Every year since 1960, October 1 is set aside by the Nigerian government to celebrate the country's Independence Day. It is usually a day Nigeria remembers how far the nation has come from British rule to where we are now. As a matter of fact, Nigeria's independence came with a price that was paid through the sweat and toil of nationalists who saw the need for the country to be independent of its political, economic, cultural and religious affairs.
However, since independence, the country has witnessed a series of changes both positive and negatively in all aspects of the Nigerian society. The good thing is that the country and its leadership is doing everything possible to keep the country as one indivisible entity as against several years of agitation by some unscrupulous groups in the country, especially the recent happenings in the South East and South West geopolitical zone that almost tore up the entire country if not for the persistent calls for the country to maintain its status quo by prominent individuals across the country.
From the foregoing, in a matter of days from today, the country would celebrate another Independence Day, which is a national day, the country would turn 61. In that regard, it could be recalled that in 1900, the territories under the control of the Royal Niger Company became the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. In 1914, the Southern Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate were combined to create the modern-day Nigeria.
Photos credit: Vanguard News
Arguably, the country has been faced with a lot of challenges coming from agitation for self-determination in the South West led by the embattled self-acclaimed Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as Sunday Igboho and South East region by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra led by the embattled Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently in custody of the Department of State Services, DSS following allegations of treason, terrorism, inciting violence and other crimes charged against him by the Nigerian government.
Photo mix by Oluwapolycarp. Credit: Punch
It could also be recalled that some days ago, IPOB said it would go on a one-month Sit-At-Home protest after several weeks of Kanu's detention without trial as expected. The proscribed IPOB has again said it would protest against his continuous detention on October 1, 2021, which is Nigeria's Independence Day. Not only that, according to a report by Vanguard, the separatist group declares operation no flag in Igboland on that day, induced Sit-At-Home order for all its members in the South-East.
Against this background, this article seeks to discuss two strategic steps the Nigerian government should take against the proscribed IPOB plan to take down the Nigerian flag in Igboland on October 1.
First, deployment of heavily built security forces to the region to protect strategic institutions and properties in the South East region. The Nigerian flag is a symbol of authority and a representation of the country anywhere in and around the world. It would be a disrespectful act for IPOB to take down the Nigerian flag on October 1, which is a day to celebrate our unity in diversity.
Photos credit: Daily Post Nigeria
Indubitably, Nigeria has come a long way from military governments, coups and other challenges in the past decades until the country regained its democratic values and government in 1999. It would be a disservice for any separatist group to threaten the peaceful and corporate existence of the country.
It is at this point that I suggest that the federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari should make plans to secure the South East region on October 1 as the country is preparing for its 61st Independence Day anniversary by deploying security forces protecting citizens and properties in the region.
Second, the federal government should task the five governors of the region in the persons of Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, Dave Umahai of Ebonyi State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ifeanyi Uywanyi of Enugu and Willie Obiano of Anambra state to issue warnings to the separatist group to stay away from doing anything that could lead to chaos and further crisis in the region.
As a matter of fact, these governors have a role to play in maintaining peace and order in the region as well as the Ohaneze Ndigbo which is the apex sociocultural organisation in the South East. Be that as it may, it is important to note that no group is more powerful than the country and the laws of the land. In that regard, it could be concluded that IPOB should have a rethink and be warned of the consequences of taking down the Nigerian flag on October 1, which is Nigeria's Independence Day. The Nigerian government may not tolerate such an act of insolence.
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