The Oasis Reporters
September 24, 2017
History was repeating itself when in anger over the agitations by the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, to hold a referendum as a precursor to leaving the Nigerian federation amalgamated by the British colonialists in 1914 without consulting the natives heated up, the Arewa youths out of exasperation, gave the millions of Igbos living, doing business and prospering in northern Nigeria up until October 1st, 2017 a quit order to vacate with all their assets and head back to their homeland in the South Eastern region of Nigeria.
Refusal to quit would be met with dire consequences, they warned.
Many well meaning Northern individuals were undeniably worried and tried to rein in the youths. The Igbos in the North were jittery and the entire nation wore long faces.
No one is ever happy when a marriage seems doomed to collapse. But unfortunately, irresponsibly myopic, sectional and biased leadership has been the sad lot of Nigeria. Most of the nation’s leaders have pursued the cause of nepotism and failed to unite the people to see themselves as one.
This is one reason why the spirit of the nation is falling apart. Ordinarily, Nigerians have been so interwoven through marriages and interpersonal relationships that the thought of a break up would certainly break hearts.
History was repeating itself when Arewa youths gave the Igbos the quit order.
It first happened in 1966. On January 15, 1966 Nigeria experienced an unfortunate coup d’etat which led to the death of some political and military leaders from the North, West and Mid-west regions. Only the East experienced no killings of their own as the coup was perceived to be Igbo sponsored. Actually there were pockets of soldiers from all the regions who took part, one way or the other, but it was seen as led by Igbo speaking soldiers from the Mid-west and East.
When the reprisals came within six months, innocent Igbos who probably knew no soldier died in their thousands across the north. At the end of it, the northern soldiers who spearheaded the vengeance mission decided to break away and form a Northerners only country, while Easterners kept on getting killed even as they fled the north.
Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon said that ‘the basis of Nigerian unity was no longer there’. The angry soldiers wanted to bomb Lagos then head to the North for Nigeria to be over.
Until the British High Commissioner accompanied by the American Ambassador rushed to Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, spread the map of Nigeria before the 28 year old youthful soldier and pointed out to him what precarious situation the north would be in economically and geographically without access to the sea and all that.
Gowon saw the light quickly and change his speech to read, ‘Go On With One Nigeria’.
The nation went to war to preserve the unity of Nigeria. After the Civil War, he declared the ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’ mantra as a grand statement, but unfortunately Igbos felt vanquished and fortunately, from the nadir of defeat, they snatched the spirit of ebullience and grand energy to build back, through solid personal achievements to become a prosperous force to reckon with in the country.
As the Igbos prospered, many saw glass ceilings above their heads, then decided to exit Nigeria in order to become Biafrans.
Unbridled anger has led the Arewa youths into issuing the quit order.
Should they succeed, this is going to be the likely scenario.
Even in the hypothetical scenerio that Biafra becomes a reality now, Igbos would still belong to the ECOWAS group which is the Economic Community of West African States.
Northern Nigeria would still remain a dream market for any trader due to it’s very large population. It is seen as a fertile market.
Igbos are traders, manufacturers and importers. They own factories in far away China and Taiwan, having strong business ties with the world, and Igbos have money.
No mistake about that one.
I foresee them utilizing the ECOWAS free movement of persons, goods and services to get into countries like Niger Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Republic of Benin etc, buy land close to the border with Northern Nigeria in places like Dungas that is just thirty minutes drive from Maigatari border in Jigawa state, across Illela border in Sokoto State etc, to set up shops and pay heavy taxes to the aforementioned West African governments. Northern Nigerians who by then would be scared of travelling to Onitsha for trading purposes would cross the border to Niger Republic, Benin, Chad Cameroon etc and buy from the same Igbos that left the North.
The economies of the Northern states would suffer further decline, because Igbo taxes for instance, is what makes Fagge Local Government Area the only viable Local Government in Kano State which has 44 of them in total.
Fagge is the only Council where you would have an Igbo and a Yoruba Councillor apiece because residents of it’s Sabon Gari suburb are almost exclusively southerners with pockets of non indigenous northerners.
Written by Greg Abolo