The link between the Igbo people and the people of Bayelsa State certainly got closer in the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, their son, whom the Igbo people supported so much during and after his rise to the presidency.
It was Dora Akunyili, an Igbo Amazon of blessed memory that moved mountains to make sure that Jonathan was declared Acting President of Nigeria. After that, a lot of Igbos formed a coalition around Jonathan and became his power block and the constituency that ensured that he won the 2011 presidential election.
But, sadly, within the past month, there have been reports of killings of successful Igbo businessmen in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State. This comes at a period of increased tensions between Igbo businessmen and some indigenes.
While there is no proof yet that the killings are an organized attack on Igbo businesses by any indigenous group in Bayelsa or any publicly known individual, the killings clearly have to stop, if the good relationship between the Igbo people and the Bayelsa people must continue.
A continuation of these killings will only sour the relationship between the Igbos and the Bayelsa people, and who knows when next a son or daughter of Bayelsa will need Igbo support for something big (it doesn’t have to be the presidency). The people of Bayelsa should do everything within legal bounds to prevent more killings of their new found friends, the Igbo people.
With the way the Igbos supported Goodluck Jonathan before the coming of Muhammadu Buhari, it is clear that the Bayelsa people have nothing to fear from the Igbos, that the Igbo considers the Bayelsa person his brother. And to those who may be saying that Jonathan is out of the presidency, so it is time to kick the Igbos out, know that that is the height of ingratitude.
The Igbos have not invaded Bayelsa State to occupy it. They have brought goods and services that would make life better, in exchange for money. Normally, such services help everyone concerned.
One of the Igbo businessmen killed owned a plaza. That plaza surely brought a lot of benefits to people of Bayelsa.
While it is not crystal clear who exactly is doing this, and it may well be malicious outsiders, the people of Bayelsa must never hesitate to report any moves fashioned against any Igbo man to the law enforcement agencies. That way, these attacks against their Igbo friends is very likely to stop.
Also, the good people of Bayelsa must never relent in recounting the benefits their close relationship and cooperation with the Igbos have brought them in the past. That way, hearts and minds will be won for the special relationship between Ndi Igbo and the Bayelsa People.
Stop the killings now!