Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Biafra of My Dreams (Final Part)

There is no doubt that Igbos who survived the civil war will be bothered about the current agitation and demonstrations for Biafra; and it is quite obvious that those who are out in the streets are those who have never experienced war. One can commend them for their 'bravery' but I think they do need to sit back and think more about what they are doing and are asking for; these are my reasons:

  1. Their leader’s base: Nnamdi Kalu is based in the United Kingdom and has always boasted about not having a Nigerian passport. Since he can travel to the US and other parts of the world, he does have a passport and that is most probably the UK passport. He isn't based in Nigeria and perchance his lies eventually lead to war, he most probably wouldn't be in Nigeria not to talk of Eastern Nigeria to fight alongside his brother-agitators. It is also a curious case that most of those who are educated and who support the current agitation for Biafra all appear to stay abroad. Why don't they come home and join the agitation instead of 'safely' carrying placards in the USA, Canada, Thailand, UK and other parts of the world while those in Nigeria get shot at?
  2. A Biafran state after the war: I keep telling people that had Biafra been established by war under Ojukwu, maybe...just maybe...it wouldn't have been the country Biafrans thought it would be. There was every chance that Ojukwu’s Biafra would have been a state under dictatorship with the Ojukwus and/or their cronies being leaders for life...some sort of North Korea or Eritrea if you may. There was also every chance that different warlords would have emerged and the leadership of Biafra would be a constant bone of contention...some sort of Libya or South Sudan if you may. Presently, Biafra has MASSOB and IPOB and there seems to be some friction between the two groups. If there is a Nigerian-Biafran war which ends up with Biafra being created, the war may have just begun as MASSOB, IPOB and some other groups that may emerge could battle over who leads the new Biafra.
  3. The thinking that Biafra will be viable and wealthy: Many pro-Biafrans imagine the prospect of a small oil-rich country; they typically imagine  a Biafra with all the States in the south-south geopolitical zone bar Edo state. However, the truth is that Biafra is an Igbo affair and the majority of those pushing for it are Igbos or have very close ties to the Igbo tribe. Charles Inko-Tariah, the leader of South-south Alliance Project echoed this when he said:
    “we want to make it categorically clear to those behind this wicked and selfish act, especially the so called IPOB that no part or territory of the South-South belongs to the South-East. Rivers State and indeed other South-South States are not Igbos, so don’t involve us in your planned agitation and struggle for Biafran state. We don’t believe in Biafra and their so called Biafra radio, we believe in ourselves as Niger-Deltans, our challenges are peculiar, so stay clear from our land with your so called struggle…”

    Of course, this is just the view of an individual or at most a group of individuals; but I can testify that it is the common view held by south-southerners. I have seen associates and acquaintances from that region attack pro-Biafran agitators and Igbos in general for thinking that the South-south shall be part of Biafra.

    As gullible as these pro-Biafran agitators can be, they cite the support of Asari Dokubo as a pointer that South-south in general is indeed for Biafra. Whilst Asari Dokubo may provide arms if this agitation for a Biafran state leads to war…perchance the Nigerian Government is trounced in the war and decides to let the south-south and south-east become Biafra; I see an Asari Dokubo who would quickly mobilise for a secession of the south-south from Biafra. Why? It would be an easier struggle and because Biafra shall still be perceived as being purely an Igbo affair.

    Furthermore, after the civil war…the struggle for Biafra was not continued until recently. This allowed the Igbos to integrate well with the rest of Nigeria; the result being that most Igbo business men have their big businesses located outside Igbo land; we have Igbos who work for the Nigerian Government; we have Igbos whose livelihood is directly dependent in the ‘union’ called Nigeria; and above all, most of the Igbo elites and educated Igbos do not support the present agitation. This makes it not only difficult for Biafra to come into existence, but also makes it difficult for Biafra to be viable if it does come into existence. Factor in the possibility that there would be strained relationships between Nigeria and the newly established Biafra, then it becomes even more precarious. If the Nigerian Government decides to sack every Biafran under its employ, would the Igbo man who has a federal job meant for Nigerians renounce Nigeria, resign from his job, sit down at home and hope Biafra becomes heaven on earth? If the Nigerian Government decides to make Nigeria an uncomfortable place for Biafrans to own businesses, properties and to live in, would the Igbo business man who has a big industry in Lagos, renounce Nigeria and carry his complex and customers down to the east? What will those Igbos who have various properties across Nigeria do?  Surely, with Igbo states even struggling to pay salaries because of meagre internally generated revenues and reduced subvention from the Federal Government; if a Biafra is created now, I can only imagine it being a country of unemployed and impoverished people. No right thinking Igbo man would want that as a price to pay for a geographical location with the name Biafra...at least not in the present condition.
  4. The thinking that the problems of Ndi-Igbo would automatically be solved: This particular issue cannot be overemphasised. In fact, all I see are pro-Biafran agitators who know not what they are asking for and why...they just want Biafra and to be called Biafrans. There is an Igbo adage that says "onye n'amaghi ebe mmiri bidoro maba ya agaghi ama ebe ono kwusi ima ya". What really is the problem? Why must this Biafran state be established?

    Is the main problem marginalisation by the Northerners and South-westerners in the Nigerian polity? If yes, is such not going on in the states in Igbo-land and what plans are in place to make sure it doesn't continue in Biafra? Is the problem the neglect of Igbo-land by the Nigerian Federal government? If yes, do you not think that Governors of State in Igbo-land have done worse and should be the ones to get stick? Is the problem the fact that Igbos have few top positions in the Nigerian Government? If yes, to what extent did previous Igbo ministers and Senate Presidents change the lots of Ndi-Igbo? What really is/are the problems? And apart from wanting Biafra, what are the solutions to these problems? You just don’t say that because a pot of soup you prepared tastes funny, you want another one…why does it taste funny? And what is the likelihood that the new pot of soup wouldn’t taste funny as well?
The Biafra of my dream

The Biafra I dream of isn’t going to be a State, it is going to be an ideology. It will be an ideology that seeks to solve the problems inherent in the Igbo nation. It shall be an ideology that seeks to enthrone and enforce good leadership in Igbo States, it shall be an ideology that seeks to develop the Igbo nation industrially, it shall be an ideology which ensures that State Governors are held accountable for their stewardship and that Igbo sons and daughters contribute positively to the greater good of the Igbo nation, even as part of Nigeria. 

Imagine a Biafran ideology which could call for civil disobedience in any state where the leaders are not performing; a Biafran ideology that could bring everyone together to fight bad leadership with every legal means; a Biafran ideology that encourages investment in Igbo-land; a Biafran ideology that sees quality education as the currency in Igbo-land; a Biafran ideology that ensures that only credible persons are elected in Igbo-land; a Biafran ideology that looks out for the interests of every Igbo-man in the spirit of “onye aghala nwanne ya”; a Biafran ideology that seeks a confederation other than a state…an ideology that could best be psychological and socio-political. I must state that it isn't going to be your average Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo and wouldn't be easy to achieve, but it is more realistic than a Biafran state.

If this ideology shall yield expected benefits and self-dependence is tested with the Igbo nation as part of a Nigerian confederacy, it shall become easier to tell whether a sovereign state is needed or not and to make sure that every Igbo man has a say in it…I make Scotland in the United Kingdom a point of reference.

And finally, being called ‘Igbo’ is an identity enough, so for those who want 'Biafra' just for identity sakes…I really have nothing to say to you.

The Oracle has Spoken!!

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