For many of us, the struggle for biafra only exist in print. Many youth today can't fathom what it was like to fight for a noble course, we only hear about it. The civil war had left many indelible pains in the heart of those who struggled for the noble course of sovereignty.
A renewed spirit or motivation for continuing the struggle only gained traction across the polity when president Buhari against whom the Biafra war was fought, emerged as the winner of the 2015 presidential election.
The poor state of infrastructure and socio-economic condition of the southeast have been given by IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as reasons to continue the struggle but this is just a move to conceal the truth as these conditions of the southeast had long existed and persisted under previous administrations including that of Goodluck Jonathan. Infact, some degree of responsibility for good infrastructure and socio-economic condition of the southeast lies in the hands of the governors of the region.
These and many contending issues including the president's alleged discrimination and sidelining of the southeast have given rise to another set of people in the southeast with a different perspective as regard giving the southeast what is due to her in politics and economic relevance. This set of people doesn't see a demand for a sovereign state as an easy option as the Nigerian government would not easily give in.
They have chosen to ascribe and work with the popular phrase " If you can't beat them, join them" and with this in mind, they are openly and unanimously asking that the next president should and must be from the southeast: a situation already tagged "Igbo presidency".
The Igbo presidency situation isn't one that will easily come by to begin with and the unintended benefit it could render to the Biafran agitators will be even more difficult.
Here are my reasons:
1. Igbo's widespread social integration
The popular saying among Nigerians that "any village or local government in Nigeria you don't find an Igbo man or community, exit the place" is not just a saying, it is a fact that hold much weight as the Igbo tribe is the most socially integrating tribe in Nigeria. They are virtually everywhere surviving with their families and plying their trade to succeed. They engage in so many businesses and by consequence, have established business empires in their various locality as the Igbo people are very dedicated and hard-working people who have an enviable enterpreneaul skill set. These business empires have served as a source of sustenance, employment, social dignity and community development. Asking all igbos to come back which would be inevitable after a forceful separation would mean that all these benefits are forfeited and every business owner would most likely go back to square zero, a move many Igbo business owner who have succeeded elsewhere would resist and oppose. An Igbo president that sanctions this would be doing more harm than good to his people.
2. Unity among Igbos is not 100%
In my various acquaintances with igbos, I have come to understand that there is a deep division within them than an outsider could possibly imagine. There unity is only seen when a non Igbo person or party antagonizes the region. Personally, I have met and discussed with a friend from Enugu who has strongly rejected the idea of marrying from Imo state and had also revealed to me that there is a village not very far from his, where any marital ties is strongly resented by members of the both villages i.e they do not marry each other.
The Igbo race also exist in fragments called clans, where a particular clan feels Superior to the other or sees the other as a cursed clan and the supposed inferior clan refuses to yield in and as such, forbids any intimate acquaintances between both clans. The returning igbos who have leaved most of their lives in the north will not find it easy in a sovereign Biafra state as they will be common victims of discrimination and sociopolitical segregation as they would be described as people who have inculcated some northern culture and can't really represent the Igbo idea. The fracas that the Ohaneze general election generated recently is a clear testament of the division that exist within the Igbo people.
3. IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu do not have the blessings of their elders.
It is no news that the present day struggle for Biafra is dominated by the youths both in opinion representation and in physical display. The Ohaneze, which is the Igbo apex body consisting of elders have always shown to have a different idea for the southeast. They have chosen to believe in the Nigerian project and have seen that a war with Nigeria spells doom for the whole country especially the southeast. At a recent function, the president of Ohaneze, Prof. George Obiorzo reiterated this position in clear terms. In his words:
“Everybody should stop utterances or actions that will or have the tendencies to put Ndigbo in present and immediate danger or on harm’s way. That is what my message is in this matter.
“Igbo are not at war with Nigeria. I want it to be noted very clearly. And we are not planning to have a separate existence from Nigeria. People should make no mistake about it.
Also, the Southeastern governors have chosen to subscribe to the views of Ohaneze ndi Igbo and believe in the Nigerian project but with a clear ambition and desire that 2023 presidency should be for the Igbos.
Given their influence in the region and the current parley thess two parties enjoy with the Buhari presidency, any Igbo president in 2023 would most likely emerged from their camp and wouldn't yield in to the Biafra struggle especially as Nnamdi Kanu has told all present day leaders in the region that they will not have a place in a sovereign Biafra state. A monopoly the present day leaders and elders wouldn't welcome well.
These facts and the strong resolve of the Buhari presidency not to yield in have made me come to the conclusion that Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB soldiers will not succeed in their quest for a sovereign Biafra state. They either back down or continue to cause mayhem to the region while trying.
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