. What again is restructuring? Add a few things, and restructuring is home and dry.
Nigeria is weary of her present state. She has been pummeled for years by inconsiderate, wicked upstarts in political offices – military and civilian. She is sulking and threatening to go. She wants to leave before she is disgraced and becomes childless. She needs to be convinced that she has plausible reasons to stay and remain as a parent to the raging constituents. She is ashamed of having become a typical example of how not to be a country. She has been stripped of every honour of a respectable nation. The daily threats to life, the flagrant impunity in every quarter and the egregious imbalance of justice have conspiratorially disrobed her of self-worth and dignity. We daily live in fear and uncertainty. Trouble upon trouble! A country once loved, once adored, and much envied by non-Nigerians, including the whites, now bemocked!
Again, where is the comprehensive report on Buhari’s visit to Imo? People should hear the President’s voice again and again. His voice is seldom heard. It sneaks out once in a blue moon. People have been talking about the projects he commissioned in Imo. They lampoon and castigate. But what he said in the places he visited is the most important. Did he address the anxiety of the state and the region? Let us hear. That will confirm that people’s rooftop cries for justice and fair play time and again haven’t become mere soliloquies.
Dele Omojuyigbe is a HOD general studies at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ikeja.