President Muhammadu Buhari has of late been speaking up on the renewed agitation for the realization of Biafra by our brothers and sisters in the eastern part of the country. The president, who had for some time been reticent on the troubling topic and had earlier said that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, would not be released because he could jump bail, has become more eloquent on this topic of late.
During a visit to the palace of the Emir of Katsina, in his home state of Katsina on Monday, Buhari used the agitation for the independent state of Biafra as a peg to make pronouncements on the indivisibility of Nigeria.
Toeing the path of all other past presidents of the country, he was unequivocal on the need to retain the country as one indivisible entity. As many notable Nigerians have said before him, he also affirmed that the continuing existence of Nigeria as one country is not negotiable. He explained that Nigeria is a strong and united country because some people laid down their lives for it, but some people who were not born during the civil war are agitating for the division of the country.
He, however, took his convictions on the subject a bit further with his strong affirmation that “there will be no Biafra” under his government.
He was also reported in many organs of the mass media to have vowed to use all the resources at his disposal to crush any agitation for the division of Nigeria. According to the president, the country fought a civil war which claimed the lives of over two million people in order to be united and it would be better for the entire country to commit mass suicide than to allow the campaign for Biafra to succeed. As he put it: “For Nigeria to divide now, it is better for all of us to jump into the sea and get drowned.”
The frustration of President Buhari with the many winds blowing against Nigeria’s continued existence as one country is understandable. Even the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), through Mr. Osondu Okwaraeke who was identified as the Central Director of the Biafran Red Cross, also on Monday in Onitsha, listed the attacks of herdsmen on parts of Southern Nigeria, the Boko Haram attacks in the North East, the Niger Delta militants’ attacks on oil installations and the agitation for Biafra, as signs that Nigeria is on the verge of a break up.
With such storms raging against the soul, spirit and continuing physical existence of the country, any leader who does want his country’s “coconut of state” to be broken on his head, can be excused for being on edge on the unrelenting agitation for a sovereign state to be carved out of the one that he is heading after a long and hard battle for its presidency.
But then, the president’s choice of words in Katsina is not likely to stem the agitation for the division of the country and the excision of Biafra. His argument and those of many other leaders before him on the indivisibility of the country and the non-negotiability of its continued existence as one single country is debatable.
While not promoting anarchy or the disintegration of the country, it must be made clear that the arrogant insistence on “One Nigeria” by the nation’s ruling class smacks of nothing but a “forced marriage”. Successful marriages, all over the world, are based on trust and mutual respect, and not on the insistence of one party that the union of the parties to the “marriage” is not negotiable. This will amount to a forced marriage which can be expected to explode into smithereens, sooner or later. The statement that it is better for all Nigerians to jump into the sea and get drowned, than divide the country, is clearly out of order. Nobody will be jumping into the sea and Nigeria’s continuing existence as one nation can only be guaranteed when all parts of the country are able to see the value of being a part of the country, and not when they are forced to be a part of the union.
Instead of the government’s current combative approach to the agitation for Biafra, which was recently underscored by the president’s vow to “use all the resources at his disposal to crush any agitation for the division of Nigeria”, the president will be better off trying to understand the reasons behind the agitations for dividing the country and blowing up of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta. He needs to draw the aggrieved people in all parts of the country closer with a better appreciation of their grievances and better service delivery to their geo-political zones. These cannot be achieved with force. Only love, humility and an unflinching commitment to serving the people in every part of the country can do it.
It is very sad and shameful that Fulani herdsmen’s invasion of Southern Nigeria started when PDP was in power and the party failed to address the ugly acts of the herdsmen. The three tiers of government should provide enough security agents to check the activities of the herdsmen nationwide.
Gordon Chika Nnorom,
Your write up is nothing but a voice in the wilderness. Your articulation of the message is clear and understable. “Mana onye agwara kwe”, if the people agree to buy your gospel truth. You just made my day.
You spoke my mind on the pertinent issue of grazing reserves for herdsmen.
God has already blessed you for this piece on the grazing reserves bill. Please mobilise your colleagues in the pen profession as we need more awareness to stop this grazing reserve bill (or is it pill?)
Kindly draw Bola Tinubu’s attention to this opinion and your other Yoruba people because they are not seeing the danger because it is from APC government, and they are seeing Buhari as a god. Thanks and God bless you.
Thanks for your piece on Buhari’s visit to China. Your points are accurate and opt on the trip, especially as it has come at this critical time in our economy.
Your articles are interesting and educative. Keep it up.
Abubakar Sodangi, Katsina