This is the News Analysis segment of the Voice of Biafra International (VOBI) broadcasts
For October 18 2003 .
You have heard the news; now, the analysis…
Children of God--beloved Biafrans and all peoples living in Nigeria :
We come before you today to state our case and present a blueprint for the release of ALL peoples from the deadly spiral of crisis, corruption, crime and despondency which have constituted our only experience and our constant companion as peoples that dwell in Nigeria. We shall present our construct for freeing every nation living in Nigeria, freeing them from imminent suffocation and smother by unworkable regimes and insensitive administrations—failed successive governments whose true victims are the nations living in Nigeria and their peoples. We intend to break the curse of misfortune, the cycle of crisis and the culture of corruption and violence that have always defined life and existence in Nigeria .
Do we have to ask why we need to liberate the nations of peoples living in Nigeria? We all know that the structure of Nigeria right from inception is wrong, and that whatever it has evolved to presently also remains totally wrong. Thus, Nigeria has lurched from one crisis to another since 1964, and as one astute writer put it, rushes to the brink, pulls back at the last possible moment, only to repeat the cycle again and again. We have tried everything. We have tried military coups which usually are initially greeted with welcome relief by the peoples, before such regimes quickly show their true colors, turn ugly and flash their nasty fangs. We have tried civilian governments, and these were just as bad—perhaps, even worse. We have tried pogroms and genocide, conquest, domination and retribution. We have tried and are instituting forced centralized Federation. We have recently been flirting with “Democracy” and mouthing the word, but show no interest in the meaning, substance or spirit thereof. In any case, there is no infrastructure to support democracy in Nigeria. As such, we are currently saddled with a pseudo-military, pseudo-civilian, pseudo-communist, one-party one-man rule masquerading as a democracy in Nigeria. We all know that it is not. Are we willing to stay in this imposed subjugation for the rest of our lives and the lives of our dear children and families? The answer is an emphatic “No”! How much more can we take? How much longer can we allow ourselves to ride these dizzying roller-coasters of political ineptitude and chaos? How much further can our collective patience be tried?
At the moment, we are in the thick of another major crisis, having just barely pulled back from the edge of a major abyss one month ago. In-between major crises, we are always roller-coasting in and out of minor chasms. One thing is quite different about this current crisis. The intended victims of the crisis—always the peoples living in Nigeria—and their principals have looked left, right and upwards for answers and for help and salvation. They have scratched their head and we have all come to a sudden awareness: there is not going to be a military coup to protect the peoples from the harshness of an insensitive president and his administration’s punitive policies, because we have all said, No more! to military coups—and rightly so. There is no organized civil structure to save the peoples from the malicious policies of a president and his government who have practically lost touch with the realities faced by the common peoples living in Nigeria . Lack of such a civil organ is the result of the peoples having all been intimidated and suppressed into acquiescence and submission, always being accused of “trying to truncate democracy in Nigeria” or “destabilize Nigeria” whenever we raise a genuine challenge. There is neither a formal nor even a functional opposition party-structure in this one-party government which has ironically been touted a “democracy”—imagine that! So, we are left at the mercy of a brutal government which has run out of ideas (never had any in the first place), and which has no qualms about demanding of the peoples more sacrifice, and piling on them more hardship and more suffering. The principals have managed to win Round One for the peoples—for now; but the president, General Obasanjo, has issued threats and warnings. What are we going to do? What are the peoples going to do? This oligarchy—a government by a select few imposing their will on the masses must stop. Even the jingoism practiced and imposed by the colonial masters who violated virgin territories of African pales in comparison to the demeaning propagation of subjugation of the peoples of the defunct country called Nigeria . How much more can the peoples take? How much more can you and I take?
Children of the Almighty God: even as we speak to you today, there is an International Conference on Biafra in session in the State of Maryland in the USA . We would like for you to understand that this conference is a response to the question we have just arrived at above: What are we going to do? What can the peoples do to liberate and protect themselves from an administration and its government determined to ignore the cries and the woes of the peoples? The goal of this conference is to start the process designed to finally bring lasting stability to the region and create the opportunity and environment that will allow us all—ALL OF US—to live again, respectively as the peoples of the sovereign nations of Biafra, Odua, Arewa, and others. This conference concerns you, and is about you, about me, about all of us; it is about our families, our friends, our children and our youth. It is not just about Biafra. That which liberates Biafra is the same thing that will at the same time liberate Odua, Arewa and other nations, because the practical result of liberation for one nation is the concomitant liberation for all nations and all peoples currently living in Nigeria. This is the peoples’ right! It is the right of true freedom.
How can we accomplish this? You, the peoples living in Nigeria, have actually taken the first step. On that day, October 4 2003 when you booed General Obasanjo during his speech in the new stadium in Abuja, you had finally said to Obasanjo, to Africa , and to the world: “We are human beings, and we detest Obasanjo’s insensitive policies which are bringing more suffering to an already suffering people. Enough is enough.” The second step is also a credit to you: for supporting NLC and the other principals and standing your ground, refusing to yield to Obasanjo’s harsh plan, and compelling a roll-back of the price-increase on petrol and petroleum products. We are just as proud or even more proud, to credit you with taking yet the most important step: the recognition of the fact that there is no political or civil mechanism in place to challenge the Obasanjo-PDP one-party machinery and bring representation, balance and sanity to the system. Thus, you—we—recognize that there is no salvation coming our way from out there; nobody—nothing—out there to protect the people from Obasanjo’s policies; no military coup, no America (although obviously on Obasanjo’s invitation, US military is said to be defending US oil interests in the Delta region). We thus arrive at the sobering conclusion that the peoples living in Nigeria are now left with only 3 options: civil rebellion, civil dialogue, or to roll over and die a collective death, crushed by the weight and burden of bad governance and insensitive leadership. What option shall we choose? What option will insure our collective survival?
So, we are here today to point out that we already have the construct for civil dialogue. At one point or another, responsible, knowing and candid individuals in our midst who dwell in Nigeria have already articulated and accepted the concept of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC). SNC is the vehicle in which Civil Dialogue can be carried out. Right away, we define SNC for purposes of clarity. “Sovereign” in SNC stands for sovereignty of each individual different nation living in Nigeria—not Nigeria itself. “National” refers NOT to Nigeria, but to these individual nations of peoples presently living in Nigeria . Using the platform of SNC we, the peoples come together and immediately ratify the sovereignty of each nation living in Nigeria, then proceed to discuss and negotiate issues and matters of importance and relevance to the sovereign nations and their peoples. This is the fourth step in a process in which you the peoples living in Nigeria have already established three symbolic and substantive steps forward; the International Conference on Biafra is now building on and extending these moves, by reintroducing the familiar concept of SNC as the vehicle for exercising the option of civil dialog aimed at liberating the nations living in Nigeria, with civility and with mutual respect.
The first question that usually pops up is from skeptics who point out that there are 250 tribes in Nigeria: does that now mean having 250 countries? To which we ask: who counted what as tribes? But more importantly, did these same “hundreds” of tribes not manage to live together in 3 major autonomous regions in relative stability before the current colonially forced contraption known as Nigeria? And following through, we ask: would you rather live with stability as 250 tribes or languish in the current, forced, centralized doomed monstrous behemoth known as one-Nigeria? We do not think that any serious person expects 250 nations.
The next issue is a social one—the matter of intermarriage. Would the ratification of the sovereign nations cause interference in such families? It would have been nice if intermarriage could have lessened the problems of Nigeria, but all that has happened with the present atmosphere of inter-ethnic strife offered by Nigeria is that more stressors and anxieties have been placed on such families, naturally. We propose that such mixed families shall have the right of dual and multiple citizenships, both as a family unit and or on the individual family-member level; also the families shall have the right to choose just one primary citizenship if they so choose. We predict that intermarriages will be facilitated and made even more desirable and attractive once we replace the dysfunction and danger of the current structure of Nigeria with sovereign nationalities.
That brings up the important question of boundaries: where do we draw them? Here, we have the opportunity to definitely do better. The colonial masters drew boundaries for their own administrative convenience and economic and military benefit. In fact, they purposefully divided kit and kin in order to cause divisiveness among the indigenes (a process known as “Balkanization”). We are peoples naturally bound by blood, dwelling in core regions that correlate with this socio-biologic profile. Most boundary problems will arise in contiguous peripheral areas, but applying the principles of blood-relatedness coupled with plebiscite where necessary, should be able to resolve most, if not all, boundary issues.
A related matter is access for all nations to the ocean. Easement can be negotiated to allow mutually maintained access to the ocean by land using specifically designated routes (if necessary). Also the rivers can be developed to provide access to the Atlantic Ocean . Anticipating a problem in that area, Nigeria has contributed to the construction of an overland route through Niger to the Mediterranean Sea .
It is probably appropriate to bring up the issue of visa requirements across international borders. By mutual agreement, formal visa requirements could be eliminated entirely, so that under normal circumstances, this should not pose much of a problem. Europe is a model for this issue.
There is a fear based on an unfounded idea that ratification of sovereignties could lead to the loss of property and property ownership rights. Existing property and business rights shall be preserved and guaranteed under the terms of ratification of nationalities, regardless of ownership nationality or type of ownership, whether private or personal or corporate, as long as such ownership was legal in the first instance.
Other issues include the fate of the military and the police. Each nation can have its own military and most certainly, its own police. We propose that there is no reason for a collective military. If the African Union (AU) intends to use the now Nigerian army, then, AU can make arrangements to quarter and maintain the military under AU. Civil service personnel will be absorbed in their own nations, with their pensions following them.
For the hottest issue we propose the most straightforward solution; unarguably, Oil is that issue. The natural order is that what exits on and in the land of a people belongs to such people. By International norms, such land extends to the margin of the continental shelf. As such, our proposal is guided by what is natural and what is customary practice with the larger international community. Each sovereign nation shall keep what is on their land and airspace. As for Oil found offshore—i.e., past the continental shelf—we propose that it be consigned to a collective pot to be used to finance real projects that benefit all the peoples of all the nations, and not left vulnerable to theft and misuse by government officials and other agents. We propose that Offshore Oil resources could be used to fund free education for all peoples regardless of their nationality, up to University level. Further, we propose that Offshore Oil revenue be used to fund a system of Health Care research, consumer and professional medical education to serve the entire region of nations and all their peoples, and a network of hospitals and clinics providing free medical care, located in every nation. Another proposal is the funding and establishment of a sub-continental regional Institute of Excellence for Scientific Research, Development and Application, with branches in every nation.
Obviously, financial obligations of Nigeria will have to be assumed equitably by the new nations. We propose that the nations collectively empower lender-nations to go after the stolen loot which is stashed away in the lender-countries’ banks and institutions, and recoup what is owed them. Other obligations can be taken care of with some of the revenue from the Offshore Oil, as noted above.
Another hot issue is the subject of “minority” ethnic groups. It used to be that minority groups supported the current structure of Nigeria because of the promise that it would afford them protection from a neighboring larger group. We now all know otherwise: The facts and reality are that Nigeria has not protected any group. If anything, the structure of Nigeria has enabled the erosion of personal security and instead provided the mechanisms used to murder group members and their revered leaders, without accountability. In any case, we propose that the protection of minority rights and legitimate interests is a condition and cornerstone of sovereignty. It should be noted that the United Nations has an interest in this matter, and any nation found wanting in this area is answerable to the whole world. That said, we hope that with this new dispensation, no group would have cause to consider itself isolated, alienated, singled out or marginalized out of the mainstream of any of the new sovereign nation. We all have learned our lesson from our awful experience in Nigeria.
There is a skeptic out there now asking: what is the guarantee that this will all work? This of course immediately begs the question: is Nigeria working, and what is the guarantee that Nigeria will ever work? Nevertheless, we can assure you of one thing: we will not give you any guarantees that that nature or life itself will not give you. Life guarantees us one thing: opportunities for each one of us to take charge of our existence and be in control of our own destiny. It goes without saying that the ratification of the sovereignty of each nation currently living Nigeria guarantees such nation the opportunity for that nation to recapture and take control of its own destiny and the welfare and fulfillment of its people. Therefore the ratification of the sovereignty of each nation, guarantees that YOU NOW WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE YOUR OWN NATIONAL DESTINY IN YOUR OWN HANDS. Frankly, there is no other way to effectively, fully and positively resolve the problems of Nigeria.
The concern about the potential for confusion and chaos during the transition to sovereign nations is genuine. The peoples are not strangers to chaos and to traumatic transitions, given our crisis-prone existence in Nigeria. When we go in with the plan and agenda in the spirit of the SNC as stated above, we are in a better position to deal with the chaos of radical but necessary change. The religious congregational organizations will help contribute to stability during this period. The labor groups will keep the labor sector functioning and productive and manage necessary reorganization. The student organizations will be responsible for discipline among our students, and the youth groups will work similarly on their peers. Each civic and civil unit will play its own role in a mutually complimentary manner to carry us through the transition. Our wise elders can now play their part if they have not soiled their hands with the gutter-water of Nigeria . Other issues include financing the transition which will be accomplished with the monies that would normally otherwise accrue to Nigeria during this period; this time, stealing, looting and bleeding of the funds will not be possible.
The time is past for keeping comatose Nigeria alive because of fear of what would happen otherwise; or because of the fear of losing the benefit of oil revenues; or because of the fear of other ethnic groups; or because of the fear of domination by another ethnic group, or keeping moribund Nigeria alive in order to punish one ethnic group. Keeping Nigeria going thus far has hurt everyone, and has only enriched a handful of persons. It is now time to let go of all these crutches. None of us has been helped in any way by what Nigeria is, or what Nigeria has been thus far.
The only way to effectively let go and move on—the only way forward—is by ratifying the sovereignty of each nation currently living in Nigeria. SNC provides the venue and mechanism. No progress could ever be achieved by continuing to keep Nigeria alive.
Children of the Almighty God—fellow Biafrans and all peoples living in Nigeria: it is time to move forward. We appeal to all the peoples living in Nigeria to take steps towards making the SNC a reality. There, we can ratify the sovereignties of the nations, discuss and negotiate the issues. Remember, Nigeria has run out of positive chances. Obasanjo’s government has run out of ideas. And, we the peoples, still suffering untold hardship, have run out of meaningful and viable options. It is time for us to stand up as one and be counted. The will of the peoples must prevail.
Let us not wait for another crisis before we react. We want to be proactive. Remember: there is nobody and no organization out there looking out for us, or ready to come to protect us. Only we can rescue ourselves now, with the help of God. We want to take back control of our destiny. We want to do it in a civil manner, and we can do it. The SNC is how and where we lay the foundation and start the process. With goodwill, we shall do well and come out well.
We do not have the luxury of time any more. Anyone asking you to give Nigeria more time to mature its democracy speaks out of ignorance, because such a person has failed to understand that the only chance for democracy lies in the reconstitution of individual sovereign nations. Such a person fails woefully to understand what has happened to us within the context of time. The adults and older people in our midst are already spent as a wasted generation, wasted by Nigeria. Waiting may not make any difference to us, condemned and finished as we are. But, consider our children and our youth. There is no opportunity for education. The few that can afford it cannot graduate and those that do graduate make us ashamed of their inadequate education. Even when they graduate, they are informed at convocation that there are no jobs for them. There is no opportunity for employment for our young people. A few of them do whatever it takes to get out of the hell called Nigeria, and in so doing, literally strike a deal with the Devil—that is, if they survive the ordeal in the first place. Let’s assume that we do wait, for how long? If we wait while our children and youth perish, who will be left standing to harvest the fruits of democracy if the seed did in fact take hold in Nigeria ? Time is not on the side of our children and our youth in Nigeria because there is no future for them in Nigeria .
We conclude by asking you to keep in mind that only we the peoples, by the help of God Almighty alone, can redeem ourselves from the shackles of Nigeria . As such, we ask you in the name of God Almighty to:
1)Insist on SNC as defined above, now;
2)Implement SNC as outlined above, now;
3) Join, support and empower nationalistic groups, now;
4) Redirect nationalistic groups to work together in peace and avoid hostilities, now; and
5) Focus nationalistic groups on ratification of the sovereignty of each nation, using the vehicle of the SNC.
Our Almighty God is not unaware of your suffering. Value the Spirit of Freedom and Life granted you by God, and the power of God is yours to conquer the toughest of adversaries. Resolve to honor God by honoring His gift of life to you when you take your own sovereign national destiny into your own care, away from, and instead of leaving it in, the hands of those that would trample it and crush you. For the sake of God Almighty, redeem your sovereign nations from Nigeria and thus bring glory to the name of God.
The peoples and their nations must live and thrive, though the name and concept of Nigeria dies. The peoples and their nations must not and will not be allowed to perish just to save a dying Nigeria.
“My peoples and my nations shall not be sacrificed for the sake of preserving a worthless idea called Nigeria.” So speaketh the Lord. And so it is.
As such, Biafra and the other sovereign nations live! By God’s design!
That’s the news analysis on this most special day, for the week. Thank you.
God bless and keep Biafra and the other nations, and you, for ever. Voice of Biafra International Broadcast (VOBI) continues. (http://www.biafraland.com/vobi.htm)