Monday, February 19, 2018

‘Black Panther’ as Neo-Tarzanism


By Biko Agozino

Hollywood expects everyone to cheer whenever African characters are starred as superheroes even if the roles assigned to them include the mass murder of fellow Africans while subtly promoting the interests of colonizers. Hollywood films should always come with a consumer health warning to people of African descent: Beware of The Ideology of the Aesthetic, as Terry Eagleton would put it. With all the hype, Black Panther: Long Live the King falls under this manipulative ideological warfare genre and should have been subtitled, Down With The King, for subscribing to what Wole Soyinka would dismiss as the pseudo tradition of neo-Tarzanism.



Director and co-writer, Ryan Coogler, a fan of black comics, set out to make Black Panther exciting enough to most (especially to fans in the black community) to push pre-sale tickets to unprecedented levels for Marvel films. The film offers black children heroes that look, talk, and costume like them and it tries to challenge the stereotypes of Africa as a poor continent. Aesthetically the film may have succeeded but the story line of Africans fighting genocidal wars over who should sit on the throne shattered box office records to prove that African stories sell; but it still sucks.

The casting of an all-female Gadhafi-style praetorian guard led by General Okoye (Danai Gurira) has been hailed for revolutionizing female roles beyond wives, wenches, witches, and whores. Innovative were the use of indigenous African knowledge of herbs to heal the wounded, the speaking of African languages with subtitles, the deployment of Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) to free the Chibok girls in Sambisa forest, and the war and transportation technological gadgets built by Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) who gave an unprovoked middle finger to her brother, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), prompting instant rebuke from Queen Angela Bassett. However, these innovations appeared to have been subordinated to the enduring narratives of white privilege in Africa.

The demeaning of African leadership started with T’Chaka (John Kani) going all the way to Oakland to kill his brother and potential rival as the suspect who revealed the secret of their vibranium weapons technology to a Boer booty hunter. No European or American heads of state appeared because hunting spies is a low level national assignment that is never carried out by heads of state. If T’Chaka was the only one smart enough or protected enough to go after spies, why go and kill his own brother instead of going after the spies who stole the vibranium secret?

Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), the son of the murdered brother, now a deadly US veteran with notorious records in Afghanistan, returned with the body bag of the white bounty robber, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) that he had earlier served in organized crime. He killed Zuri, the kingmaker (Forest Whitaker), when he confessed that he was the snitch that ratted on his murdered father. He successfully challenged T’Challa for the throne in the Nollywood-like narrative (see Charles Okocha as Igwe 2Pac, with almost identical characterization).

The returning African American prince was regarded as an outsider or foreign spy (perhaps for pronouncing the silent T in T’Challa and T’Chaka) whereas a known foreign spy (Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross) was recruited in a fratricidal divide-and-conquer war for political power. It would have been better to organize a free and fair election and let Africans choose their leaders. The proposal by Killmomnger to arm the African Diaspora with vibranium weapons so that they could fight for freedom was rightly rejected by T’Challa who should have observed that the African Diaspora are already armed and are killing one another instead of advancing the Africana love philosophy of Ubuntu.

After T’Chaka died, T’Challa had inherited the walkabout assignment to hunt the spies unsuccessfully to South Korea. The rest of the film was about how he lost the throne to cousin Killmonger before being revived for a battle royale that he won with the help of Ross, a CIA spy, who was placed in the driving seat of a drone program that helped to massacre Africans. Okoye and the African women who served as guards fought bravely for whoever was the king on the throne but they could have fought such battles with the men to end monarchies and militarism across Africa and institutionalize decolonized democracies of scale.

The vast majority of Africans yearn for democratic systems of government and not for family dynasties that use the common mineral wealth to buy personal real estates in US ghettoes even if for the worthy goal of establishing a science exchange program on a basketball court under the direction of a royal family member. The film started and ended with African American children playing basketball in Oakland and then flashed to Africa to show African children herding sheep as a deceptive cover to conceal the wealth and power of Wakanda.

There should have been schools and universities in a democratic Africa rather than a fiefdom of an absolute monarchy and African Diaspora children should have been represented in school settings where they spent more time than on basketball courts. Instead of showing African children herding sheep that may not survive in the extreme sunshine of the continent, the film could have reflected the ongoing violence between cattle herders and farmers across Africa and tried to resolved such contradictions by promoting the establishment of ranches. Instead of going to America to establish a science exchange program in the country that leads the world in scientific innovation, the film should have concentrated on spreading the marvels of Wakanda technology and science to the rest of Africa.

 Disney and Marvel should have given credits to Nnedi Okoroafor, the Nigerian-American multi award-winning author of African futurism novels whose work appeared reflected throughout the film. Marvel must have been warned of possible intellectual property challenges by the author, hence they commissioned her to write the digital comics version of the film narrative in six parts from December 13, 2017 to February 14, 2018. On her Facebook page she reported that she was the first writer to use the phrase, Long Live the King, in a Marvel comic; but the question is, who will be the first to write, Freak The King in a pro-democracy movie plot promoting the Peoples Republic of Africa?


Dr. Agozino is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. He produced and directed Shouters and the Control Freak Empire, winner of the Best International Short Documentary, Columbia Gorge Film Festival, USA, 2011.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

OBASANJO’S BLOODY FINGERS

By Biko Agozino

“The lice of poor performance in government - poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed - if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality - are very much with us today. With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.” – Obasanjo



The press release by General Olusegun Obasanjo concerning the state of Nigeria is full of evasions and half-truths. It is not ‘lice’ that make the lousy ‘fingers’ of Obasanjo and his fellow genocidists ‘not to be dry of “blood”. Their fingers are dripping with fresh blood because the killings have continued unabated since the launch of the genocide against the Igbo who wisely voted massively against the Buhari regime that Obasanjo helped to impose.

For full disclosure, Obasanjo is expected to admit his complicity in the ongoing genocide and offer unconditional apologies to the Igbo in particular. He should join all well-meaning people to demand for atonement in the form of reparations. Obasanjo should admit that the gruesome killings by security forces, terrorists and herdsmen that he lamented follow the pattern of the genocide against innocent Igbomasses. Unless Nigerians admit and make atonement for this foundational genocide, the culture of genocidal violence will continue to wet the fingers of genocidist rulers with ‘blood’, according to the laws of karma.

However, despite all his human limitations and with all his involvement in crimes against humanity, Obasanjo remains exceptional for being the first head of state in Nigeria to hand over power to an elected successor and he did so twice though he has been accused of imposing flawed successors. He is also the first head of state to appoint more women to offices in his administration although some suspect that some of those women may wear the #MeToo pin against him.

He was able to settle the dispute with Cameroon over Bakassi without plunging Nigeria into a wasteful war with our African neighbors, though he could have better planned the resettlement of the Nigerians expelled from there or negotiated the admission of Cameroon to the opoen borders of ECOWAS. Similarly, Obasanjo had a magical way of resolving some political crises in other African states by, for example, persuading militarists to yield power back to civilians just as he persuaded Charles Taylor to step down in Liberia, though some suspect that he bargained corruptly with bags of public funds.

Despite the massive corruption in his administration, Obasanjo was and remains the only head of state to establish a special economic and financial crimes commission, EFCC, with which a sitting Inspector General of Police from his own ethnic group was convicted of corruption and jailed and some governors from his own party were indicted, though the EFCC under him allegedly went after mainly his perceived political opponents.

It is exceptional that apart from Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Obasanjo is the only Nigerian head of state to publish books even if they were allegedly ghost-written for him by his research assistants; nothing stops other politicians from appointing their own research assistants. He is the only Nigerian head of state to initiate a presidential library even if the funding involved massive corruption by governors who donated public funds, according to Gani Fawehinmi. Obasanjo remains the only Nigerian head of state, with the exception of General Yakubu Gowon whose arranged Ph.D. yielded no publication so far, to recognize his own intellectual limitations and return to school to pursue an advanced degree.

Obasanjo is also the only former Nigerian head of state to call for Nigeria to beg 'agitators to stop' because there is enough cake to be shared. Obasanjo should go ahead and lead by example by offering a personal apology of his own and by calling on his fellow genocidist commanders to join him in offering reparations from their fabulous ill-gotten wealth. Obasanjo should call on Britain and Russia which facilitatedthe genocide against the Igbo to offer apologies and reparations to the Igbo too.

The call by Obasanjo for a Coalition of Nigerians is too little too late since he also recognized how crucial it is for Nigeria to be involved in the leadership of Africa. The coalition-building should involve all other states in Africa towards the United States of Africa that the first president of the country, Azikiwe, called for in 1959 and which Nkrumah and others echoed. With almost all Nigerians demanding the restructuration of the country, focusing exclusively on the internal colonial boundaries of Nigeria is unsatisfactory.

As Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe and Chinua Achebe remind us, the genocidal culture that was initiated against the Igbo in Nigeria has since spread throughout post-colonial Africa. Moreover, the African masses have transgressed the porous colonial boundaries in search of their daily livelihood in spite of heightened insecurities and genocidal threats. We need to recognize this reality and urgently build the Peoples Republic of Africa to guarantee the freedom of our people and collectively protect the masses against the imposed genocidist states ruled with blood-stained fingers across Africa.






Monday, December 11, 2017

The Withering Away of the Law and Decolonization of Criminology




Saturday, 9 December 2017


Professor Biko Agozino - keynote address to the Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence Symposium 2016

The following blog contains a video - a keynote speech by Professor Biko Agozino (Virginia Tech) at the Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence symposium Decolonising Criminal Justice: Indigenous Perspectives on Social Harm, held at the University of Wollongong 24-25 November 2016.

The title of the presentation is: The Withering Away of the Law: An Indigenous Perspective on the Decolonisation of the Criminal Justice System and Criminology. 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PYTHONS DANCE IN THE JUNGLE

By Biko Agozino

The declaration (or ‘proclamation’, according to the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Buratai) by the DHQ of the Nigerian Army that the ‘Independent’ People of Biafra is a 'militant terrorist organization' and the staging of war against IPOB supporters and their leaders amount to an apparent coup attempt. It is ‘unconstitutional and unlawful’ as the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, stated; it is an extra-judicial overreach of the sort condemned by Amnesty International in 2016. It is not the DHQ that declares war even under a military government. That is the prerogative of the legislative body that makes the law defining what is terrorism and it is up to the courts to follow the due process to determine if any group can be declared terrorist subject to appeals by the group. Nigerian courts ruled in March 2017 that IPOB is not an illegal organization. The executive arm of government has the power to deploy the military to quell an insurrection under Section 217 of the constitution. But the proclamation of the right to self-determination by the masses all over the country, not only in the relatively non-violent Southeast that is singled out for Operation Python Dance II, is not insurrectional unless accompanied by violence. No army is entitled to unilaterally declare as terrorists nor to proscribe, unarmed citizens who are calling for a plebiscite to decide their future relative to imposed colonial boundaries. It is fascistic to attempt to subject citizens to acts of war and threats to wipe them out for exercising free speech or even for throwing stones at military vehicles that tried to 'crush' them as directed by the president in a public speech after his return from over 100 days sick leave in London.


Agwuncha Arthur Nwankwo who won the case that deleted sedition from the Nigerian criminal code in 1983 has consistently warned that the Nigerian ruling classes are playing an ‘end-game’ that he called ‘terminus’ because they operate ‘cimilicy’ through the empowerment of civilianized military officers and militarized civilian politicians to perpetuate unjust political structures and thereby provoke national disintegration. Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has called for dialogue with leaders of the Southeast to remedy the marginalization of the region instead of adopting the unlawful act of deploying the military against peaceful civil disobedience, contrary to constitutional case law precedents and contrary to the adoption of dialogue and amnesty by ex-PresidentUmaru Yar’adua in response to even more militant crises in the past. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo also recently cautioned against another war in the Southeast and called for dialogue just like former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, given their leading roles in the genocidal war alongside the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria is not a Zoo republic, contrary to the unexamined njakiri or joke by Nnamdi Kanu and his cantankerous IPOB followers. A zoo is one of the most orderly spaces that human beings structured and continue to restructure to accommodate new specimens, to save endangered species, and to add new attractions. No zoo will allow pythons to dance in triumph over the fee-paying public that have gathered for edutainment about the animal republic or kingdom. If a python escapes from its enclosure as was the case in Harry Porter where little Harry used his psychic powers to free it from a glass cage, the very shy python would slither away into hiding to avoid being caught and beheaded by the zoo keepers or by ordinary moguls. Zoo animals have never declared war against zoo visitors without being put down like the chimpanzee that dragged a child like a doll in a US zoo.

Far from being like a zoo, Nigeria is remarkably zooless because the zoo keepers have since starved the zoo animals to death while probably stealing the meat and food that they were supposed to feed to the captive animals. When the big or even tiny beasts died of hunger, the greedy zoo keepers most likely butchered them and shared the meat among themselves to see what lion, reptile or elephant meat tastes like. When the zoo was emptied of specimens, the politicians swooped and scrambled for the real estate which they cornered for themselves and their families after selling a big chunk to companies with huge kick-backs for themselves.

Nigeria is more like a jungle where might is right and where life is nasty, brutish and short, as Thomas Hobbes would put in Leviathan. The exception is that the jungle is often better than Naija because the jungle animals never have access to weapons of mass destruction with which to kill millions of their own species and or starve them to death while bragging that starvation is a legitimate weapon of war. Jungle animals rarely kill another animal that they would not eat as food but Naija cultists kill and humiliate one another for money medicine, intimidation, or for fun. Jungle animals never issue quit notices nor circulate hate songs nor wage sectarian religious wars. Of course, Nigeria claims to be more civilized than the jungle because they actually have a written constitution, universities, elections, motor cars, mansions and airplanes, they dress fashionably, have many billionaires and they are very religious. But for all of that, Naija is more like a jungle than a zoo and so, maybe, the name should be changed to Naijungle.

Nigeria has cultism enshrined in Schedule 7 of the constitution with reference to the oaths of office that elected officials, judges and political appointees are required to take. They swear or affirm their loyalty to Nigeria and commit themselves to upholding the principles in schedule 5 regarding the code of conduct for public office holders. They also promise to perform their functions ‘without fear or favour, affection or ill-will’. They ask God to help them to perform their official duties. If Nigeria is not a jungle, then the cultist Schedule 7 should have been amended by now to remind elected officials that they are expected to perform their duties with fear for the wrath of the masses if not for the punishment of God; in favour of the long-suffering people and not just to the benefit of their families and cronies; with affection for the innocent masses, not without affection; and with ill-will to the enemies of the people such as poverty, diseases and illiteracy. Do Nigerians even know that this schedule 7 in the constitution sounds like cultism? How can you require elected representatives to swear that they will govern the people without affection? That is a devilish oath crafted with the good intentions of making public officials objective and impartial but it is flawed like the paved road that leads straight to hell.

Governors of the Southeast states erred by proscribing the non-violent Indigenous Peoples of Biafra instead of advocating on their behalf with affection to legalize the flying of the flag of Biafra as free speech in memory of lost ones, by building infrastructures, and by demanding reparations for past wrongs.

IPOB erred by threatening to boycott elections in Anambra andthe rest of the Southeast. The referendum that IPOB is calling for could come in the form of elections through which the people of the Southeast can elect representatives who speak for them rather than against them. IPOB supporters should brave the electoral process and campaign for a party or candidates of their choice. If their supporters turn out to vote in support of their preferred candidates, they may elect officials that will advocate for them and help to negotiate the ‘unnegotiable’ towards the resolution of the crisis of legitimacy facing the country. If they lose or after being elected the officials sell out and turn against the people, they could be recalled or impeached.

After the federal government declared war on the people of the Southeast for proclaiming their rights non-violently, human rights attorneys should bring writs for crimes against humanity to the international courts of justice, for adjudication and for reparations.

The people of the Southeast have suffered unwarranted genocide in the hands of Nigeria. Never again, to echo the press release of Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu. Instead, offer the masses the choice to erase the colonial boundaries and join their African brothers and sisters to build the United States of Africa and terminate the genocidist state structures imposed by colonialism across Africa.

Dr. Agozino is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fake Anti-Igbo Song


I doubt the authenticity of the song circulating online that calls for genocide against the Igbo in Nigeria. To say that I doubt the authenticity does not mean that it should not be taken seriously, otherwise why bother commenting? Even fake news and fake songs can have devastating consequences if gullible people swallow the propaganda and act it out. Correct me if I am wrong but I think that Africans should not believe everything they hear on the internet. We should engage in more critical thinking.

I doubt if Hausa/Fulani warlords would authorize a genocidal war song and rely on women to sing it for the men to act upon. The Hausa/Fulani are very patriarchal in their culture and although they have had warrior queens like Queen Amina of Zaria and the Boko Haram used women as suicide bombers, it is very unlikely that they would use the voices of women to declare war. Women may ululate to celebrate victory by their men but it is unauthentic for women to be the ones calling for the rape and genocide of Igbo women, children and men by Hausa/Fulani men.

I doubt the authenticity of the song also because the accent is not a native Hausa speaker accent. Although I do not speak Hausa (Ba na ji Awusa), the pronunciation of the genocidist term Nyamiri in the song as Nyamuri is an indication that the singers were not native speakers but agents provocateur trying to egg the Hausa/Fulani youth into a genocidal frenzy against the Igbo who have never done them any wrong, contrary to genocidist propaganda that the Igbo killed northern leaders in the past when the Igbo did no such thing.

Western Nigerian officers (including some Western Igbo) led the first bloody coup in the country to free their leader, Awolowo, from prison and impose him as the Prime Minister. They later blamed it on Eastern officers who actually foiled the coup. Then Western Nigerian and Middle Belt Christian officers led the genocidal war against the Christian Easterners and blamed it on the Muslim Northerners to ignite an endless religious war but the Igbo have managed to avoid buying this trap. Yet the hatred of the Igbo remains the major thing that unites all other Nigerians, according to Achebe.

The authenticity of the anti-Igbo song is also raised by the fact that the song made an exception for the Yoruba, calling for them to be spared in the genocide against the Igbo. Yet it will not be easy to tell who is Igbo and who is Yoruba in the absence of tribal marks that are no longer common among the Yoruba. When the rain falls, it will not fall on one man’s house top.

I doubt the authenticity of the song furthermore because the beat is not the traditional Hausa beat with traditional instruments. Rather it is a computerized disco beat that is actually danceable and I doubt that genocidists would prefer to use disco beats to issue genocidist calls even if their target audience is the Hip-Hop loving generation of today. Dem go de Pose, is what Baba Fryo called such a pretense.

I call on all Africans to disavow songs of hatred and proclaim the fact that the Igbo are not ‘a curse to Nigeria’ but a blessing to Africa. All Nigerians should reject genocidist propaganda and add their voices to the defense of those who are targeted by haters, no matter their ethnic groups. Choose roses than rape, choose Ubuntu than Ubulani, urges the people’s poet, Mzwakhe Mbuli.


Dr. Biko Agozino is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

Friday, June 16, 2017

IGBOPHOBIA AS A LAMENTATION FOR HELP

By Biko Agozino

Since the colonial era, a phobia has been haunting Nigeria: the phobia of Igbo domination. All over Nigeria, there is fear and suspicion by all ethnic groups and they blame it mostly on the Igbo scapegoats while some of the Igbo blame their own leaders. Lamentations for help from the marginalized, exploited and oppressed masses echo all over the land. Sometimes the wailing is disguised as cries of anger against other suffering Nigerians, sometimes they come across as cries of hatred against innocent people who are falsely blamed for all the woes, and sometimes they come across as braggadocio with threats against fellow citizens. There is no mistaking the din from the wailing masses even when it is disguised as a mocking nervous laughter at the presumed foolishness , meanness, or madness of others.

When Arewa youths issued threats to the Igbo to quit the north or risk being ethnically cleansed by force, were they not crying out for help? The northern youth were most likely raised with the supremacist ideology that the rest of Nigeria was conquered by their fathers for them to rule uninterrupted. They obviously see the Igbo as the only group that challenged this mythology of Arewa supremacy through their individual efforts to rise from pogroms and genocides to continue to better themselves without fear. The Igbo are in every nook and cranny of the country helping to provide services that may be hard to access if they were to leave.

The Igbo communities of Kano and Kaduna have already stated that the Igbo were there to stay with the support of the elders of the North, the governors of northern states and the federal government; no matter what some misguided youth groups and individual elders may say. Misadvised governors of the South East states offered to hire luxury buses to evacuate the Igbo from the North as if those who want to target the Igbo could not hunt them down to the East and attack them there as they did before and continue to do in collaboration with youth from the Middle Belt and the Western regions and with the sabotage of some South South youth who did not support Biafra.

Arewa youth cry out perhaps because the very people their fathers tell them that they defeated  in a genocidal war appear to be dominant in all aspects of life except the presidency of the country and in the armed forces. Arewa youth appear to cry out for help with Igbophobia because they really want to be successful like the Igbo youth with their excellence in academic achievement, illustrious commercial ventures, star performance in sports, literature, music and filmmaking and with the confidence to move to any part of Africa and thrive no matter who is the president and commander in chief of the armed forces. Why do Arewa youth continue to perform poorly in education, why are they disease-ridden and impoverished, why do the children go about begging for food with which to support their teachers, why are their sisters forced into marriage as children, and why do waves of terrorist militants kill and main across the north from time to time even while northerners dominate the armed forces and the presidency? Surely, it is not the fault of the Igbo who have not done anything wrong to provoke the terroristic threats of Igbophobia that they continue to face.

Arewa youth presumably want to know how the Igbo could go from losing more than three million lives in 30 months in Biafra, losing all their savings and their buildings in other parts of Nigeria and yet bounce back gallantly in record time despite continuing marginalization of the South East by successive federal governments. When southern politicians like Michael Imoudu, Chinua Achebe, Sam Ikoku, Arthur Nweankwo, Eskor Toyo, and Wole Soyinka joined hands to build the Peoples Redemption Party with Malam Aminu Kano, Balarabe Musa, Abubakar Rimi, Balla Muhamad, and Bala Usman to try and answer the cries of Nigerian masses, the inferiority complex of people like Barkin Zuwo scuttled the efforts by accusing the southerners of wanting to ruin ‘our’ northern party. In the colonial days, Northern Youth joined hands with Southern youth to organize the militant Zikist Movement and this resulted in the first Mayor of Enugu being a Fulani man who served from 1952 to 1958 after beating the candidate preferred by Azikiwe. Ojukwu’s uncle, Okonkwo Kano, was also elected to the Northern Regional Legislative Council and Azikiwe was elected to the Western Regional Assembly just as two Igbo legislators were recently elected to represent Lagos in the House of Representative.

Some Northern elites continue to justify their hatred of the Igbo by saying that it was a deserved punishment for the Igbo officers who led the first coup that killed northern leaders but spared Igbo leaders in the first republic. Some of the northern leaders brag that the Igbo have been punished enough for their foolishness but some other leaders warn that the Igbo have not learned their lessons given that they continue to migrate to other parts of the country in large numbers in spite of open threats. Hausa-Fulani also migrate to other parts of the country but other than the misguided proclamation of the Gideon Orkar coup (from North Central) against General Babangida, no one has ever issued a threat to any other ethnic group (except the Igbo) quit from the south or face genocide.

The Igbo admit that it was abominably wrong for four Igbo officers to participate in the killing of the leaders of other regions in the first coup when they claimed that they wanted to bring out Obafemi Awolowo, a Yoruba leader, from prison and make him Head of State. Others point out that the coup plotters were mostly from the old Western region, that troops from all regions participated in the killings and that it was Igbo officers who foiled the coup and arrested the plotters for trial. Yet the counter coup singled out Igbo officers for massacre and singled out Igbo civilians for genocide. Other coups have since taken place in Nigeria but the ethnic groups from which the coup plotters came were not subjected to genocide the way that innocent Igbo were targeted. The Igbo were already being targeted for genocidal killing even before the first coup in the country. The ongoing Igbo genocide arose due to Igbophobia against alleged Igbo domination that was used by the British colonizers to divide and weaken the struggle for the restoration of independence which was led mainly by Igbo elites.

A governor from the North East was recently recorded in a telephone conversation with a governor from the South West plotting how to drive the Igbo away from Nigeria or how to drown them in the lagoon. The governor envied the Igbo for owning four out of every six shops in the country and boasted that the north had all the food in the country while the West had developed factories to live on but the Easterners could go and drink their oil if that was what they wanted. This echoed the treasonable threat of Arewa youth that they were ready to divide the country along regional lines in their proclamation of Igbophobia. Leaders of the Indigenous People of Biafra proclaimed their support for the splitting of the country and urged the Igbo in the North to return to their home region as warned to avoid the repeat of the pogrom in the north that led to the declaration of Biafra. The Igbo in the North will remain in the North and prosper there simply because returning to the marginalized East would not safeguard them from the crisis of neocolonialism that grips every part of the country. No matter what they say, come what may, the Igbo have proved that they are everywhere to stay, to paraphrase Linton Kwesi Johnson on black people in England. ‘Them ah tire fe see we face, can’t get we out of the race, and so you play bad card’, as Bob Marley cautioned.

Even if the country is split into two, three, four, five or six regional autonomous countries, the Igbo will continue to travel to other regions in the United States of Africa to trade, study, work, run for office, marry, and serve as they have always done. Thus, the Igbophobic threat for the Igbo to leave the North or the threat by the Oba of Lagos to drown them in the lagoon if they failed to vote a certain way is doomed to failure because the Igbo are all over Africa and all over the world just as people from all over the world are in Igboland. Northerners and Westerners are also all over West Africa, including Igboland, and there is no quit notice against them because there is no alternative to multiculturalism in a globalizing world.

Other Nigerians should stop hating the Igbo and join them in venturing outside their own home regions democratically because that is what is expected in a modern society. The genocide against the Igbo before, during and after the declaration of Biafra did not involve only northerners. There is evidence that the genocide was led by Yoruba and Middle Belt military officers and executed by predominantly Christian soldiers. The government should live up to its responsibilities and protect Igbo lives and property against the threats of Igbophobia or the Igbo should bring law suits against the government for reparations and for negligence. If Nigerians do not want the Igbo to be a part of their federation, then call a referendum to allow the Easterners to restore Biafra peacefully. Other regions that want to restore their independence could also vote in a referendum to do so but the referendum could also result in a no vote to remain united as was the case in Scotland recently before Britain narrowly voted for Brexit.

The Boko Haram are fighting a war of secession in the North East, the Afrewa Youth have called for secession by threatening the Igbo in the North West, Oduduwa Peoples Congress have called for Oduduwa Republic in the South West and the Niger Delta militants fight for resource control. The South East appears to be the only region going about the agitation for self-determination peacefully by, for example, staying home to honour the heroes that they lost during the genocide in Biafra and to commemorate the youth recently killed extra judicially. How come the most peaceful Nigerians, the Igbo, are the ones being threatened with genocide again and again as a result of Igbophobia whereas the Igbo have never threatened any group or participated in the mass killing of other Nigerians?

The Nigerian government should issue an apology to the Igbo for the genocide that was visited on them and call for the referendum on self-determination. Other Nigerian groups from the Western region and from North Central who participated massively in leading the genocide against the Igbo should also render an unconditional apology to the Igbo and vote in the referendum to let the Igbo go if they are unwanted in Nigeria. Before or after the referendum, the Nigerian government and the British and Russian orchestrators of the genocide against the Igbo should offer huge reparations to the Igbo for the losses of millions of lives and property in Biafra and for the continuing marginalization of the South East. Otherwise, the Igbo should sue the foreign governments, the Nigerian government and individual genocidist Nigerians and all should support the Igbo in the spirit of fairness because injustice to some is injustice to all.

The Igbo should also look beyond their own wounds and offer support to those who suffer more than them today. The poor masses of the North who are purposely denied educational opportunities can be offered lessons in academic achievement and in commercial success if they allow the Igbo to do so. The Igbo should raise funds and send relief supplies to the North East and to South Sudan to support those who are facing starvation there the way that foreigners rallied to support the Igbo when ‘starvation was used as a legitimate weapon of war’ in Biafra.

All Nigerians should commend the Igbo for their resilience in the face of genocide and the governors of the South Eastern states should pool their resources together to fund a coordinated industrial revolution in the region rather than make the symbolic gesture of hiring buses with unaccountable budgets to evacuate citizens from their own country. African masses should stop agonizing about their collective marginalization by neocolonial regimes and start organizing for the Peoples Republic of Africa in which undemocratic traditional rulers will be replaced with elected town mayors and town councils; allowing internal borders to wither away for a free movement of people, goods and services.


Dr. Agozino is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.