The Mistake of 1914:
Due to accident of history Ijawnation became part of Nigeria. For whatever reason, this mistake was not corrected; and for much of the intervening years, not much was said of this marriage of in(convenience).Today, there are Ijaws who do not care whether we remain part of Nigeria or seek autonomy. All they want is fair and equitable distribution of the oil wealth, full and equal participation in national politics, and a glaring federal presence in terms of universities, roads, hospitals and other political goods and services. However, there are the die-hards, the nationalists who strongly believe it is time we say goodbye to this artificial contraption known as Nigeria, a contraption some have referred to as the “mistake of 1914.” It is the latter group whose voice has been the loudest the last couple of years.
The federal government is not paying the required and necessary attention to the suffering and marginalization of the Ijaws. The oil companies are busy extracting oil (legally and illegally) and polluting the land and waters. The Ijaw elite are blind and deaf to the suffering of their own people. In order words, the Ijaws are being abused and used and exploited and marginalized by their local and national leaders, and by the oil cartel.
What’s to be done to a government that has high hope and abiding faith in her coercive agencies and avowed brutality? What’s to be done to multinational corporations who act as though they are gods? The government and the oil companies should not wait for too long, or their hands would be forced. The time is now. It is time to honestly address the grievances of the Ijaws. It is time! Even firm believer in the efficacy of legal institutions sometimes employ extrajudicial and legal means to effect change.
Do we engage in guerrilla actions to force the federal government into acquiescing to our demands; or do we engage in domestic and international diplomacy to force the federal government to look favorably upon the demands of the Ijaws?
Bombing Oil Installations:
At this point, I would like to segue to the December 20, 2005, bombing of the oil line in Rivers State. It was wrong. It was the wrong thing to do. We cannot and must not destroy our own community. If you are angry at Obasanjo, the Nigerian State, the Oil companies and other foreign interests, why not vent your anger at them and their economic interests? Why help destroy our own community?
When some Blacks in some US cities get mad at the government or at the Asian community, they go on rampage — burning businesses and infrastructures in their own neighborhood, instead of going to the neighborhood of their enemies. Isn’t that stupidity? Look at armed-robbers in Nigeria. Instead of going to rob the rich and affluent neighborhoods, they rob the poor, the weak and the hungry; they rob people who have no economic and political power. Isn’t that stupidity?
Why would you bomb your own neighborhood? Why cause environmental difficulties for your own people? Why cause mothers and fathers the grief and anguish of burying their innocent children? Or, were these parents in cohort with Obasanjo, the federal government and the oil companies? If you must blow up things go blow up buildings in Abuja. Go blow up bridges in Lagos. Go cause environmental problems in Kaduna. Go assassinate the head of the oil companies who are safely ensconced in their palatial homes in Lagos and Port Harcourt and elsewhere. Leave our mothers and fathers and daughters and sisters and brothers alone.
If, if you must destroy, don’t destroy your towns and villages, go destroy Obasanjo’s Farm, Aso Rock, IBB’s Villa in Minna and other places of strategic interest. Don’t bomb oil installations in our hamlets, go bomb homes belonging to federal officials and their agents. You guys know the way to Abuja and Kaduna and Lagos and other places don’t you?