" /> (Editorial) Igbo and the curse of Biafra | Hallmarknews
Published On: Mon, May 15th, 2017

(Editorial) Igbo and the curse of Biafra

What is the attachment of the Igbo to the Utopian idea of Biafra that it has become the only political agenda and a unifying force half a century after they were defeated in a suicidal war that virtually destroyed them as a strong component in Nigeria? This is a question confronting most Nigerians given that it has become a sour point in the relationship between them and the federal government.  Has Biafra become a stronghold, a curse, on the Igbo that will continue to perpetuate and reinforce their marginalization?

Biafra was fought for and lost 50 years ago by the Igbo. At the time it was declared, a generality of the Igbo agreed that it was necessary, even though not inevitable, to protest the injustice and mindless massacres of their people across the north without government intervention; and to assert their right to protect themselves and for self determination. It was a time the Igbo declared independence from Nigeria as a logical development of events arising from the January 15, 1966 military coup that toppled the first republic. The coup was led by mainly Igbo officers.

Before the war, the Igbo dominated every aspect of national life and government. The Igbo was Governor General, Senate president, head of the army and controlled its officers’ corps, the academia with the only two federal universities – Ibadan and Lagos – headed by them and the bureaucracy, etc. Biafra took away all these influence and political power and also one millions lives of the best of their youths and future; beside the unprecedented and massive destruction of its infrastructure, which was never rebuilt in spite of the pretentious and deceitful declaration of the three Rs – Reconciliation, reconstruction and reintegration. They were the envy of the other regions and the war was auspicious to cut them to size.

Furthermore, there were deliberate government policies to ensure that they never recover fast enough to challenge the other groups. For instance, every Igbo was entitled to only 20 Nigeria pounds as the equivalent exchange value for any amount of Biafra pounds in their possession. Its effect5 was the complete impoverishment of the Igbo who were just emerging from 30 months of suffering and privations, and turned everybody into beggars. It was an act of blatant and wicked vindictiveness which was intended to cripple them permanently economically. Or so they thought!

To further consolidate their malicious vendetta the government chose to introduce the indigenization policy which transferred the ownership of foreign companies in the country to Nigerians in 1972. Needless to say, the Igbo were not considered in its formulation, because those saddled with the challenge of basic survival could not be the target or beneficiary of corporate investment policy. The effect is the near absence of the Igbo in corporate Nigeria today, belying the fact that an Igbo was the first Nigeria president of the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

Then quota system was introduced for recruitment and admission into federal service and schools. With only one state in a 12 state structure, they were virtually obliterated from any presence and representation in federal government. This structural injustice and marginalization has been perpetuated through the creation of more states and local governments with the Igbo, who were, by the 1964 census, the second largest ethnic group, having the least of everything – states, local government, senators, House members, revenue allocations etc. All these were not accidental, but conscious and deliberately policies to keep them down.

Surprisingly, they have not succeeded, and even their worse traducers and detractors are perplex and bewildered by their incredible capacity to rebound and mount a credible challenge for leadership especially in the economic front. The fact is not lost on them that the Igbo still possess the potential to demand for their own pound of flesh and cause mischief. And they are waiting to finish what they naively left undone after the war – the extermination of the rebellious. It is a mistake their antagonists still regret and the agitation for Biafra is providing a convenient excuse to whet such appetite.

As a responsible newspaper, necessity imposes on us the burden to draw our people’s attention to this political machination against them and why their predilection to the illusory fancy of Biafra is feeding on the angst and stereo type against them. Such preconceptions have made it difficult for the Igbo to be generally accepted and reintegrated into the main stream of the nation. And as long as they continue on this delusional path of secession they may be shooting themselves in the foot and mortgaging the future of their people.

As a mental or ideological construct to draw attention to the persisting inequities in the system, Biafra may be relevant; but as a political objective to resurrect that which was dead 50 years ago, it will be a curse they may eventually destroy them. If Nigeria will not be, as many have come to believe, the Igbo will not be the catalyst for that eventuality. They have played their card and lost; they should let others try also.





Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. […] (Editorial) Igbo and the curse of Biafra […]

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent posts

  • Time is ripe for rates cut, says Rewane as inflation slows further in Oct.

    FELIX OLOYEDE This is the appropriate time for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to cut benchmark monetary rates after inflation rate slows down for the ninth consecutive time in October, said Mr Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives. The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released Consumer Price […]

  • ELAN National Lease Conference Focuses on Revamping Nigerian Economy

    FELIX OLOYEDE In furtherance of its objective of promoting the business of leasing in Nigeria, Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN) has concluded plans to organise the 15th Annual National Lease Conference with focus on revamping the Nigerian economy. The conference which is the biggest gathering of stakeholders in the leasing industry is expected to […]

  • Nigeria-centric restaurant, Labule, opens new outlet in Lagos

    Labule, Nigeria-centric restaurant, operated by an indigenous company, Roots Foods Limited, offering real Nigerian local delicacies in a unique environment that combines the setting of a modern quick service restaurant with that of an African setting of a local ‘buka’, has opened a new outlet on Admiralty Road in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The brand […]

  • Nigerian banks shine in Ghana

    By JOHNMARK UKOKO Nigerian banks have been credited with “revolutionizing “the banking sector in Ghana, due to the many innovations they brought to Ghana’s banking sector. The Ghana Deputy Minister of Trade and Investment Hon. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah said in Lagos that the innovation and transformation of the Ghana’s banking sector is credited to the […]

  • Ajimobi moves to save Oyo APC from disintegration

    By OLUSESAN LAOYE The seeming crisis in Oyo APC has now forced the Governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, to begin consultations with stakeholders to convinced members on why they must come together as a body to face the 2019 general elections, Although the internal crisis is yet to break open as the aggrieved party […]

  • YolaDisCo sale stalled as no potential buyers emerge

    By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU Two years after the core investors of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company, YolaDisCo, declared a force majeure owing to their inability to operate under the reign of terror unleased by Boko Haram, the Federal Government is yet to find any investor interested in operating the utility company, it has been learnt. In […]

  • Company Analysis: Much Ado about Seplat

      By TESLIM SHITA-BEY The oil and gas sector has had a bumpy since the beginning of 2017 with local oil major, Seplat, seeing its financials whipped raw by prior year liabilities despite rising revenues over the nine months (9M). The company in the last two years has moved from being distinctively bad to singularly […]

  • How to start a photography business

    By ZUBAIR DANIE While photography could be accounted for as a full blown course in any offering institution of learning for professionalism, the field equally provides a platform for individuals whose passion it is to project images as a form of livelihood. The socio-cultural aspect of Nigerians that play host of events like: wedding, naming, […]

  • BOFE to celebrate unsung heroes in local communities

    OluwasolaJesuseitan, a brand and advertising expert, is an advocate of sustainable brand communications. He is also the founder, Business Owners Forum Enterprise (BOFE), a non-profit making organization, which seeks to build the capacity of business owners in and around Akute, Ogun State. He tells FELIX OLOYEDE in this interview of his organization is promoting business […]

  • Lager wars: Who wins?

    By JOHNMARK UKOKO Nigeria has many lager beer producing companies, some have been in existence for over 50 years while others are quite new in existence in the country. Some of these companies that have over the years churned out millions, if not billions of bottles of beer to Nigerian drinkers are: Nigeria Breweries Plc, […]

  • Nestle sparkles in Q3 results

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU As the packaged Consumer goods (PCG) sector struggles to stay ahead of falling consumer demand, companies such as Nestle Nigeria plc are bucking the trend of businesses with shrinking bottom lines. Indeed the multi-product packaged goods producer has seen earnings rise to mind boggling with its pre-tax profit rising by a stunning […]

  • 2018 Budget proposals renew old anxieties

          FELIX OLOYEDE   Mixed reactions trailed the presentation of the 2018 federal government budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly (NASS) last week. Public policy analysts have expressed moods from the congenially positive to the outright incredulous. The staggering N8.6 trillion expenditure plan is one of the most audacious in […]

  • Anambra 2017: Obiano battles for life

    By Obinna Ezugwu The time has finally arrived. On Saturday the people of Anambra State will head to the polls to either renew the mandate of the incumbent state governor, Chief Willie Obiano who is running for a second term in office, or elect fresh hands from among other prominent contenders, including Mr. Oseloka Obaze […]

  • (Editorial) CBN’s BVN distraction and matters arising

    Nigeria’s fiscal and monetary authorities have a frustrating way of responding to the seizure of private assets; they typically gloat with glazed eyes over private citizen’s money ready to pounce on the cash like a pack of hyenas starved witless. The recent order by the Central Bank of Nigeria that customer accounts that are not […]

  • 12 Yoga tips for beginners

    The popularity of yoga has soared in the last decades, and it seems that every other friend and acquaintance of ours is already practicing it. But don’t let it fool you into thinking it is easy: yoga is quite challenging, especially for beginners. The good news is that there are some practical tips to make […]

  • Finally, embattled IGP, Ibrahim Idris, appears before Senate

    The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has arrived before the Senate ad hoc committee set up to investigate the allegations and counter-allegations between him and Senator Isa Misau. The IGP was accompanied by his lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN) and Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang.   Details […]

Visit us on Google+