Nigeria, a country of about 250 ethnic groups is now stocked in an ‘existential crisis’, like never before and this has been heralded by two of the three major ethnic groups, the Igbo’s and the Yoruba’s.
An in-depth analysis also shows that apart from the north, it seems every other part wants out. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has long declared its intention to pull Nd’Igbo out of the Nigerian “zoo”.
Recently, Chief Sunday Igboho, referred to as Yoruba rights activist, is fronting the agitation for the Republic of Oduduwa.
A united Nigeria remains the most operational means of preserving and protecting the variegated interests of those within the territory. This is because more to the big three, there are other groups — the presumed minority ethnic nationalities.
Since we say that Nigeria has over 250 ethnic nationalities, should the supposed small lot be lesser citizens? Should the interest of the ‘’big three’’ be the governing aspiration and grail of other groupings?.
Apparently, two of the big three now insist on a break-up, leaving the fate of smaller nations in despondency.
Nigeria’s separatist movements attract a “mixed multitude” and this has reflected in their approach in bargaining their demands for full regional autonomy or secession.
Key similarity is the fact that both groups are being fronted by individuals for a republic.
Nnamdi Kanu, for Biafra, is fighting a course around the fact that none of “his People” have been President and to a large extent, marginalized by the country, hence, a new nation must breakout from Nigeria.
In the case of the Sunday Igboho, for the Yoruba Republic, the main grouse is that the Fulani who had lived peacefully for decades in areas not their original homes have turned out to be enemies and made the land unhabitable, hence, they must leave “their nation”.
Nnamdi Kanu has been busy insisting on breakup, but despite his popularity, some have differed on that but for the show of force, have kept mute, thereby creating cells of discontent, manipulating issues and spreading hate and malice. In his show of force, government institutions and officials have been the main targets.
In his case, Sunday Igboho was going around, building support, convincing his Yoruba listeners of the need to have a Yoruba nation. This is evident in how leaders of his region has stood for him in the face of his arrest and attempted extradition to Nigeria from Benin. However, the Fulani herdsmen have been the target in this case.
What then will be the hope of minority groups, who have suffered same fate and even more if the major groups consistently cry foul?
Minority ethnic groups have been struggling for equality, fairness and full participation in the
baking and sharing of the ‘national cake’.
Have we asked what the Affade in Yobe State; the Afizere in Plateau State; Afo (Eloyi) in Nasarawa State; the Baushi in Niger State; the Boki in Cross River, the Annang in Akwa Ibom, and many others under the Nigerian family tree want? Some apostles of secessionism have even conscripted these ethnic nationalities into their abstract territories by fait — without considering their peculiarities.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, earlier this year, described calls for the disintegration of Nigeria as unmindful and insensitive to the plight of the minority groups in the country.
“If the Yoruba can stand as a country, if the Igbos and the Hausa/Fulani can stand as separate countries, where do we want the minority groups to be?
“Now, by virtue of the present situation, they are a little bit protected, but if Nigeria breaks up, they will be oppressed and exterminated,” he said.
The arrogance of the Igbo, the Yoruba and the Hausa can be blamed for the parlous state of the country as Nigeria should not rise and fall on ‘’this big three’’.
Self-determination is a universal right, but taking up arms to kill citizens and security agents of government is uncalled for.
Nigeria is bigger and stronger than any of these groups on which the country currently pivots. A united Nigeria guarantees freedom – to exist — for the small ethnic genus and a viable venture for all.