Secession and its Complexities By Ogunjimi James Taiwo
I have watched keenly the disposition of so many people calling for a secession. My study has been based on the Yorubas (Oduduwa Republic) and the Biafrans. I do not know how far or how serious those calling for a formation of Arewa Republic are, so I will be silent on that.
Sometime last year, one of my Facebook friends sent me a link to Biafra Radio. I visited the site and listened, while there is no denying the fact that they perhaps had genuine reasons based on facts why they want to secede, I was put off by the use of language and name-calling. A caller would call in and abuse this tribe or that tribe, calling them slaves or other derogatory names.
Now, that is a pattern I have noticed in groups attempting to secede. I have many Yoruba friends who believe in Oduduwa Republic and who even claim that their flag has been taken round the Yoruba area and has been presented to the monarchs. But are they exempted when it comes to name-calling and using abusive terms? Unfortunately not.
Every group, be it minority or majority is entitled to self-determination. Their right to secede is guaranteed in the constitution. But it would be difficult for me as a person to be part of a movement whose only plan is name-calling and abuse of other tribes. That is one. Secondly, it would be difficult for me to support a movement or group calling for secession just because it has ‘enough’ population. China is way bigger and larger than Nigeria and they are not calling for secession.
I don’t see myself being part of a movement whose leaders issue statements from another man’s land and make threats from the comfort of their rooms, hiding behind their phones or laptops to call for war. Nigeria has passed the era of the millitary, so nobody will jail you for staying in Nigeria to issue statements and lead your people. The reason why the Biafrans are taken serious is because they have on-the-ground members, not mere Facebook noisemakers. The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafran Zionist Movement (BZM), have members who are always acting and keeping the government on its toes, whose words continue to remind the Governement that their struggle for Biafra goes on, and whose actions daily inspire their people that whether in their lifetime or not, Biafra will come to be.
But my people? Name-calling, social media agitations is what we do. Nobody will take you serious if your campaign to him/her is half-abuse, half-ideas. I wouldn’t anyway.
Also, secession must be with a reason. Not just any reason, but genuine reasons. You cannot tell me you want to secede because you have ‘enough’ population. No. You can’t telle you want to secede because Boko haram are killing your people. No. Last time I checked, Boko haram’s bombs don’t recognize tribe. Boko haram didn’t say they want to establish a Northern Republic, they said they want an Islamic nation. Except you want to tell me that all Northerners are muslims, then that reason is itself invalid.
If within Nigeria, we can’t solve the primary problems we are faced with, seceding won’t solve it. Is it only one tribe that’s looting Nigeria dry? Is it just one tribe that’s responsible for the under-development we’re confronted with? The Governors and Senators fron the tribes, did they use their allocations to better the lives of their people? If we secede, are we going to import new leaders to rule? Won’t it still be the Tinubus, OGDS, Bode George that will still be the leaders?
We must answer some questions within Nigeria before talking of secession. If every time a tribe is wronged, they get up and they are allowed to leave in this country, very soon, even streets will start seceding.
Let us solve our issues first within Nigeria and show respect to others while doing that.
OGUNJIMI James TAIWO
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