By Jimanze Ego- Alowes
Professor Wole Soyinka wrote a piece, https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2019/06/12/a-democracy-day-primer-i/.
It was a piece written in the spirit of a time that doesn’t presently exist. Soyinka wrote with the unstated assumption that he and the parties he represents or defends, are the wounded consciences of a certain nation, maybe the Nigeria of his mind. For Soyinka, the rest of us are the wrong side of history, while he and his elect body of Nigerians are the good and great peoples of history.
However, history, even if not great drama, is no longer written in those veins. The point is that a lot has happened to make one man as powerful as the other. The fact of this is illustrated in the play of two crucial technologies, Gutenberg and the internet. From Gutenberg to the internet is a long stretch in events and time, but their imports are similar.
After Gutenberg the priests were dismissed from their prime positions which they abused -ala indulgences, etc. And the magic of the word and the powers thereof were opened up to any literate persons.
And before the internet, history was all the lies written on the dictation of victors. After the internet all the world has a voice. And the platform is free. Today, it is no longer possible to prove a point unchallenged by lending your office or reputation to your claims. Today, anybody can speak out and challenge the rap of the powerful or the victorious. And today we all know that victory is not innocence, is not blamelessness. We also know that defeat is not a sin or for the sinning. Repeatedly, history has recorded the rite of bandits winning the just. And next, hiring courtiers to tell fashionable lies as veritable histories. Yet, Soyinka chose to write as if the internet never happened, as if winning a genocidal war you triggered wins you innocence. That was before internet. Ours is a new age, is the internet age.
Soyinka writes: ”Everything in this nation is fodder for controversy… – such has been this formal restoration of June 12th 1993…. Let us address some brutal truths.”
One can say that for reasons of space Soyinka prefers to address ”some” not all the brutal truths. But a little later again he writes:
If the present demons of nation being are confronted, with brutal frankness where necessary, there is a chance that we may assist even this aspiring generation to sweep past the past…
And he returns to his exigent sense of choice: brutal frankness where necessary. The question is who determines and fixes the necessity and the where? If he was to be impartial he would have called for brutal frankness in all matters. Or in all matters as are of concerns to the parties in issue. So parties A to Z, will each bring to the roundtable its areas of ”brutal concerns,” and matters thrashed out by all.
But Soyinka wrote in an unstated tune that there is a certain circle of self-selected reasonable persons whose lot it is to fix what matters need be attended or not attended with brutal frankness. And behind such innocence is the sentimental certainty of victors that victory is for the just, that victory is justice. And these are the victors who engineered and genocided their way through the Biafra-Nigeria war.
That explains why Soyinka continues: ”… since we had let them down in the lead-up to the Biafran War of Secession… that this tendency has become a source of concern to many of the leaders of that former secessionist state.” one knew he was at it.
His narration is the victor’s hallelujah song. The truth is that that was not a secessionist war. We have treated this in sufficient detail in our book HOW THE YORUBA FOUGHT AND LOST THE BIAFRA-NIGERIA CIVIL WAR. But the essential point is that if you take a simple chronology of events, not as recalled by Gowon, but as they happened, it becomes clear that Biafra-Nigeria war was not a secessionist bid by anybody.
It was a war to determine whether a union can endure as freely chosen by its peoples or as imposed by one faction on the others. And that is not secession. And today’s charge of Fulanization and Islamization are aspects of the prescience and genius of the Biafra. But it suits Soyinka’s purpose to peddle the victor’s lies as heritage truth.
These sentiments prejudice Soyinka’s take conclusions on June 12 as a universal Nigerian date. It is not, even by his own others-excluding logic. Perhaps, if Soyinka were a mathematician he would have made greater sense. Perhaps, again that is why mathematics comes easy. In mathematics you can assume or select anything, axioms, and you are good to go. But that is not how history is written. With historical science you are limited severely by facts on the ground. You can romance them but you can’t repudiate them. It is of the old saw: while historical facts are impositions on the scholar, axioms are self-chosen mathematical play gears. Perhaps, Soyinka will probably make a good mathematician, but would easily turn up a poor historian.
Now, there is to June 12 the following fact. Chief MKO Abiola had a meet with Chief Arthur Nzeribe. And Abiola told off Nzeribe in blunt terms that ”we will do without the Igbo.” That is for Abiola and those in cohorts with him, forming the G2, the dismissal of the Igbo from history and possibly existence are about to commence. The G2 is the near-fascist coalition of some elements of the North and the Southwest to seize Nigeria to the exclusion of all others.
It is also true Abiola made attempts to amend matters with Nzeribe, but that was clearly an afterthought. At the point at which he made a recourse to Nzeribe, all the ”fittings and fixtures” of Igbo dismissal as Nigerians of any political consequence, had been authored and finished. And the fact of this showed up. Immediately Abiola had a window of opportunity with his other member of the G2, General Sani Abacha, he nominated only his fellow tribesmen in pursuit of his G2ism. His alleged pan-Nigerian mandate was now designed to benefit only his people.
Of course these facts may not be rightfully of interest to Soyinka and his peoples. And it makes sense. It is not his own peoples that are being hounded out of history. Additionally, working on the G2 formation, he may be an heir to the subconscious assumption that Nigeria is a fallen elephant and no easterner is to be invited to the victor’s banquet.
So it is in this light that we may take things when certain establishment institutions or persons tag the golden boy Nzeribe, as a villain of June 12. He might as well be. But if he is, then Abiola is a hero of June 12 and villain of Nigerian unity. And it follows that Nzeribe becomes his analogue, a villain of June 12 and a hero of Nigerian all-inclusiveness.
The point is that these are the facts as they are. Yes, it is true some aspects of it may not be as important or even meaningful to some persons as to others. But the point is that they happened. And one can’t argue against facts, against data. Those facts and data may not be important to you but they are important to others. And it is not your brief to determine what facts are important to you and your peoples, and fix for others what facts should be important to them and their peoples.
Anyway, as we write it has become clear that Abiola’s dream of the exclusion of the Igbo from Nigeria’s existence has come to inelegant and near-complete fruition. Thus, if Abiola was alive today he did probably be giving thanks and praise to Allah for granting him his prayers. And that prayer is making Nigeria the exclusive playground of the G2. It is this Abiolaism, that explains the now achieved, studied, designed and structured exclusion of all Igbo from all the levers of power. This is the pattern of sharing that Soyinka thinks is pan-Nigerian?
As we write there is no single southwest politician of stature disagreeing with the current APC achievement and consolidation of the Abiola master plan for the exclusion of others in an all Nigerian affairs.
Whatever it is, in doing June 12, let none forget there will be a June 13. June 13? Yes, the ”day” after.
The denouement to all dramas of exclusion is cannibalism. Russia fixed this Abiola-G2-like alliance with Nazi Germany to share out Europe. And next… the world war and Germany wanted to eat Russia raw. And June 12 was the outcome of a Nazi-Russia like attempt by the Northern Axis powers to eat off their Southwest partners. Have they lost their memories of their own past and world history. All else is in humor. Nigeria ronu. Ahiazuwa.