Why the Southeast Should Stop Claiming Marginalization

Why the Southeast Should Stop Claiming Marginalization

By Abdulkabir Olatunji

The degree of sophistication that an individual or group exhibits in a situation or on an issue can be objectively assessed when compared to similar situations. Many people from the Southeast in Nigeria, mostly of the Igbo ethnic group want us to believe that right from the time of the civil war that started in 1967 and ended in 1970 they have been victims. In truth,  they have failed to show how they have been especially marginalized above any other tribe or region in Nigeria. However, let us for the sake of this article assume without conceding that they have been marginalized and oppressed right from around 1966 when a counter coup brought General Yakubu Gowon to power.

The question is how have they helped themselves?  Have they looked at the resources that accrue to them from the federation account and their internally generated revenue (IGR) from their states and found a way to use it to invest in their people and region wisely?

Have they used cultural and commercial ties to build bridges with other tribes in Nigeria to attempt to creation of a synergy that protects their interests?

Have they made a strategic investment in their human capital and developed leadership potential of their people such that the rest of Nigeria would have no choice than to defer to what would then be their obvious  acumen and capacity to lead the entire country to great things?

Have they shown enough love within their ranks to develop a united front that amplifies their voice within Nigeria?

The reaction of Tutsis to the shocking and appalling genocide in Rwanda in 1994 shows us how a people determined to develop and make progress will do so regardless of what horrors they are put through. An estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by extremist Hutus in 1994.

By July 1994,  the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame, a Tutsi had control of most of the country. It did not seek to take revenge on the Hutus and there was a speedy effort to provide some form of justice for the victims and reconciliation with those who had committed heinous crimes.

Despite having the military advantage, Kagame did not take power until 6 years after winning the civil war that ended the genocide, Pasteur Bizimungu a Hutu was President of Rwanda until 2000, when he resigned and Paul Kagame took official control of a country he had controlled unofficially since 1994.

He remains President of Rwanda and under his leadership,  the country is achieving amazing growth,  development and peace.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF),

Rwanda notched up GDP growth of around 8% per year between 2001 and 2014. It’s economy is still growing, GDP grew by 6% in 2016 according to Africa Economic Outlook and it states: “Rwanda remains peaceful and stable and preparation for the August 2017 presidential elections have commenced, with the constitution amended to address presidential term limits.”

There are so many other positives from Rwanda like the inclusion of women in politics,  the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) gives the the percentage of women in Rwanda’s parliament at 63.8% and the country is rapidly moving from an agrarian to knowledge economy. WEF explains: “In the long term, the government aims to transform Rwanda from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with a middle-income status by 2020.”

I have taken the time to give these details to show how far Rwanda has come in contrast to Nigeria in general and the Southeast in particular where their is a victim mentality that is holding back development.

Enough of this whining already, until the Southeast begins to think fresh ideas and move away from its negative past, it may not develop. Until Nigeria as a whole does the same,  it may never develop.

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