My Thoughts on Biafra
There is no problem with declaring yourself a sovereign nation. As a matter of fact, anyone can. You may not be recognised internationally (ask Palestine and Northern Cyprus), but you can go ahead. You only need:
- A name
- A government
- Permanent population
- Ability to enter into relations with other states
Now, the last item is a bit of an issue. Because most land is already taken up by other sovereign states — except for parts of Antartica. That leaves you with 2 options: buy a sovereign state, or invade one. If you don’t have the money to buy country, well, tough. And if you’re going to invade one, you better have the military might to do so effectively.
The issue with IPOB is that they have declared Biafra an independent nation in someone else’s (i.e. Nigeria’s) territory. At best, you can describe this as an invasion, at worst, a rebellion. Then, when you threaten the smooth running of said country — by threatening its scheduled elections, then, you’re just asking for it. You can very well expect a response. Or don’t you think so? Why then are we surprised that Nigeria is flexing its military muscle?
On top of that, some of the constituent states in said Biafra have declared themselves out of Biafra already — Akwa Ibom for one. Even some citizens of Ndi Igbo have said they want nothing of it. The Igbo politicians want none of it. The Igbo elders want none of it. That is to say that they proposed Biafra is already in disunity, even before it’s created.
If the problem is marginalization, we hear you loud and clear. Yes, the federal government has too much power and control over resources. Yes, more should be done for the states and regions. But is declaring yourself a sovereign nation the solution? Is threatening violence to achieve this purpose the way forward? C’mon!
There is a solution
We are in a democracy. There are senators and federal representatives, from these putative“Biafran states”. Why not approach them, make your case to them so that your case can be argued where other constitutional issues are argued — in the national assembly. You can’t take the laws into your own hands, and yet ask for a civil resolution. No be so. Nobody go gree. Go through the proper channels. And if your voice is still not heard, there is an international community out there. Take it there.
Referendum is not it
Elections are expensive. So, you cannot expect Nigeria to go to election simply because you asked. On top of that, countries normally go to referendum to change something, not keep what they have in place. Thus, if you want something changed, the onus is on you to provide proof for that change by yourself. And no, it is not by forcing people to sit at home. There are avenues, means by which you can file a legitimate complaint — consider change.org.
All said, I am in support of a peaceful resolution. Violence will get us nowhere. Go ask your parents what it was like during the Nigerian Civil war. Go ask Liberia, Rwanda, Congo, Ivory Coast, Sudan, South Sudan (where they’re still fighting, by the way)… whether the Civil War left them better or worse.
I am also in support of ONE Nigeria. We are a young country, and an even younger democracy. Yes, money spoilt us in the early days. But we can only grow and learn from our mistakes. I reckon we’ll be alright in the long run, envied even. We have all it takes, we just need to apply some common sense. My prayer is “Let common sense fall on us all”. Amen!