Comparing Singapore as a Lesson for Biafra

singapore

Comparing Singapore as a
Lesson for Biafra

By the Administrator
Igbo Focus
17th March 2016

There are some news or articles which one can read and becomes twitchy or exasperated to say something about the news or articles. For almost a month ago now I read this article but I am still twitchy to say something about the article. The article I am referring to is the one found on allAfrica.com published by the Daily Trust (Abuja) and was written by Ibraheem Dooba with the title “Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew - a Lesson for Biafra.”

Don't get me wrong, Singapore is a nice country to be compared with Biafra. If one day Biafra becomes like Singapore I will be very glad indeed.

However, according to the article in question, Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew made a tearful broadcast to inform his people that the merger deal between Singapore and Malaysia had collapsed due to certain misunderstanding.

First and foremost, I would be in tears or in a bad mode should I happen to be Singapore's President Lee Kuan Yew because Singapore and Malaysia have a lot in common with each other. There is not that much of dissimilarity between people from Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore and Malaysia are related in every way by boundary, religion, geography, economics, and in ties of kinship. Thus, it is not wise to compare Singapore and Malaysia with the case of Biafra and Nigeria. That is to say, you cannot compare Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba with Igbo, Ijaw or other ethnic group. Despite the fact that Yoruba people are totally different from Hausa/Fulani even though that they are always making out that they are with them or that they are always in support of them. Traditionally or culturally, most parts of Nigeria are totally different in nature.

Following the article, the author noted that “One of the chief reasons for Lee (Singapore's President) to champion the call to merger and support Tunku Abdul Rahman (the Malaysia or then Malaya’s prime minister), was to help end the British colonial rule - who, Lee remembered, couldn't help the Singaporeans during the Japanese occupation of the city-state from 1942 to 1945.”

Did you hear it, to end “British colonial rule.” And time and time again British colonial rule appeared to have been creating problems for every country that the British ruled. Once a country had been under British colonial rule, there will be problems and the problems will remain in the country even after their independence, unless if the problems are found and removed. Even sometimes, not until all sight of every British colonial rule is abolished within the country/countries before the country/countries can get grip of themselves. It is difficult trying to hammer this onto Hausa/Fulani or Yoruba man’s head that there are problems around the world with British colonial rule, and until the sight of British colonial rule has been gotten rid of before the country or countries have known peace. Nigeria was created under British colonial rule and until Nigeria is dismantled before a known peace is obtained.

Coinciding to the article, “In September 1963 Singapore became part of Malaysia, but two years later, a separation became necessary due to: one, race riots (in which Malays and Chinese of Singapore killed themselves after a Chinese allegedly set upon a Malay rally with a bottle) and two, what Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman called "A State Government that showed no measure of loyalty to its Central Government."

Now your heard it, for the parting of the two countries, it took one incident for them to dissolve the union. Yet the author is comparing Nigeria and Biafra – thousand and one incidents have occurred between Nigeria and Biafra and still, the reluctance in separation.

Going back to the article again, “Of the separation, a distraught Lee said: "every time we look back on this moment when we signed this agreement which severed Singapore from Malaysia, it will be a moment of anguish. For me it is a moment of anguish because all my life ... you see, the whole of my adult life ... I have believed in Merger and the unity of these two territories.

You know, it's a people connected by geography, economics, and ties of kinship..."

Now can you say the same for Nigeria and Biafra yet the author choose to be comparing the two?

In the article, this one got me going because this is the belief of all Hausa/Fulani people that Biafra is landlocked and no easily identifiable natural resource. And yet when we call them nama people or nama brain, they get offended. It is only people with nama brain would say that Biafra is landlocked and no easily identifiable resource. Biafra is the former eastern region of Nigeria and not during and after the civil war when they bribed most of the regions to ask them to say they are not Biafra just to make Biafra as the author put it “landlocked or no easily identifiable resource.”

To read the paragraph in whole, the author wrote “The foregoing tells a story about early days of Singapore to make the point that Singapore and Biafra of today may share some things in common, one of which is the fact that they both have no easily identifiable natural resource. For example, to this day, Singapore imports its drinking water from Malaysia. Yet, many would argue that one major difference is that while Singapore is an island which berths many ships, Biafra is landlocked.

For a start, Biafra has many identifiable natural resources, aside of oil and gas because that’s one thing people with nama brain know as a natural resource. I will give you two examples and leave you to just figure the two out:

  1. Malaysia today exports this product as their number 1 product which we have in abundance in Biafra land today.
     
  2. Britain used to make a lot of money with this product until they stopped it or stopped sourcing it which is also in abundance in Biafra land today.

I have only given you two examples to figure out apart from oil and gas, and manufacturing found in Biafra land today.

Writing article like this, it looked as if Hausa/Fulani people are feeding Biafra people or without them Biafra wouldn’t survive yet they are unwilling to let Biafra go their own way because they know very well that Biafra is the one feeding them.

Writing prejudicial article like this one is the reason why Nigerians get bad reputations because Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba writers keep on trying to disgrace Biafra or Igbo people by writing nonsense and untrue facts, not knowing that they are disgracing themselves because people they are telling the story know more about what they are telling them about than themselves (writers) which render their stories useless. Majority of people reading the article did geography and they know that Northern Nigeria is landlocked and has no easily identifiable resource. When you ask British colonial masters why they did what they did in Nigeria? They will simply tell you that there is nothing in the North; they want the south to feed the North. So north is not doing Biafra a favour by keeping Biafra in Nigeria, rather they are doing themselves the favour. Writing article like this one is making a fool of oneself because no reader from Britain, America or any nationality will buy the story that Biafra is landlocked or has no easily identifiable natural resource.

The writer still made a mug of himself again by writing the following: “However, the most important difference is that in Singapore's experience with nationhood (merger with Malaysia, separation, self-governance, independence and its march into developed nation status), yields a point that differs with that of Biafra. In all the struggles, Singapore was led by an incredibly patriotic statesman who hungered for freedom - in all its shades - for his people. Lee once said that if, while being lowered into the grave, something went wrong with Singapore, he would wake up!

What I take away from the renewed struggle for Biafra is that the movement still lacks a leader. As a result, I conclude that for Biafra to succeed and leap-frog Nigeria in development a la Singapore and Malaysia, the movement needs to find itself a self-less leader.”

The writer made out that Biafra is already a country and Nnamdi Kanu has been elected the President of Biafra. Nnamdi Kanu is neither the leader nor the president of Biafra but Nnamdi Kanu is the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). IPOB is a group set up by some Indigenous People of Biafra to struggle peacefully in order to help create Biafra. It doesn’t mean that they own the right of Biafra. There a lot of Biafrans who are not the members of IPOB. It doesn’t mean that when Biafra is created, those people who are not members of IPOB would not vote or take part in anything concerning Biafra. For example, after the struggle IPOB may decide to change as a political party and may have Nnamdi Kanu selected as their nominated presidential candidate and then be voted for as the president. As I said above that IPOB is a group setup for peacefully struggle for the creation of  Biafra. Some people may not be members of IPOB because they don't believe in peacefully struggle. So tomorrow you might not be surprise to see another group that prop up with huge members just to challenge Buhari and his military so far Buhari love using military force.

Reading the article, I started to think “who will buy the story anyway.” Perhaps the only people that will buy this writer’s story would be people like himself – Hausa/Fulani people.

The writer went on to say “Biafra and Singapore both experienced war, in Singapore's case, a Japanese occupation in which Lee was once slapped for refusing to bow to a Japanese soldier and once escaped the firing squad. The drivers of Biafra, notably Nnamdi Kanu, do not appear to have that experience.

Lee is highly educated. He and his two brothers graduated from Cambridge. He, as a lawyer who graduated with First Class and a perfect score in Part II Law, Nnamdi Kanu, the face of the new Biafra movement, on the other hand, if he's educated at all, does not project that image.”

Now the writer starts confusing himself by using Nnamdi Kanu in place of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. He wrote “Lee is highly educated. He and his two brothers graduated from Cambridge.” Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu graduated from Oxford. In the UK, Oxford is more prestigious than Cambridge.

The writer talked about signing agreement, that Nnamdi Kanu didn’t sign any agreement with the neighboring countries. Well, didn’t Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu sign agreement with Nigeria where did it get him? Has the writer not heard of Aburi accord or Aburi agreement where the head of state then, General Yokubu Gowon signed an agreement in Ghana with Odumegwu-Ojukwu and as soon as Yokubu Gowon got back to Nigeria he concealed the agreement. Can anybody sign any binding agreement with Hausa/Fulani people? No, they (Hausa/Fulani) are never to be trusted, they are ready to break the agreement at any moment. They will lie to you to make you trust them and later on stab you at the back. We keep on making the mistake of trusting them and they pull the fast one on us.

Look at President Buhari today, he is a Fulani man, before the election he agreed on everything and once he is elected president, is he obeying anything now including the country's constitution? Talk of obeying national laws, human rights laws, international laws, etc. Even Buhari swore that he will never introduce sharia law. Now what's he doing? Gradually he is introducing sharia law.

Therefore, Hausa/Fulani people are the most irresponsible human beings, part of their nature, it runs in their blood; they are good in carrying daggers and machine guns about, looking for whom to kill - you cannot sign any binding agreement with them.

Now as a Hausa/Fulani man, he said “I don't see why Biafra would want to leave Nigeria. (Igbos are enterprising and therefore need the large market Nigeria offers.) I also see no reason why Nigeria should keep Biafra. (They account for a large chunk of our negative image abroad.) I however think a separation would bring benefits to both countries.”

Igbo Create your Lagos in Igbo Land
According to the writer “Igbos are enterprising and therefore need the large market Nigeria offers.” If that is so, tell me which part of Nigeria is Igbo free to trade? Where in the North - perhaps transacting in the Boko Haram areas. Even transacting in the South West areas is a bit of struggle. Notably, Lagos is now  more ethnical, so tell me which areas would Igboman be free to trade in Nigeria without some sort of obstacle?

According to the writer, “Biafra account for a large chunk of our negative image abroad.” The truth is bitter but Nigeria’s negative image is caused by Hausa/Fulani presidents, ministers, and governors carrying stolen monies up and down trying to hide them in different banks around the world. Tell me who in this world who haven’t heard of Nigerian Sani Abacha loot, his stolen billons are still being recovered all over the world, what of Umoru Dikko’s stolen millions, the same goes for Ibrahim Babangida’s loot, Abubakar, Danjuma, Buhari even Saraki and so on, and very soon we will begin to hear about Buhari’s own looting again.

 

Below is the article.

 

 

Nigeria: Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew - a Lesson for Biafra

By Ibraheem Dooba
Daily Trust (Abuja)
19th February 2016

A teary-eyed Lee Kuan Yew made a broadcast in which he told his people that the merger between Singapore and Malaysia had collapsed. This was in early August of 1965. Earlier in the day, Lee Kuan Yew signed an agreement detailing how the two nations would co-exist peacefully.

The collapse of negotiations was a personal blow to Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. And after the speech during which he fought back tears, he disappeared from the public for six weeks.

These dramatic events happened after Lee himself led Singapore to form a union with Malaysia. In doing so, he used the referendum of 1962 to convince Singaporeans of the popularity of his proposal to join Malaysia. Lee "rigged" the referendum to support his call, for, while 70% of voters supported joining Malaysia, the other votes cast were left blank because Lee didn't allow an option for "No".

Malaysia was then called Malaya and its prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, in 1961, proposed a federation (Malaysia) which will include Malaya, Singapore and Sabah and Sarawak (in the Borneo region). One of the chief reasons for Lee to champion this call and support Tunku Abdul Rahman, was to help end the British colonial rule - who, Lee remembered, couldn't help the Singaporeans during the Japanese occupation of the city-state from 1942 to 1945.

In September 1963 Singapore became part of Malaysia, but two years later, a separation became necessary due to: one, race riots (in which Malays and Chinese of Singapore killed themselves after a Chinese allegedly set upon a Malay rally with a bottle) and two, what Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman called "A State Government that showed no measure of loyalty to its Central Government."

Of the separation, a distraught Lee said: "every time we look back on this moment when we signed this agreement which severed Singapore from Malaysia, it will be a moment of anguish. For me it is a moment of anguish because all my life ... you see, the whole of my adult life ... I have believed in Merger and the unity of these two territories.

You know, it's a people connected by geography, economics, and ties of kinship..."

Lee soon came out of his seclusion to lead Singapore from 1959 to 1990; from a country that had nothing to one that had everything. Now Singapore leads Asia in Human Development Index and is ninth in the world.

The foregoing tells a story about early days of Singapore to make the point that Singapore and Biafra of today may share some things in common, one of which is the fact that they both have no easily identifiable natural resource. For example, to this day, Singapore imports its drinking water from Malaysia. Yet, many would argue that one major difference is that while Singapore is an island which berths many ships, Biafra is landlocked.

However, the most important difference is that in Singapore's experience with nationhood (merger with Malaysia, separation, self-governance, independence and its march into developed nation status), yields a point that differs with that of Biafra. In all the struggles, Singapore was led by an incredibly patriotic statesman who hungered for freedom - in all its shades - for his people. Lee once said that if, while being lowered into the grave, something went wrong with Singapore, he would wake up!

What I take away from the renewed struggle for Biafra is that the movement still lacks a leader. As a result, I conclude that for Biafra to succeed and leap-frog Nigeria in development a la Singapore and Malaysia, the movement needs to find itself a self-less leader.

Biafra and Singapore both experienced war, in Singapore's case, a Japanese occupation in which Lee was once slapped for refusing to bow to a Japanese soldier and once escaped the firing squad. The drivers of Biafra, notably Nnamdi Kanu, do not appear to have that experience.

Lee is highly educated. He and his two brothers graduated from Cambridge. He, as a lawyer who graduated with First Class and a perfect score in Part II Law, Nnamdi Kanu, the face of the new Biafra movement, on the other hand, if he's educated at all, does not project that image.

While Lee was wise enough to realize that his nation needed Malaysia and even signed agreement on trade and defence, Nnamdi Kanu wants to burn down everything in Nigeria. And he attracts the same followership whose dustups are laden with ultimatums instead of moving and convincing speeches: "do this or we burn down the embassy!"

I don't see why Biafra would want to leave Nigeria. (Igbos are enterprising and therefore need the large market Nigeria offers.) I also see no reason why Nigeria should keep Biafra. (They account for a large chunk of our negative image abroad.) I however think a separation would bring benefits to both countries.

As illogical as that may sound, many variables would come into play that would engender such advantages.

But the Biafra Movement would do well to replace its rhetoric of fear with plans and negotiation of how the future nation will survive, collaborate and compete with its neighbours. Rallying behind a strong leader is a good way to start. Israelites had Moses, Singaporeans had Lee, and even the first Biafrans had Ojukwu.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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