July 6, 2022

Umuaka Times

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Pastor Tunde Bakare and the lies of a failed state, (3). By Chuks Iloegbunam.

4 min read

Now, under Pastor Bakare, the consummate wielder of the microphone, the falsehoods got added embellishment. The curse preventing any Igbo from becoming President over a period of 25 years assumed eternal dimensions. The snippety nonsense of turban and wine got thrown in. No one seemed to underscore the impotence of the curse by General Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo being Balewa’s immediate successor. I reacted thus to this story in Ironsi: Nigeria, The Army, Power And Politics (Press Alliance 1999; and Eminent Biographies 2019): “The story that was put out claimed that Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa ‘cursed’ the Igbo, saying they will not rule Nigeria for 25 years. By the time Babangida used this fiction to discount an Igbo President in 1993, 27 years had elapsed since Sir Abubakar died. Yet, the “curse” was still potent.

Babangida himself had no qualms marrying into a “cursed” ethnic group and raising four children who by extension must be half cursed. The main point here is that, apart from Sir Abubakar’s lack of locus standi to curse the Igbo, (how many million curses will the thousands of Igbo victims of the 1966 pogrom utter?), the story is patently false. Its authors lacked authenticity because their story was bereft of citation and attribution. The most detailed account of the interrogation of those that carried out the coup of January 1966 was released by the regime of General Yakubu Gowon. The details also appear in Crisis And Conflict in Nigeria: A Documentary Sourcebook (Oxford University Press, 1971) by A. H. M Kirk-Greene. Nowhere is there anything about any curse. No authority ever corroborated the story. Yet this fiction is what the Clique has held on to in the protracted subjugation of Ndigbo. That was why Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, a principled officer and gentleman, was ignominiously removed as Chief of General Staff within months of his appointment. That was why Ndigbo led the formation of the PDP and gave it their all, only for the currently acclaimed Igbo leader, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, to be given a short shrift.” (pp 242-243.)

According to Omo Omoruyi, Chief M. K. O. Abiola’s presidential election victory was nullified because it was not backed by what he called Ethno-Military Clique of Northern Nigeria. General Babangida posited in 1993 that, “the Yoruba and the Igbo did not have strong representation in the Armed Forces to provide them with the kind of protection they would need.” Yoruba and Igbo representation in the military today are for more minuscular today than ever before, due to the conscious and deliberate nepotistic policy of the man at the helm today.

Besides, no one has bothered to decipher the Caliphate’s thinking on 2023. Perhaps the assumption is that its deafening silence is symptomatic of non-alignment? How could this be when Sultan Dasuki was one of the prime forces against Chief Abiola’s presidential election? All these point to the fact that, in the ultimate, even the Jagaban would discover that he washed his hands and cracked a nut for an errant fowl to carry the seed away. At that point only would the incalculable harm done to Yoruba and Southern interests by the forward-looking politics of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu become ever so clear.

To return to phantom curses and negative repercussions! Pastor Bakare needs to ask himself this fundamental question: Why is the curse for bad behaviour unidirectional? A sensible answer to that question may assist him in coming to terms with a myriad of other questions. Those who killed General Aguiyi-Ironsi in July 1966 have the longest streets in Abuja named after them. Apart from Aguiyi-Ironsi, they also killed countless other officers, including Lieutenant Colonels Israel Okoro, Gabriel Okonweze and Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, and Majors Nzegwu, Emelifonwu, Nnamani, Ihedigbo, Obienu, Ekanem, P. C. Obi, Isong, Ogunro; and 11 Captains, and 13 Lieutenants, and 128 NCOs and Other Ranks. They went ahead with a pogrom that cost 50,000 lives of Eastern Nigerians, mostly Ndigbo. Why have the perpetrators of the nsoani never been visited by a curse? Nigeria has five functional international airports. Two of them are named after the mass murderers of July, August, September and October 1966.

They claimed that wine was poured on Tafawa Balewa, and that alcohol was forced down his throat. Compare it to the following: “Thirdly, the evidence disclosed that it was not merely a case of Northerners descending on Easterners and shooting, matcheting and clubbing them to death. They embarked on various methods of torture and humiliation. One method was described by the 72nd witness – Dick Iwebi. This punishment is one of the most dreadful ways of crucifying a person. A heavy rod is tied across the back of the chest of the victim with the hands stretched and secured firmly on the rod. While the victim may still be standing on his legs, he is as helpless as a man nailed to a cross. In this position they then proceed to torture the victim by plucking his eyes, cutting his tongue and cutting his testicles.” See The Report of the Justice G. C. M Onyiuke Tribunal on the Massacre of Ndigbo in 1966, Tollbrook Publishers Limited, Ikeja Lagos, pp 125-126. Dear Pastor Bakare, who got cursed for this atrocity?

The thoughtful must ask what informed Pastor Bakare’s timing for his peculiar sermon. But the answer is all too obvious. The presidential election is next year and people who should only be seen and never heard are bursting eardrums hectoring all-comers for an Igbo President of Nigeria. It is important that their agitation is shot down before it gets a chance of taking off and actually flying. Of course, anti-Igbo propaganda was never a spontaneous thing. Its real name is INSIDOUS. To exemplify: In 1954, Emmanuel Ifeajuna won the gold medal in the High Jump event of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Vancouver, Canada. Ifeajuna was not just the first Nigerian, but also the first Black African, to win an international sports event.



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