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Friday, June 23, 2017

Secession between hypocrisy and illusion (ll)

…also published in Daily Trust

As the elite hypocrisy in the south-east continues to undermine the neo-Biafran secession agenda, the secessionists also continue to ignore other underlying dynamics that frustrate their mission. The ever-increasing interdependence amongst the various socio-economic strata of Nigerians is obviously one of the factors that make their project particularly tricky.

The political and technocratic elites at the federal level, for instance, most, if not all, of whom must have benefitted at one time or another from the pervasive culture of ethno-religiously motivated nepotism to attain or maintain a position in their respective careers, never think about their regional identity, ethnic and religious differences when it comes to pursuing or protecting their personal interests at the expense of ordinary Nigerians. Though they still subtly play ethno-religious and regional cards to maintain popularity in their respective regions and constituencies, however, once they gather around a portion of the “national cake”, they never remember such differences. In other words, when a Chibuzo from the south-east, a Garba from the north, a Femi from the south-west, a Bulus from the north-central and a Lokpoibiri from the Niger-Delta conspire to steal public funds, they never look at one another as an Igbo Christian, a Hausa Muslim, a Yoruba or whatever, let alone facilitate the country’s break-up on regional, ethnic or religious basis.

By the way, this explains the impossibility of finding among the secessionists any incumbent governor, a legislator, a minister, any top political office holder or top civil servant at the federal level, because since the failure of Ujukwu-led secession attempt, secession agitators have always been either losers in power struggles or some frustrated opportunists desperate for relevance.

Anyway, by exploiting the country’s institutional weaknesses, the Femis, the Chibuzos, the Garbas, the Lokpoibiris etc. operate systematically in such a way that each accomplice abuses his particular mandate to jointly commit and perpetuate thievery of public funds. They also cover for one another and frustrate judicial prosecution against one another. Interestingly enough, however, sometimes they sacrifice a few among themselves by abandoning them to be properly probed, diligently prosecuted and punished so as to be seen as concrete proofs of government’s intolerance of corruption.

On a positive note, however, ordinary Nigerians across the country who are bound by robust dynamics of interdependence wouldn’t willingly accept any situation that will jeopardize their legitimate interests as individuals and communities. The sheer volume and value of the largely informal trade among them confirm the indispensability of this interdependence irrespective of their different ethnicities, regions and religions. For instance, obviously goods manufacturers in Aba, Abia State, whose businesses survive and flourish thanks to their chain of distributors in the north who in turn supply retailers with the goods in cities and villages across the region, will certainly never willingly accept any situation (e g. secession) that will frustrate their businesses. Similarly, suppliers of agricultural produce in Dawanau, Kano State, or suppliers of cattle in Maigatari,Jigawa State, for instance, who supply distributors and retailers in, say, Enugu,will equally never willingly accept such a situation.

In light of the foregoing highlights, it’s obvious that the inhabitants of this geographical area called Nigeria would always remain better off as a united nation, and that all it needs to adequately exploit its enormous potential, is a stable, transparent and competent leadership that will transform the nation into a modern, well-organized and ambitious country. Nevertheless, this unity shouldn’t be considered permanently non-negotiable anyway, because perhaps down the line some genuine reasons to negotiate it may arise. However, negotiating it mustn’t be left in the hands of some frustrated charlatans in the south-east, or some reckless and emotionally driven so-called activists in the north.

Therefore, to resolve this persistent controversy once and for all, the secessionists in the south-east should instead organize themselves into a pressure group with a view to securing the unambiguous endorsement of the region’s political elite especially those holding top political positions e.g. governors, ministers, Senators and members of the Federal House of Representative who should in turn lobby for any necessary constitutional amendments that will provide for conducting a credible, transparent and internationally monitored referendum in the region to determine whether the ordinary Igbos want to secede from Nigeria or not.

Until these neo-Biafran secessionists begin to pursue their mission this way, they remain mere anarchists hell-bent on fomenting chaos in their desperate pursuit for relevance at the expense of the interests, security and the lives of the ordinary Igbos in the region.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the outcome of this referendum, the northerners advocating of the region’s self-determination, should equally organize themselves into a strong and non-partisan pressure group committed to keeping pressure on the region’s political elite until they develop the region’s massive economic potential in all sectors of the economy, with a view to  ensuring that each state in the region attains a level of economic development sustainable enough to make it self-sufficient even without the monthly funds allocation from the federal government. This is the only way the region could be realistically ready to survive Nigeria’s disintegration should it occur, God forbid. Besides, it’s only with such alternative sources of economic survival in place that the region can achieve viable self-determination in the aftermath of the country’s break-up.

Until these Arewa activists consider these observations and begin to pursue their agenda in light of these suggestions, their advocacy of self-determination in the north remains premature and mere wishful thinking.