Biafra Revisited: The Nigerian Government is irresponsible.

The whole idea of skin in the game is to enforce the silver rule, i.e., “do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you”. Yet, the Nigerian government wants civilians to behave when they have failed, (and continue to fail) to behave sensibly. They are asking for what they cannot give.

First, on what basis should any Nigerian not agitate today? Nigerians are made to provide electricity, water, and even security for themselves. Leaving the government largely jobless. It is an eyesore.

While some marginalization might appear to be greater than the others, the reality is (to use the words of the writer, Chido Onumah): We are all ‘Biafrans’.

But without generalizing, let’s look at the recent IPOB tragedy.

The indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) is a separatist group in Nigeria from the south-east part of the country demanding a referendum to break away from Nigeria to form the Biafra Nation [1].

In a report by the Amnesty international, the Nigeria military has been accused of killing at least 150 protesters in a pro-Biafra rally in May 2016 (with video evidence) [2].

There appears to have been another variant of such act in a recent military action, code name Operation Python Dance’s in the south-eastern part of Nigeria which had allegedly led to the death of several IPOB members [3]; and the inhuman torture of pro-Biafra protesters, who are forced to sleep in mud and drink muddy waters [4].

The ineptitude of the Nigerian government is exposed in its failure to satisfy at least 2 principles of legitimacy in this regard [5].

1) If you want people to behave civilly, they must have the assurance that when they speak they will be heard.

Folks across the country has been agitating for restructuring, cessation, etcetera, since forever. And we must recall the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 that led to the death of millions of people after Biafra declared itself an independent country.

How hard is it to conduct a referendum?

And when people are not heard they inevitably become uncivil and violent. IPOB has been accused of violence by the Nigerian Military.

But I will submit that If IPOB have become a set of unholy terrorists as declared by the Nigeria Military, first, we must blame the Nigerian Government.

2) If you want people to behave civilly, the authority must be fair.

As an example, On September 15, 2017, The Nigerian military declared IPOB a terrorist group.

What happened to such labels when the Fulani herdsmen maimed and killed hundreds of innocent citizens in recent times [6]. Which lead them, high up in the rank: to be the fourth deadliest terrorist organization according to the Global Terrorism Index (November 2015).

And one is only left to hypothesize that such dangerous selective use of power is because the president, Mr Buhari, is from the northern part of the country where these violent herdsmen hail from.

After clearly stating as a newly elected president that he will treat some group of persons unfairly after being asked about his strategies for inclusive government. In his words:

“Constituencies that gave me 97% cannot be (in all honesty) treated equally – on some issues – as those who gave me 5%” [7]

perhaps these are the manifestations of such statements.

Finally, Malcom Gladwell in his book David and Goliath have some apt words that describe the state of leadership in Nigeria:

“When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters – first and foremost – how they behave.”

Friends, the Nigerian Government is very irresponsible.

And she is the main problem of Nigeria and Nigerians, not any Biafra separatist group.

(Photo Credit: Eric Gaba – Wikipedia Common User: sting)

References

[1] Wikipedia, Indigenous People of Biafra.

[2] Amnesty International, Nigeria: At least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra activists killed in chilling crackdown November 24, 2016

[3] The Sun news online, 7 IPOB members feared killed in army clash September 12, 2017

[4] Daily Post – Nigeria News, Biafra: Army torture IPOB members in Aba, force them to sleep in mud [VIDEO] September 13, 2014

[5] Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Pp 207.

[6] Daily Post – Nigeria News, Benue: Fulani herdsmen have killed over 500, 300,000 displaced – Group alleges March 17, 2017.

[7] President Buhari’s strategy for inclusive government, in his words. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYUBTU2ZgFY

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