For all you know, it is indisputable that the South East geo political zone is roundly marginalized. The gang- up against the South East in independent Nigeria first came to view on July 29, 1966 when an Igbo head of state, General Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi was cruelly assassinated in Ibadan. On that fateful day, about 162 other Igbo army officers were also murdered.
As a follow up, General Yakubu Gowon who succeeded Ironsi carried out policies that were in all ramifications anti Igbo. According to former governor of Enugu State, Dr. Chimaraoke Nnamani, in a meeting with Lagos journalists in Eko Le Meridian Hotels, in 2000 made it clear that it was Gowon who kick-started what everybody referred to as Igbo marginalization. He said that it was Gowon who started Igbo marginalization. Nnamani revealed that apart from seeing off his supreme commander, Ironsi, via a counter coup, Gowon sowed the seed of Igbo marginalization when his Supreme Military Council had no Igbo representation.
The then governor equally enthused that it was Gowon who started making Ndigbo minority in Nigeria when his 12 state structure gave Ndigbo only one state of East Central while the firmer Eastern minorities now a part of the South South zone, got more. According to him, the Second National Development Plan which Gowon supervised never made any substantial investment in the East Central State.
When eventually Gowon was overthrown, his successor, General Murtala Muhammad also carried out policies that were never favourable to Ndigbo. In the words of First Republic aviation minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, Murtala was not just one of the army commanders that dealt devastating blow to Biafra, he also created the 19 states that lumped Ndigbo into two states of Anambra and Imo whereas, he gave Yoruba four, Eastern minorities two, thereby making them to be with Ndigbo, just as the rest were located in the north. Mbazulike reminded his readers that the Murtala SMC had no Igbo representation.
Despite all his efforts in trying appearing more nationalistic than other heads of state before him, General Olusegun Obasanjo still played the Igbo marginalization card. According to a published report, Obasanjo supervised the Implementation of post civil war 3Rs of Gowon. He never cared to rehabilitate, reconstruct or reintegrate Ndigbo into Nigeria. As the head of state, the publication stated, Obasanjo established six polytechnics and none was located in Igbo nation.
They are at Illaro, Akure, Idah, Bidah, Bauchi and Yola. He also built nine colleges of education and none was sited in the Igbo country. The nine colleges of education were at Akoka, Oyo, Abeokuta, Okene, Gombe, Kontangora, Pankshin, Yola and Kastina. It was also on record that Obasanjo constructed six new air ports and not one was considered good for Ndigbo. Before leaving office in 1979, Obasanjo decreed that the Igbo properties in Port Harcourt were “abandoned properties”.
When history, providence and circumstances propelled him to the pinnacle of Nigeria’s leadership as a civilian president between 1999 and 2007, Obasanjo tried harder to get Igbo states of Abia and Imo out of the NDDC map through what he called New Niger Delta Coastal States. The idea was to stop Abia and Imo states from being a part of the 13 per cent derivation curable from the NDDC. It took the organized protests of the two houses of assembly from those two states before the idea was dumped.
Although President Shehu Shagari was quite magnanimous to Ndigbo as his administration had an Igbo vice president as well other other sensitive positions, the other military regimes after him still reverted to the old order of Igbo marginalization.
An extension of Igbo marginalization is traced to the fact since independence, only one police IG had emerged from the South East – Ogbonna Onovo. Just one army chief, General Azubuike Ihejirika. The South East never had any international airport until 2013. Even at that, an Igbo second in command to General Ibrahim Babangida, Ebutu Ukiwe was disgraced out of office. The same fate also befell on Commodore Alison Madueke during the General Sani Abacha era. It must be recorded that all the development plans in Nigeria has never got to South East in a bang.
This is where General now president Muhammadu Buahari can be placed. First, Buhari drew the proposal as the first minister of petroleum, and recommended for the construction of three refineries in PortHarcourt, Warri and Kaduna. Igbo nation was left out. Second, Buhari was an influential member of the boundaries and states creation committee that carved out the 19 state arrangement and gave Ndigbo only two. He, in 1985 in African Hall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, voted against an Igbo Dr Peter Onu who contested for the position of the secretary general of the then OAU now AU.
It was a record as Buhari rejected Onu and voted for a Niger’s Idi Omaro. As a president, under Buhari’s APC ruling arrangement, there are 14 security chiefs and none is Igbo. The Igbo is not vice president, not senate president, not deputy senate president, not speaker, not deputy or even national party chairman. This is the fate of Ndigbo since 1966.
In appointments and admissions, the Igbos and their children are discriminated against everywhere. These clearly are the some of the facts that have precipitated the present agitations by some Igbo youths calling for a Biafra state so that they can have opportunities to actualize their dreams. The Igbo as a nation is blessed with abundant human and material resources which can be utilized to rival most nations in development.
The big question is when will the gang up and marginalization against ndigbo end?