by Donald Ekpo
A people that cannot sincerely determine their political & economic future or their Social & Cultural development devoid of the definition of another culture are living in slavery – Me
The entity called Nigeria before now has been divided along the religious and regional divides. The shy but undeniable religious lines has pitched the Northern Muslims against the Northern and Southern Christians even when we tend to deny it. This divide is similar to the unconsented British marriage has always pitched the average Northerner against the Southerner. The average Northerner is religiously scared of being led by a Southerner, if it occurs, it won’t be for long (if in doubt, check the Northern states and their voting patterns). We cannot deny these facts, any attempt to do so is to continue in self-denial.
The educated Nigerians tend to mistake their cowardice for civility. We try to sound civilized and politically correct, we know right inside us that when the chips are down, there is an unconscious separation and instantaneous alliance to our kind, (to thy tent oh Israel) either religiously or regionally for fear of the unknown.
Until recently, the minorities in Northern Nigeria has always formed alliance with the ‘core’ North, until it became clearer to them that they shared more similarities with the South, as they have only been a willing tool when the numbers are required.
Even the South West, until the recent political divide, may have to reconsider their continuous alliance with the North that has been more of, on basis of negotiations, either to be excused from the spur-of-the-moment killing tendencies of the Muslim north to serve their people, and otherwise or political negotiations. The Christians in Northern Nigeria and Southerners living in the far north having been the ones with the biggest share of the wrath of these dividing lines, will be the ones to agree with me. I am not attempting to convince you, I am making a statement of fact.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE POLL
But be it as it may, apart from the regional cleansing attempted on the geographical South Easterners caused by these regional/religious divide in 1966 that led to the civil war, the need for separation and secession or self-determination have never been an urgent reality as it is now. It never really dawned on Nigerians until now. Reasons is not rocket science, it simple.
In the history of Nigeria, Nigeria has never been deeply divided along political lines as it is now. And the political lines have presented us the opportunity to look deeper into things that were too sacred and revered to be questioned.
Despite the fact that the political lines have pretended to weaken the former lines of divide, it has in reality manifested as the colossal monster that has embolden Nigerians enough to fight back when pushed to the wall. Before now, the oppressed Nigerians were said to literally make a hole on the wall when pushed to the wall. But the political divide seem to have exposed the strength of the former divide.
It is rather unfortunate that the revered monster of oppression has found a way to fit itself on the side of evil, therefore making the political divide a war between the GOOD and the EVIL.
The recent politics in Nigeria started off as a national one that was able to suppress the monster of religion and region in 1999 when the PDP was a National party. Nobody was really interested in the political permutation between the North/South/Muslim/Christians because it was normal to always have a certain alhaji in some positions, and it was normal to have government being the regular government that we had always known. Things were neither strange nor new.
Obasanjo was already a household name as a known ruler that could not be questioned, the Abubakars and the Musas, Yar’aduas were not strange. The opposition party of the Southwest AC was contented in struggling for states in the South West, while that of the South East, The APGA was also contented with a state or two in their region. Parties like the Labour party evolved as that of the common man that was neither here nor there, except when necessary, it formed alliance.
The main opposition the APP was later converted to being a regional party up north by later changing it to the ANPP, and was strictly Islamic to suit its region. While all these was going on, alliances were made with the ruling party to gain recognition at different levels as it would suit the region.
The first attempt to create a national opposition was done by the sudden dissatisfaction in the ANPP that gave rise to the CPC. Both the ANPP and CPC are political parties created by General Muhammadu Buhari to express his ambition to rule Nigeria. The CPC was created on the basis of religion/region, hence the birth of the first national electioneering violence that was targeted at the other side of the divide – the Christians and Southerners.
By this time, the other regional party from the Southwest also attempted to metamorphose to a national party by not just changing its name to the ACN, but also attempted to forged an uncoordinated alliance with the CPC in fulfilment of the earlier stated alliance of the North and South West. Even though it failed, but the common denominator; VIOLENCE, was birth in both regions.
Unfortunately, the PDP, being the only national party had no option, but to produce its flag bearer, the President from an inconsequential, unwelcomed, and an uncelebrated region – the South South, perceived in the eye of the Northerner/Westerner as IGBO. The region that is mostly perceived as a “feared conquest” that must not be allowed to smell the throne. Hence the beginning of the reality that was only spoken in whispers.
The fight to unseat these relatives of the “feared conquest” seated on the throne started as soon as the 2011 elections ended. In the efforts to garner support from the electorate/masses, the secrets of government that has been on for decades were exposed. It was difficult to accept anything as being good, as the electorate were also equipped with the social media tool at the time, and collaborations were made far and wide. Secrets upon secrets were exposed on the lines of divide, supports lines were queued on religious and regional sentiments in total frustration of the ruling elites. They had to fight back by giving into more expositions on secrets that would never have been known.
Cost of food eaten by the President was exposed, as if the previous ate less, cost of contracts were exposed even if when it was lesser compared to the previous administration. Nigerians suddenly saw how much they were “cheated” in these four years devoid of how much they had been cheated in the past 50 years. The present government of the day fought back, and brought forth papers to educate the masses of how government were ran in the last 50 years in its attempt to compare notes. By these time, it did not matter anymore, opinions were formed along ethnic/religious lines, to thy tent, and we were all summoned.
Nothing was evil as long as it was from our end, just like they saw no evil from their evil past. The lines were drawn, only a few went onboard of the other ship for selfish reasons in pretense of being politically correct, or a few that saw the unwarranted oppression of the perceived weak. The trumpet voice of separation was sound and clear. TO THY TENT OH ISRAEL!!!
The Birth of; the End of Separation
The lines of divide even though rooted in religion, and partially region, became political. Nigerians all found their voices to be either political incorrect or otherwise. It was clear that a certain region cannot be tolerated. It was also confirmed, that to get power back, and some regions were ready to kill part of theirs just to spite the other’s ability to be perfect. The die was cast. Again, TO THY TENT OH ISRAEL, made more sense than ever. The political divide had forced some traditional rulers to speak up hidden conceptions of some regions in public just to garner the required sympathy to achieve their political goals. In all these, the Political divide in attempt to be politically frank, had open sacred wounds that may never heal again.
The Northern/Western alliance after regaining their lost power by blackmail and promises to be better have turned out to be worst. Worst maybe because of the expected standard it created as a tool to blackmail the government of the “feared conquest”. The South East region having realize that the rejection of the South South was not due to their performance, but rather the perception of their similarities with the South East had no choice but to voice out their reservations and seek for separation instead of the open intimidations from every other region. And the Silent Nnamdi Kanu created the required and trusted trigger after being failed by a couple of politicized elders in the past.
It will be unfair to assume that the South East are the only region seeking separation from the contraption called Nigeria. It is an open secret that neither the South/South nor the Middle belt (prefers that to North central) will be willing to desire the core north in preference to the Southeast. And like earlier stated, the South South is as good as Southeast (Igbo) in the eyes of the Northerner.
The Middle belt has had enough of the North after being used as willing tools when number is required. The south west is deeply divided politically as they have suddenly realized that a certain few have been using a majority for personal gains. As it stands, the need for separation is a national call that cannot be ignored for too long. Not after the expiration of the unconsented agreed 100 years of amalgamation.
Today, it is the South East that is democratically agitating for SELF DETERMINATION. The South South region is imploding from the inside due to the continuous attempt of the North to stretch its hands into their affairs in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and now Bayelsa States. It is just a matter of time, and those hands will press just the right button to trigger the joint agitation for self-determination.
The Middle Belt had being pushed into oblivion, and yet, they won’t let it be, the hands the stretched into Taraba State is causing an implosion from within, they have now looked the way of Benue in an attempt to ridicule the quietness of that state. Their actions is gradually giving births to the Nnamdi Kanus and Asari Dokubos of that region. For how long will the political correctness of a few hold together the loose ends of our elastic limits?
In sincerity, apart from the oil in the Niger Delta, what are the unavoidable inter-regional benefits that says the contraption must remain as it were? If the South East/South South have not had reasons to deport, kill or butcher themselves before, would their union not be better-off than the present one that a killing in Norway/France/Afghanistan or Libya will put you at risk of being retaliated upon with? If the average Benue/Plateau/Taraba/Southern Kaduna/Nasarawa/parts of Adamawa/parts of Gombe indigenes have never considered killing the southerner because of the quarrel of America and some Islamic nation, would it not be better to unify our diversity with these ones if that is a criteria for strength? Must we live in fear of intimidation at all times?
Joining the Biafran struggle does not make these other regions Igbo, rather it would be in total solidarity against these intimidating divide that is attempting to put other regions in a state of insignificance while they remain. And more So, Biafra is not a region, Biafra rather is just an identification of the coastal water areas of the Niger Delta. So who cares what name is used? Just like the Bight of Benin in Lagos, we also have the Bight of Biafra in the Niger Delta. Biafra is not an Igbo name; that is all I can say.
I AM A NIGER DELTAN!
I STAND FOR AN END TO REJECTION!
I STAND FOR SELF DETERMINATION!
I STAND FOR FREEDOM!
I STAND FOR BIAFRA!
Donald Ekpo holds a bachelors degree in Physics and a diploma in Computer Mathematics and Programming from the University of Calabar. He has earned professional certifications in Microsoft (MSCE), CISCO (CCNP) Project Management In controlled Environments (PRINCE 2). He is an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Science, UK. He is on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.