Monday, July 15, 2024



By Comrade Innocent Ebirim Okadigbo (Mkpisi Edemede)

The President of any country, the Governor of any State, the Leader of
any Organization does not have the monopoly of knowledge to address
issues in the course of leadership. Any wise leader who wants to
succeed should preoccupy his or her self with receiving sound ideas
from others on governance and development otherwise the reverse will
be the case.
The agitation for the creation of a Separate Republic of Biafra from
Nigeria which has now aggravated to agitation for the creation of a
Separate Niger Delta Sovereign State is a central and burning issue in
Nigeria’s public domain today.
If the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria will be sustained,
wise steps based on sound ideas should be taken by our leaders to
resolve the issues that led to these vociferous and separatist
agitations. But if our leaders keep advertizing ignorance, committing
blunders here and there and refrain from resolving issues that led to
these bitter agitations, surely the break-up of Nigeria may be
It was Prof Taofeek Ladan, an erudite scholar in Law who stated that
conflict resolution is all about addressing the root causes of the
conflict and resolving these causes through the establishment of
justice. There is no way the agitations for separate countries by
South-East and South-South activists will be eliminated without first
and fore-most resolving the major issues in their agitations.
I once wrote and published an article titled “PMB Voodoo Theories and
Resurgence of Biafra” where I cautioned against the use of military
might against the agitations. I picked holes in some of the negative
theories adopted by PMB in addressing the agitation for Biafra which
include Vindictive and Exclusion theory involving the punishment of
Ibos for not voting for Buhari and which of course sparked off the
renewed agitations; the Underestimation and Under-Rating Theory where
PMB dismissed the agitation for Biafra as a non-threat; the
Non-Negotiability of Nigerian Unity Theory where PMB argued the
separatist matter cannot be discussed which I knocked off with the
referenda for separate countries in areas like Southern Sudan and
Scotland and Solidarity Theory for Palestine Liberation Organization
where PMB supported PLO’s movement which I argued was a signal to
separate movements in Nigeria to intensify their own struggles.
Finally, I warned Nigeria leadership that if the right steps were not
taken, the agitations would catapult to Notoriety. As I predicted, the
agitation for Biafra has intensified despite the extra-judicial
killings of Biafran agitators. To worsen the matter, the Niger Delta
Avengers (NDA) an armed militant group has threatened to declare a
Sovereign State of Niger Delta in October 2016 if their demands were
not met. These agitations may continue to expand and worsen if Mr.
President does not take the right steps to curtail them in the few
days and weeks ahead, perhaps that is the way God wants it. Who knows?
The igniting force of this article was a declaration by PMB in his
home state of Katsina that “I am ready to fight back to defend the
country from those agitating for the creation of Biafran State, even
if we will get drowned”. PMB further states that the current agitators
for Biafra were not born when Nigerian fought the internecine conflict
where over 2 million people were killed to keep Nigeria one and
united.  He vowed that his government was ready to fight again if need
be to secure the unity of Nigeria. Before now, the Federal Government
had ordered the military to crush the agitators which was why many
peaceful protesters for Biafra had been allegedly killed by Nigeria’s
military. Similarly, the Federal Government had reportedly ordered the
military to crush the armed members of Niger Delta Avengers
threatening the secession of the oil rich region.
That Katsina declaration tends to portray Mr. President as a great
patriot who is committed to the oneness, unity, indissolubility and
indivisibility of Nigeria. Mr. President further promised to ensure
justice in the country. How can Mr. President guarantee the unity of
Nigeria when his policies and programmes are highly discriminatory
which make some parts of the country feel as if they are second class
citizens? The agitators for separation feel their regions are
oppressed, enslaved, maltreated, imprisoned, and unfairly treated for
too long in Nigerian project.
To many analysts, that declaration in Katsina soil was like an ethnic
conspiracy to establish the superiority of one ethnic group over
others and to crush the ethnic groups classified as inferior in
Nigerian Project. This resulted in vitriolic responses by some groups
against Mr. President.
The use of military to crush agitators for justice in Nigeria is
counterproductive and the resort to war to overcome the agitation is a
blunder. In the case of South-east, the agitators are peaceful,
non-violent and not armed. How can a government which is preaching for
peace and unity unleash organized violence against its non-armed
citizens? War is usually the last resort when all avenues of dialogue
and peaceful negotiations have failed. In this context, Mr. President
is introducing war as the first resort without any form of dialogue
and peaceful negotiation and this is why I refer the use of war here
as a blunder. The so-called Nigeria-Biafra war which Mr. President and
past leaders like Gowon and Obasanjo are always talking about was
preceded by intensive peaceful dialogue.
The Federal Government should equally realize that the use of military
could not quench the former armed militancy in the Niger Delta region
until Late President Ya’ Radua graciously introduced the Amnesty
One fact to be noted is that these agitations are spiritual,
psychological, socio-cultural and historical, which explain why the
agitators are daring, bold, courageous and non-relenting in their
struggles. Nnamdi Kalu, the leader of Indigenous People Of Biafra
(IPOB) who is being incarcerated in the prison declared that he
preferred death to renouncing Biafra. Most of these young men and
women who did not witness the Nigerian-Biafra war and are currently
agitating for Biafra grew up and witnessed hatred, injustice,
oppression and wickedness by Nigerian state against their people.
If Nigeria will remain united as Mr. President has vowed, it should be
operated on sound principles of equity, justice and fairness and
compromising these principles will pronounce doom on the unity of the
country. President Buhari should reposition himself so that every
Nigerian particularly the aggrieved groups should see him as the true
and caring father of all. Henceforth, his policies, programmes and
projects should not be selective and discriminatory. The current
marginalization and alienation of the Ibos in his government because
they did not vote for him should cease.
The Federal Government should set up a high powered team made up of
detribalized and bridge building Nigerians to study, negotiate and
dialogue with these agitators so that sincere and implementable
solutions can be applied to the agitations. Mr. President should stop
supporting secessionist bids of Western Sahara and PLO because it is
giving wrong signals and fuelling bid for self-determination in
Ideas rule the world. Mr. President should select six academically and
ethically sound Professors of political science from each of the six
geo-political zones to a brain-storming meeting so that pragmatic
solutions can be brought out and applied to these agitations. Mikhail
Gorbachev midwived the peaceful disintegration of former United USSR
into separate countries.
Why do we always think that the forceful marriage called Nigeria that
is bringing so much pains and agony is the best for us?

Comrade Innocent Ebirim Okadigbo (Mkpisi Edemede) a Pro-democracy
activist and Media Practitioner writes from Abuja via
[email protected]




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