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An Unceasing Call for Secession and an Unbreakable Nigeria

An Unceasing Call for Secession and an Unbreakable Nigeria

For over many years now, different groups have sprang up in Nigeria seeking for the Balkanization of the country for certain reasons known to them, which are mostly political and economic. These groups, with their ever devoted and ardent members and supporters have held demonstrations and rallies in many countries across the globe just to see that the actualization of their desired country comes to fruition. 

Some of these agitations which are not widely recognized have thrived better on the social media, with no known leader seen to be spearheading the agitation, and no visible demonstration. These agitations include the call for Middle Belt republic, Niger Delta Republic and B.R.A.C.E.D. Republic.

The middle belt states and the FCT

These secessionist groups having gained wide acknowledgement across the globe and having strived towards attaining Independence, have not yielded the desired result despite their relentlessness and commitment to the struggle.

Indeed, self-determination is not a crime. Every tribe has the right to decide the way they want to live their lives and handle their social, political and economic activities. In fact, Article 20 of the African Union (AU) African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights guarantees every people the inalienable right to self determinatiocn. 

Close to 30 years after the Nigeria-Biafra Civil war, the agitation for the sovereign state of Biafra got kindled with the emergence of the group, Movement of the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of Ralph Uwazuruike, who led the struggle on a non-violent and non-exodus principle, although things later changed with their subsequent clashes with the Nigerian police. Later on, there was a split in the struggle, and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu came on board as the leader of the new group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), after serving as the Director of Radio Biafra, and his agitation came with the use of hate speech, abuses, propaganda and historical revisionism, and now the southeastern part of the country is no longer a safe haven for those who do not believe in Biafra.

But it will be very hard for these groups to break away from the country because the system of government being practiced in the country does not allow for secession. Nigeria operates on a federal system of government and there is no clause for secession in our Constitution. What happened after the Akwa Ibom Leader Coalition stormed the United Nations to demand for their country, Ibom Republic. Constraining the UN to grant a request for secession won’t yield any result. The UN is not an organization that shares countries for agitators, and you do not expect the UN to intervene or intrude into state affairs, and break the country.

Still Nigeria cannot break, because?

No country ever gained Independence by resorting to armed struggle. A roadmap to freedom is never built on violence or use of arms and ammunition. Take a look at the effects of civil war on the Ambazonian Republic, who are seeking for secession from Cameroon. I saw a video which surfaced online showing an Igbo youth dealing mercilessly with elderly Igbo men who did not support the call for Biafra. There are also other incidents when people were intimidated because they were not in support of Biafra. Look at what happened to people who did not obey the sit-at-home order for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. You don’t get your desired country with these kind of actions but only show to the world your violent nature. 

No Country gained Independence through the use of propaganda, but through peaceful negotiations. The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has indeed worked on the thinking of his followers. Take a critical look at the sit-at-home orders. It does not in anyway move the Nigerian Government but only kills the South East economically. Did Nnamdi Kanu on several occasions not prophesy the day Biafra will gain Independence. The IPOB has gotten wide criticism from Nigerians including Igbo men and women due to their use of propaganda. IPOB spread a false information that the Government bribed Nnamdi Kanu with $15 billion dollars to leave the struggle for Biafra. The group  also lied about a secret local airport in Zamfara state where northern Fulani Politicians were transporting gold to other countries. It is indeed enervating that some people in the Southeast have fallen for the falsehood of their leader and their group. 

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As psychologists who study cognitive bias would posit, people often look at events and issues through the distorting prisms of their political ideologies, group history, interests and their desire to see themselves in a positive light. Kanu has indeed brainwashed the young minds and has radicalized them to the extent that they now see him as a god. 

No Country gained Independence through a Call for War. Not until President Muhammadu Buhari threatened on his Twitter page that the Igbos in the Southeast would be taught in the language they understood, the members of IPOB had always beaten the drums of war. The Yoruba Armed Forces, an armed group in the Southwest also propagated on their Facebook page that War was the fastest way to Independence. We have seen on several occasions when Nnamdi Kanu said he would unleash hell on Nigeria.

The only viable solution to these secessionist agitations is to restructure the country. Calls have been made by concerned groups and individuals who desire the unity of the nation, but the Nigerian Government isn’t heeding to it. Nigeria needs to practice a true, fiscal federalism. This will allow for devolution of power to the federating units, resource control and the likes while taxes are being paid to the centre.

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