ENVELOPED BY FEAR

Eke Sunday 10 January 2021:

Pretenders and not leaders usually use fear to instill loyalty in the led. There are usually two veritable avenues of which a power seeker can use to carry all the people along. The authentic channel is appeal, while the unpopular route is coercion.

By appeal, I mean a situation where the leader always try to reason with all stakeholders at every point in time. This was the tactics used, during our golden age period, when Zik was in power.

But this was jettisoned during the civil war era when Ojukwu came on board. It was viewed with disdain because of its apparent tardiness in conflict resolution.

Consequently, Ojukwu, because he was a ruler and not a leader, replaced it with the act of instilling fear in the people.

Nevertheless, everything about him had to do with dread. His second name simply means Scared Stiff. And anytime he wanted to address the public, he usually put on a lot of theatrics, oftentimes rolling his big eyes to scare the fainthearted!

Through out the period of Nigerian civil war that took place between 1967 to 1970, virtually Emeka Ojukwu was not fighting Yakubu Gowon, so to say, rather the war monger was busy fighting unseen enemies. Everybody then was a saboteur except the Commander-in-chief himself!

We lived under the climate of fear. You dare not differ with the dictator or you consider yourself dead. We were living in perilous times and one could find his name on danger list, for instance, if perchance his wife was the pretty type.

And if there was a bomb scare somewhere, everybody would be looking for an scape goat. A man who saunters from a nearby bush might be accused of being an agent of the enemy and summarily lynched!

Biafrans were their own worst enemies. Ojukwu was enjoying the status of not a folk hero but that of a tin god. His word was law and Biafrans thought that was the way to go until their scheme fell like a pack of cards. And everybody went away to lick his wounds!

I have just given a graphic illustration of what transpired during the war.

One could rightly point to what happened during the war as the norm all over the world once there is conflict. But my question is this, what of the post war era? For this unhealthy trend continued!

The happenings sequel to Ojukwu’s dictatorial rule make me to conclude that Igboman’s life is characterized by fear. We Igbo people fear even the air we breath.

For how else would you describe the scenario that was the fallout of Uwazuruike’s enthronenent.

During the time this tout was calling the shots in Igbo land, he made a decree that thenceforth, anybody that dare criticize Ojukwu would be made to go naked anywhere he was seen in public by members of his MASSOB!

He made this infamous edict in this 21st century and nobody except The Igbo Revolution bathed an eyelid.

Meanwhile, the person he wanted us to believe was infallible, had many faults; many faults that a blind man could see miles away.

And also when he made that primitive fiat, Ojukwu himself did not admonish him, instead he was relishing in that splendor. This alone tells volumes of the type of person that held our fate in his hands for three solid years.

Logic dictates that there is more to this than meets the eye, when a people decide to live their lives in this tragic way. The pertinent question is this: What are you afraid of, that makes you hellbent to always use coercion when dealing with your kith and kin?

And another question is; why are you always intolerant of opposition? If anybody differs from your jaundiced view, that person is as good as dead. He would be hanged on trumped-up charges. Is that the way to go?

Pundits are of the view that the Igbo person is republican by nature and we usually thump our chests because of this misplaced accollade.

But I can only say that these experts are only massaging our bloated ego. Republican my foot!

I have given a poignant reminder of what was obtainable during the civil war. But we are no more in conflict situation, yet the same unfortunate behavioural pattern still persists.

My dad had a saying that appertains to the discourse at hand. Said he: Agha daa, asi adaa. Meaning that the first casualty of war is Truth!

Like I said before, we are not in any open state of armed conflict now, yet coercion and threats rent the air in the Igbo world. A palpable fear hangs in the atmosphere as always.

Invariably, what is trending now, is the Nnamdi Kanu phenomenon. And if you differ from the opinion of this pretentious demagogue, you are as good as dead! His unenlightened acolytes that are ubiquitous in Igbo land and even beyond, expect every one of us to catch cold, once this gagwo sneezes.

And if you do not join the bandwagon, you are marked as an enemy, as a saboteur and as a mole. Those of them who are not hawks will counsel you to trade with caution.

Whenever you hold this infantile exhibitionism of IPOB in derision, these so called doves amongst them would accost you immediately.

‘Between you and me and the bedpost, don’t canvass your inflammatory views outside because of the inherent dangers, for Nnamdi Kanu and his cohorts would kill you’, they would advise.

But how wrong and ignorant they are for it is an established fact that, the majority will have its way while the minority must its say. My people are blind to this dictate because of apprehension.

However, you reading this post, don’t be unmindful that none of these belligerent fellows has ever faulted my position as being erroneous. No. Everything hinges on fear and dread.

Supposely they expect me to swallow my innuendos or resort to subterfuge during any discourse that appertains to IPOB in order not to find myself in the harm’s way.

And these group of lily-livered fellows forget in a hurry this bold proverb that says, ‘He who loses his life, would gain it, and he who gains his life would lose it’.

However, I pay deaf ears to this their entreaties. And do you know why I am adamant? Because the same people would start looking for survival instinct when this their so-called champion puts them in harm’s way and runs away.

This is not a novelty, for it has happened before. Even now the protagonist is on the lam.

Secondly, when all these hullabaloo fizzles out and I come out to state that I said this before. Everybody would dismiss me with the wave of the hand. The same people would turn around to ask a rhetorical question, WHY DIDN’T YOU SPEAK UP? YOU MUST BE A SHAMELESS COWARD!

So I am giving all these self-serving saints we have in Igbo land, a good run for their money. They can deceive some people sometimes, but they can not deceive all the people all the time.

In sum, I can not fear this rat called Nnamdi Kanu and his bunch of renegades. Instead, the reverse suppose to be the case!

Chudi Okudo
The Teacher of The Igbo Revolution

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