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14.06.2017 Feature Article

Please Let Biafra Go

Did Arewa and Odua Youths give quit notice to Biafra? It was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe that cried out loud when the children of Nkrumah were kicked out of Nigeria with their Ghana Must Go bags. The guilt of seeing the children of Nkrumah pack even after Kofi Busia had kicked Nigerians out of Ghana, was too much to bear. If Azikiwe were alive, after fighting to keep Nigeria One, after deserting Ojukwu before Ojukwu deserted the War himself, Azikiwe would weep. Biafra stop!

One of the points made by the Oduduwa Youths is that Yoruba leaders, some mentored by Zik, have no stake in Yorubaland since their families no longer live at home, but live comfortably abroad. Odua Youths will not accommodate Igbo as their leaders did in their own time because the more they did, the stronger the Igbo have become in Yoruba land and the more demands they make. This is the time of the Youths and the future belongs to them not Yoruba leaders.

The reason the Arewa Youth quit notice is not as surprising as that of Oduduwa Youth has to do with low tolerance and distrust Hausa still harbor after the Ezeogwu coup in which Ahmadu Bello and some top Hausa Generals were killed. Though the Yoruba also lost Akintola, General Ademolegun and others, Yoruba have never turned it into animosity as the Hausa. The fact remains that most Nigerians share the blame for the coup and if the top politicians and the officers killed included Igbo, Ezeogwu could have become a national hero to all Nigerians.

Fast forward, the Hausa humiliated Yoruba when their elders went to Abuja to plead with President Jonathan they had voted for: on marginalization. They were confident that President Jonathan would not dare marginalize them! Danzuki was the Santa. They see Jonathan’s reign as Igbo power since they got everything they wanted as Igbo reminded him of their solid votes.

The irony of the whole situation was that Jonathan got votes across the land including Northern parts of the Country. In spite of corruption with impunity - our oil our money – internationally condemned; switching Yoruba support to Buhari brought the end of Jonathan. Igbo castigated Yoruba at every instance for Jonathan loss. They never saw anything good in Buhari’s Rule.

Yet, it was the first time in the history of Nigeria that Yoruba went into alliance with the North to bring down a government they considered indifferent to their needs. If anything, while the western part of Nigeria made up of Yoruba had boycotted the Federal to the pleasure of Igbo cohabiting with the North in Government throughout Nigeria’s history, the same Igbo were painting Yoruba as traitors for the same alliance. So what were Igbo in alliance with Hausa?

Usually, Odua Youths come to the defense of Igbo youths. There are still many dedicated Igbo Nigerians that carry the flag at home and abroad. But when we are informed that the same Igbo politicians that yearn for President of One Nigeria were the hijackers of Radio Biafra cause that was initially sponsored by MASSOB; it makes us wonder. Some of us are still wondering if Igbo Biafra really wants a separate nation or are using Biafra as bargaining chips to gain Presidency. Nevertheless, the days of begging the Igbo are gone. Please let Biafra go but leave our wives!

Definitely, the tactics that earned accommodation played by Azikiwe in Yoruba land, no longer suits the new generation of Igbo Youths in Yoruba land. While the declaration by Arewa Youths asking the Igbo to leave North was not surprising, other Yoruba wondered aloud about how far the Igbo Youths have gone to provoke same lack of tolerance from their Yoruba Youth brothers.

If anything, it has reached a backlash affecting the well being of innocent Igbo all over Nigeria. Nobody is buying the idea of separation first, negotiation later. If Igbo states as constituted by “an act of omission or commission separate,” there is nothing left to negotiate. Most Nigerians would not feel safe in Igbo states and many Igbo would not feel safe in Nigeria. While every law and negotiation as presently constituted may not support separation, Biafra cannot wait.

Therefore, Biafra may declare another secession before the end of negotiation. What will be different this time is that there will be no effort to force them back into Nigeria. It will be a declaration of free will on the part of Igbo and the rest of Nigeria. Igbo states and whichever states wants to go with them must negotiate within. It has got to a point where North boasts of food production needed for every survival against oil that will soon be useless for electric cars.

One of the many conflicts will be the choice of President other than Igbo within Biafra itself and how many ethnic groups would be willing to follow them into Promised land. If Igbo can convince their Nigerian cousins that freedom in the nation of Biafra would be better than their situation in Nigeria, they might get sympathetic followers. But if all the diseases that afflict Nigerians like corruption, 419, drugs and dictatorial tendencies follow Biafrans, they would have a hard time keeping their nation together. Unless they promise Efik, Edo or Ijaw President.

Unfortunately, Igbo want Hausa and Yoruba they hate to zone Presidency to them. The Buhari alliance intensified Igbo hatred for Yoruba. This is what the Odua Youths react to: that enough is enough. They traded insults and abuses with Igbo at every forum and castigated their elders for accommodating the Igbo to the point where Igbo think they have the right to Yoruba land by one means or the other. They make up statistics as their rights in the West but fear Hausa.

What they want most is “Lagos is within reach”! They want to elect the governor by their exaggerated number even when Bode George allowed them to present a member into the House unopposed in the primaries. Yet they questioned the use of Yoruba in the Lagos House and demanded appointments from the Western Governors.

There would have been nothing wrong with these demands if it can be reciprocated in the Igbo states. Outsiders and ladies can hardly buy a land in Igbo land without some logistic or cultural hindrance preventing it. Until Igbo start reinventing attraction by accommodation that makes other Nigerians comfortable in their mist: most would be indifferent to yearning for Biafra. The only problem is the situation Igbo Nigerians would find themselves through no fault of theirs.

It is also unfair to blame the failure to prosecute Boko Haram on Jonathan Government so that Hausa and Kanuri could kill off one another off. We must not forget that it was Adamu Ciroma and his gang that promised to destabilize Jonathan Government if the North did not win.

Farouk Martins Aresa
Farouk Martins Aresa, © 2017

This author has authored 490 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: FaroukMartinsAresa

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