As a child, I still remember some few memories of my tender years when flying objects over the sky of Nigeria was not a common thing in the 1960s, so just like many other 7 year-old kids, I always get overly fascinated anytime an airplane passes by. Oh! How innocent and gullible children are, because whenever we see airplane tasting the beautiful sky of our beloved country, we would be chanting “airplane, please drop some bags of money for us.” Please do not ask me how such chanting came about, because I do not even know. However, on one fateful day in 1967 while playing soccer with few other kids, we saw an airplane hovering over the sky, and quickly, we all stopped, went into chanting mode, but when we saw some objects coming out from the belly of the airplane, I was actually beginning to believe the sacred cow story of the chanting, until an adult hurriedly redirected our 100 meters dash towards our assumed direction of falling objects. Little did we know that our programmed mindsets of bags of money were actually man-made programmed mass killing bags of deaths because Nigerian government has started the bombardment of Biafrans main economic city of Port Harcourt, shortly after civil war was declared in the country? Bombs were raining and loud deafening sounds started abusing our young ears and most of the kids were scattering in different directions.
Nobody can imagine the impact of such gory scene to bunch of 7 year- old kids, nonetheless, I was needlessly and wickedly exposed to the agonies of war at such a tender age; while many onlookers mostly adults, were racing and crying towards the direction of loud explosions that followed the falling objects hitting their targets, I quickly scampered home, on getting home, I also received some serious whopping for almost being at the wrong place at the right time (unauthorized outing). Few days after the bombing incidents my father took a painful but right decision by withdrawing all his kids from schools and sent us back to our village Ojoto, a town that is about 200 kilometers from our schools; that was how I lost about 3 years of school and the last time I set my eyes on the beautiful city of Port Harcourt because, the Nigerian – Biafra civil war broke out few weeks later. At the end of the war in 1970, my family lost about 15 close relatives, all our acquired properties and scores of friends, to make matters worse, our house at Port Harcourt was among the houses classified as “Abandoned Properties”, my father never fully recovered from the shock of his property being seized by his own fellow countrymen and ten years later, he gave up the ghost.
At end of the Nigerian – Biafra civil war in 1970, the stakeholders tagged the war ” No Victors no Vanquish”, and failed to address the critical issues that led to the war in the first place, because forty five years later, the unaddressed critical inequality, sectional marginalization, master-servant relationship issues that led to the war, are now re emerging with a generation that has never tasted war or view death from the same view point with my generation (baby-boomers people born between 1946 – 1964). These young ones actually see war as computer games, in fact, demands of the millennium generation should not be played with, because their mindsets are entirely different from us. This is a millennium group that are quickly recruited into global terrorists and militancy acts, Nigerian government definitely do not want to underestimate this group, because the group is full of surprises. The global drying up of employments have made the global millennium generation to be full of rage, angry, and above all, felt dejected and unwanted by the baby-boomers.
The immediate dangers of the whole scenario in Nigeria today is that the country is technically broke, and there is no money to address some of the demands of the unemployed, underemployed and angry youths; above all, the probable beneficiaries of a chaotic and killing field in Nigeria cannot wait to come and pillage their unearned windfalls. The agitators of Biafra are absolutely right in their state of presumptuous minds (because their region has been deprived of functional roads, railroads, federal government jobs and sense of being part of the country), Nigerian government might make grievous mistake by not peacefully engaging those angry and powerful young minds that would not even listen to their own elders ( because they felt their own elders and political elites) are behind their ordeals in the hands of Nigerian government. A quick solution to the agitations might save Naira from hitting N500 to $1 before August 2016; I definitely know that this is not the route Nigerian government would want to go.
Let Nigerian stakeholders and followers, be heedful and thoughtful about the hovering vultures converging in sky, and patiently waiting for an opportunity to bounce on the carcass of failed political power negotiation in the country. Nigeria is in a dire state of uncertainties orchestrated by chronic corruption and the continuously selling off in crude oil prices; any wrong step taken by either side is capable of plunging the country into an unpredictable state of ruin. Peaceful resolution might definitely be a better approach to the fast ticking time bomb to save millions of lives in Nigeria, just like when William Gladstone said “We look forward to the time when the Power of love will replace the love of Power, and then will our world know the blessings of peace”
Christopher Okoli (Nigerian-American Investment Advisor) 24th November 2015.