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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Must Read: Things That Will Happen once Biafra is granted.

The agitation for an independent Biafra state has soared since President Muhammadu Buhari cameinto power and the region has not kept secret its displeasure of the current administration.

President Buhari has been accused by the Igbos of marginalisation and trying to Islamise the country with the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra fuelling the agitation. Although President Buhari has said that he will not conduct a referendum to determine whether to grant the request for secession, this has not stopped the campaign for Biafra.Pro-Biafra groups have staged several protests to call attention to their desire and there was significantcompliance with the stay-at-home protest on Friday, September 24 in some parts of the south organised by IPOB and this has also caught theattention of international communities.Let us assume that President Buhari releases Kanu and grants a referendum and the Igbos vote overwhelmingly for an independent Biafra state, here are 6 things that may likely happen in the new country.

Nnamdi Kanu will not be president

Nnamdi kanu

Kanu’s imprisonment because of hisagitation for Biafra has made him one of the most popular and liked Igbos. However, this has not raised him to the same position that the late Odumegwu Ojukwu reached. While some have compared him to Mandela, it is very likely that he will not get the same chance at presidency as Mandela did.
Ojukwu was both a highly educated man from a prominent family and a foremost military officer so he was already poised for leadership which made it possible for him to call for and lead the Biafra war. His charisma placed him in a leadership position militarily and politically and he would have slotted perfectly into the leadership position either as a military head of state or a democratically elected president.While Kanu might have been sent to prison due to his agitation for Biafra, it is unlikely he will be granted the opportunity to lead the new Biafra state as he does not possess the same charisma Ojukwu had.It is even likely that the same elites that have dominated the Igbo political sphere will still be at the fore front of the new Biafra state.

Internal strife

Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB)While the agitation for Biafra might seem like a popular desire among Igbo people, it is not a reflection of the relationship that exists amongst them with the different Biafra groups testifying to this. There is the Movement for the Actualisation for a sovereign State Of Biafra (MASSOB),IPOB (which Kanu belongs to) and Biafra Liberation Movement (BLM) all fighting for the cause of Biafra but the differences amongst them is not hidden as there seem to be a battle for supremacy. There is an attempt by the different pro-Biafra groups to push for recognition as the true Biafra group while at the same time trying to discredit the other. This same differences and fight for recognition is likely to continue when the Biafra state is achieved as each group feels it did more than the other in the fight for Biafra and therefore deserves a larger share of political recognition.
Another indication of this internal difference that is likely to manifest ishow the people of Ebonyi are perceived and treated. While not very pronounced, the state and its people have been considered less active in the cause of Biafra while their non-compliance with the stay-at-home protest is a testimony of this assumption. They are likely not to receive the same leadership position accorded to Anambra which is likely going to fuel discord.

Corruption will continue

Corruption has been one of the greatest problems in Nigeria but sadly, an independent Biafra state will not suddenly cure this disease. Many Igbos are of the opinion that the underdevelopment of some places in the region will be automatically corrected once an independent Biafra state is achieved.While this is optimistic thinking, it is not going to happen that way.The systematic corruption that has bedevilled the country has been perpetuated by the same people that are already poised for leadership position in the newly achieved Biafra state. That the new country will be made up of primarily Igbo people will not automatically immune it against corruption as seen in the way state governors in some of the states have performed.

Plea for south south merger

Port Harcourt
If the new Biafra state is only made up of the 5 south east states – Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi – then the new land-locked country will try to merge or align with the south south in order to benefit from the seaport. The major ports in Nigeria are in Lagos, Delta, Port Harcourt and Calabar although some have argued that Obuaku Ndoki port in Abia can serve the need of the Biafra state. The truth is that due to the high demand for importation as seen in the number of Igbos who do business in Lagos ports; there will beneed to align with the closest effective ports close to them. Some Igbos have argued that the south south region is technically partof Biafra but the region itself has also agitated for resource control rather than secession and it is unlikely that it would allow itself to be absorbed by the new Biafra state.

Dilemma for those in Lagos

There is no doubt that Igbos have contributed their own share to the development of Lagos and for many, Lagos has become their primary home and it would not be an easy decision to make. There has always been accusation that the Igbos who live and do business in Lagos abandon and ignore their own region.The theory is that the south east region would be as developed as Lagos if the Igbo traders doing business there return home. This is false.The Igbos have been known to do business and take the market to the people instead of the other way round. They understand that sometimes, you need to take your goods to the customer instead of waiting for the customer to come around to your place. An independent Biafra state will see the return of some people back to their homes but for those who stable businesses in Lagos, it might be a serious issue on whether they should take their business to the new country or continue with it.


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