Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, a Muslim Igbo and the leader of Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria (PMNN), was a two-time Presidential Candidate of the defunct African Renaissance Party (ARP). In this interview with Precious Dikewoha, he described those drumming for war as jokers. He also said even Ojukwu had dumped the idea of Biafra before he died
HOW do you describe Nigeria at the moment looking at hate speeches from one ethnic group to the other, especially the face-off between Arewa youths and Ndigbo living in the North?
Clearly, our nation Nigeria is on the verge of something momentous. Its either we get it right and be stronger in greater unity or we get it wrong and everything falls to pieces.
Nigeria is in trouble and anyone who thinks it’s an easy scenario must be deceiving him or herself. This nation, from all indications, is about to be shaken to its very foundation and everyone who wishes Nigeria well should better put on his or her think cap.
The leader of IPOB and those handling Radio Biafra are accused of abuse and disrespect of the country and the President and Igbo people are accused of not condemning the act, is Biafra a disrespectful entity?
Respect for elders is one quality prevalent in all African societies. Did you not hear it said that the words of our elders are words of wisdom? Is that how you abuse your own fathers at home?
And those of them who now say their religion is Judaism, is that what they think Judaism is all about? Do young people habitually insult elders in Israel? As a matter of fact, some of the so-called champions of Biafra are nothing but clever crooks and opportunists feeding fat on the ignorance and gullibility of suffering Igbo youths and the uninformed. I remember reading a piece where the one who believes he is the originator of the post war Biafran struggle was saying shamelessly that he picked the younger chap up from the streets of London where he was roaming joblessly and hopelessly and offered him employment to run the Radio Biafra and that it was to him that the former Biafran leader gave the Biafran franchise.
Clearly, for a supposedly freedom fighter to refer to his struggle as a franchise shows without any shred of doubt that he sees the struggle not only as a business, but one which he believes he has the right to run as a monopoly. No wonder he and his collaborators are living in stupendous wealth.
These set of Biafran freedom fighters, if you want to see them, don’t look in the jungle or ghettos where normal freedom fighters are to be found; look for them in five star hotels and palatial homes. They are being driven about in Rolls Royce cars.
What have Biafra leaders, including the Ohanaeze, done for all those Biafran soldiers that lost limbs during the 1967-1970 civil war and have been begging for alms for survival since the end of the civil war at Oji River up till now, a full 37 years after? We all abandoned them to their fate from 1970 up till date. If there was another war tomorrow, God forbid, do you think their children would offer or agree to fight in that war, knowing that they would be abandoned like their fathers.
I remember asking Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu a similar question one day, very many years ago while I was travelling in the same car with him to IfiteDunu in Anambra state from Enugu, for the commissioning of a multi-purpose farm built by the now late Chief (Dr.) Hyacinth Uzoewulu, the Owelle of Iffitedunu. I was sitting in the front seat of the car with Ojukwu’s driver while he, Ojukwu, was on the back seat with Col. Ike Nwosu the former military administrator of Abia State.
By then, Ojukwu was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund for the Center for Igbo Studies at the Abia State University, Uturu, while the late Chief (Dr.) Uzoewulu was the secretary. I was the Initiator as well as the Chairman of the Planning Committee and it was during the course of the project that opportunists now saw the possibility of a lucrative business in the name of a new Biafran struggle.
If you ask me, in my opinion, even our most respected Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu himself had, while still alive, seen the error of the Biafran experiment as the great Zik of Africa did, which must be why he agreed for his wife, my dear sister, Bianca, to be an Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Spain. I also believe that the so-called leaders of the post-civil war Biafra agitation during the tenure of the former President were frequenting the Aso Rock Villa and were not leaving empty handed in those days. But now, after the 2015 elections, the baton has changed hands, it has become fashionable to restart the Biafran business.
Some people have alleged that some Igbo youths are preparing for war, is war the best option; can you tell us your experience of war?
I am 60 of age now. I was born in Jos, the capital of Plateau State in April 1957. I was therefore 10 years of age when the Nigerian civil war stated. When the pogrom started, my father, the late Senator Igwe Ibrahim P.C. Ndu, the first Senator of Enugu Province and my mother took us out of Northern Nigeria to the East. We relocated from place to place in Eastern Nigeria until the war ended in 1970.
I hated Nigeria and everything Nigeria was doing during the war and my greatest disappointment during the war.
I hated Nigeria; I hated Northern Nigerians with all my heart. I hated the Yorubas and the Western Nigeria as well as parts of the Niger Delta. I hated all these groups because of the parts that I was told and believed they played in the pogrom and the subsequent civil war. But now I am older, and I have had good time to interrogate all that I was fed as a child and as an adolescent and to separate the lies from the truth; the wheat from the chaff.
I even contested for the presidency of this country twice. In 2003 and in 2011 I was National Chairman of the African Renaissance Party [ARP] for ten years.
It is said that experience is the best teacher. I know from firsthand experience that 99.9% of elites in Southern Nigeria, whether from the South-West, South-East or South- South are hypocrites at least as far as the issue of the so-called restructuring of Nigeria is concerned.
Before Jonathan came to power, at a point the loudest voice for restructuring was the Niger Delta/South-South. I thought they were serious, but I was wrong. When Jonathan came to power, I immediately called the leaders of the Ijaw National Congress [INC] and told them that the time was ripe for the restructuring but their answer to me was that we should let the young man [Jonathan] rest.
I even went to Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, where almost all the visible Niger-Delta activists had permanently relocated to. My business was to speak with a lady that was seen as the most vocal woman activist of the Niger Delta to complain to her that Jonathan was not doing the right things. That the most important thing to be done was to achieve the restructuring that Nigeria has always needed but her answer to me was that it was immaterial whether Jonathan was governing well or not and that as far as she was concerned Jonathan must have a second term.
To cut a long story short, at a conference organised in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, which was organised by the Prof. Ben Nwabueze’s Nigeria Project Group on the issue of a National Conference at the Ibom Meridian Hotel, trouble started for which I was blamed when we saw that they had written the communiqué of the conference even before the commencement of the conference.
A former AD Senator from the South-West, who right now is one of the leading voices for restructuring of Nigeria once again, presided over the convocation of the Jonathan Conference against the popular views expressed by generality of Nigerians. The committee went round the nation to collect and collate views of generality of Nigerians on the matter. Today, after wasting the nation’s time and resources, he and his cohorts are at it
About Article Author