Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has called for immediate arrest and prosecution of Katsina-based activist, Mallam Mahdi Shehu, over his viral video where he castigated the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi.
Mallam Shehu, in the incendiary viral video which has generated public condemnation, claimed that a vote for Obi was a vote for Biafra, and a destruction of the North.
He urged the North to not to vote for Obi in the 2023 presidential election.
But Ohanaeze in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, expressed sadness over the video which it said was full of hate speech.
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read in part :”The attention of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a video clip that has gone viral, propagated by one Mallam Mahdi Shehu, a Katsina-based activist, to the effect that a vote to Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 general election, is a vote for Biafra.
“In the video, he also alleged that a vote to Obi is synonymous with the destruction of the North. He asked his listeners what they stand to gain by voting Obi, a Southerner, etc.
After listening to the video clip, I was shocked that such narrow minded ethnic bigot that holds tenaciously to the grudges of the past is still in our midst in this millennium.
“The uncivilized remarks by Mahdi Shehu are not only disingenuous but out-rightly, distasteful, mischievous, provocative, incendiary and capable of igniting ethno-religious tensions across the country.
“The rabidity, thoughtlessness and hollowness that characterized the video signpost the last wish and end of the rope of a fading and propagandist. Persons that harbour such despicable thoughts and mindsets are the pernicious cancerous social incubus which have for long held Nigeria down.”
Ohanaeze called on the Federal Government “to arrest, prosecute and ultimately confine Mallam Mahdi Shehu in a prison to serve as a deterrent to other ethnic inflammatory chauvinists.”
“If such a deep ethnic jingoism is allowed to play out in the oncoming campaigns, then the fledgling wing of the eagle may be irredeemably broken. Mallam Shehu and his likes should be made to know that the ethnic cards that were played in the past to the detriment of unity, progress and corporate existence of the country have become loathsome, unserviceable and anachronistic.
“Denis Waitley appeared to be speaking to the hearts of Nigerians when he posed: There are two primary choices in life, to accept the conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them. Evidently, there is no Nigerian, big or small, rich or poor, Northerner or Southerner, Christian or Muslim that is comfortable with the current state of affairs in the country.
“Therefore, the question is to be or not to be. To this end, Albert Einstein cautions that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Therefore, two major options are open to Nigeria in the 2023 general election: to continue with the abysmal tailspin of poverty, unemployment, rising inflation, banditry, kidnapping, general insecurity, epileptic power supply, mass strikes, etc, and in deed all the indices of a collapsing state on one hand or a productive, robust, visionary and combustive economic salvation on the other.”
Ohanaeze reminded Shehu and his co-travellers that Southerners had always voted massively for Northerners in the past notwithstanding their tribe, wondering why they would be inciting Northern voters against a Southern candidate.
“Mallam Shehu, in his unmitigated myopia, lacks the basic social reflections to recall that the Christian Southerners had in the past willingly voted President Shehu Shagari, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and President Muhammadu Buhari on account of the manifestos they presented to the populace. The most recent being President Buhari when in our historical lethargy he promised change, vibrancy, ruthless fight against corruption and uprooting the nefarious Boko Haram insurgency.
“The uninitiated should know that Nigeria has witnessed a major ideological quantum leap or a paradigm shift. Perhaps, the social media and the present educational standards among Nigerians have created an awareness and mass enlightenment far beyond the narrow Mallam Shehu pigeon-hole vision. The youths of today share in the propensity to follow a leader in whom they perceive as means of meeting their own ends. This is the irrevocable present day reality.
“Instructively, the Igbo cosmopolitanism admits politicians of all persuasions to canvass for votes across the entire Igbo space without let or hindrance, bearing in mind that what Nigeria needs now is a transformative persona, a visionary with ideologically based programmes and a proven record of accomplishments.”