The sentiment of Biafra cannot be wished away. For the South East, it is the only thing that they can legitimately use to express their sense of injustice in this contraption, called Nigeria.
THE national leader of the United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has cautioned against any thought for the discontinuation of the agitation and quest for Biafra.
Noting that despite the feeling in the circle of those who view the quest as possibly estranging the Igbo from the larger Nigeria because it easily invokes fear, violence, war, secession, he said that, “Biafra is the only thing that will keep Nigeria conscious of the fact that Igbo people have options. The issue of Biafra should and will always be in the front burner; it will only recede as the issues that brought about the agitation are addressed.”
Blaming the continued agitation for the same drumbeats for restructuring, Okorie said, “the sense of Biafra didn’t emanate from a vacuum. Ndigbo are hospitable peace loving people who can live in wherever they can attain their potential but also they hate injustice and abhor the imposed conditions that have limited them so far.
“The sentiment of Biafra cannot be wished away. For the South East, it is the only thing that they can legitimately use to express their sense of injustice in this contraption, called Nigeria.”
The UPP presidential candidate in the 2015 elections explained that rather than cast the South East in bad light, “we should learn from other climes. Take for an example Ethiopia, a country mired in inter-ethnic war for decades. As part of efforts to end the war, they drew up a new constitution after a reconciliation of all the ethnic nationalities.
“And in the negotiations, Section 31 of the Ethiopian Constitution, provided an exit clause. The clause noted that if at any point in time an ethnic nationality feels it wants to exit the Republic of Ethiopia, it will apply and there will be a plebiscite. And if a majority of the people vote in favour of the exit, then the ethnic group will exit.
“Incidentally, since that constitution was adopted, no ethnic nationality in Ethiopia has attempted to invoke that constitutional provision. The reason is that the government of Ethiopia, at every point in time, is conscious of the fact that the ethnic nationalities have options and so there is fairness, justice in governance and there is a sense of belonging as no one wants to leave, because they are happy.
“It therefore makes us look stupid before the civilized world when we say that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable, indivisible, etc. Even marriage, the oldest human institution in the world, daily undergoes various levels of negotiations between the parties involved in order for the union to survive.
“We should renegotiate our coexistence in order to have a better country.”