Among the Igbo, it is said that a planned war does not consume the cripple. This simply means that in such a situation, no one is caught unawares, as contingency plans must have been made. However, in the wake of the quit order issued to Ndigbo living in Northern Nigeria by a section of Northern youths a few weeks ago, it is doubtful if Ndigbo are making contingency plans to checkmate the doom that will surely come.
The entire nation was stunned when a group of Northern youths gave the Igbos living in Northern Nigeria a three-month ultimatum to vacate the North and go home or risk losing their property.
That order had triggered a chain reaction, with some other parts of the country, notably the Niger Delta, also issuing their own quit notice to Northerners. Those reactions only pointed at one thing: Nigeria is in danger of implosion.
Recent history in the country shows that in the event of any upheaval, the Igbos of Southeastern Nigeria have always been at the receiving end. And now that they have been specifically targeted, it needs no divination to know the gory fate that will befall them at the expiration of that notice.
Indications that Doomsday for Ndigbo is around the corner could be seen in the suspected support of the Northern elders, their government and the security agencies to the issuers of the threat.
In the immediate aftermath of that quit order, the Kaduna State governor had called for the arrest of the culprits. It was followed by the order by the inspector general of police to all police chiefs in the Northern states to arrest those behind the sack notice.
But up till today, no arrests have been made, despite one of the principal actors appearing on a live programme on Channels TV two days after the arrest order.
When it is remembered that none of those behind past atrocious acts against Ndigbo were arrested, the present scenario portends danger.
Sadly, every indication points to the fact that Ndigbo have not learnt from history.
We are therefore calling on Igbo leaders, governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo to convene an urgent meeting to brainstorm on how to safeguard the lives of Igbo people in the North. They may have been given assurances of the safety of their kit and kin by the federal government and the governments of Northern states, but such assurances did not work in the past and certainly do not seem as if they will work now.
The only way to secure the safety of Igbo people remains for them to come home. The Southeast governors, Ohaneze and leaders of thought must meet to plan a massive evacuation of our people in the threatened zones.
Such an evacuation must continue despite whatever future assurances may be given. And while that is happening, plans must be made to accommodate and resettle the returnees in line with the fabled Igbo tradition of being their brothers' keepers.
We must not wait until heads begin to roll before acting. It happened in 1966 and it has been happening before now. To be cut out once more in the open will be an indictment on our supposed intelligence.
There is nothing that suggests that the country will ever be the same again; at least not in the foreseeable future. Our leaders owe it a duty to set the ball rolling by the evacuation of Igbos in the North.
To fail is to cause the flow of innocent blood that could have been saved. That, in itself, will amount to a failure of leadership. The time to act is now.