Olulana Alofe

Igbos are not the only ones whom the existence of Biafra will affect and so anyone telling non Igbos to keep quiet, not have an opinion on it or “stop taking panadol for another man’s headache” needs to realize it is not just about Igbos though they get to decide if they leave Nigeria at any event.

However, all of Nigeria will wade in on the discussion. That is the first reality. So if you are not interested in the opinion of a non Igbo, just move on. Remain in your insulated bubble.
Biafra is a dream of Igbos.

ONLY Igbos as a group and even then we do not know if majority of them want it. A referendum is the process which an answer to the question can be obtained and I believe its result will shock a lot of those agitating for Biafra now.

That is an opinion I have shared the last two years of my discussing Biafra in Skytrend. I have not seen anything to change it still.

Once a referendum is on the table (who knows how far into the future that is?), Igbos who do not want to have anything to do with Biafra but have been quiet up till now for different reasons will start to speak up with increasing intensity and they do exist in their large numbers regardless of the picture Biafra agitators want to paint.

They too will have a movement. Right now, many fear for their lives if they make their preferences known the way IPOB and MASSOB are delivering their messages. Who wants to be labeled an ‘Efulefu’? This is not an assumption but what I have read and heard directly from some.

A few individuals who belong to other ethnic groups in the Southsouth are backing up the Biafra movement but who really believes the SS will be a part of Biafra with the Igbos?

That is wishful thinking in my opinion. Before the Civil War, they might have thought it was possible to be equal partners in Biafra but after that experience? Ask them. Do you see any substantial organized agitation for Biafra in SS states bordering the Southeast? I do not.

Yes, calls for Biafra are increasing and the movement is gaining momentum. It is my belief that cold water will be poured on it once the reality of its existence hits Igbos all over Nigeria.

A few days ago, I had an extensive discussion with several Igbos over my opinion that marginalisation will continue in Biafra because within Igbo land today, Igbos are marginalized by other Igbos just as it is happening in other ethnic groups.

That will not suddenly dissappear with the existence of Biafra regardless of the political foundation the ‘new nation’ follows – resource control and what not. That is a reality.

Today, I read two posts from an Igbo friend of mine asking questions about marginalisation within the SE and stating that right now he too is asking for independence for his sub group.

I know many Igbos fear what might just be a concentration of inequality within Biafra but with the added problem of not being a part of Nigeria because, if indeed Biafra comes to be and as I expect, Nigeria then breaks up into four or five nations, Igbos will not have the same access they have to other regions the way they do now and vice versa. Nope. The reason they can today is because Nigeria is still one nation.

Do not confuse this with big businesses which transcend physical borders. It is a bit more difficult for individuals to become part of a different nation the way they can integrate within their own country. There will be a forced or voluntary exodus of Igbo professionals from all the other regions.

If you do not believe this, check out how many Igbo professionals work in Cameroon, Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana Ivory Coast or another nation within the African sub region and compare to those who do so within Nigeria. There will be a shakeup of massive proportions.

The assumption that life will continue as it is now without the “oppression” Igbos are complaining of being the only difference and so they will still be in their thousands or millions within other regions in Nigeria today is a fallacy!

One should look at other nations already walking this proposed path to see how it affected them. It is the height of arrogance to assume natural laws will not apply in this case because of some “well thought out plan.”

Reality is like a force of nature. Man cannot stop it. At best, we get out of its way and protect ourselves.

Now, do not misconstrue this write-up as an opinion against Igbos having the right to self determination. Nope. I am in support of the right to an agitation for Biafra though I have no regard for methods which involve insulting other ethnicities and derogatory statements about Nigeria.

The fact is, I do not believe many of the rabid supporters of Biafra think beyond the surface on this issue. Igbos who do — their politicians, religious leaders and intelligentsia in their numbers are not vocal about this movement right now (though a few are beginning to speak up about it) and I believe this is because they see these pitfalls.

I want Igbos to get the chance to decide if they want to remain a part of Nigeria. That should not be denied them. Igbos need to make this a political fight and not just a sectional public protest. The movement as it is must transform into a political force before a referendum can become a reality.