This is the News Analysis segment of the Voice of Biafra International Broadcasts.
for July 13, 2002
You have heard the news; now, the analysis…
Today, we continue on the theme of Sovereign National Conference. We re-state and insist that Sovereign National Conference means a Conference of the Sovereign / Independent Nations living in the geopolitical entity previously known as Nigeria; for the sole purpose of working out inter-National relations and equitably retiring the previous burdens of Nigeria.
Sovereign National Conference is not about ethnic or cultural diversity and "enrichment" in one nation called Nigeria; these are sweet but empty words that have absolutely no meaning and no chance of application in Nigeria—our individual and collective experience have proven that. We have tried these in the past, to no avail. We are trying them now, only to find out that we can’t even pretend to try any more:—it just is not working. There is no reason at all to think that this will change in the future.
As if to underscore the point, General Obasanjo this week insisted on appointing an Auditor-General from Yoruba even though there is a better qualified candidate from Igboland; even though the rest of the Government’s economic financial arm is dominated by the Yoruba—no, is almost exclusively Yoruba; and even though the Senate had earlier rejected the same appointment based on the above reasons. In doing this, General Obasanjo has succumbed, and continues to succumb, to the same ailment that is eating Nigeria: the pretense that Nigeria is one, and that meritocracy is the order of the day, while the truth is that ethnicity—nepotism—is the only and ultimate criterion for transactions in Nigeria, and those in power and the peoples of Nigeria at all levels are consistently applying it—the President being a typical example. The other driving force is a blatant and open conspiracy to deliberately keep Igbo-Biafrans out of meaningful positions in Nigeria (Defense, Finance, Security, Petroleum Industries, to name a few)—and General Obasanjo is a major subscriber to this. Why in the name of God would anybody pretend that there is, or that we are practicing, ethnic or cultural diversity?
We want to remind everybody that if there was even the slightest chance of "unity" for Nigeria—we know there was never, and never could be—it was totally destroyed by the bloody Shariarization of the North—the blood of Biafrans and Christians and Southerners—along with aggressive plans to continue to force Sharia on the rest of the Nations living under Nigeria. Speak of cultural and ethnic diversity—tufiakwa! While Sharia works for the Muslims, it does not work for the rest of us; and we do not want to have anything to do with it in our own lives, as the Nation of Biafra, or as individuals.
Sovereign National Conference is about Independent Nations living in erstwhile Nigeria coming together to mutually and formally recognize and accept their respective sovereignty and decide on how to share and satisfy the old indebtedness of Nigeria.
The first step in this process is the acceptance of the concept by the current President of Nigeria, General Obasanjo. General Obasanjo needs to understand that he can facilitate this process, and follow the Gorbachev road. Or, he can stand in the way, and end up like Milosevic. But, let General Obasanjo not think that history will remember him for anything else that is positive. It certainly will not be for his current disappointing Presidency—a "tribalistic" President to boot. Nor should it be for the surrender of Biafra in 1970. Neutral and objective historians will know that Biafra was starved out by a blockade organized and maintained by Britain; in a war of genocide fought against Biafra by the combined forces of Britain, Egypt, Russia, Czech, Sudan and Nigeria, with the acquiescing of the US, in a world that kept silent while genocide occurred. And, Biafra still lives today, anyway! The General has boasted in the past that he was the first Military Dictator in Nigeria to hand over power voluntarily to a civilian government. Great—if that’s how he wants history to remember him: like a leader of thieves who hands over some of the loot so that his fellow robbers can return after his tenure to steal the goods again.
With regards to them, the current politicians cannot be trusted but only to maintain the status quo, because the present situation in Nigeria—any situation in one Nigeria—offers them the opportunity for personal aggrandizement, continued raiding of the wealth of the Nations in Nigeria, continued gaming at politics instead of working at serious governance, and for ego inflation / gratification. How did somebody put it recently? These politicians, the administration—in fact, Nigeria as a whole—"has run out of ideas." Once again, we reference the former Soviet Union: their politicians stood in the way of breakage, except for 2 brave persons: Gorbachev and Yeltsin. So, we can ask Nigerian politicians to humor us a little and learn from history and do the right thing, but we really anticipate that since they have learned nothing good in the last 50 years, they are not about to change now. Pity! General Obasanjo has to find a way to get around them if they will not work with him.
At the same time, the peoples of Nigeria, the Nations of Nigeria, must for once show courage and balls. We can all together do it right, and do it only once—because the nightmare will finally be over. Or we can continue to validate the literary derogation of our middle name—"longsuffering" which really, truly, means "cowardly." For, no other peoples in the world can be subjected to what the peoples of Nigeria have been, suffer this long, and yet be able to take more and more, day in, day out, without any signs or hope of relief. This is not a compliment to the peoples of Nigeria: it is the sign of a defeated, worthless, hopeless, and immaterial peoples, and—in a language that we can all identify with—a sign of marginalization. So, what can the people do now?
The peoples living in Nigeria must feel proud of their ethno-national heritage—and "national" here does not refer to Nigeria. The peoples and Nations living in Nigeria should not act ashamed to be identified with each their own ethnic Nation, nor should they harbor any inferiority complex about what and who they are. When these Nations are proud and sure of themselves, they are bound to form better relationships and ties with their neighbor-nations; then, they are not as bound to attack any other nation out of envy or jealousy or prejudice. And, should such an attack occur, the ensuing outrage among other nations will censure the aggressor. All in all, is it not better to be your own nation, and be proud of it, and then, stretch out a hand of friendship and cooperation to other nations, than it is to pretend that Nigeria is truly one, where one’s ethnic background and nation does not matter? Which shall it be: hypocrisy or reality? We know and live the result of hypocrisy now. Is it not time to try reality?
The peoples and nations living in Nigeria shall support the Sovereign National Conference. We shall not let any politician or wicked magician or exploiters or preachers tell us that it is better to live together as one Nigeria. Where are they when we die in uncountable numbers and suffer unmentionable hardship because of one Nigeria? We have been there—we are there now, and all we are doing is dying: we are no longer living. These persons have "run out of ideas" too. It is your turn, and it is time to say, Enough! We shall be our own nations—independent, sovereign; then, we shall find ways to hold hands—inter-National linkages, when it is mutually agreed upon. We shall support the Sovereign National Conference.
Questions are bound to arise:
Does it mean having to get a visa to enter another nation? Yes, if the nations so decide. No, if the nations so decide. Look at European countries and Britain. Or, the US and Canada; or on the other hand, US and Mexico.
What about families with mixed ethnicities? Such families shall be guaranteed the right of dual citizenship. Or Naturalized Nigerian citizens? They shall be allowed to pick a nation, or even dual nations.
Currency? Each nation shall have her own, immediately or eventually.
Companies and businesses registered in Nigeria shall be allowed to register in as many nations as they choose.
Inter-National boundaries? In case of discrepancy, draw boundaries around peoples (inclusive) rather than through peoples (divisive). If all fails, then use (an internationally supervised) plebiscite.
The tougher questions could be:
Resources? All resources naturally belong to their natural place and point of origin. As for Oil resources, recognizing the sensitive nature of the revenue issues, creativity, imagination, fairness and goodwill can come to play—which will actually be easier than anticipated once we realize that we are independent nations. We can all agree to place excess revenue accruing from oil in an escrow account for a period not to exceed 5 years, for example, to be used for Resource exploration in all nations. (What about revenues from other resources—cocoa, tin, minerals? That is the point of equitable and fair negotiations).
Easement, or the fear of being landlocked? In this day and age, this is not so important, but we must deal with the perception of those to whom this is a major issue. We can determine that Calabar, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri / Sappelle are ports to which all the nations can, and shall have internationally-protected unfettered access, and include the River Niger, and the city of Abuja, for the transportation of goods and other civil functions. Negotiable!
Pensions? Liquidate Nigerian property and assets for lump-sum settlement of current civilian, police and military pension. No payments to any civilian, police or military involved in coups or involved in the looting of the old Nigerian treasury at any time.
The military? Professional Nigerian soldiers can be permanently "leased" to OAU (now AU--African Union) if AU wants them. The rest shall be disbanded (with due pensions as above). Nations can form their own armies as they see fit, with or without the former soldiers.
This will not be complete without mentioning "other interested parties."
Other interested parties:
Britain: To the British government, we say, leave us alone; we are no longer your colonies or your slaves. Since you love the North so much, you can help them and work with them in their own nation. You can consider the defense pact with Nigeria null and void; however, we are sure you will find some other avenues for your Arms industry.
To the British people, we ask that you be aware of your government’s role in the perpetuation of the misery called one Nigeria, and in the genocide against Biafra directly and indirectly aided by your government. We hope that a "civil" oversight committee exists to look over your government’s actions here; we cannot trust your press / media; least of all, BBC. Do demand that your government quit its biased meddling.
US: The acquiescence of previous administrations allowed the genocide against Biafra in '67-'70, and encouraged the present outcome. Current ongoing US cooperation with the Nigerian military brings to mind El Salvador; and is also antithetical to the war against terrorism because the Northern Nigerians who control the military are friends and sympathizers of bin Laden. If your actions are designed to protect the oil supply from Nigeria, then, foresight would dictate that you support a process that will allow the rightful owners of the resource to actually own and manage their natural resources. We know for sure that the American people will not support their government trading with with a thief and usurper, even if that thief is another government, in this case, Nigeria. Besides, all this is at the expense of the lives and livelihood of the victimized and marginalized owners who are being killed and maimed and poisoned by this process.
To both the US and Britain, we ask: if it is perfectly okay and even desirable for the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia to break up, why not Nigeria? Are the Nations in Nigeria lesser than the above? Are the peoples of the Nations in Nigeria lesser people? Are they less deserving, less wise, and less discerning? Do examine your conscience and your motives. This is supposed to be 21st century!
Africa: Let this be a lesson. Nations that were not consulted before being lumped together by Colonial Masters should, if they do not get along, work out their separation and emancipation, then re-determine or re-negotiate how to relate to one another. Forced and compelled unions do not work: it never worked for the Colonial Masters, but they would try to continue to impose it on you, then they would turn around and wonder why Africa is unstable! Stop killing your selves and your neighbors: separate in goodwill, then re-convene on equal footing, with mutual respect for one another.
We mention the points above, raise and answer the questions, not because we intended to show that there is a finite or exhaustive list of issues, but to show that there is no insurmountable obstacle when we are serious and mean business. The guiding spirit is a clean and complete break up into individual nations, and fair / equitable negotiations.
And if it sounds all too complicated, consider that the Soviet Union could not have been any less complicated; but they did it. Don’t tell us that you are going to succumb to the British insinuation that we are too inferior and too stupid to manage anything considered "complicated."
In the final analysis, we really have no choice. When the current President of Nigeria, General Obasanjo, is openly practicing tribalism and nepotism, and will not even respond to the Senate calling him on that, and thereby once again denying the Igbo-Biafrans what is due them by merit, why do you think the Igbo-Biafrans will continue to stay in Nigeria? When the previous military and civilian leaders of Nigeria openly and flagrantly excluded Igbo-Biafrans from what is due them by merit, and after enduring this for almost 50 years, what makes you think that Biafrans want to hang around Nigeria?
For us, Biafra has answered all our questions about Nigeria. Biafra shall be. Nigeria shall not have Igbo-Biafrans to kick around, to hate and molest, to mistreat, humiliate and kill at will for ever. Biafra is putting a stop to that right away. The Sovereign National Conference is one civil and friendly way to accomplish this. It shall happen.
May God bless and keep Biafra, and you, until our next broadcast. Voice of Biafra International Broadcast continues. (http://www.biafraland.com; follow Voice of Biafra link)