Revisiting the Biafran Question of Self-Determination
My recent studies on professional ethics has changed my views about the Biafran demand for secession in Nigeria.
The demand for secession by the Biafrans is value-laden.
Values are principles and beliefs which a group of people believe in and abide by in order to achieve an objective or a set of objectives.
The people of present day Nigeria have no common value in their diversity. There is no shared value in terms of religion, culture, politics and economy. The only shared value keeping Nigerians together is crude oil value. Once this crude-oil value disappears, you will see that the other numerous acclaimed values are pretenses.
On religion wise, the two dominant religions in Nigeria seem to be metaphysically irreconcilable in terms of core values. Islam on one hand is totalitarian. Because of the totalitarian nature of Islam, the religion cannot survive in a country like Nigeria if it does not permanently control the Nigerian State. My recent study of Islam has revealed that Islam does not only control the totality of its believers but also the state where its believers reside. If it does not currently controls it, it aspires to. This is also a value problem. I suspect that crude oil is the major reason why Islam is living peacefully with Christianity in Nigeria. Only true federalism can prove this theory to be right or wrong.
The Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria do not share the same values, it is a mystery that they have survived together till date despite their seemingly irreconcilable values. The mystery however is in the crude oil and economic relationship. Politics is only a tool been used to further drive the economic relationship which is lopsided, skewed and not mutually beneficial.
What has all these got to do with values?
The only reason why a man and a woman can become husband and wife is value. They must share the same values, believe in the same principles and see reason to believe that the partnership they are about to go into is mutually beneficial. The same principle applies to the formation of countries. Where two or three people do not share the same values, they cannot form a partnership.
What is the value upon which Nigerians came together to form Nigeria? Is the value mutually sustainable and beneficial?
Alot of analysts believe that the only value keeping Nigeria together is crude oil. Once the crude oil runs out, Nigerians will see that they have nothing in common. They will realize that every other acclaimed value was faked to cover up for the crude oil love. I am beginning to see this as true.
True federalism is the only way to verify this claim without losing Nigeria. True federalism entrenches unity in diversity without any superficial attachment such as crude oil or whatsoever. Those who oppose true federalism affirm the crude oil love theory and those who propose it believes there is a possibility of genuine love beyond crude oil.
What has all these got to do with Biafran agitation for secession?
Biafrans, I believe, have come to the conclusion that the shared-value upon which Nigeria was built upon is not mutually beneficial and that the crude-oil love is not genuine love and therefore a divorce is imminent. Nigeria on the other hand disagrees and insist that the marriage must continue. The point Nigeria (including me) has failed to accept is that no husband can force a woman to remain as his wife when her mind is made up. Such a wife could rather kill her husband and face the consequences than allow him override her values. This is the stage we have arrived in Nigeria.
If the Biafrans no longer share the same value with the rest of us as Nigerians, they have an inalienable right to secede. Their decision to secede cannot be subjected to Nigerians to decide. An Hausa, Yoruba or Urhoba man has no right to vote in favor or against the Biafran decision to secede. Only the Biafrans have a right to participate in the referendum that will determine their future. Once they (majority) agree, Nigeria must agree.
If the Nigerian constitution does not make room for this process, then such a constitution does not have legitimacy and is obviously a slave constitution. It is in fact not a constitution. A constitution that lacks legitimacy is as illegal as it is criminal and should be opposed. It is not a peoples constitution.
From the foregoing, I can say that the Biafrans are right in demanding for their new nation state. It becomes even a criminal act to oppose them, except their method of agitation is itself criminal, only then can we see reason to question them.
I believe a restructured Nigeria will be mutually sustainable than a divided Nigeria. I believe true federalism will resolve the Biafran question of value. I believe the present day Nigeria is criminally structured to take everybody backward and therefore everybody must do what they can to restructure it or get out of it. I believe the present Nigerian state lacks legitimacy therefore tension, strife and corruption will become inevitable. If it is true that the Nigerian state lacks legitimacy, then everything in Nigeria lacks legitimacy. Including its government (its arms and tiers, its security, officials, institutions, laws, etc). This is a serious issue we should critically reflect on. Legitimacy of a government and the state is derived from the people. If a people do not trust a state and its government anymore, then such a state has no right to control the people anymore. That is what legitimacy means.
While we are doing everything possible to restructure Nigeria, we must respect those who wish to get out of it or those who wish to continue staying in it.
Nigeria and Nigerians have a choice.
I am a Federalist and I believe true federalism will fix Nigeria.