Adedayo Osho: Biafra Republic; A Myth Or Reality

On Friday 6th of November 2015, South-East largest city, Onitsha witnessed thousands of anti-government demonstrators, primarily under the aegis of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB staged Million Man March protesting the continued detention of their group leader and managing director of Radio Biafra: Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

This is not the first time a separatist movement like IPOB would assemble in Nigeria. In the early years of political independence, Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro had declared Niger Delta Republic. The struggle only lasted for twelve days. Agitation for Biafra Republic, which is currently gaining traction was first championed in 1967 by late charismatic leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu- the Ikemba II of Nnewi.

Fast forward to four decades after the end of civil war in 1970: West Africa tiger, Nigeria faces security challenges along its three dominant ethnic/geographical line. Resilient killing of civilians by Boko Haram in the North; Clandestine proliferation of light arms by the Oodua Peoples’ Congress in South-West; and the insufferable propaganda employed to dent the country’s image by Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra in the South-East.

Scotland and Spain’s Catalonia experience provides modern reference point for federal government on how best to handle secessionist agitation by Ndigbo. Dragging South Sudan which has now slide into a war-torn zone inside the case at hand, leading forces for Biafra must consider the brutal consequence of power rivalry. This is not intended for insult on ground of leadership incompetence. Ongoing political rumble between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President turned-rebel leader, Riek Machar offers secessionists anywhere in the world a lesson on how manufactured nations bicker with power. Since large swathes of Niger Delta will be merged along with the long anticipated Biafra Republic, if any coming to being, our cousins in the coastal region need start raising dialectical questions on power sharing/allocation under a refurbished nation.

I advise my Ndigbo brothers to wear the garment of civic and pursue their course with subtle nobility. Rather than resort to violence or propaganda, the place of strong advocacy for referendum remains their golden alternative.

For instance, In January 2015, the company GFK Ukraine, a member of one of the largest international companies in the field of marketing research, GfK Group (Nurenberg, Germany) conducted a survey in the Crimea. Results of the survey showed that about 93% of Crimean residents support the reunification of Crimea with Russia, voted against only by 4% of respondents. “Do you support the reunification of the Crimea to Russia?”

82% – fully support
11% – probably, support
2% – do not support
2% – probably, do not support
3% – hard to say.

Forbes business magazine writes that one year after the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tartars are all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine.

It need be emphasised that self-determination is strongly supported by United Nation UN itself. There’s no gain in painting a bad image of one’s rivals in an attempt to convince admirers. That courageous man, Nnamdi Kanu and his co-travellers should be informed that slaves who devised slanderous concoctions as a means of gaining freedom from their master will only extend their years of stewardship.

I’m aware that those who harp on secession does owing to political marginalisation and domination my powerful groups, but then, for true Biafranism to manifest, Ndigbo needs the backing of many of their political leaders who are wary of their pocket and the benefits accrued to a larger political territory: Nigeria.

Adedayo Osho is a political analyst and freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor degree in Political Science & Education from University of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. Email: Twitter: @Jahpolitical

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

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