- Igbo will be comfortable in a restructured Nigeria - Agbakoba
- 98% of Igbo will say no to Nigeria in a referendum -Elliot Ukoh
Today's largely successful compliance, for the third time, with the sit-at-home order of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in most cities of the South-East geo-political zone; parts of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; and Asaba, Delta State, has many implications for the polity.
It shows the ground and support that the IPOB and other pro-Biafra groups are gaining in the South-East. It has also raised the question of whether or not the Igbo really want to leave Nigeria. Arguably, the Igbo are the most dispersed and travelled people in Nigeria. They are found in virtually all villages in the country and reputed to have huge investments in terms of buildings and businesses outside Igbo land. Put in another way, they have invested more in other parts of the country than any other ethnic group. Hence they stand to lose more if anything untoward happened to Nigeria as an entity.
However, in spite of these massive investments that could be endangered, a host of Igbo are deep in the struggle for the actualization of the Republic of Biafra. The first battle for Biafra ended 48 years ago after claiming an estimated three million lives in a 30-month civil war. Since 1999, various struggles for Biafra have claimed thousands of lives.
Yesterday's sit-at-home by IPOB was to protest the killings of unarmed IPOB and Igbo youths during peaceful protests by soldiers; the maltreatment, arrest, detention, and humiliation of 127 Igbo women, who protested in Owerri, recently; and Operation Python Dance III in the South-East among others.
Igbo will be comfortable in a restructured Nigeria- Agbakoba
Asked his take on the success of the sit-at-home order in many parts of Igbo land, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and human rights lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, said the development has worrying implications for the country.
His words: "I think the reality is that the nation has gone out of control. The rudiments of governmental authority have been seriously eroded. In the latest ranking of the failed states index, Nigeria is listed as a distressed state. This means Nigeria has ceased to be in control of its territorial environment as a result of insecurity, breakdown of law and order, ethnic insurrections and a host of other actions.
"What this shows is that Nigeria is in a very parlous state. It is questionable how far the Federal Government is exercising its territorial authority over the sovereign regions of Nigeria. IPOB is a rebel government whether we like it or not. The extent the rebel government can generate enthusiasm among the people is another question that will be answered by the success of the sit-at-home order. There are many rebel governments in Nigeria. Boko Haram is a rebel government. Niger-Delta militants are rebel governments, etc. There is a crack in the sovereign control of the Nigerian government.
"It is very worrying that within Nigerian territorial environment, an ethnic group can generate enthusiasm and recognition from the people. It has great implications because if they can do it successfully now, they can do it at the 2019 general elections and that is not good for the peace and good governance of Nigeria."