By Anayo M. Nwosu
With due respect to my Igbo brothers who labour for a separate Briafan nation, I think and I’m convinced that they have a mountainous task ahead.
Have the leaders of the independence movement taken time to analyze the obstacles to the achievement of their dream in a bid to marshaling out measures to overcome them?
I have reflected rigorously to identify those who earnestly want Nigeria to remain an indissoluble entity and to operate as presently constituted; those who will ensure that Biafra independence never happens.
These One-Nigeria defenders can be found in all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. I have attempted to categorize them as follows:
1. PRE-INDEPENDENCE NATIONALISTS
In this group are the remnants of old citizens that fought for Nigeria’s independence from Britain. They would never want a disemberment of the great nation they fought for, dreamed of and witness its birth.
They are obsessed with the Giant of Africa vision of Nigeria. They don’t want Nigeria to break up in their life’s time. The members of this group are not opposed to restructuring of the country.
Unfortunately, they are no longer consulted by present rulers on policy matters. Only a few of them are still alive.
2. RETIRED MILITARY GENERALS THAT DEFEATED BIAFRA
This group believes that they have striven so hard to keep Nigeria together. After the war, they agreed under various mafia groups on how Nigeria should run. They balkanized the country into economically unviable states many of which are war spoils they shared amongst themselves.
They also carved out a gift states like Kwara, Osun and Delta for other influential zonal strongmen, wives and traditional rulers.
This group also shared or approved for themselves and family members, oil blocks and other assets located mostly in areas outside their places of origin. If the country is split, they will lose the sources of their easy wealth. They will rather die than to see Nigeria divide.
3. POLITICIANS & GOVT CONTRACTORS
This group consists of those who have been in government, remained in government or have themselves replaced by their children, cronies and business partners. They are like parasites who don’t have any other sources of livelihood other than in government. They are regarded as any government in power (AGIP).
Once a ruling party loses an election, they shamelessly decamp to the a new ruling party. They build bridges and friendship across the nation, a strength they rely upon when they need arises. Besides owning assets all over the country, they also marry across ethnic divides solely for political or economic reasons.
4. ELITES IN PROFESSIONS & BUSINESS
This group consists of professionals who have attained the zenith of their careers. It also includes business people who have made friends and investment across the country. They are from all tribes in Nigeria. They have deeply established themselves in their places of domicile or residence outside their states of origin by building and owning property. They are mostly found in PH, Lagos and Abuja.
Many members of this group are detached from their roots as exemplified by the inability of their children and wards to speak their mother tongues.
The Igbo members of this group are only Igbo by name not by culture or language. They see their village members as uncivilized. They would rather spend their holidays abroad than in their villages of origin which they dub backward and spiritually wicked. Many of them that are Igbo were shocked in 2015 when Oba Akiolu of Lagos warned them to desist from making forays into Lagos State Government politics in spite of their constitutional rights. He threatened to give a lagoon treatment to the recalcitrant.
5. OWNERS OF BIG CONGLOMERATES
This group wants Nigeria to remain one to maintain the large market for their goods and to protect their revenues and profit.
A divided Nigeria will cause a barrier to a free flow of their goods and services. This group consists of both Nigerians and foreigners. They are prepared to finance the federal government’s efforts to quench any insurrection in any parts of the country.
6. FOREIGN POWERS:
This consists of foreign countries especially the country’s colonial masters who together with their partners work against any dismemberment of Nigeria. They appear altruistic and as true friends desirous of preserving their colonial legacy. But in actual fact, they want to hold down the incompatible peoples or nations they clobbered together in 1914 from reaching their potentials. They work hard to ensure that Nigeria’s leadership remains rudderless and disorganised.
The super powers sabotage all efforts to make the country work because an advanced Nigeria would be an economic rival to them. They are ready to instigate a coup or offer medical or technical assistance to friendly but incompetent governments all over Africa.
6. MINORITY WITHIN MAJOR ETHNIC GROUPS
Some minority groups believe that they are safer in larger Nigeria than in a broken Nigeria.
Ebonyi State’s contingent to the last national conference shocked their fellow Igbo brethren when they opted out of a regional government proposal for the South East. They wanted a retention of their Ebonyi State. Onitsha indigenes and most Ika people in Delta state have been telling anyone that cares to listen that they are not Igbos.
There are other very small language groups in the country that believe that Nigeria offers them a better protection.
7. RELIGIOUS PREDATORS
These are people or group of people with expansionist tendencies. They are found in all religions in Nigeria. Some have jihadist mindset or plans while others see the large population as milking cow.
Has anyone heard the Igbo pastors of Redeemed Christian Church of God or those of Deeperlife Bible Church owned by Yoruba general overseers ever preach about Biafra? They won’t. It would affect their oxygen.
8. TRUE PATRIOTS
This includes many Nigerians of all creed, ethnic grouping and professions who have the belief that Nigeria would be great with emergence of good, knowledgeable and inspirational leadership. They see our diversity as a strength. This group genuinely loves fellow Nigerians and don’t profile or discriminate. Some of them married from ethnic groups different from theirs.
Many Missionaries, sportsmen and health workers belong to this group.
Most of the past and current government officials who claimed publicly to love Nigeria, who also swore to uphold the unity of the country are covert ethnic champions acting daily to advance the interests of their beloved kinsmen. The victims of cattle herdsmen and Nigerians living in Agatu, Southern Kaduna and Enugu North may have a different experience of one-Nigeria.
The saddest news is that those who can effectively lead the Biafran struggle are yet to find the cause to risk their personal comfort to a movement that would yet be aborted by the formidable forces from within and outside Nigeria as they did in May 30, 1967 all through to January 1970.
I think that a restructured Nigeria is better for everyone. There is a whole lot to be gained from our size, market, diversity and resilience as a country. I have invested so much in Nigeria to divorce it at this time.