Throughout last week in New York, the United Nations General Assembly – the congress for the world – gathered for its annual re-affirmation of the principles upon which the organisation was founded.
These are the principles of territorial integrity of nations, of sovereignty, and the rights of all peoples to be treated equally; and of the unacceptability of tribalism, ethnic bias, racism, and fascism – the poison which twice caused World War to be fought, and saw the United Nations founded to uphold the principles which would ensure one would never be fought again.
They are also the principles upon which Nigeria was founded – and which make us one people.
The certainty that we are united as a country of over 500 languages, nearly 400 communities, 36 states – and one nation.
What unites us are our differences. What divides us are those who, for their own nefarious ends, seek to use them to prise us apart.
While President Buhari was focusing on the problems plaguing the nation and in some instances asking for international support to deal with such, a coalition of groups protested outside the UN building.
This happens with all countries- the United States, UK, India, Iran, China, Egypt- about everyone and about every conceivable issue but most especially climate change, gender and animal rights among others.
There are some from the so-called “Yoruba nation” group and the so-called “Indigenous People of Biafra” (IPOB) terrorist group who worked together to protest outside the United Nations building in New York.
They sought to claim astonishingly that, somehow, they have earned rights through violence, murder of law enforcement agents and the innocent, and extortion to run their own affairs.
Many Nigerians at home were disconcerted by the tribal bullying of government officials as they moved to carry out their diligent work between the Nigerian Mission in New York and the UN building, a walkable distance of less than 400 meters.
Protests are allowed by all who had anything to say. Tribal bullying is uncivilised. So is any effort to strengthen insurgency in the country.
This is an extraordinary misinterpretation of the principles of the United Nations. There is no place in or before this organisation for racists, ethnic cleansers, and those who associate with them.
On the other hand, those pro-Buhari/pro-Nigeria demonstrators in immaculate green-white-green deserve to be praised for the maturity and decorum with which they carried on, ignoring crude insults and abuse from an opposition campaign inspired and conducted in accordance with rule book of the Nazi against Jews, Hutu extremists against the Rwandan Tutsi.
In Nigeria today, IPOB has created an armed terror wing, the Eastern Security Network – complete with a fascistic logo – to coerce through violence innocent Nigerians, forcing them to protest against those of other ethnicities and religious beliefs and to lockdown states and stop people from the pursuit of their legitimate aspirations.
They seek power by demonising other communities and targeting those Nigerians who speak other dialects. Any group associating with this recognised terrorist group is demonstrating there is little difference in their beliefs, or their intent.