I find it necessary to make this statement, which should have been made by the powers that be at the federal and state levels, in response to and condemnation of what the governments of Imo state and, probably others in the East, supported by the Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo, are about to do: that all Northerners in those states should be registered and issued with ID cards!
I am also shocked that other responsible leaders, like former Presidents and Heads of State and Government, as well as other leaders, traditional and political, choose to keep mute in this very sad affair that is very likely to cause wide spread disaffection and retaliation.
When Government and Traditional leaders shark their responsibilities for fear of something; when politicians turn the heads away from matters like this, because they need to protect their aspirations, then this country is doomed; and beginning of the end is surely near.
People at the grass roots level here in the North are talking of retaliation: that all peoples of Eastern origin must also be registered and issued with ID Cards, or they should leave and return to their States of origin. And when people at these levels begin to talk like this, anything can happen, especially in these hard times.
This is very dangerous for our country’s unity and peace. At a time when we are searching for the best way forward for this country of ours, some evil elements are doing all they can to bring it down. The Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo, has unfortunately, backed Governor Rochas Okorocha over the Imo State Government’s plan to register northerners in the state and issue them identity cards, as though Northerners are aliens in the East of our country! This will surely cause disaffection among our various peoples. Common Nigerians want nothing more than to live in peace and harmony with their fellow countrymen and women, but some irresponsible politicians and leaders are planning actions that may flung this country into chaos.
I, therefore, call upon the governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, whom we see as our own brother, and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo to have a serious rethink on this ill-conceived idea, even for the sake of their own people here in the North. It takes a single match strike to burn a whole forest. What has become of an enterprising people who themselves suffered so much in the past? I love this country, and I pray that it will overcome it’s current problems and move ahead to achieve the greatness we all think it deserves to, and can achieve. I wish all those who want to cause this country’s destruction, or incite upheavals, God’s curse and condemnation.
Bashir Othman Tofa, a former presidential candidate, is reachable on [email protected]