Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Continuing to Niger Republic

Need to Decide

It was around 4:00 am on Tuesday morning on the 11th of April 2017. I was woken by the 4:00 am alarm. 4:00 am is very critical to my job hence the need I set my alarm to wake me up by that time - not minding whether I was on vacation or not. I reminded myself I was on vacation and also that I have not decided on how I am going to do my planned trip to Niger, after the issues I experienced in East Africa the pre pious day. I searched and found a plane to Sokoto from Lagos that morning. I made reservations and paid for it. Going to Niger and Niamey the capital required one to travel to Kebbi or Sokoto and then cross the border into Niger. A few Nigerien who live around had earlier advised I may have to travel through the Kebbi border but it was unfortunate there were no direct flights to Kebbi from Lagos but to Sokoto, several of them. 

I waited for day break to tell everyone at home I was travelling to Niamey, this is one the aspects of my travelling adventure I loved, announcing strange names of countries and cities I want to travel to. I had to pack a few things I thought I was going to need. I was excited of the idea I was going to see the far northern Nigeria. I also was telling myself it might probably be the last time I will have to travel to Sokoto without a visa (Hoping Biafra would become a country soon and that I will now need a passport or a form of identification at least to travel to Nigeria or whatever the remaining country will be called).

A vehicle to Ilela. The driver seems to be very relaxed and was speeding.
Not knowing what to expect in Niger, I picked my bag and left for the airport at around 8:30 am. On my way to the airport, I noticed one of the facilities of the airport authority was on fire. I watched with other onlookers, started a Facebook life video when I noticed it was getting out of hand and the arrival of the fire fighters. I was a bit carried away but I left the scene after roughly 10 minutes of recording and sharing the video with my friends. To cut the long story short, we first flew to Kaduna before flying to Sokoto. The total flight time was around 2 hours. At Sokoto, I noticed an extremely high temperature of 41 degrees Celsius. 
Well, I made inquiries on how to get to the border and I was told I was to first get to town, then I get to Ilela Park for a vehicle to Ilela and then get a motor bike to help transport me across the border.

Unfortunately, I had failed to take enough money. I was really grateful to one of the drivers in the park who agreed I do a bank transfer to his bank account so he could pay my fair to Ilela. The bank was far from the park. From there, I now took a motor bike for the onward journey to the Niger/Nigeria border.

Two Fulani Angels

I will also thanks two very helpful Fulani men who were of immense help to me on my trip to Niger.
Mr. Bala Ibrahim. This gentleman can best be described as an understanding father and a lover of justice. He and his men of the Nigerian Immigration were at the border between Nigeria/Niger when I passed it last week Tuesday (11th of April 2017). I passed their post without paying a dime (usually, immigration officers at borders collect a fee before stamping passports to admit someone who does not require a visa into West Africa). 

However, at the Niger Republic border when the immigration officers requested I pay 10000cfa to pass and I bluntly refused, insisting it is free and even if I will pay, I will give them nothing more than 3000cfa. This seemed to get to the Niger's commanding officer’s nerves and he requested his men to conduct a thorough search on me. This was because according to him, I was coming to do business and not tourism, which I said, was what am coming for. However, he saw some of my valid visas which proved to him I was not headed to Agadez(it's a border town with Libya and it's a route for illegal immigrants to Europe).

In my whole life, I have ever been search the way I was searched that day. The type of search I was subjected to that day was horrible (I prefer to use interesting though). I removed everything on me except my under pants. He later even checked what was inside the under pants to be sure there's no exhibit. They had to cut my shoes to be sure I had nothing inside. I was just there laughing and afterwards, he said I should pack my things, pay the 10000cfa or go back. I told him I will go back.
Back to the Nigerian side, I narrated my ordeal to the Nigerian officers who were worried about the development. They told me to thank God they found nothing on me and that if they did, it could have been something else, because they could have arrested me. Their display of love and concern was something out of this world and at that point knowing I am Igbo, they had to escalate to their overall boss at that border, Mr Bala Ibrahim. He came, took my passport and after going through it, asked me to follow him in his bike. He took me to the Niger Immigration officers and spoke with their boss. Some other junior officers outside were cheering me that I was smart to have gone back.
After the ‘oga to oga’ talk inside, the Niger officer took my passport and stamped it and Mr Ibrahim now asked me to give them anything I had. Well, I had to give them 5000cfa eventually - to prove it’s not that am broke that I did not want to pay what they demanded.

I wanted a picture with Mr Bala for this post but he told me the Niger officers would complain if we do that at their end but that I can have his telephone no which I gladly collected. Please anyone who knows this man should help me thank him.
Meanwhile, I spent almost two hours on all these and waiting outside was another Ibrahim, another Fulani guy from Ilela in Sokoto State of Nigeria. He was patient all through and did not complain. After the whole incident, he even took me to the Airtel office to get a SIM card; to Banque Atlantique to make some transactions and then to the car company that I would be travelling with the next day. His display of patience was so excellent and I wish to thank him for it. 

The Night Fall Hotel, Birni-Koni

I had also made the mistake of not withdrawing someone local Nigerian currency (Naira) before getting to Ilela. Unfortunately the banks at Ilela also were not working so, the only hope I had was just to change some dollars I had when I arrive Niger. On arrival, it was very difficult to change the dollars at Birni-Koni (the exchange rate I was offered was very low and as a result, I decided I would not change there but wait till I get to the capital). I will advise anyone who intends to cross the border from Sokoto to Brini Koni(the town in Niger side) to always make sure they go with Naira. It is easier to change and you also have several people who change it there - competition will make them sell it at a better price. I walked around to find a better price but could not.
After the long walk looking for a bureau de change operator, I was very thirsty and also needed to find a place to relax for the night so I can continue my journey the next day. I found a shop however, bought a bottle of coke and water to relax and then asked the owner of the shop - Tu connais un hotel pas loin d'ici?  I was asking if he knew a hotel around there but he did not understand me. It was then it dawned on me I am in a territory where I needed to be able to speak Hausa at least. He did not understand what I was saying but he seemed to understand I was talking of a hotel but yet, he could not respond anything meaningful. After some 5 minutes or so of sipping the 250cfa coke (the cheapest I had ever bought in a francophone West Africa), two customers came in to buy cigarettes. I then asked them the same question and one of them responded in French, we can help you find one. I was quite happy at least I could be understood.

With the two Mohameds - the blacksmith and police.
These two gentlemen were both called Mohamed, they were Tuareg. The older Mohamed was the only one I communicated with easily while the second, understood a little French, the older Mohamed told me the younger is a policeman...which I later got to understand he was just a local security officer in one of the motor parks around. The older Mohamed whom we later became friends is a blacksmith. We went out in search of a hotel and unfortunately, we found nothing. It was then Mohamed asked me to come stay with them in their house...which I happily accepted - even though I was bit bothered about the safety of some of the things in my bag. For myself, I knew I will be safe no matter what. After all, it was not the first time I was getting to sleep in house of a stranger. Maybe my first time abroad anyways.

We got to the house. It was made of rafts. From the door to the roofing. Inside, the floor was just sand.
So I will sleep out today??
The portion where the bed was had a little polythene covering that the mattress was resting on. Seeing that gave me hope that at least, I would sleep on something close to what I have at home. I dropped my bag, went out to take fresh air with the Mohameds, take my bath and possibly go for a walk with them to find what to eat. After a while of waiting, another gentleman walked pass and entered the same room. Mohamed introduced him as his brother. I noticed that the guy went in to relax on 'my bed'. After a while, a lady went in there to join him. I later learnt she was his brothers wife. The other 'Police' Mohamed left to his house and it was only myself, Mohamed and a few other neighbours who will eventually sleep outside. It was at that point I knew the sad truth that my bed actually belonged to another and that same person will be using it for the night with his wife. I was perplexed by the thoughts of sleeping outside on just a mat without anything to cover me. I thought of the torment of mosquito, the warm weather and the eventual fall of temperature at night, the possibility of something creeping to the place I will be sleeping and a thief visiting when I might have slept. I eventually slept but vowed to myself I must find a good hotel the next morning and be sure to take a good sleep that I will not get that night. Well, it was really a horrible night as temperature actually dropped later in the night. 

With Sadaam and Aishat. The raft room behind
Mohamed also showed some hospitality. He bought some yogurt, water and some local African tea. I took only one of the yogurts and then the water. I was very tired to go out to buy other things so I decided to sleep a bit hungry that evening.
Waking up the next morning, my entire feet was so dusty I decided to wake Mohamed to get me water to bath but I left him to continue his sleep when I recalled he slept late around 3 am. While waiting, some little children showed up and I decided to have some pictures with them. I had seen them the previous evening and tried to play with them but they understood little or nothing that I said. Sadaam, one of the boys was able to respond to "Comment tu t'appelles?" which is to say "What is your name?"

Later in the morning, Mohamed decided to take me to his shop so that I could see what he does for a living. He was a blacksmith and I watched him work on a ring he wanted to give me as a gift. Some of his friends came around and good a thing they spoke French. They made me understand their friend spoke as much as 8 languages.
The blacksmith
The blacksmith
I also noticed that if there was anytime he wanted to tell me something he did not want his friends to understand, he spoke to me in English and I was surprised and his ability. He patiently worked on the ring until it fitted my finger. He made another and asked me to give it to my girlfriend when I get back to Lagos which I took and I thanked him. I noticed his strong addiction to cigarettes and mentioned it to him, 

He smiled and told me he has been working on it. He told me he used to smoke a full packet of cigarette in a day before then but now, he only does only 5 or less in a day and that he hopes to quit very soon. That reminded me of the rate at which francophone West Africans smoke. I had seen very strange smoking behaviours in Mali and Senegal. In Bamako, Mali for instance, I noticed some very young children who I was not sure they were up to 15 years of age and they were smoking and it looked like if everyone does it. In Dakar Senegal at one point, I noticed that most of the women I met smoked. It was then Habib Koite's Cigartte Abana 1995 song made meaning to me. I wished him the best and told him continue and that things will be alright someday. 


Cigarette Abana - Habib Koite




Monday, 24 April 2017

Ordeals in Nairobi - Part 2

In Detention.
The detention facility had beds, a toilet (clean toilet actually) and was well illuminated. Right inside there were three other young men. I will avoid using their real names, as they all will not want to be known. There was a Chinese, a Pakistani and a Somali. While the Nigerian guy (let me call him Friday - because I don't want to use his real names or reveal his tribe) was busy ranting and shouting, I was calm and was also trying to calm him. I was saying to myself, it looks am going to have a good time here. There and then, I went round, introduced myself to the inmates and demanded to know their names and what their crimes brought them there. The Chinese had a problem with some immigration officials in Kenya. He has lived in Kenya for a couple of years. The long and short of his story was that because he could not pay a particular amount requested by the Kenyan immigration officials, they had detain him there. I did not really bother to know details of what it was he did as I was detained illegally also, meaning anyone else can be. The other two had fake Kenyan visas, which was not their fault(but I still blame them). They used an agent who got them the fake thing. For this reason, I always advice people to go for their visas themselves. Having someone you do not know do your visa processing for you is like a time bomb which will explode at the point of entry into any country you intend visiting. We sat, talked, laughed and made fun of everything. A few minutes later, a friendly guy whom I had met outside some minutes before was brought inside to join us. He was later going to become a friend but he still does not want people to know he was detained, so I will not mention his name or nationality – he is from French speaking West Africa but lives in Europe and I will call him Fayeed.
After the initial chat with fellow inmates, I realised I had no internet and there was no way to communicate with the external world. It was just getting very seriously scared but outwardly, I was putting a make up of smiles, if not for anything, to encourage the other Nigerian guy with us. The Pakistani enjoyed his internet and he was just telling anyone who cared to listen to him that his internet is almost finished and that he can only share with someone who buys airtime/units to recharge his phone. With the attitude he exhibited, I marked him out as someone I will never make friends with (and I did not even after I left Kenya). 

We had a very nice and engaging conversations. We talked about corruption in Africa, xenophobia and all sorts of evil carried out on Africans by Africans against Africans. I could communicate with each and everyone except  the Somali who spoke only Arabic. Fayeed however was the only person in the room who was able to communicate with him because he speaks Arabic. To him the Somali, he seemed not to be worried about his detention. He seemed to be content with the two meals they are provided with on a daily basis. Some of us reasoned and believed that the Kenyans were doing him a favour there keeping him and feeding him. I can't even recall how he was able to communicate to me to give him my telephone charger to charge his phone.


video Something around 15:00 hrs in the afternoon, one of the immigration officials came in to serve the older inmates food. It was a well packaged rice and stew with meat. The portion was so large that I was really impressed they could give those to people in detention. It was however only three of those that was made available for the three inmates. They promised to bring us something eventually did not as they later said that the people who did the cooking only planned for three people. So we had to wait for the dinner which they normally serve around 23:00 hrs. We silently watched these guys eat their food and I silently complained to myself about their poor cultural up-bringing in their different countries. These boys confirmed to us that there will be no food here till 11 pm and yet they are not even willing to share theirs or even do the ceremonial 'come and eat'.

Friday (the Nigerian) was an extrovert. He was just screaming, shouting and complaining about the treatment meted out to us by the Kenyan authorities. At one point, he started blaming me for asking him to cool down when we were being asked to enter into the detention facility. I simply pretended I was not hear him. He was ranting and telling anyone who cared to hear that he is a king in his country and deals with white people. That his gold chain on his neck is worth more than $5,000 dollars and that his iPhone 7 cost ed more than $3000. He went round to show those who cared pictures of him and the white people...and all sorts of boastful things he was saying. When he cooled down, he started soliloquising that it was just that he wanted to apply for an American visa...was the only reason he wanted to get a Kenyan visa, so that he can demonstrate to the Americans he has traveled elsewhere and returned back home, otherwise, he does not want anything to do with Kenya. In my mind, I was laughing at him because I have seen people with visas to other countries who were denied visa to the US. It was then, in order not to listen to his trash I asked Fayeed his nationality and then I found out he spoke French....I had earlier noticed he struggled to speak English. I was happy because at least, if there was nothing to do,  I could gossip and express my dissatisfaction of the nagging and boastful attitude of Friday (The other Nigerian). Several other people were brought into the detention facility who called their relatives/Kenyans they know to come to their rescue. They were eventually taken out and were given visas.

Tu Parles Francais?

Fayeed was very happy to know I understood French also and it was a good time to talk about more important things. He looked into my face and asked me to tell him the truth about who I actually was and what I was in Kenya to do. At that point, it dawned on me that even some of the people I was with probably did not believe me. I took a deep breath a told him I am a tourist like I said I was. He told me he came to visit a friend and that he was detained because he would not bribe their officials. They wanted a bribe because of his old visa was to expire a day before he leaves back to Brussels where he lives. We spent most of the time discussing Friday's pride and unguarded utterances. We also talked about a couple of things we could do to get it into Kenya and so on. It was when we were discussing all these that a Kenyan official came into the facility and called out Friday to follow him with his luggage. He stepped out in arrogance and left us without even a goodbye and also forgetting his camera that he used to take shots of the facility, which he said he will give to his lawyer to prosecute the Kenyan government for abusing his rights. His departure made Fayeed and myself feel best like we have just been beaten 1 - 0 in a game. Our feelings of failure was heightened when another official who we thought came for us came back to ask for Friday's camera.

After an hour or so of Friday's absence, he was returned back to us. We felt good initially that at least, we have not been sidelined that much. His return added more salt to the injury as he came to tell us that they have successfully booked his return flight the next morning and that he was convinced that they were neither going to release Fayeed nor myself anytime soon as it was only his flight that was rescheduled for the next day. That was the first time I really felt irritated in there. Fayeed simply told me 'Ca va aller' which means everything will be well. It was then I decided it was time to contact someone to help. I spoke to the Chinese guy who then shared his internet data with me to send emails to my employers to let them know I was detained in Kenya for no good cause. It was also time to send a message to my mum to tell her I was ok as I always do each time I traveled. It was also then I thought of Nnamdi Kanu who has been in detention for almost two years and been deprived of his family - "Nna nwoke a sikwara ike oooo" (Mehn, this guy is strong, referring to Nnamdi Kanu) I said to myself.  As if Friday knew Fayeed and myself had been making jest of him, he taunted us more by saying things that made it look like we will not be leaving the facility soon. The Chinese guy also corroborated his story telling us the Kenyans will tell you something and will mean the otherwise. I told Fayeed in French that he should watch, that something tells me things will turn around and this guy (Friday) will eventually get to be dropped when they will come for us.

A Good Man From Nazareth

At around 23:00 hrs, an official from the Kenyans came with our dinner and told us that three of us who were detained that day should get ready to leave the next morning by 5 am in the morning. Well, we were really happy for the food and the excitement on the Fayeed's face was just amazing - not for the fact we were told we will be leaving the next day, but because we were just served food. We were very hungry. Friday however rejected the food. We joked in French that he probably must have swallowed some substance (drugs which probably he has come to sell in Kenya) and did not want to eat so as not to excrete it.

There was however something human about the last immigration official who came to serve us food. He was very kind and wanted to hear us talk, a quality those in the day shift never had. He told me specifically that my problem was because so many Nigerians come in to Kenya and fail to leave. He advised me to make sure I have a contact in Kenya the next time I come. I also advised my 'large mouthed' friend Friday to ask the same officer to see the possibility of them giving him a visa, since according to him, he will need it for the application of his US visa.

After all these, we slept and as early as 4 am, Friday was awake and dressed. He was giving us looks suggesting 'you guys should have a nice stay'. There and then, the official came and called out the three of us! Hmmm, I was like, its now 1 - 1. Our team just scored! Fayeed and myself parked our stuffs in a hurry and were ready in less than a minute. Never cared to brush our teeth or change something else! Just leave the place before they change their mind. It was like freedom at last.

The Kenyan official took us to the airlines to confirm our bookings. It was at that point that Friday discovered that the immigration officials did not get his luggage from the previous day as they promised and he was now told he has to wait in Kenya to pick it up before travelling back to Nigeria or forget it. It was at that point I told Fayeed that I said it... We will leave this guy here and go back while he remains here. Friday could not stand the thought of staying back... I could not hold laughter as it was now 2 - 1 in our favour. While they were trying to figure out a solution, Fayeed and myself were busy looking for the best place in the airport to take nice selfies at least to remember the experience. We safely got back to our destinations safely the next day when we chatted on WhatsApp again. Did not even bother to look back to find Friday (An action I later regretted).

Entebbe

At 5 am on Monday morning, we were boarded and headed to Entebbe, Uganda before going to Kigali where where we will change plane to Cotonou. My joy was revived when the pilot mention we were headed to Entebbe because the Entebbe Airport was the main place I wanted to visit in Uganda. I wanted to see the airport and the imagine how the Israeli commandos raided the airport in 1976 when the Air France with majority Israeli nationals was hijacked. We arrived there safely. I took a few shots but discovered MTN adverts all over the airport.

We left straight to Kigali after a 30 minutes stopover. From Kigali, I tried to make sure I enjoyed every bit of going home. I made sure I ordered as much as I wanted to eat from the air hosts and hostesses. I kept thinking of the whole experience and what could have happened if they allowed me in. I was a bit happy that at least, I did not spend any of the cash I came with, but at the same time, the ticket I bought for the trip was wasted. Immediately we arrived Cotonou, I had already made up my mind to embark on another journey. I was considering Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana or Niger Republic and Burkina. After it dawned on me I have never been to Niger for the first time, I felt strongly convinced I should visit there and I continued the next day.









Thursday, 20 April 2017

IPOB Press Statement 20/04/2017

BIAFRA RESTORATION IS UNSTOPPABLE: TANKO YAKASSAI CANNOT SPEAK FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE MOUTH

We have taken ample time to dwell on the interview granted by Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and we have most sufficiently subjected the said interview to the forensic analysis of sapient extrapolation. Our aim is not to ridicule but rather to illuminate the darkest recesses of the unattainable ambitions of the core North in relation to Biafra. Let it be said unequivocally that Yakassai's statements are inordinately over-ambitious. The points he raised cancelled out each other, so we see it as being ill-thought out, divergent, and outrightly riotous.

We members of IPOB Worldwide under the leadership and supreme command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu shall in this rebuttal, endeavour to subject Yakassai's submissions to the utmost intellectual scrutiny, with a view to systematically dismantling his misguided utterances he visited upon unfortunate Nigerians not knowledgeable enough to appreciate the contradictions inherent in his postulates.  
We find it a convenient starting point to note that in Biafraland people of Yakassai’s age, in times gone by, are accorded great respect for their characteristic wisdom which comes with age. This elevates such elderly individuals to the rare altitude of ‘sages’. The sapient judgment and effulgent wisdom usually radiated by people of Yakassai’s age command immeasurable respect from all and sundry in the by-gone era of truth and wisdom. Unfortunately this is no longer the case these days as our elders no longer speak the truth or are too terrified to do so for fear of upsetting their paymasters. What we have now are old men without honour nor conscience. Elderly men who shouldn't be afraid to speak the truth are now afraid to stand up to speak the truth and damn the consequences.

Most unfortunately, the deeply regrettable poverty of thought encapsulated in Yakassai’s Saturday interview in the Sun newspaper confirmed our long held suspicion that, even in the evening of his life, that rare class of ‘sages’ to which he ought to belong, has eluded him. Such a life-time misfortune is his own cross to bear, it cannot detain us here.

Sufficient to note that we shall not allow ourselves to be drawn into the fray of rants with which Yakassai corrupted the interview he granted. Such use of avoidable gutter language like his reference to 'irritants', have most shamefully grounded and graded him among the street urchins, scallywags and rapscallions of the North, despite his age.

We earlier observed that the entire landscape of his interview was riddled with self-contradictions. We now shall proceed to deploy our fine tooth comb in sifting out the chaff from the grain.

In one breath, the 'Elder Statesman' as they love to be called, made so many affirmations about the undeniable spirit of excellence resident in this Biafra nation and spoke glowingly of the Igbo tribe. Hear him; "The Igbo are the most hardworking people, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa. It is that hard work that made the Igbo, for example, when it comes to commuter transportation in Nigeria, everybody has surrendered to the Igbo, so also in the areas of building materials, electrical and electronics, vehicle spare parts, pharmaceuticals, stationery, etc… In the next 100 years, the Igbo through their hard work would be a dominating force not only in the West Africa but in Africa."

Yakassai bemoaned the absence of good leadership as being responsible for the terrible state of the Nigerian economy, the general disgraceful and retrogressive state of affairs prevalent in Nigeria today. In these self-indicting words; "....with good leadership – leadership with vision and plan, and one day God will give us such leadership. It is leadership that makes India what it is today, likewise China. It was leadership that made Nigeria what it was before."
Having first laudably admitted that the economy of the Biafran nation is undeniably resilient and one that has the plenitude and latitude of capacity to determine the future of the entire Africa in the next 100 years, this Northern "Elder Statesman" even took the notch higher by admitting massive and corrosive failure of leadership by the Northern dominated apparatus of governance in Nigerian. He finally iced the cake for the Biafran Nation with his loud affirmation of the existence of the right to self-determination by retorting that "nobody is saying that the right is not enshrined". Having come this far, the only inescapable inference is the concurrence of the "Elder Statesman" with the inexorable factual situation that referendum is the last lap for the completion of the Biafran Project.

However, instead of channeling his energy towards advising the Government of the day, led and peopled by his Hausa-Fulani kinsmen, to lend its institutional weight as required of it under extant International Laws, in completing the cycle of Biafran Restoration, he rather somersaulted and started entertaining fears that it might not be well for IPOB in our promised land of Biafra. This is clearly taking a position parallel to the one he took earlier. Hear him now: "Kanu and his friends are just irritants. They are saying what they are saying just to make some people annoyed; they just want to annoy people in power. They are not serious. What homework did they do to convince people that they would be better off in Biafra? How do you think that Governor Wike will agree to be with Biafra; how do you think that Governor Okowa will surrender Delta to Biafra?"

The question might then be asked, what is Kanu and his followers saying? Our answer is very simple. In view of the decadent values, collapsed infrastructure, visionless, massively corrosive, endemically corrupt, retrogressive and directionless leadership prevalent in Nigeria today; where destructive tribalism, ethnic jingoism, religious extremism, uncaged state sponsored marauding terrorists in Fulani herdsmen prowling the land freely, unending terror campaign by Nigerian Army,  Police against innocent law abiding citizens, weak compromised judiciary, ever depreciating and sinking currency, overwhelming and galloping inflation, poverty and frustration induced suicides of citizens, we are poised to restore our nation Biafra, which Yakassai correctly identified as holding the economic salvation of the entire Africa in the next fifty to a hundred years. That is what "Kanu and his friends" are saying. What problem does Elder Yakassai have with this noble ambition, the right of which he affirmed exists in us.

At this juncture, we are compelled to ask the 'Elder Statesman' why Nigeria’s problem is lack of leadership? It is of great interest to note that this leadership problem correctly identified by the 'Elder Statesman' has perennially remained the bane of good governance in Nigeria since the British left in 1960, so much so that nobody needs to be lectured by 'Elder' Yakassai as if it was a new truth recently discovered by the APC Government. After all, many decades ago, our own departed sage and literary legend Prof. Chinua Achebe arrived at this same diagnosis in his essay, ‘The Problem with Nigeria.’

The truth of the matter is that Biafra, when fully restored, would not be scourged with the yoke of visionless leadership we see today plaguing this British created contraption Nigeria. This same Nigeria even till today, has continued to sprinkle its bewildered despondent citizens with the callous ashes of untold misery, disillusionment, class frustration, economic wretchedness, biting poverty, and most recently suicides. This is the only gift Nigeria has to offer to millions of its citizens, painfully miserable life and premature death. To add insult to injury, the government of Nigeria responsible for this level of untold misery and shame are run by Yakassai’s kinsmen Hausa-Fulani.

We have it on record that 'Elder' Tanko Yakassai, has served as Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari. This is a man who informed us in this same interview that “I was never sent to school. I was taken to school, after one week they removed me till today; all I got was through my personal efforts. You can imagine if I were privileged to acquire formal education, you know where I was going to stop?" Good Lord! Why would Nigeria not continue to grapple with leadership failure when men of limited education as 'Elder' Yakassai, who by his own admission never acquired any formal education, could suddenly rise to the position of a Liaison Officer to the President. How damning! The world can now see the quality of people advising Buhari and why the economy is in such an awful mess.

Instead of naively waiting in vain, with the likes of 'Elder' Yakassai in  power, for God to come down from heaven and do for us that which he has given us the ability to do for ourselves, we IPOB have determined to restore the nation of Biafra by the grace of God. A nation where all these ills bedevilling Nigeria today can no longer haunt us. We are irrevocably committed to correcting all these ills with a steely resolve, grit and determination unmatched in the history of black civilisation. Those Hausa Fulani children and youths begging on the streets of Kano, Sokoto and Zaria today will be provided meaningful jobs and education in Biafraland should they choose to migrate southwards upon the emergence of Biafra as an independent nation. In Biafra there will be no discrimination of any sort, regardless of status or place of origin. Once you make it to Biafraland from anywhere in the world, you are a free person, valued and respected because you are a human being not an animal. In Biafra, all will be free from persecution and molestation. 

In this Biafra of our dreams, round pegs will be put in round holes. The best shall lead the rest. It is abecedarian that one cannot walk both sides of the street. 'Elder' Tanko Yakassai cannot have it both ways. It is too late to save Nigeria as presently constituted by the British.

SIGNED:

Dr. Ikenna Chinaka
Mrs Grace Ukpai

IPOB Spokespersons