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Opinion: Biafra: An agitation without a cause



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By Dr Moses George

The group known as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu has always claimed that its major goal is the secession of the Igbo speaking parts of the old Eastern Region from Nigeria.

Several incoherent reasons have been advanced as reasons for the agitation.

Most of those advocating for Biafra claim that for a very long time, they have been marginalized in the arrangement called Nigeria. As a matter of fact, most Igbo people claim that Nigerians are maltreating them – like slaves. Is it true that the Igbo people are suffering any form of marginalization in Nigeria as most of them are claiming? If so, who is marginalizing or maltreating them?

It is an irony that such a spurious allegation could emanate from a people who enjoy so much hospitality in every nook and corner of Nigeria. It is a truism that the Igbo people who are spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria where they are mostly engaged in one gainful economic activity or the other.

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So many of them have prospered tremendously; acquiring properties and all kinds of valuable assets outside their home states. There is no record that this has caused any form of disaffection or hostilities from any of their hosts in Nigeria.

As a matter of fact, some states, especially in the northern parts of Nigeria have even provided employment for Igbo people in their civil services. There are also several instances where Igbo people have been offered high profile political appointments in states outside eastern Nigeria.

It is a widely acknowledged truth that people from other parts of Nigeria don’t enjoy such generosity in any of the five states that make up the Igbo states. This should raise some questions about who is marginalizing who!

To say that people of Igbo extraction are the most accepted ethnic group in Nigeria is putting it mildly. Since the facts of this claim are there for everyone to see, an objective person may be compelled to wonder what the justification for the agitation for Biafra is all about. Is this whole agitation ethnic – propelled, or just a manifestation of secessionist tendencies?

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Compared to other parts of Nigeria (especially the north), the Igbo states appear to be better off. In the 2015 national development index, the geopolitical eastern and southern parts of Nigeria was far ahead in terms of education, gender equality and poverty reduction compared to the north. What does this and other similar statistics represent?

Like other parts of Nigeria, all the states and local governments’ councils in the 5 states that made up the Igbo speaking area of eastern Nigeria receive subventions every month from the federation account. If there is a dearth of infrastructures in that part of the country, shouldn’t the Igbo people hold their own leaders who take charge of such monies accountable?

It is a fact that the federal government of Nigeria initiated, and in several cases completed critical infrastructures in that part of the country as much as in other parts. How does that amount to marginalization or enslavement of the Igbo people? Is it not ludicrous to make such claims when there are no tangible facts to prove them?

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After the end of the Nigeria – Biafra war 50 years ago, one expects that the Igbo people will try to reintegrate properly into Nigeria instead of embarking on another secessionist adventure. Such activities will breed nothing, but distrust.

The resuscitation of the pro-Biafra sentiments by IPOB will not help the Igbo cause in Nigeria. Their agitation for the creation of the state of Biafra elicits this question: what does the Igbo people want; Nigerian Presidency or the Republic of Biafra? Like other ethnic groups, the Igbo people have the right to produce the president of Nigeria and nobody is stopping them. However, they must be prepared to work for it like any other ethnic group in Nigeria.


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