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  • The Bully and the Bold in Nigeria
  • By Clement Udegbe
    IN our secondary school class one, Bishop
    Shanahan College, Orlu, in 1970 after the civil
    war, we had a mixture of all sorts, ranging from
    Been-Tos who just returned from overseas,
    where they ran to during the war, local native
    Child Soldiers, like myself who were involved in
    some kind of clandestine works during the war
    period as children, to some clear adults who
    were combatant soldiers for Biafra.
    John, was a tall and huge boy, compared with
    my small size then. He was so fierce in
    handling juniors like me; he would kick, and
    forcibly seize our ball points, magazines or
    whatever we had that he fancied and would deal
    blows on any part of his victim’s body. We
    dreaded him and as a result found ways to
    please him. In our Class two, Rupert joined us
    from Umuahia. He was not as tall as John, but
    was very bold, broad chested and strong. I liked
    Rupert because he was gentle towards me, and
    was intelligent. We shared provisions, and he
    encouraged me to it back to John when next he
    tried to slap or kick me.
    Luckily we were in the same dormitory, and his
    bed was next to mine. My town’s man, Polycarp
    in upper six class was the Head of our
    Dormitory, so I was well connected and it paid
    off with Rupert, as my new friend, and brother.
    One Sunday evening during sports, John wanted
    peanuts from Rupert who refused, and he
    promised to get it from me later. Rupert advised
    me to summon courage give John a knee jab
    whenever he tried to intimidate me, as a Biafran
    Child Soldier Veteran. Rupert promised to put in
    a word with Polycarp to make me the food
    sharer in the refectory if I fought John by giving
    him a knee jab.
    At exactly 6 pm, just before refectory time, John
    came to my corner and demanded that I gave
    him biscuits and peanuts. Rupert was around,
    dormitory was quiet, so I refused bluntly. He
    slapped me twice, and I raised my right knee
    and gave him a very hard hit on his groins. He
    bent forward in pain, and Rupert joined me in
    the full enjoyment of slapping John several
    times. John simply limped out of the dormitory,
    and we sped off to the refectory, where Rupert
    suggested to the table head, and I became the
    food sharer for the whole year. From that day,
    till we got to Class five three years after, John
    never crossed my path! You see, John was a
    Bully.
    Bullies feel pains too, and hate to be resisted,
    but they respect and fear any who gives them
    real pain! By inflicting serious pains on John, we
    fought back, became free and till we left the
    secondary school, John never looked in our
    direction. Bullies are habitually cruel to smaller
    or weaker people. They are often archaic in their
    thoughts, and behave like ruffians. Bullies come
    in all shapes, sizes and natures. They can come
    as a community, an ethnic group, religious
    group, a whole nation, or simply a people under
    one bondage, or understanding as individuals.
    When religious fundamentalism is mixed with
    ethnic mindset in the bully, the target must be
    extra careful to avoid being wiped out from life.
    The only way to identify a bully is by his
    conduct. Generally, bullies are driven by a
    strong need to control and dominate others.
    Highly temperamental and impulsive persons,
    bullies take pleasure in seeing other people in
    distress and or humiliated. They neither take
    responsibility or deny wrong doings, blaming
    their targets by thinking that they got what they
    deserved.
    Bullies are often very intolerant of difference,
    with a type of feeling of superiority that flush
    empathy out of their psyche. The bully choses
    his target carefully and they often are people of
    different physical and cultural characteristics
    envied by the bully or in competition with the
    bully. We have big and powerful bullies in
    Nigeria!
    About two weeks ago, a coalition of Northern
    Youths gave a three months quit notice to all
    Igbos residing in the north of Nigeria to leave
    their region. Immediately the Niger Delta youths
    issued their own counter Quit Notice asking
    northerners residing in their region to leave.
    Angered by the effrontery of the northern youths
    who started it all, Governor El Rufai of Kaduna
    State, ordered the arrest and prosecution of the
    youths for obviously a seditious
    unconstitutional, and divisive proclamation,
    against the Igbos who have not addressed any
    invectives upon northern youths. It was a hate
    declaration of the highest type since after 1966
    in Nigeria!
    Igbos are asking in strong terms for a better and
    fair Nigeria, where all can aspire to achieve their
    dreams freely, and in liberty. Biafra to many of
    us means an economically self-sufficient and
    viable Igbo land. The word Biafra elicits unity
    among Ndigbo, so all Igbos support it for many
    reasons any day and time. Many fought that
    war, as children and no one can take that
    experience from them, and no one can prevent
    them from applying themselves to making their
    part of this earth better than they met it, so
    Biafra is an idea which no man can kill! The
    sooner Nigeria understands this, the better for
    Nigeria and all of us.
    There is this Spirit of Biafra that was dampened
    and subdued by deliberate manipulative
    propaganda and deceit, since 1970, which has
    just been awakened by the recent agitations
    caused by the bullying inequalities in our
    beloved nation against Ndigbo as targets.
    Essentially, it has nothing really to do with
    secession, but has everything to do with
    freedom, liberty, fairness, and justice, in the land
    we claim to all own called Nigeria.
    One week after governor El Rufai’s order, the
    same youths gathered at a venue near the
    governor’s office and held their meeting
    affirming their earlier position, that Igbos have
    till September 2017 to leave the northern
    territory. Over two weeks after, Police is yet to
    make any arrests.
    Mr. Udegbe, a lawyer , wrote from
    ceeaai@yahoo.com, Lagos

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