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« Ngige and Uba stole our Mandate – George Moghalu | Main | The Chinua Achebe Foundation Interview Series: Nigeria: A meeting of the Minds Chief Gani Fawehinmi in conversation with Onyeka Onwenu (Part 1) »

April 18, 2005

Biafran Footballers: Mr. Obasanjo’s legacy

by Okechukwu E. Asia --- Mr. Obasanjo’s legacy shows, very sadly, that six years into democracy, nothing really has changed except the deteriorating state of the nation. No water, no electricity. No good roads, no jobs. The only things in abundance are crises, criminality, corruption and executive gangsterism. Every other thing is in short supply including good old fresh air. It has indeed been six troubles in six years. - Kenneth Ugbechie (Champion Newspaper, April 13, 2005)

There has been so much negative reporting these past months surrounding the issue of government-gone-crazy and Obasanjo’s unwholesome assault on the 53 members of Biafran football team. I am compelled to write in support of the 53 brave Biafrans who played football, their families, and those who choose peaceful means to achieve self-reliance and political righteousness. You will always have our support. And you are not alone.

I had wanted to comment on this issue long ago, but anger took over my mind that I wouldn’t have been able to write without raining down heavily on or otherwise insulting Mr. Obasanjo. I would have focused more on Obasanjo’s mental state than on the issue. I folded my hands in disbelief and suppressed my anger knowing fully well that Obasanjo is suffering from Igbo-malitis disease - a kind of end-stage mental hate-the-Igbo inflammation disorder. It is not contagious but it can be learned. It is in his blood, in his bones from head to toes. I am not a medical expert or have expertise in end-stage diseases, but I recognize the symptom when I see someone suffering from it.

Since the Biafra – Nigeria war, President Obasanjo have been suffering from Igbo-malitis disease, which even in his almost ending life has inflamed to an uncontrollable proportion. From 1999 to present, this Igbo disease has paralyzed Obasanjo’s mental, moral and economic judgment towards Ndiigbo in particular and Nigerians in general. Inflaming at a dangerous rate even when unnecessary and unprovoked. Speech after speech from Sokoto to Baylesa he brags about how he defeated Ndiigbo in the civil war, and how he and his troops invaded Igbo villages, massacred Igbo children, pregnant women, chopped off the fingers of young men so that they won’t join the war, all to teach Ndiigbo a lesson. And yet he called the war a “clean” war.

Now he has turned his government machinery to defenseless Igbo children who chose to play football, instead of taking up arms and fighting back, as anesthesia to the pains Obasanjo is inflicting on them. But Obasanjo’s uncontrollable Igbo-phobia could not allow him to reason that playing football is better than pointing guns at him. Unfortunately, aggressive government heavy-handed approach to suffocate its citizens for seeking autonomy has failed in many experiments (see India, Bangladesh, Eastern Europe, Eritrea, Czechoslovakia and South Africa). You may torture their bodies, break their bones, imprison them, and even massacre their peoples and have their dead bodies, but you can’t stop determined souls. Go ask the British, the Russians and Apartheid South Africa. You can’t stop them with aggression and intimidation, Mr. Obasanjo. Only honest and mutual dialogue can solve Igbo and Nigeria problems. Mr. President, until Igbo issues are settled, Nigeria will never develop or know peace. When you hold a man down, you also hold yourself down. And if you and your government can stoop this low to attack and imprison children who went to play football, I seriously question your sincerity about your “One Nigeria” slogan and agenda and indeed your mental state.


It is truly sad that while Nigerians are suffering at home and humiliated abroad due to the policies of your government you found time to harass innocent children who are minding their business at a soccer field. It is sad that it became such a government issue and priority. I would have thought that you would spend your time on meaningful issues facing your government. And address those issues that help breed the demand for self-reliance and autonomy. Mr. President, do you know that you are presiding over the worst economy in the world, that you have wasted so many lives since the inception of your administration. That Nigerians now eat from the trash cans on the street corners. That your national currency is becoming useless. That your fellow citizens drink and wash their cloths and bodies in stream animals wash themselves. That your country is not safe to live in, as armed robbers and government-sponsored assassins have taken over our streets and made life unbearable.


Do you know, Mr. President, that your government is operating a runaway budget, which have cost Nigeria so much since 1999? Are you aware that your country’s infrastructures have collapsed and your educational system is in shamble? Did you know that a cup of garri today cost 30 Naira? Have you seen the sorry state of your hospitals, recently? Where were you when your hospitals turned to mortuaries because your universities cannot train quality medical doctors and real medicines are not available to your hospitals? Mr. President, I think you have enough problems to occupy your time than to stoop low to around up children footballers.

It is clear that you have no real agenda for the country and you camouflage your failures by pursuing unnecessary and useless issues. You are outside Nigeria more than people in Diaspora. One can correctly say that you are running a government from Diaspora. Your so-called anti-corruption crusade is your most clown performance. Since you cannot show Nigerians one thing you have achieved in six years, you have worn your clown outfit to perform yet another foolish and deceptive act called “Anti-Corruption” and chasing Biafran children who went to play football. Your anti-corruption crusade is nothing more than just another foolish scheme to get back at your detractors. Nothing more, Mr. President. We have wasted six years under your regime and there is no hope that the next two years will be different. To save our country from total collapse and to save you the embarrassment of exiting in shame, I call upon you to resign from the presidency. Your administration is a failure. Please leave with some honor.

On judgment day, you will give account (as every leader in Nigeria) of your stewardship. You shall be asked, "Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, what did you do with the power and position I gave you?" I’m sure the response shall include the arrest of 53 Biafran children footballers and charging them for treason.


I don’t know how historians will write your legacy, but one thing I know is that your legacy includes your foolish attack on innocent children who played football to entertain themselves. And this pales you in comparison with Mobutu Seseseko, Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Sani Abacha.


Okechukwu E. Asia

Boston, MA, USA

ifyandokey@yahoo.com

Real Beauty is My Aim - Mahatma Gandhi

Posted by Administrator at April 18, 2005 10:04 AM

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