Our Silence As A Statement, My Response To Prof Yusuf’s Remarks On Why Southeast Is Silent

Our Silence As A Statement, My Response To Prof Yusuf’s Remarks On Why Southeast Is Silent

February 28, 2024 NewsOrient
Opinion, News, Politics
By Kalu Onuma

Prof. Usman Yusuf, a public affairs analyst and former executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), recently made a statement on National TV regarding the hunger situation in Nigeria. He commented on the government’s lack of understanding of the causes of food shortages and inflation under President Tinubu’s administration. Prof. Yusuf emphasised the need for the government to act swiftly, especially with the approaching Ramadan season, advocating for direct federal intervention to ensure food security and alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians.

Recent remarks by Prof. Yusuf, suggesting that the Igbo community’s silence on the hunger protests across Nigeria indicates apathy, overlooks the subtle and varied ways people respond to societal issues. [Economic Hardship: I honestly don’t know why the South East is quiet — Prof Yusuf https://newsweekng.com/economic-hardship-i-honestly-dont-know-why-south-east-is-quiet-prof-yusuf/.] Ndò Prof!

Indeed, the hunger protests highlight the severe economic challenges many Nigerians face. Speaking out against injustice and holding our government accountable is vital, but it’s also crucial to understand that silence can be more than mere apathy.

For Ndigbo, silence is not indifference; it’s a profound statement of resilience, solution-seeking, and active refusal to be mere onlookers amidst hardship. For as long as Nigeria has been, we’ve never shied away from challenges and challenging the responsibilities of government and also putting solutions on the table.

Contrary to Prof. Yusuf’s claims, numerous Igbo individuals and organisations have and are still tirelessly working to combat the underlying causes of hunger and poverty.

Whether it’s providing essential resources to those in need or advocating for policies to tackle systemic disparities, our actions are ongoing and speak for themselves. We don’t speak when it suits us, we speak when it is necessary.

Our silence is a conscious decision to channel our efforts into substantial actions that lead to significant change. In a nation where loudness often overshadows efficacy, our silence boldly asserts that deeds outweigh words. When speaking to the deaf [Nigeria], we’ve learnt not to waste words, but demonstrate with our actions, what words cannot communicate.

Before passing judgment on our so-called silence, Prof. Yusuf should consider the various ways we have and are still striving for a brighter future for all Nigerians. Our silence is not complacency but a potent symbol of our steadfast commitment to fostering a fairer, more equitable society. When we spoke at Aburi, we were ignored. When we called for an equitable and conscious government, we were branded. When our children spoke up they were shot and jailed. When we presented a clear diagnosis of Nigeria’s ills and offered to fix it, we were hounded out. Where dear Prof. Yusuf were you?

The recent hunger protests have cast a spotlight on the grim realities many Nigerians endure, with the economic slump and inflation forcing numerous families into food scarcity. These demonstrations have ignited a nationwide debate on the urgency of addressing hunger and poverty’s root causes.

Prof. Yusuf’s assertion that the silence of Ndigbo equates to inaction is not only dismissive but also neglects the diverse and impactful ways communities, especially the Igbo Communities, contribute to combating hunger.

While vocal advocacy is significant,we’ve been in Vanguard for over 60 years, recognizing the spectrum of change-making efforts is essential. And we’ve learnt this the hard way. Thank you Nigeria, we’ve become wiser by your treatment!

The Igbo community has been at the vanguard of confronting government abuse and failures. Despite facing ethnic profiling and discrimination, we have consistently championed the cause of justice and equity. The community’s efforts to empower youth and tackle unemployment, through our institutional Mentoring system are testament to our proactive stance against systemic issues.

In times of political turmoil, we have shown resilience, advocating for constitutional restructuring and fair representation. Our actions reflect a deep commitment to the principles of democracy and a refusal to accept anything less than a government that serves all its people equitably.

Our silence reflects our deep-rooted dedication to empowering our community and implementing sustainable solutions. Through grassroots movements, charitable acts, and systemic advocacy, we tirelessly support those in need. You can learn a thing or two, Prof. Yusuf from us.

Choosing silence is our way of prioritising practical solutions over mere talk, focusing on enduring changes rather than transient noise. It’s a testament that real progress is measured by action’s impact, not its volume. As a community acquainted with challenges and discrimination, we value solidarity with the vulnerable and marginalised.

Thus, before critiquing our perceived silence, Prof. Yusuf, you should acknowledge the myriad ways we actively fight against injustice, deprivation, hunger and poverty in Nigeria. Our silence is not complacency; it’s a robust declaration of our unwavering resolve to build a more just and inclusive society for everyone. And to join us, you should start by acknowledging the wrongs Nigeria has unleashed on Ndigbo, stealing their rights, stealing their voices and working to keep us down and speaking up to right those wrongs!

As we continue to navigate the complexities of our nation’s politics, Ndigbo’s silence should be understood as a powerful form of protest and a call to action. It is a reminder that we must all play our part ALWAYS AND NOT SELECTIVELY in holding the government accountable and addressing the root causes of societal issues. Our collective efforts can lead to a future where hunger and poverty, A FALL OUT OF IRRESPONSIBLE AND CORRUPT GOVERNMENT, are eradicated, and where every Nigerian can live with dignity and hope.

©️Agbeze Ireke Kalu Onuma, AI-KO
February 27th 2024

~ NewsOrient