Biafra not possible again –EMU
felix ofou kolawole ojelabi
Assistant Editor, Politics Assistant Editor, News
Agitations for the resuscitation of the defunct Biafra Republic out of Nigeria may be a pipe dream, as one of the groups that fought for the restoration of democracy, the Eastern Mandate Union (EMU), has dissociated itself from the plan, pointing out that it was no longer possible to realise the objective.
In continuation of its plans to realise a Republic of Biafra, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) had asked Igbos across the nation to stay at home on Thursday in solidarity with the Biafran cause.
While also decrying the Federal Government’s clamp down on members of the organisation, the group warned that no force could distract it from its avowed objectives.
The sit at home order was largely observed in the eastern part of the country where commercial activities were severely paralysed.
But in an interview with its National Co-ordinator, Chief Chuba Egollum, EMU declared that it was no longer possible to achieve a Republic of Biafra, and advised MASSOB to abandon the current agitation for the excision of the South-East zone from the country to form a new republic.
Egollum who gave the advice against the backdrop of the stay at home order by MASSOB last Thursday pointed out that the agitation for a Biafra Republic contradicted the popular expectation for an Igbo president in Nigeria come 2007.
The EMU chieftain described the stay at home order as unrealistic, wondering how MASSOB hoped to enforce such a decision, especially in places like Kano, Port Harcourt or Abuja.
“Sometimes, people say things that I wonder how enforceable it can be. Perhaps the stay at home order may have been feasible in the East but I don’t know how possible this can be in other city centres, especially when people have subsisting business commitments”.
While conceding that MASSOB members had constitutional rights to hold views, no matter how extreme, the EMU coordinator doubted the possibility of realising the objective, moreso when most Igbos do not understand the basis or import for the present agitation.
“Agitations can go on, but how well has it been articulated? Is everyone being carried along? They need to say whether the Biafran Republic is for every Ibo man or for a select few. In any case, what happens to the expectation for an Igbo president in 2007?” he asked.
Egollum cautioned against the confrontational stance of MASSOB, in the face of attempts to consolidate the gains of democracy by ensuring that the twin virtues of equity and fairness are enthroned as the bedrock for distributing national cake.
“MASSOB chairman, Ralph Uwazuruike, needs to tell people what they are doing rather than seek confrontation. This, to my mind, is not the time for confrontation”, he counselled, while also calling on all Ndigbos to come together to chart a common cause.
From the legal point of view, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, said there would be no nation if groups continue to make demands that were not achievable, saying the ‘right to self-determination is not a volunteered freedom. There is no freedom that is not subjected to some form of limitation.’
Noting that no government is elected to break Nigeria or to consent to breaking up Nigeria, Dr. Abayomi asked; ‘if you grant self determination to MASSOB, in what context will it be?’
While describing MASSOB’s agitation as a folly that is not based on any deep thinking, the lawyer explained that the whole of the Eastern part of the country did not support the agitation, saying that ‘self-determination is to have a territory and a constituency that is subject to some authority.’
He observed that the plethora of agitations in the country was a function of having too many clowns in the government of this country, ‘otherwise MASSOB should be engaging in serious adventures such as politicking on how to send ‘our children to school, improve agriculture, and pursue legislation that will make housing affordable to the mass of the people among others.’
As a nation, he said, Nigerians needed to do a little bit more reflection on the country.
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