Leaders of thought from the South-South geo-political zone has berated Nigeria’s President for his ‘Dot in the Circle’ statement and his assertion that some South-South leaders told him they won’t allow Ndigbo access to the sea.
Njenje Media News recalls that President Mohamadu Buhari in an Arise Television interview declared that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who he at intervals equated with Ndigbos are like ‘dot in the circle’, while further adding that the South-South leaders of thought have distanced themselves from aligning with the South-Easterners.
In a virtual conference titled “Addressing ‘The Dot In Circle’ In Buhari’s Interview, A Return To 1966?”, anchored by Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke and Njenje Media TV, and notable South-South leaders (Asari Dokubo, Annkio Briggs, Dr Don Pedro Obaseki, Tony Nnadi, Col. Tony Nyiam rtd, and rtd Rear Admiral Geoffrey Yanga), jointly bemoaned what they termed ‘the divide and rule” tactics of President Mohamadu Buhari, a ploy to cause disaffection among the South-East and their South-South siblings.
Annkio Briggs, popularly called the amazing of the Niger Delta, in her submission said it is offensive for the President to refer to a people that have an identity as ‘a dot in the circle’.
According to her, ‘ it doesn’t matter if the Igbo people or Ijaw people or the Itshekiri people are only 10 people or 100,000 people, you don’t refer to them as a dot in the circle, so that already shows very clearly the mindset of the person of President Buhari.
Mrs Briggs noted that Buhari admitting in his speech that people are guilty until they prove themselves innocent has shown that he has a law or approaches the law and legalities in his own interpretation, which exposes his mind and his thinking.
On the claim by Buhari that some South-South leaders assured him that they would not align with the Igbos, she said:
“First of all, I don’t even recall any access or non-access to the sea during the onslaught of the civil war; it was the federal government that came through the sea and the creeks. So having settled that, there are millions of elders and there are millions of youths in the Niger delta, and there are ethnic nationalities in the Niger delta that make up the south-South.”
“For the President to therefore assume that whoever has told him that would be no access to the sea, that that gives him pleasure and gives him joy because obviously an attempt to divide and rule both the South-South and the South-East, which in the past between our people would have keyed into, and I warned against during the celebration of my hero Adaka Boro.
She further added that that IPOB and the Igbo people are not the same thing and affirmed the ties of the Niger Delta with the Igbos remains ever strong.
“As a south-south person, as a daughter of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, and as a people that have heritage, blood heritage which the Igbo people and other ethnic nationalities, we have to make it very clear to whoever is listening and to whoever is playing these games that they cannot hit the heads of the ethnic nationalities of the Niger delta and we are many, the ethnic nationalities of the Niger delta against the ethnic nationalities of Ndigbo. We may not agree on things per se, but one thing we do know and have, is a common enemy, a common problem, a common crisis and we do almost have a common desire, which is our “collective survival”, she added.
A former Managing Director of DAAR Communications PLC, Dr Don Pedro Obaseki also reiterated Mrs Brigg’s stance that the South-South and the South-East are united in the struggle for survival against the existential threat of the Buhari led administration. President himself has posed himself as an existential threat to the Nigerian nation and ethnic nationalities that populate the space.
In his words: “
There are 65 ethnic nationalities as defined by some of our leaders in the entire South-South and the man comes on public television and says he speaks to 2 elders, and some youths, it is laughable. What I see in Mr Buhari or General Buhari is like a rehash of the Amoral B code of law, an eye for an eye. Unfortunately, his determined eye that was injured and he is also determined how to pay back with other eyes and that shows the President has a Pompeii syndrome and that selective compulsivity is very of this nation.”
Dr Obaseki believes the President is trying to be clever by half by trying to play the devil’s advocate in between the South-South and the South-East.
“All he said that interview were lies from the pits of hell, but unfortunately he has created a lie, he believes the lie, he is living the ‘lie’ and on all interviews that he has done, he has made it clear that his agenda is simple, a decimation of those he feels are lesser human beings in this country, he has made it clear from his body language, spoken language and all else that Nigeria is a different country with different nations”.
He noted that Buhari’s fallacies are a bundle of propaganda and misinformation, and cannot stop an idea whose time has come.
Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd), opined that Buhari’s statement is a threat unbecoming of a President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of all Nigerians. He noted that it is an open revelation of an unchanging published mindset that was responsible for the 1966 killings of Ndigbo’s in particular, and the people of Eastern Nigeria in general.
The retired Colonel posited that President Muhammadu Buhari’s utterance is enough evidence that can be used in a court such as the international criminal court (ICC).
He further added that the synergy and alignment between the Igbos and the ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta cannot be unshaken by the mischief of the President.
“And by the way, I would say this, presently the people of Akwa-Ibom are enthusiastic and the people of my region, they are enthusiastic to have an understanding with Ndigbo, that the Ngwa area, Aba, down to Onitsha so that we can have one economic corridor. Eastern Nigeria remains one powerful corridor which no divide and rule tactics would divide us.”
Col. Nyiam noted that part of President Buhari’s false claim is an indication that he and his cronies are frightened about the Southern and Middle Belt alliance.
The Sectary to the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), Tony Nnadi in his contribution also alluded to the assertion that the President was trying to be mischievous by trying to create suspicion into the minds of the leaders of both regions.
In his words:
‘I can confirm from what I know that there is no such promise extracted from anybody. Everybody that is involved in the matter, of course, they would find some charlatans they can give money to go and make noise, that happens all the time but the ones who are with us in this meeting are enough to tell everybody from all sides from that 360 degrees surrounding, from that Ogoni, through the Ijaw areas, all the way to the Edo, where again is the Niger Delta, they are completely involved. I am happy with what my brother, Don Pedro Obaseki, Ankio Briggs, Col Nyiam, said, who else are you going to ask, other than this rented crowds they get from time to time.
Dr Philip Idaewor, a UK based South-South native of Edo, also a guest at the conference noted that what the people of Edo State wanted is to be valued and respected, which the Nigerian configuration is not giving them. Dr Idaewor opined that the ongoing constitutional amendment is a ruse as it won’t address grey areas, and advocated for a form of referendum to restructure the country with each federating units sitting together to state their terms or either be allowed to self determine its destiny.
The conference ended with all the attendees affirming to further work on stronger cooperation between other ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta and the Ndigbo for shared security and economic prosperity.