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BIAFRA, OH BIAFRA!, By Ikechukwu Obi

Opinion

BIAFRA, OH BIAFRA!, By Ikechukwu Obi

NEWISSUES, Abuja

Vladimir Maximov’s classic novel “Farewell From Nowhere” provides this quote which memory may not allow me reproduce verbatim but it goes something like this:

“Fear not the apathetic for they’re scarcely alive anyway. Rather, fear the zealots for they upset the natural equilibrum of things”.

Years ago, I encountered a MASSOB demonstration in the East in a personal way…my impression was that these were rather misinformed zealots. But believe me, in terms of zealotry, MASSOB is child’s play compared to Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB.

I saw clips of the pro-Biafra protests yesterday and I was very uneasy…if not that I’m being diplomatic I should have said I was outrightly alarmed. Open demands for secession and waving Biafran flags should worry every sane person in this country. And unlike the hired crowds of political rallies, what I saw yesterday was spontaneous and emotionally charged.

Clearly, Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest was self-engineered to bait the FG and spark off mass protests and indignation. I think that’s clear enough. But the deeper, more subtle and most dangerous aim was to use the FG’s reaction to radicalize moderate middle-of-the-road Ndigbo into open secession.

Well, I can’t say more than this – any serious secessionist attempt will have dire consequences on all sides. Conversely, if the FG’s bid to crush any such uprising is high-handed (as we know it usually is), then Nigeria may well be on the way to fulfilling the much talked about US prediction.

Speaking for myself, I prefer a strong united Nigeria…it makes better socioeconomic sense for everyone provided all constituent units are guaranteed justice and equality.
However since social justice is non-existent especially in this ‘5% – 97%’ dispensation, the only reasonable thing will be to hold ethnic nationality-based discussions on how we can co-exist more meaningfully than this sorry charade we parade for a nation.

Yes, true fiscal federalism is the only way to resolve the socio-economic and ethno-religious contradictions in this country. Yes, Ndigbo can co-exist with other groups in a united Nigeria if a reasonably high level of resource control and self determination is guaranteed to all component units in Nigeria.

In a politically deregulated federalism, we Ndigbo can have an economic Biafra in a region with 24hr power supply from Geometrics, every city linked by rail, with heavy industries concentrated in Nnewi and Aba, with Onitsha as river port, Owerri as top holiday destination and Ebonyi as the food basket. Yes, we can still have our Biafra while a part of a united Nigeria.

Concerning our methods of agitation, let’s be careful in this country…let’s be very, very careful.

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