Enough of the Bloodshed

By Rev Fr. Gerald Nwafor

Ojukwu said in 1983 during the campaign fiasco between NPP and NPN “As I was at Nkpo Junction, I was sufficiently informed by my entourage about the dissident activity of some group of people within the rank and file of Anambra State Government. And I hereby call Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to warn his political son Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo to desist from this calamitous act, unless he will plunge this sate into a disaster.

I could not have gone through the rigors of Nigerian and Biafran Civil War only to succumb to the excesses of some megalomania people, that is what the Anambra State government is turning into.” Many cars were burnt to ashes, many properties were destroyed, and lives were lost in the name of politics and campaigning.

Presently, I observe the election and the campaign in Anambra, the simple question is, “What has changed?” Nothing. Ojukwu was saying something that has come to become the trademark of politics in our beloved state. One of our sons in 1957 wrote the book Politics Without Bitterness.

He was the first senate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is Abyssinia Akwaeke Nwafor Orizu of blessed memory, from Nnewi. When the people of Western Nigeria and Northern Nigeria were killing themselves for political positions in the first republic, we Easterners were not engaged in any kind of bloodbath or bloodletting because we have so much regard for human life.

Look at the number of people killed in Anambra State today in the name of politics or agitation. It begs the question, “For what?” Blood is thicker than water. We cannot shed human blood for any political reasons whatsoever. I still applaud the wisdom of Jonathan to hand over to Buhari to avoid the massive bloodshed planned by some part of the country in the quest for power and political shenaniganism.

It’s never a good thing to shed blood. Today Buhari has the power, and the local people say, “Kedu Ije?” (How is he using it?) If you become a leader by spilling the blood of human beings, our people say, that spilling blood will be part of your leadership and administration. The killing in Anambra State should stop in order not to desecrate the land.

Political aspirants, and unknown gunmen (UGM) should think twice because if the land has been sacrilegiously defiled with the blood of the innocent children of the Igbo extraction, no leadership can survive on it. The people you want to govern cannot be killed for the governorship.

The people you want to liberate cannot be killed for liberty. The people you want to lead cannot be killed for leadership. The people you want to represent cannot be killed for representation. The situation in Anambra state should be a cause for great concern.

I have heard persons saying that the UGM are not Igbos. If I agree with that position, I will blame the governor who is an Igbo man for lack of security. If the UGM are Igbos, it means they are our brothers and sisters. So, in either case the blame is within our state. We should not pass the blame and claim to be innocent bystanders.

The situation in Nigeria today should worry every Igbo person. We are the only people who believe in one Nigeria and ironically, we are the only people who are fighting for the division of Nigeria. Before the civil war we were the only group of people in Nigeria who have real estate all over Nigeria. In the four regions of Nigeria before the civil war, it was recorded that it was only the Igbos who had property in all the four regions.

After the civil war the Igbos lost all their properties in the four regions because they wanted to go away from Nigeria. The government of the day did not want the Igbo people to survive and only the paltry sum of twenty Naira was given to the Igbo people to start all over again. Today, the twenty Naira has turned into trillions once again and we have property in all the 36 states of the federation.

In Anambra State, I have not seen one building owned by somebody from the Northern or Western Nigeria. We must ask why? Simply put, they do not believe in the homogeny called Nigeria. They do not believe that we are one. So, they cannot invest in the eastern States. But go to the Northern states and the Western States, the Easterners are building factories, industries, and homes.

Our action and our statements are not in tandem because we are not organized. If our goal is to be one Nigeria our action portrays it perfectly. If our goal is to separate from Nigeria, our action betrays us. Moreover, I should not deviate from the topic, “Enough of the bloodshed.” Staying or leaving Nigeria, the bloodletting must stop because of the consequences here and now or later.

The political actors and the non-state actors should stop from this incessant killing happening in our beloved land. Elections will come and go, but we must outlast the elections. Nobody should die because of his political affiliation. Nobody should die because of his religious beliefs.

Nobody should die because of social association and views. Our differences should make us stronger, not divide us. We should engage in healthy competitions as Igbo not in the ugly killing and maiming of human beings which has enveloped the Igbo nation in recent time. Please, let the killing stop.