On Biafra, Nigeria and International Community.
“Where you have injustice, you will have rebellion”. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Former Chairman EFCC, 29th May 2009.
“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents”. John F. Kennedy
Lately the issue of Biafra has been on the news again, both locally and internationally. Yours truly missed watching a TV debate on Biafra, which was aired on the night (20:00 hrs) of Thursday, 30th July 2015 by Ben Television in United Kingdom. Much of these recent media attention, were generated by the activities of Radio Biafra London. The author has read many articles by prominent Nigerians, and watched a recent video on facebook, all in relation to Radio Biafra. A careful observer or reader of these recent articles would have noted two cardinal points, raised by most of the writers/presenter(s). The cardinal points are (a) outright condemnation (myself inclusive) of the inciting messages aired by Radio Biafra, and (b) call on the federal government to address the plights of South Easters (Igbos).
Plight of South Easterners (Igbos).
Due to space and time, this article will list only few issues. Till date, South East remains the only zone with five states. Other geo political zones have either six or seven states. Your states determines the number of senators, ministers, other appointments, recruitments into the civil service, military, paramilitary, monthly allocations etc that comes to your zone. Abia, Anambra and Imo States are oil producing states, whereas Igbos are at every corner of the country doing their businesses as well as paying taxes in those states. Therefore, it will not be wrong to consider Igbos as the ones practising one Nigeria. Without doubts, Igbos have contributed more to the development of Nigeria than any other tribe, and have also paid the most price. There are little or no federal government projects in the South East. Cut off marks for Igbos going to any federal government institution have always been the highest amongst other tribes. This was a tribe that never went to school for three years, during the war. Here is an example. Below is the 2013 cut off marks for national common entrance examination.
Abia – Male (130) Female (130), Adamawa- (Male 62) Female (62), Akwa Ibom (Male 123) Female (123), Anambra-(Male 139) Female (139), Bauchi – Male(35) Female(35),Bayelsa – Male(72) Female(72),Benue – Male(111) Female(111),Borno – Male(45) Female(45),Cross-Rivers – Male(97) Female(97),Delta – Male(131) Female(131),Ebonyi – Male(112) Female(112),Edo – Male(127) Female(127),Ekiti – Male(119) Female(119),Enugu – Male(134) Female(134),Gombe – Male(58) Female(58),Imo – Male(138) Female(138),Jigawa – Male(44) Female(44),Kaduna – Male(91) Female (91),Kano – Male(67) Female(67),Kastina – Male(60) Female(60),Kebbi – Male(9) Female(20),Kogi – Male(119) Female(119),Kwara – Male(123) Female(123),Lagos – Male(133) Female(133),Nassarawa – Male(58) Female(58),Niger – Male(93) Female(93),Ogun – Male(131) Female(131),Ondo – Male(126) Female(126),Osun – Male(127) Female(127),Oyo – Male(127) Female(127),Plateau – Male(97) Female(97),Rivers – Male(118) Female(118),Sokoto – Male(9) Female(13),Taraba – Male(3) Female(11),Yobe – Male(2) Female(27),Zamfara – Male(4) Female(2),FCT Abuja – Male(90) Female(90). http://www.nairaland.com/1300606/cut-off-marks-2013-national-common
A careful study of the above will reveal to you that cut off marks for South East States, were the highest. These have been going on for decades. Further down the memory lane, after the war, every Igbo wo/man was punished, by the fact, that each were given twenty pounds (£20), irrespective of whatever amount such person had in the bank, coupled with the complicities, of the then federal government in promulgating the abandoned properties decree, that seized the properties Igbos left in Port Harcourt, when they ran home during the war. One fact is clear. These obnoxious policies, were not by accident, but by design.
Other Agitations in Nigeria and around the world.
Nigeria is not new to ethnic agitations or any agitations of some sorts, ranging from Movement for the Survival of Ogoni people (MOSOP), Movement for the actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Arewa People’s Congress (APC), Biafra Zionist Movement(BZM) etc. These groups emerged because of one form of perceived injustices or another. The federal government have used force at some point, which didn’t end any of the movements. Federal government also killed some of their leaders in the past (Ken Saro Wiwa etc), jailed some leaders (Asari Dokugbo, Ralph Uwazurike, etc), but none of these actions have ended any of the movements, rather it made them more popular. Federal government in its wisdom chose to negotiate with Niger Delta militants, and have offered to negotiate with Boko Haram (terrorist group). This leads us to the fact, that you don’t defeat ideological movements by war, but by negotiations and counter/superior arguments.
Nigeria is not alone. There are similar groups all around the world, examples are Irish Republican Army, Euskadi Ta Azkatasuna (ETA) in Spain, Polisario Front in Western Sahara. Scotland nearly got their independence from UK, through a referendum. There are many far rights groups in Europe and America, whose aim is to drive away all foreigners.
Correcting a Notion.
Some people are saying that Radio Biafra increased their activities, since President Buhari came on board, but that’s not true. They have been on air before now. It was during President Goodluck Jonathan, that another pro Biafran group (Biafra Zionist Movement) attempted twice to seize Enugu State government house, and lastly the Enugu State Broadcasting Service, in order to broadcast Biafran Republic. They killed one police man in their attempt to gain entrance, before they were arrested. The tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan witnessed the killing of more MASSOB (Movement for the actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra) members.
Pro Biafran groups have submitted a petition at the (a) United Nations, (b) African Union (c) at No 10 Downing Street London (Office of the British Prime Minister) etc. They did all these based on the United Nations recognition of right to self determination by groups. On May 30th of every year, Igbos remembers/commemorates those that died at the Biafran war. These events take places, in almost every country of the world, where Igbos are residing. Practically, Igbos are at every nook and cranny of the world. Radio Biafra is on satellite broadcasting all over the world, in addition to their online presence. Recent attempts to block them from Nigerian airwaves, have increased their popularity, such that other international media took attention. Suffice it to say once again, that, their inciting messages are dangerous and misleading.
America, China, India, and the European Union are more diverse and populated than Nigeria. Their unity gets stronger by the day. There is something propelling these countries to greater heights. America is land of opportunities. They have improved over time, hence Obama was able to become their President. In European Union, there is free movement of personnel, goods and service to each country. You can make any of the twenty seven (27) countries of European Union your home. Not so in Nigeria. We need fairness, equal opportunities etc, otherwise agitation will never stop. Quoting Ribadu (Former EFCC Chairman), “Where you have injustice, you will have rebellion”.
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