The Quest For Biafra’s Actualization & Nigeria’s Restructuring By Omoshola Deji

Omoshola Deji

Sunday August 6, 2017 – The Quest For Biafra’s Actualization & Nigeria’s Restructuring

By Omoshola Deji

The most embraced notion on the evolution of the state is the social-contract thought promulgated by Thomas Hobbes in the “Leviathan”, published in 1651. Hobbes posits that the state is a product of the society; each individual submits a portion of their rights to a consented authority in interchange for an assured protection of their other rights.

The consented authority presides over the equitable distribution of resources, justice, fairness and the rule of law. Uncomplicated, the consented authority in this case is the Nigerian government and Hobbes’ social-contract theory is employed to unmask the factors provoking the disintegration of Nigeria.

There is a national consensus that the over 250 ethnic groups inhabiting the Northern and Southern protectorates did not assent to be amalgamated into a nation called Nigeria in 1914. For that reason, one may contend that Hobbes’ social-contract theory does not appropriately rationalize the evolution of the Nigerian state. Inside out, one may also backtrack to the pre-colonial era and contend that the social contract principle had already been endorsed in the amalgamated protectorates before the advent of colonialism.

Virtually every ethnic group had a monarch and a traditional mode of worship before the Islamic and Christian missionaries cajoled and compelled us to shift faith.

Our progenitors submitted their right of choice to the oracle whom they believe is in the best position to select the right ruler for them. Everyone wholly obey whoever the oracle selects based on the conviction that he is the representative of the gods on earth.

Like a wisp of smoke, this conviction is fast fading due to the emergence of alternative and modern forms of governance, civilization and political impositions. To aptly ground the theoretical position of this piece, a bit of flashback is essential to justify the subsistence of Nigeria as a social contract.

Colonialism is the aftermath of the resolutions reached at the Berlin 1884 scramble and partition for Africa conference organized by Otto Von Bismark, the then Chancellor of Germany. Out of sheer meanness to dominate and exploit Africa’s resources, the European nations partitioned Africa into colonies without considering her ethno-religious and socio-cultural diversities.

Inconsiderately, the African rulers were not invited to the 1884 conference that sealed the political-economic fate of Africa. In point of fact, our existence as a nation kicked off when Britain gained possession of the territories amalgamated to institute Nigeria. Lord Lugard only named and formalized it in 1914.

Observingly, it rarely surfaced in the history books that the amalgamated ethnic groups protested against the 1914 amalgamation. To be fair, Lugard’s amalgamation may not have been protested due to the fear of the colonial master’s brutality. Fast-forward to after four decades, during the struggle for independence, the Nigerian nationalists, from every region, teamed up to demand the independence of the Nigerian state as structured by Lord Lugard.

After Nigeria’s independence on 1 October 1960, the nationalists virtually made no attempt to dissolve the amalgamation. This ultimately infers that the foremost nationalists, tacitly or explicitly, resolved that we all shall cohabit together as one Nigeria.

The social-contract principle naturally takes effect under such circumstance. If the nationalists, from every region, abstain from disbanding Nigeria, then it’s not right for anyone to proclaim that we Nigerians never agreed to live together. Not for long, our diversity crushed the unity sooner than expected.

Ethnic rivalry and power struggle impelled the late Odumegwu Ojukwu to declare the secession of Biafra from Nigeria on 30 May, 1967. The decision to secede was apparently due to the wanton inter-ethnic killings and tension that brewed from the alleged Igbo coup of January 1966 and the alleged Hausa counter-coup of July 1966. The 1967 Biafra secession activated a civil war between the Biafran forces and the Hausa-Fulani largely populated Nigerian army.

After 30 months of intense battle and the loss of over a million lives, Biafra surrendered to ‘go on with one Nigeria’ – Gowon. Unambiguously, the defeated forces upon surrendering Biafra were covertly or overtly re-entering into a social contract with Nigeria on the basis of political, economic and social equity.

The Biafra secession quest recently resurrected and gathered momentum due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier disregard for a court order granting Nnamdi Kanu bail after he was accused and arraigned for treason. The prolonged detention of Kanu earned him an unprecedented sympathy from the people of Igbo extraction who picture Buhari as anti-Igbo.

Unfortunately, Buhari’s oration that the North’s 97% and Southeast’s 5% voting pattern would influence government’s conduct and the subsequent conspicuous marginalization of the Igbos rained fuel in the burning fire.

The more Buhari ring-fence himself with people from the northern extraction, the more the other southern regions, especially the southeast would become suspicious and continue to play the last card of secession. An overview of the top political offices and vital appointments reveals that the North is overpoweringly favored against the South thus:

President – North; Senate President – North; Speaker of the House of Representatives – North; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – North; Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation – North; Army – North; National Security Adviser – North; Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) – North; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – North; Air Force – North; Police – North; Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) – North; Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) – North; Department of State Security (DSS) – North; Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) – North; Fire Service – North; National Insurance Commission – North; National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) – North; Customs – North; State Chief of Protocol – North; Accountant General of the Federation – North; Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) – North; Chief of Staff to the President – North; Aide de Camp to the President – North; …the list continues.

It is bewildering that Buhari, a former Head-of-State, who is conversant with ethno-religious sensitivity of Nigeria could commit the sacrilege of being sectional and nepotistic. Ask no further, Biafra is a reaction to the marginalization the Igbo’s are getting from their social-contract with Nigeria.

Recall the lopsidedness in the Department of State Security (DSS) recruitment exercise. More individuals were recruited from Katsina state (51) than the entire Southeast states (44). Katsina is the home state of Buhari and Lawal Daura, the Director General of the DSS. The geographic details of the enrolment exposed that out of 474 recruited cadet officers, 331 were from the North while 143 were from the South. Justifying the lopsidedness, the DSS and the federal government claimed that the recruitment imbalance was purposely done to rectify the disproportion in previous enrollments.

This excuse holds no water for a government that came to power on the mantra of change. Where is the change promised, if previous leaders were sectional and Buhari is also sectional? Apparently, no Nigerian democratically elected president has vigorously displayed sectionalism like Buhari. Cast no doubt, protests and hate speeches would have popped up from the North if an Igbo president ever emerges and decides to impose an ethno-religious, sectional and nepotistic institutional arrangement.

Contravening section 21(2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, Buhari removed a southeastern woman, Chinelo Anohu-Amazuan as the Director General of National Pension Commission, PenCom, and replaced her with Aliyu Abdulrahman Dikko, a northerner. Section 21(2) of the PenCom act stipulates that if the Director General of the commission is sacked before the expiration of his/her tenure, the president shall appoint a replacement from the same geopolitical zone.

Buhari’s parochialism, insularism, nepotism and sectionalism fertilized the Igbo’s consciousness to revive Biafra. Any intention to crush Biafra without addressing the basic issue of inequality is to be sheepishly applying force without focus. The much-needed first step to national unity is to reassign the political appointments to reflect the pluralism of Nigeria. In power, but limited in power, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo cannot effect the essential adjustments; he is tactically acting Mr. Nice Guy in order not to appear disloyal, power-centric and desperate.

Quite ignoble, top government functionaries are pretending not to know the meaning of restructuring. To get them educated, the restructuring of Nigeria means effecting three basic things: the devolution of powers to reflect true federalism; ratifying the states to control their resources and; rectifying the lopsidedness of crucial government appointments to reflect regional equity and fairness.

If truth be told, the Igbo disaffection and the right to self-determination doesn’t mean Nnamdi Kanu’s approach is right. He lacks the strategy of attainment and the essential qualities of a credible leader. His orations are uncouth, obtuse, provocative and indeed treasonable. Kanu should be enlightened that his ranting, hate speeches, confrontations and threats of war cannot bring forth Biafra; persuasion and dialogue is key.

Deficient in intelligence, Kanu fails to reason that his disciples cannot withstand the viciousness of a police acting on a court or presidential orders. Kanu fails to reason that his admirers shouting “oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah Nnamdi Kanu is another savior” cannot influence his release if the court orders him back to prison. His admirers would quickly forget him like he has allegedly forgotten the other Biafran agitators that were refused bail.

Kanu’s episode might end in tragedy if he doesn’t change strategy. The Judas in his disciples or the southeastern political bigwigs feeling outshined by his growing popularity might decimate him.
Why always unfortunate? Nigeria recorded virtually no progress under the sixteen year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose chiefs ruthlessly looted the commonwealth. Disheartening, the All Progressives Congress (APC) change mantra is manifesting as a political gimmick and deceit. APC promised change, but virtually nothing has changed positively. Without further ado, Buhari needs to review or order the review of his kith-kin-and-kindred, extremely lopsided, political appointments to reflect regional equity. Appointing prominent and competent Igbos into crucial positions would pacify frayed nerves, promote national unity and the quest for Biafra will naturally fade.

The solution to Nigeria’s disintegration is hidden in the federal government’s readiness to abide by Hobbes’ social-contract principle of ensuring the equitable distribution of resources, political offices, justice, fairness and the rule of law.

Only political and regional parity can sustain a sovereign Nigeria’s unity for another fifty-seven years multiply by fifty-seven.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via [email protected]

8 thoughts on “The Quest For Biafra’s Actualization & Nigeria’s Restructuring By Omoshola Deji

  1. This is a meaningful contribution by Mr. Deji, well thought out and written. Can’t argue with his reasoning. This APC regime has exposed Buhari as a person with the brain of a grape fruit. This has shown that Tunde Idiagbon was the ruler in his first stint as a military head of state. Buhari’s quest to rule Nigeria is to implement the Islamic agenda. From his utterances during Jonathan’s regime that president Jonathan was killing the Boko Haram members because they are Muslims, that all his appointments are northern Muslims and the recent action of his education minister striking out Christian Religious Study in school curriculum shows his evil intent. Apart from the fight against corruption (which is one sided for now) he has accomplished nothing. Talk of the fight against corruption, how can he successfully fight corruption when he replaced one corruption with another. His tribal and nepotistic appointments are a form of corruption. His ban on federal employees going outside Nigeria for treatment while he has spent more time in London hospital is corruption. That the Nigerian plane parked in London accumulating thousands of Dollars or Euros daily is a form of corruption. Somebody or some people are making money from that, be assured of that. Every year millions of dollars is spent on the clinic in Aso Rock yet he rushes to London for treatment. Why not hire well qualified doctors to work there or since he has no confidence in Nigerian Doctors, why not fly the British Doctors to come and treat him in Nigeria?

  2. MR WRITER U CAPTURED IT.OYINBOS MANIPULATED US AND NEVER CONSIDERED OUR BACKGROUND AND TRADITION.THEY LUMPED US WITH ARABIAN MERCHANTS WHO BOUGHT AND LUMPED US WITH THEIR SIBBLINGS IN ALL THE NORTHERN PART OF THE CONTINENT.IT WAS NOT FEAR OF HIS MASTERS THAT LUGARD DID THE AMALGATION BUT SHEER BETRAYAL OF THE NORTH TO RULE US AS THEIR SLAVES AS RECORDED BY HISTORY.THEY USED THEIR LAST RESORT OF SERIAL BOMBINGS TO KEEP US IN CHECK BUT STILL ,WE HAVENT GIVEN UP.WE ARE NOW AWAKE AND FULLY READY TO TAKE BACK OUR BELONGINGS.THE MARRIAGE AINT WORKING ANYMORE.

  3. Your article was well written and full of insightful analysis based on facts. As an Igbo man who hails from the southeastern region of Nigeria,it is only logical to expect Nnamdi Kanu to express his indignation, fury and exasperation as regards the lingering injustice, clear marginalisation and physiological trauma the Igbos have been subjected to by the ruling elite in Nigeria. Buhari has never being a friend of Igbo people. In deed and utterances he has manifested,time and again,his loathsome disposition towards the Igbo dreams and hopes. Buhari dislikes our natural guts, cultural greatness,economic wizardry hence the need for the continuation of barbarism and subjugation on his part against the Igbo people. We are too great a people under the almighty God to accept permanently to be glorified in the land of our fathers,forefathers to be treated a second class citizens. The lopsided appointments he made during his ascension to president elucidate the undisputable fact that the Igbos have been ostracized inequitably with many appointment taking away from them and replaced with northerners. The principal of federal character which is constitutional has not been respected by him during his ministerial appointment. All region,ethnic groups in the country must be inclusive in an unbiased,functioning and thriving democratic government. But opposite is what we’ve seen so far. This is where biafra agitation is anchored. The call for biafra secession from Nigeria will therefore continue to grow larger than ever before in view of the great injustice experienced by the Igbos.

  4. HERE IS a Yoruba man who does not baulk before, or shy away from the truth, but faces it headlong! Some folks who are proven to be cowards by the light of truth, and who choose the darkness of falsehood, would never admit that there is any justifiable reason for this renewed and reinvigorated Biafra Spirit we all witness today. I say thumbs up to you, Mr Deji. Everything you said here is hardly contestable.

    BUHARI HAS been exposed for the true sectionalist and hypocrite that he is. He never had a single plan to bring positive change to Nigeria. All he wanted was a chance to fight his enemies, and then to foster the Islamic agenda of the 1989 Abuja Declaration. This Abuja Declaration states that only Moslems would be appointed to key federal positions. It has happened in our eyes today. Again, it states that Nigeria should be Islamized. Has this not happened as well. Why was CRS removed from our school curriculum whereas IRS remained? These Moslems are subtle in their evil plans. It was only following the protest from Christians that CRS was later merged with IRS and subsumed under an entirely new subject, which is still not acceptable to Christians.

    TODAY I CURSE myself how I was deceived back in 2015 and I spoke to favour Buhari during the campaigns. I ought to have seen from Buhari’s precedents that a man who killed thousands of people because he had lost in the 2011 presidential poll does not truly have the good of the nation in view. I ought to have seen that Buhari was merely desperate to seize power and foist his religious whims upon Nigeria. He said back in 2010 that Yar’Adua should be impeached because of ill-health. Today, Buhari is sick himself, and does not want to be impeached; neither would he resign on his own volition. He wouldn’t want the judgement he passed on another individual be applied to to him himself. And we say Buhari has integrity!

  5. Wow. This write up is forthright and insightful. Kudos Deji. If most writers, especially the hate mongers amongst the Igbos and Yorubas could for once look beyond their differences and commit themselves to the virtues of truth. Perhaps. The injustices in Nigeria political space will be made right.

  6. I love these write-up. Very understandable and educated. But lets be patience with one another. Every government has its validity period. The clock is ticking…..and soon we will have another election. Everybody is allowed to vote for his own choice. United we stand, divided we fall.

  7. Good write up,most,if not all of the comments above said my mind. In addition,the shake up/exposure happening now wouldn’t be possible if this young man Nnamdi Kanu never started his movement in restoration of Biafra. Such subtle action of this Buhari regime has been happening for a long time and let’s make no mistake,no Hausa Fulani will ever trust Igbo Man to be President, Yoruba’s may give chance for such. My point is one Nigeria will never happen, the restructuring will never also favor the Hausa Fulanis,hence they will not support that. From every indications, the best thing that will happen is for each to go and form their own Nation.

  8. Everybody get problem. Hausa/Fulani North is the biggest problem of Nigeria as a whole. IGBO people sef get problems. Dem no like demsef. Dem dey drag efik/Ibibio people join and am sure once d Biafra happen, dem no go look dat side again.

    IGBO no dey respect demsef wherever they go in and out of Nigria. I have seen it first hand. Abi na Lagos wey dem com dey call no-man’s land? I agree and accept that the should form Biafra, but they better all stay there in their region, because they are even more NOMADIC than the real nomads.

    Make all man waka stay for their region. IGBO should leave SouthWest and North…..Hausa should leave SOUTH. Yoruba people should come back SouthWest. FINISH. Don’t create your region then begin dey come claim right elsewhere. There will be BIIIIGGGGGGG PROBLEM!

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