By Samuel Ajayi
Let me say again: the ability of an average Igbo man and woman to establish and survive in foreign lands is incredibly impressive. I doff my heart for them any day!
I brought this up again to emphasise the fact that Igbos are very well established in other parts of the country than in their homeland. But as NIGERIANS. Not BIAFRANS!
Let me emphasise again: I don’t believe in secession or Biafra but I respect the rights of any people for self-determination.
Having said this, many Biafran agitators/supporters seem so carried away by the EMOTIONS OF THE STRUGGLE. I wonder if they have ever asked what happens after ‘winning their independence’.
First, many non-Igbos do not support the struggle because of the way those leading the struggle have gone about it: INSULTS, ABUSES, NAME CALLING and HATE SPEECH. And this is from both sides.
They should do their findings: no part of a country can easily break away unless it gets a sizeable support from other parts of that country. And I will cite examples.
Eritrea fought a bitter war with Ethiopia before gaining independence in 1991. But many Ethiopians actually wanted Eritrea to go her way. In South Sudan, many Sudanese actually fought on the side of the South under the leadership of the late John Garang who died in 2005. And the North also supported the referendum of late 2011 that gave birth to South Sudan.
I can go on. Between Igbos and other tribes is a massive mutual mistrust and barely concealed bad blood. And this is not helped by my brothers and sisters in the East who keep believing others hate them. The VICTIM MENTALITY is very strong! Yet, their biggest clients and customers, IRONICALLY, are those they claim hate them. And they have done businesses together for ages.
Let me say this: if Biafra becomes reality today, the status of an Emeka in Oshodi, Chukwudi in Alaba and Nnamdi in Ojota changes. He is like another Kofi from Ghana or Kumalo from South Africa!
Their continued stay in the ‘new Nigeria’ is at the EXCLUSIVE MERCY of their new host country. And may I add: WHEN A PART BREAKS AWAY ACRIMONIOUSLY, IT CAN NEVER BE AT PEACE WITH THE REMAINING PARTS. History is, again, replete with this.
*Will Igbos relocate their businesses to the new Biafra?
*Will they move properties they have spent all their lives labouring for?
*Will they throw away customers and clients that they have become more or less like blood siblings to?
Now is time to look beyond the deification of Nnamdi Kanu and insults and mutual mistrust. Now is time to start engaging other tribes and ethnic groups and get their buy-in.
Now is time to agitate beyond emotions.