I have a dilemma; I’m a Nigerian yet 90% of my friends are Biafrans, even my girlfriend is a Biafran. So, what does that make me? Does it mean that if and when the secession works, I will no longer have friends and may also lose my girlfriend, if we don’t get married before then?
Now, that is about the least of what will happen to Nigeria and Igbos if their plan of 48 years comes to fruition.
All their numerous investments scattered across the country and the relationships they’ve built for years will be lost to a war that might be more devastating than the one instigated by the people’s general, the Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Innocent lives will be lost all for political dominance and greed. Some Igbos don’t even know any other home other than Lagos; would they really want to sacrifice that on the altar of a cause that may be lacking in direction.
What led to the secession, and subsequently the civil war in 1967 made the war that lasted for 30 months inevitable.
Albeit, what really is the driving force this time? Is it just about the marginalization, the political wars, sheer hatred for the north or is there a more sinister motive? Does the control of the oil in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria (sorry, it should be Biafra according to Kanu’s map of the new Biafra) come in question here?
The only time I have seen the proposed Biafra really united with a common cause was during the presidential election that brought in the incumbent President. The way the Igbos cast their votes with one mind for Jonathan was a class act, it was so…now I can’t remember the word.
Though their candidate lost, that united front in the east, spoke volumes. But of course there was only one explanation to that unifying stance; Jonathan’s opponent was a core Northerner and a Hausa-Fulani at that.
During the April 2015 polls, the Igbos voted for solidarity sake, they voted sentiments; they never did look beyond the candidates. Who Jonathan was up against was far from being the problem, the challenge was the tribe of his opponent. The moment they realized Jonathan’s opponent was going to be a Fulani man, nothing else mattered.
If you brought a renowned saint or messiah from the north, as long as he’s Hausa or Fulani, an Igbo man would care less; he would still cast his vote for an assassin even if the assassin is a Yoruba man. That’s how much they hate the North. The animosity between Igbos and Hausas/Fulani stinks. If today the North decides to break away from Nigeria, be sure to see the Igbos in seventh heaven. I’m not sure what the relationship between the Igbos and the Yorubas is though, it’s something both tribes would rather not talk about.
Trust me, I don’t like the typical Fulani man, I even feel we should never have been in the same country; my 3-year stint in the North lays credence to that. However, I admire and love anyone with a good heart regardless of where he/she is from, even if the person is Fulani. In fact, I have a close Fulani friend called Binta, whom I met on a trip from Jos to Bauchi some four years back. Though I once pointed out my biased feelings towards her tribe, but definitely not the way I’m stating it in this piece. So, when she gets to read this, I’m not sure we will still be friends. (lol)
Now, when I say I don’t like Fulanis, I mean the Fulani race which cuts across the whole of West Africa. I am not talking about pure Hausas or other Northerners; those ones may just be the nicest Nigerians to be with when you don’t get on their nerves, but I guess inferiority complex may just be responsible for the ease at which they become loose cannons when you least expect. The problem with the non-Northerners that have never left their comfort zone (I’m not just talking about Igbos here) is that, they think every Northerner is the same; be it Hausa, Fulani, Nupe, Birom, Kanuri e.t.c. Far from it, the attitude of a Fulani man is entirely different from a pure Hausa man or even a Kanuri man, so is their culture too. Hope we know that some Hausas are actually Christians? I’ll bet you didn’t know that.
But I digress.
Back to my take on the new agitation for the sovereign state of Biafra;
Do those youths (or would it be proper to call them children?) who now put their trust in a Nmadi Kanu whose real ambition is unclear know what led to the secession in 1967? Do they realize how many years it took the Igbos to recover from the monumental loss they suffered from, during and after the war?
How will they even know any of these when history has been left out in the cold? Whoever came up with the idea to shut out history from our school curriculum definitely has some real explaining to do.
Worse still, the youths no longer sit down with elders to learn from them? Of what use will that kind of education even be? The youths say the elders are all corrupt yet they don’t fare any better with the small political positions they are handed. How well did you fare in that SUG position or departmental/faculty hotspot? No be money una dey steal there too?
Again I digress.
Nonetheless, for the sake of this discussion, I’ll tell us what led to the Biafran war of 1967:
The pogrom that was perpetrated by Northerners against Igbos in many parts of Northern Nigeria as illustrated in Chimanada Adichie’s half of a yellow sun was the last straw that broke the Igbo man’s camel’s back. Though the Igbos drew first blood in an ill-planned coup, the Northerners were only too grateful, because what the whole world saw afterwards was blood and guts.
Eastern Nigeria no longer felt secured in a north-dominated republic. They didn’t feel safe anymore in Nigeria asides their own land, so they needed to leave. I still don’t understand why it was so hard for the Yakubu Gowon led Federal Military Government of Nigeria to let go. The Biafrans had every right to secede from a hurriedly put together country. It was just six years after independence; the political situation in the country was in complete disarray. It became obvious that the area the British carved out and named Nigeria was a complete sham. If I lived in that era maybe I would have supported them. But of course, that the secession did not happen without a fight was not just about the Federal Military Government of Nigeria. Our selfish and devious British watchdogs would never have allowed that to happen. If the Igbos were gonna walk away without the oil in the Niger-Delta or the present day South-South region of the country, probably no one would have cried blue murder or given a hoot. Good riddance to bad rubbish; that’s what the Yorubas and Hausas would most likely say. They would still make the same statements to one another if the tables were turned though.
The Igbos are the major stake holders in present day Nigeria in terms of commerce, so I wonder where Nnamdi Kanu is going with this. Go ask the Igbos in other parts of the country asides Eastern Nigeria if they are in support of this ‘New Biafra’ in the pipeline. The Igbos will rather lose political power and recognition, than the wealth and investments that took years to amass. Please give it to them, they are the most industrious Nigerians that ever lived, whether by hook or crook.
Also, do the minorities within the proposed Biafra genuinely like the Igbos self? Can they cope with the sheer arrogance and domineering nature of a typical Igbo man? The only reason why an Igbo man would call someone from the South-South a brother is because of the Black Gold in that region. Even Niger-Delta clamours for her own federation; they want to control their own resources too.
So, how united are these Biafrans, really? Will a Biafra be better than Nigeria in terms of political differences and marginalization? What difference will the division make? What good would it bring for Biafra and Biafrans alike?
Biafra! I still wait for a clearer and more genuine motive for this new agitation because the one you put forward is lopsided and lacks bearing. Nnamdi Kanu should go ask those close to the camp of the late Ikemba 1 of Nnewi, how much weight his plans for a separate republic carried. Odumegwu’s cause was almost a done deal even before the war started; he was a warlord. Abeg, who be Kanu?
Ojukwu fled to Ivory Coast towards the end of the war, leaving his Vice, General Phillip Effiong of blessed memory, to surrender to Gowon. I’m sure Nnamdi Kanu would do worse if he gets an opportunity to lead the Biafran forces. It’s easy to spit fire and brimstone when you are yet to experience war. They say when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, but, they never told us where the tough goes. Ojukwu fled to Abidjan when the going got tough, I don’t know where Kanu would go when this new cause of his takes a deadly twist; that depends on how tough he is though.
I may never have supported this pretentious convergence of distinct ethnic groups called Nigeria, albeit this is not the way to go.
Let’s do this again tomorrow…
God bless Nigeria!
Lekan Linkin LofinjiMember of the Federation(MOF)