Nigerian leaders meet over secessionists’ threat

Nigerian Governors and several leaders from the country’s South East region are meeting in Enugu to discuss the Igbo secession agitation.
The November 22 meeting comes at a time when secessionists have directed Igbo nationals living in other Nigerian states to start returning home in preparation for secession.
The push for secession is an old struggle, starting with the1967 declaration of republic of Biafra following the failed secession attempt by the Igbo people of South East, culminating into a three years civil war.
At the end of the war, with more than two million people dead, the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, said that there was “no victor, no vanquish” to pacify the defeated Igbo and to cement the reunification of Nigeria.
But even after the end of the war in 1970, pockets of Igbo people continued to harbour dreams of a republic, with the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), led by Ralph Nwazurike, leading the push.
In his term, former President Goodluck Jonathan was able to manage the situation especially because he was largely a Igbo candidate in the 2011 presidential election.
With President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the 2015 presidential election, the Igbo people, mostly youths, seem to be going back to the agitation for Biafra republic.
Although MASSOB remained a solid force in the agitation, it remained silent until the pirate radio Biafra director, Uche Kanu was arrested for felony and treason.
Marginalisation
The call for the unconditional release of Mr Kanu was promptly hijacked by MASSOB and disgruntled politicians to cause more trouble across south east and south south.
The south south governors and leaders have warned the south east youths against fomenting trouble in Edo, Akwa Ibom, cross river, rivers, delta and Bayelsa, which are oil producing states.
Besides the call for the release of Mr Kanu, the youths accuse the rest of the country of marginalisation, lack of proper infrastructure and dominance of the northern people.
Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, has dissociated itself from the activities of the agitators.
“Biafra died in 1970 with the surrender by General Philip Effiong, to the Nigerian troops,” the group said.
The Chairman, Forum of State Presidents of Ohaneze in the seven Igbo-peaking states, Dr Chris Eluomunoh, said that no right thinking person would support what he referred to as the madness by some youths.
He said the youths were being deceived.

SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW