Why keep Nigeria Together?
In recent times, the calls to divide Nigeria into its constituent units have grown increasingly louder.
In the South East, the Indigenous People’s Of Biafra (IPOB), under Nnamdi Kanu has waged a largely peaceful campaign to resurrect the Biafra Republic for about a decade.
The North East has witnessed a brutal Islamist insurgency where Boko Haram and the Islamist State West Africa Province (ISWAP) seek to establish a modern-day Salafist Caliphate over large swaths of the country.
In the South West, Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, popularly called, Sunday Igboho, has risen as the most visible campaigner for the Oduduwa Republic.
In June 2017, a coalition of Northern youth groups made a Kaduna Declaration where they demanded that all Ibos leave the North by October of that year. They also called on the Federal Government to initiate a process to result in the creation of Biafra from Nigeria.
These actions have not occurred in isolation but are simply snapshots of the political crises that are bedeviling Nigeria. Just this year alone, two major agricultural cartels, The Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AFUCDN) in March and June and Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (OPMAN) earlier this month have threatened to cut off various food items to the South.
Various Niger-Delta groups threatened to cut off oil supply in retaliation to the food blockade. That threat recalls previous episodes when militancy forced the Nigerian state to negotiate as violence caused fiscally damaging cuts to oil production.
Unfortunately, the responses of our ruling class have, as always, been less than stellar. President Muhammadu Buhari routinely invokes memories of the Civil War. His latest rhetoric created a social media firestorm, that forced Twitter to delete his tweets based on those comments. – Damilola Olawuyi