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Parley between the east and west


IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu (left) with Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose (right)and others outside the court in Abuja… PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

The first Yoruba man to show the type of unmitigated and unprecedented love Governor Ayodele Fayose just showed to Nnamdi Kanu was Professor Wole Soyinka. Soyinka literally died that the Ibos may live. Soyinka told the world the truth about the persecution and pogrom meted out to the Ibos. This Nobel Laureate was apprehended and imprisoned for speaking truth to power.

How many Ibo governors and high ranking assembly men from Ibo land (other than distinguished senator Enyinnaya Abaribe) can lay down their honour and ambition for the sake of a hapless and helpless victim of absolutism Nnamdi Kanu, the way Fayose did? It was a pleasant surprise in Ibo land, that there is a Yoruba man prepared to die that a young and budding Ibo man, Nnamdi Kanu, may live! It is on this substratum, I want to anchor my comment on Dr. Luke’s creative script titled the Ohaneze – Afenifere parley, (read The Guardian opinion page 17, 28/02/17).

Before now, Dr. Onyekakeyah noted that Ndigbo and the Yorubas had a ratty and rancorous conflict instigated by their erstwhile political leaders viz Zik and Awo (of the blessed memory). The rivalry and distrust between the Ibo and the Yoruba started with the power tussle between two of the founding fathers of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.


Over the years, the Yorubas have given subtle consideration and justification for reconciliation between the Ibos and the Yorubas, to “let bygones be bygones.” The Ohaneze Ndigbo has accepted the overtures made by some exceptional patriots like Professor Wole Soyinka, Governor Peter Ayo Fayose and Yinka Odumakin.

Before I proceed with my analysis and diagnosis of Onyekakeyah’s script on the “parley between Ohaneze and Afenifere” let me define the ‘words “Afenifere” and “Ohaneze” to see how representative and all embracing the words are. The Ohaneze appears to be all embracing from the meaning of the word. In Ibo “Ohaneze” means “all and sundry, the rank and file.” But the elite word Afenifere is not that “all embracing”. Afenifere has a nomenclature trait of reciprocity that says – “you-love-me, I-love-you (Afenifere).”

In digging up the history underlying the 60 year old strain in “Ibo – Yoruba relationship” like an archaeologist Dr. Luke fingered mutual distrust, rivalry, acrimony, hatred, bias, preconception, misconception and stereotypes as the dysfunctional traits, the little foxes that spoil the vine. So how will the parley wipe out the congenital internal representations that strained the “Ibo – Yoruba relationship” since independence in 1960? What behaviour modification therapies will the Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Afenifere put in place for their members? Do the leaders of Afenifere and Ohaneze Ndigbo have the mental syntax to effectively change the negative internal representations responsible for the disaffection and disunity among their members? Will agreements reached between Ohaneze Ndigbo and Afenifere be binding on the Yoruba Elders council? Will it be binding on the vicious killer group, the Odua Peoples Congress, led by Dr. Frederick Fasheun and Gani Adams?

Note that any analysis limited to such synchronic variables as tribe and religion to the exclusion of diachronic budgetary and bureaucratic elements may not achieve much impact. The diachronic elements will include the recent hate politics against the PDP and the interparty bitterness popularised as a weapon of propaganda by Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

In fact some policy analysts have wondered aloud, what a clay pot has in common with a metal cauldron? Yet this parley is a desirable ‘get together’ to bring an end to the ‘hate politics’ subsisting in the land and replace it with politics of love. This is a parley to amalgamate the East and the West at least emotionally, to close the perilous political, economic, social and technological gaps between the East and West. Real restructuring of a system can be effected by restructuring piecemeal or wholesale the subsystems of the system.

The Ohaneze Ndigbo should open similar windows of conciliation between Ndigbo and contiguous tribal nationalities. Advisedly, Ndigbo should parley with contiguous states like Taraba to the North East and Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta to the South-South and South West. This could be the first major step needed to restructure the mind of the peoples of these states to become members of one nation.

Parleying is a useful instrument and tool of restructuring. This tool can be gainfully used to compel the institutions and the APC to implement the provisions of the 2014 confab agreement. Through the use of parleying as a tool of social and political engineering, a consensus can be reached and taxonomy of states favouring the implementation of the 2014 confab agreements can be obtained.


Remember, the historical Biafra has been deconstructed and limited to Igbo speaking states by the North. It is through parleying that any scheme of reconstruction or restructuring can seamlessly take place. Biafra will no longer be an amorphous word but a definite world. States comprising the historical Biafra should not be taken for granted by the Ohaneze Ndigbo. The Ohaneze Ndigbo should parley with all the political, social, economic and religious communities comprising the defunct republic of Biafra, to ascertain their stand on the 2014 confab agreements.

In this parley, the 2014 confab report implementation may be a stentorian voting issue in 2019 election. Only parties ready to implement the 2014 confab agreement will be voted into power. A party that refuses to implement the 2014 confab report wholesale will not be voted for in 2019 elections.

Finally, I highly commend the Yinka Odumakins and the Nwodos of this world for starting the “Ohaneze-Afenifere-dialogue” to develop the appropriate mental syntax, psychic re-orientation and positive behavior modification before the referendum is taken on the 2014 confab Agreements. Some pundits say a referendum is redundant, since the 2014 confab agreements are the outcome of the conference of the people.
Uwalaka is a former Special Assistant and editor writes from Lagos.

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