WHAT’S WRONG WITH BUHARI’S TWEET ON CIVIL WAR FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE?

A couple of days ago, President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) made a controversial statement via his Twitter handle stating as follows:

Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.

While many have condemned the statement, some others in the camp of the President might ask, “What’s wrong with Buhari’s tweet, for heaven’s sake?”

Here is everything wrong with the unfortunate statement.

Many of those misbehaving today… 

The inability of the President to clarify what conduct he considers a misbehaviour is problematic. Buhari did not expressly communicate those whom he precisely consider as misbehaving. But no one is left in doubt that Buhari was referring to Biafran agitators. For the records, Biafran agitators are not all members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) which appears to have been unfairly tagged a terrorist group. Thus, there are those (including some members of IPOB) who reasonably crave for Biafra and who are legally and civilly advancing the cause. If Buhari, by any stretch of thought, generally considers the act of those pressing for Biafra as a misbehaviour, then that is wrong.

Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War

By the above statement, Buhari appears to acknowledge the immeasurable destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the war. However, it is doubtful if the President has displayed a genuine desire that the war should not repeat itself. This is considering the incongruous, unconstitutional and mathematically inequitable 97% to 5% formula with which he treats the Igbos. More so, the use of military forces under Buhari’s command to annihilate those agitating for Biafra, in what largely plays out in the form of peaceful protests, is also a pointer.

Any further doubt about the true state of mind of the President appears to have been later cleared by the subsequent statement that followed.

Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war

Buhari failed to name the people he was referring to that went through the war with him for 30 months. Apparently, these people cannot possibly include the Biafran soldiers led by Ikenga Odumegwu Ojukwu. To him, it appears these Biafrans didn’t go through the war. The war went through them by way of massacre, genocide and every strategy of war that offends the law of war.

To further drive home the point, Buhari left no one in doubt what those who accompanied or who “went through the war” with him intends to do this time. The other half of the foregoing statement discloses this.

Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand

Which language was Buhari referring to? A careful consideration of recent events will show that there’s no room for congecture. Buhari isn’t talking about Igbo language, Hausa or Fulfulde. Clearly, Buhari does not mind going through another war, for 30 months or more, to attempt another annihilation of the offsprings and descendants of those who survived the first war. Since their Biafran ideology has refused to die, they must be taught another lesson in the language they understand; the language of war. Clearly, the only language Buhari appears to understand is the language of war and violence for violence.

Sadly, true Biafran agitators of this age, understand yet another language. The language of dialogue, respect for human rights, equity and justice. Regardless of some of the excesses of members of IPOB, Buhari does not appear to be displaying the level of wisdom required of a leader in a terribly divided country like Nigeria.

Twitter did not hesitate to delete the tweet which it found to have offended the rules of the micro blogging platform.

In the light of all the above, anyone who is still in doubt as to what in heaven’s sake was wrong with the tweet needs to have a rethink.



Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.

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