While responding to a question during his rare interview with the Arise TV, President Buhari raised some critical issues that Ndi-Igbo ought to be analysing.
1) According to Buhari, “I was encouraged by what I heard, nobody told me.
Two statements from the South-south:
One by the elderly people, they said this time around there would be no secession. And again, the youth made the same statement; such encouragement,”
2) “…IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and properties. I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about.” He used IPOB to describe Ndi-Igbo.
As usual, we have rushed to kill the messenger (Buhari) instead of channeling our strengths in dissecting his message. Since Ndi-Igbo are particularly concerned about the “dot in a circle” statement, here is my opinion.
Buhari’s "a dot in a circle" statement could mean anything.
In Physics, “dot in a circle” signifies “a vector facing out of the page”. Examples of vectors in nature are velocity, momentum, etc. “Velocity is the speed of something in a given direction.”
In Economics, velocity (velocity of circulation) is “the rate at which money changes hands within an economy”. Velocity, Momentum are characteristics of Ndigbo.
In this regard, Buhari was absolutely right when he said that Ndi-Igbo are “a dot in a circle”. Obviously, he didn’t use that phrase to glorify us. He certainly didn’t know that "a dot in a circle" is a scientific phrase.
Another possible meaning of Buhari’s "a dot in a circle" statement could be a reference to Igbo population. This is the interpretation everybody has given to that infamous statement.
However, Igbo population is estimated to be 40 million. Therefore, an Igbo Republic with about 40 million people has more population than every country in west Africa except Nigeria.
Igbo population is even twice bigger than about 20-25 million Fulani people in the whole of west Africa. Bigger than Niger republic (23 million), Ghana (32 million), etc.
With this, clearly, Buhari’s statement wasn’t about population. And so, Ndi-Igbo are definitely not "a dot in a circle".
Now, the likely meaning of Buhari’s "a dot in a circle" description of Ndi-Igbo is the repeated claim that Igbo is landlocked. According to him, “even if they [Igbo] want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere.” Is this true?
Well, it appears that Northerners are conceding that Igbo independence may happen. It started with Northern women who rallied that Igbo should be allowed to go if that’s what they want.
It followed by the statement from the publicity secretary of the AREWA forum in which he complained about the silence of Igbo elders regarding the activities of IPOB.
Furthermore, that if Igbo want to exit Nigeria they should come out and say so to avoid further bloodshed.
The synchrony of these statements, from the statement of Northern women to that of Arewa Forum, and to Buhari’s, suggest that Northerners have been discussing. And that they have apparently considered the possibility of IgboExit.
Moreover, Buhari said he was encouraged by what he heard. And what did he hear? That Igbo neighbours – South-south people, don’t want to be part of Biafra.
That means, while Nnamdi Kanu was busy drawing map of Biafra, the Fulani was busy engaging, and perhaps promising heaven and earth to our fellow ‘Biafrans’, which they have, possibly, accepted. Thus, the reason Buhari is encouraged.
Honestly, sentiment aside, Igbo are "a dot in a circle" without the South-south. We may have access to the sea, but without South-south, there won’t be access to our planes to land in “Biafra-land”.
Could Nnamdi Kanu fly into his beloved Biafra through the Nigerian air space? Would Nigeria allow that? The answer is NO, because Buhari had already said, “even if they [Igbo] want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere”.
How about our assets and businesses that littered all over Nigeria? Perhaps, another abandoned property saga looming – a subtle threat in Buhari’s statement.
Most times, Buhari talks in a manner that projects him as arrogant. But when you analyse the so called ‘arrogant’ person, it will be evident that he is covering up his feelings of ineptitude.
If Buhari’s "a dot in a circle" statement is not a sign of ineptitude, he ought to have known that the so-called South-south are diverse people. All of them have their peculiar interests.
Depending on the South-south group that assured Buhari that “this time around there would be no secession”, he should also remember that some Igbo are part of South-south.
All Ndi-Igbo need is to convince their kith and kin in Rivers state to be part of the independence struggle, and thus, we will have access to the sea, and air space.
Even if the Igbo of South-south refuse to join the independence struggle, and Igbo exit Nigeria to become "a dot in a circle", it will not be for long.
Like Chief Awolowo clearly stated during the Biafran war that if Igbo are allowed to go that Yoruba will also go. That threat is more potent today.
Hence, the inglorious title of dot in a circle will become the portion of Hausa/Fulani because there won’t be Nigeria again.
Instead of rhetoric and propaganda, Ndi-Igbo should be negotiating with their neighbours. Anything can happen before 2023, we must be prepared to grab our chances.
Agreeing with our neighbours appears to be difficult at the moment because there is an egotistic Nnamdi Kanu who had already included them in his Biafra map without their consent.
Nnamdi Kanu’s attitude doesn’t only alienate our neighbours from our struggle for independence, it repulses most independent minded Igbo people who will never accept a raucous Nnamdi Kanu to lead them.
“If I'm compelled to accept the 5 Igbo states (SE) as Biafra, what will be the fate of indigenous Igbo people gerrymandered into other states like Edo, Kogi, Benue, Cross River, Rivers, Benue, Bayelsa and Delta states?
Does it mean they are no longer Igbo? Small Dot, Big People”
This statement from Kanu suggests that, if the 5 states are allowed independence, all of us would be bound together and handed over to Nnamdi Kanu.
Someone should remind Kanu that Ndi-Igbo have no leader, according to Senator Abaribe.
Nnamdi Kanu should be reminded that Igbo republicanism is the oldest democracy in the world. Igbo man will always have his say.
In all, Buhari’s "a dot in a circle" statement is not arrogance but ignorance, and a message loaded with threats to Ndigbo, which ought not to be trivialised, but scrutinised by Ndi-Igbo.
~liberate your mind