Nigeria is not new to the word secession. Ever since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, there have been renewed calls for the creation of a new state from Nigeria. Captain Luggard, as known before the amalgamation of Nigeria proposed that the Southern protectorate is integrated to the northern protectorate in order to balance the trade deficit coming from the northern protectorate. Not considering the many diversities in the two regions ranging from language to cultural heritage; ethnicity; religion, among many others. This point, often the bedrock of argument by supporters of the secession does not translate in modern Nigeria. So it’d be vague to argue on this basis that northern Nigeria lacks commercial or trade activity in contemporary Nigeria as to the perception of the 50s and 60s, that what they valued the most were their livestock and Islamic education.
Secessionists would argue that religious and ethnic interests are more individualistic than nationalistic and that there exist countries that are formed on just one belief and value, which is one of the considerations for the creation of Biafra. In contrast, national interest is notably a collective contribution from every citizen irrespective of age; ethnicity and religion and it should not be compared to our religious or ethnic interests, and that ethnicity was not the basis for the creation of the country, instead, Nigeria was created along ethnic lines. Also, arguing that the South-South and South-East share a common identity in terms of religion or culture is practically untrue.
The two regions alone is home to over 50 ethnic groups and is also divided by what individuals believe in; Christianity, Islam, and different sub-African Traditional Religions distinguished to each ethnic group.
Secondly, secession introduces segregation. When we create a new state completely alienated from the country, it means we introduce new schools, universities, hatred, and segregation. If the problem is marginalization, separation shouldn’t be the solution if it will instead create hatred, discrimination, and promote dispute. Nigeria hasn’t been well with the creation of new states from existing ones.
On certain grounds where the aim was to promote utopia and ethnic calm, vendetta has been the result, mostly emerging from land and boundaries dispute, ownership of institutions and government assets. We do not possibly think that the Nigerian government would forfeit all its invested properties and assets.
Another point to be considered is the imbalanced political system in the country. Since the start of the fourth republic, there have always been two political considerations for who to be the next president. The north would only vote a northerner and the south, a southerner. No candidate since the emancipation of democracy in Nigeria has been bi-regional. This I think is the cause of the public woes from opposition region. So secessionist say that secession would bring about a balanced political system but I wonder if what they mean is that there would be APC Nigeria and APC Biafra and also PDP Nigeria and PDP Biafra, or there would be only one political party in Biafra which would definitely be PDP.
Nigeria’s debt profile as at January 2017 posts to be at 16.92trn. These are debts accumulated for over 15 years for the development of the entire country Nigeria, without a region left out of the developmental framework. So what happens when secession come in? What happens to all those trillions? Would Nigeria gladly embrace all the debts and let the newborn remain clean of debts, or would she pitifully hand over the majority of the debts as a gift to a new nation? You should pray for the latter.
The struggle for Biafra shouldn’t just be what is defined as political oppressions; you should weigh the socio-economic consequences. The clamor for the state of Biafra is by political motivators, people who will control the minds of the nation. A perfect pathway for corruption, tyranny, waste. Creating the state of Biafra means there would be the Biafra national assembly; the government houses; ministries and agencies, this, they perceive to be an investment that would bring about employment but not considering the other side which is massive expenditure that cannot be handled by themselves, unless they wish to be colonized by Nigeria.
So if secession is not the solution to marginalization in Nigeria, what then is? Resolved: True federalism. Of a truth, we have a Nigeria that her citizen’s lacks trust in the leadership and followership. Those who fought for the independence of this country possessed true altruism, and envisaged a Nigeria free of exploitation of mineral resources and a Nigeria of equity and freedom. But we have a Nigeria where the population of the northerners overshadows that of southerners even in public and governmental representations. This is where true federalism sets in. That we have country that will allow for regional government and increased participation and ownership of national assets. The Nigerian dream is achievable if we all learn to work harmoniously for one cause, to serve our fatherland in love, strength, and faith. So help us Lord
Lawal Sodiq Adebayo