Is it conceivable to argue that Biafra technically was not conquered but was forced to surrender due to a very asphyxiating economic blockade; which brought untold hardship on the people of Biafra thereby compelling the protagonists of the war effort to throw in the towel? Could this effort at secession just be in abeyance since there is still no real reconciliation, rehabilitation and re-integration amongst Nigerians thirty eight years after the end of firearms-hostilities between Biafra and Nigeria? Is it logical to postulate that although the battle was technically “lost” in the war front but the war still goes on in the hearts and minds of both sides particularly the people of Biafra? Further is it plausible to say that the rest of Nigerians do not really want Biafra to come back into their fold, otherwise, where are their incentives? Assuming the surrender is conclusive, could Biafra then be the only lost cause in the annals of freedom fighting and survival efforts throughout the world? Was it Sudan with John Garanger? Was it East Timor and Indonesia? Was it Aceh in Malaysia? Was it Palestine or in the Balkans Kosovo which provides us the reference place in this discuss. Freedom fighters all over the world usually most always end up with either a two nation states arrangement or at minimal, a power-sharing arrangement wherein the fears of the fighters are enshrined in a document and protected by the oppressive central government; with the rebel leader as a vice president or premier carrying out oversight functions respecting the arrangement. Why Biafra’s result was different remains to be emphatically and empirically determined; however some school of thought posits that Biafra’s cause became so personalized thereby alienating other interests groups hitherto propagating it and also that Biafra failed to properly mobilize her war effort. Some protagonists have quipped that Biafra was a child of necessity and under such circumstances could not have done any better. To this blogger, the jury is still out on the real under-belly of what made Biafra to “fail” and this cause will remain a secret until long after the principals on both sides have all gone, then and only then would the real root cause of what went awry be revealed.
Nigeria as an entity is an aberration. It is a ruse. It is a quandary. It is an illusion. It made no sense then when it was clobbered together by colonial Britain with their amalgamation of 1914, it does not make sense now as a “viable” political entity and it will not ever make sense in the future as a viable force to reckon with. Nigeria’s inactive passivity at present is comparable to a volcano that although not currently erupting is very restive inside the bowls of the earth. It is an unholy marriage – people forcibly yoked together in an unholy wedlock will someday either divorce themselves or kill one another. For some time now without end Nigerians have been clamoring for a Sovereign National Conference to discuss the conditions of their continued tolerance of one another as a country but to no avail. Some lords of manor therein have resisted this call and the same people are first to question why all the mushrooming freedom fighters especially in the Niger Delta area of the country. This clique of people forget that those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable. To some people, these so called militants are patriots whose only sin is that they are questioning the continued injustice being meted to their people by successive Nigerian governments. One of such governments arrested, charged, convicted and executed one of their leaders all within forty-eight hours; and that leader’s name was Ken Saro-Wiwa. He stood up for what was right for and by his people against apparent wrongs by the Nigeria government and they killed him, no questions asked. At the rate of the restiveness in the cavity of Nigeria, one day the world will wake up to learn that Nigeria as a nation has joined the “league of countries that once was” - like the old Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and most recently Serbia-Montenegro. But the good news for these other countries is that while their decimation was for most part peaceful, that of Nigeria may be a lot much different judging from the bottled-up anger, frustrations and grievances so embedded in most many Nigerians. There is no reason to continue to hold the various nationalities together in the suffocating hell’s kitchen called Nigeria; absent a comprehensive re-assessment of the bonds holding them together. As it is presently constituted, there is no love lost among the various ethnic nationalities therein encapsulated. The good news however is that the handwriting on the wall suggests that the glue hitherto holding them together is fast melting and the resulting cataclysm shall be unparalleled if not timely checked. Sovereign National Conference is the answer!
The inept Aremu Obasanjo’s past administration made matters worse by his hellish policies and draconian governance; to the extent that fear and distrust today has become more palpable than at the beginning of his maladministration in 1999. Obasanjo did not achieve anything worth the billions of revenue his government took in through an unprecedented high cost of crude oil. In comparison, the erstwhile midget dictator Sani Abacha will forever be remembered for at least an accomplishment – Nigeria won a junior world cup during his regime. Obasanjo will however be perpetually vilified for all the atrocities of Odi massacre, Zaki-Ibiam’s mayhem, Chris Uba’s running amok in Anambra State and destroying several state properties and some lives in his infantile tantrum, and his moronic ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon. As a panacea, Nigeria should be peacefully divided along the various nationalities that presently make it up; that each may go their separate ways to pursue their respective destinies. Some people are tired of being held down waiting for some “mallam” somewhere in the Sahara desert of Northern Nigeria to finish drinking his “nono” or chewing his “gworo” and waking up by 12.00noon to start figuring out the policies of State. Or an “mgbati man” from Western Nigeria to finish dancing his “owambe music” and hatching out another line of conspiracy before leading the example of the failed Obasanjo’s administration or an “okolo man” from Eastern Nigeria to finish the day’s hustling (with some of them stuffing medicine capsules with white chalk-powder ready to send hit men after NAFDAC chair-lady for daring to straighten them up) before tinkering with States affairs. We are not one and neither do we share any affinities whatsoever together in common – not in culture, not in language, not commonality of interest, not in life style, not in appearance or outlook, not in ethnic food, not in philosophical and political aspirations; even the geographies are different. This blogger remembers the history of Nigerian independence struggle which would have paid off the same time as Ghanaians in 1957 but for the North which told the South to go ahead with their own independence because they are not ready yet. The south decide to wait in the spirit of one Nigeria till 1960 and this wait is still going on in the year 2008. This blogger goes further to add that these group of “mullahs” were not ready then, are not ready now and will never be ready. Look at the developments in the various regions and yet they have been in power much longer than all the other tribal regions put together, who is the least developed? The North, because the government cannot do everything for the people, the people must also put some foot forward. There is no common denominator coalescing Nigerians together to pursue a common purpose; and those in the Diaspora are not any better as they find it utterly difficult if not impossible to maintain one viable Nigerian Unions/Associations because they cannot tolerate one another. No Nigerian believes earnestly in one Nigeria any longer since the death of Nnamdi Azikwe although those power-drunks at the helm of affairs use that mantra as a tool of exploitation. Every Nigerian sincerely holds other Nigerians from other regions outside their own particular enclave with disdain and suspicious apprehension. The "mgbatis" (Yorubas) of Western Nigeria are the arch culprit; even the attempt, the "okolos" (Igbos) of Eastern Nigeria are making to truly unify Nigeria with their unbridled adventurism is constantly being rebuffed by the rest of Nigerians which always make them their "fair" game whenever there is any disturbance. They are usually the first to be slaughtered, maimed, dispossessed and driven out. It is delusional to think that Nigerians are truly one Nigeria and only time will tell what becomes of it.
Prescriptively, Nigeria should go the way of the Balkan States or the old Soviet Union or the recent Serbia-Montenegro cum Kosovo. Population wise, there are easily thirty million people to be found in each of the three principal regional blocks of Nigeria and hence will be very viable countries, respectively. Costa Rica is a country and they are just four point four million people with no standing army. Switzerland is a country with just about seven million people and is home to all the trillion dollars stolen out of Africa by her successive despotic heads of governments and their minions. Aside of China with 1.3billion people, India with 1.2billion people, United States of America with 300million people, Indonesia with 231million people, Brazil with 183million people, Pakistan with 162million people and Bangladesh with 158million people, Nigeria is the next most populous country in the world with about 148million people. Who really wants to call such a "clustered" place home especially when the infrastructure is highly under-developed? Nigeria is numerically bigger than any country in Europe including Russia; Nigeria is bigger also than any country in South America except Brazil; Nigeria is also bigger than Canada's 33million as well as Mexico's 106million; Japan's 127million people inclusive. Among the 222 countries and territories of the world, Nigeria is eight in the hierarchy of most populous countries. Some countries have fewer than 1million inhabitants with Pitcaim Islands being the least populated with only 50 people. All those mantras of the bigger the better has not achieved anything for Nigeria but has been the tool of choice for the over-lords who are milking her dry, so it might as well forever rest in peace. Let the people go; let the willing ones go take flight just like an eagle and soar while the rest can become another Dafour for the United Nation to worry about. Look at United Arab Emirates and the very successful experiment called Dubai! Nigeria, it is a shame! It is a shame that over forty years after her independence and amidst the available resources, Nigeria is still wallowing in abject want of practically everything from good roads, electricity, medical care, security, food, houses to all such other comforts of life that makes modern life livable; yet this is a country that have taken in over $500Billion USD in revenue since 1970. Where are the Benjamines?
Watching Maoist rebel Prachand of Nepal few years ago, extract resounding agreement from the government of Nepal affirms that a determined rebellion could resolve intractable oppression in a country. A case in point is Nigeria where a peaceful sovereign national conference has become impossible to convene. The freedom fighters of the Niger Delta must not waver but steadily and surely persist in their demands for fairness and equity regarding their territorial wealth. Can you imagine for an instance somebody from Maine going to Texas and asserting rights over oil wells therein – this will surely bring the sheriff to town. Yet almost all the oil blocks in the Niger delta are owned by mostly Northerners with Danjuma’s oil block alone allegedly valued at over $1.2billion USD and Danjuma is from Taraba State and not the Niger Delta. How many oil wells do the Henshaws, the Saro-Wiwas, the Horsefalls, the Okumagbas etc own? It is thievery and must stop! The Niger Delta patriots are honed in and by God’s speed they shall succeed. A saying goes that if you cannot find the cricket, you might as well scatter its’ mound. Let every soul support these efforts by the youth of the Niger Delta in their quest to be fairly treated so that equity and peace may reign in Nigeria. Othman Dan Fodio once said that conscience is an open wound and only truth can heal it; so speak up Nigerians as justice for one is justice for all. The people of Niger Delta deserve to be mad at the injustices they have suffered over the years in the hands of successive Nigeria governments and reserves the right to be heard. It is about time some serious soul-searching is done that equity may prevail. Justice is sacrosanct to peace!
In summation therefore, there is no justification for all the wrongs going on in Nigeria. There is no reason why millions of well qualified Nigerians should be scouring the streets in Diaspora for survival amidst all the natural resources-driven wealth therein situated just because their home governments is rudderless and lost in the wilderness. There is no justification for the non development of infrastructures in Nigeria despite all the billions of dollars USD which the country have taken in since oil was discovered therein, in Oloibiri in 1958. The people of Nigeria are denied and deprived of basics of life amenities and Dubai (UAE) is a testimony for a government that really loves her people. What is the need to continue to sustain an entity that does not thrive or discharge its basic obligation to her people? It is about time some real hard questions are asked. It is about time enough really becomes enough – let everybody go their separate ways that certain group’s desire to go to the moon could be realized. This blogger still remembers very vividly the “Ogbunigwe aka Ojukwu bucket” improvised explosive devices (IEDS); improvised oil refineries that were built overnight to fuel the war effort; planes that were landed in improvised and specially night illuminated runways in the middle of jungles; guns and ammunition that were manufactured as child of necessity - a lot was accomplished during Biafra. It was done then and it can be done again.
Biafra is a testimony of what is possible for a willing mind and a fully mobilized populace. Even these mongrels presiding over Nigeria went as far as technically closing down PRODA, a flagship project development agency in the march for industrial breakthroughs in Eastern Nigeria, situated at Enugu. Biafra is an idea that is worth revisiting especially in view of what recently happened in Kosovo. Maybe a Kosovo style approach will yield desired result for the millions yearning to be free, Biafrans - establish contacts with the mighty and powerful United States of America, Britain, Germany and France; abstract their tacit approval/support and let the chips fall as they may. A complete balkanization is what Nigeria needs so that people could be freed to pursue their destinies however they may deem fit – some people wake up by 4.00am, some by 6.00am; some by 8.00am and some by 10.00am and some others in between so it is an arrant nonsense for anyone to expect that everybody will wake up at the same time. Where this panacea is not possible or practicable then, let the country settle for a full really working confederation with a weak center; sustained from heavy taxation just to maintain the army and foreign relations. Let us declare in one loud voice, “to your tents oh Nigerians” that the Bible prophesy for the Israelites could be fulfilled in Nigeria. Let Nigeria hold a SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE to fine-tune her continued existence as an entity - a lot has been lost over the years to the inefficiency of successive marauding governments! SNC will help in bridging this erosion. SNG is the only way forward that makes sense and nothing short of that will achieve the desired result. Enough of all these yokes hindering Nigeria from becoming a country to reckon with amongst comity of nations. All the phony declarations of greatness or intentions to get there by 2020 will come to naught absent a well conceived and freely conducted sovereign national conference as the way forward which will also serve as a building block for this new Nigeria. Nigeria needs a total rebirth and this is the core of this commentary.