What Has Radio Biafra Got to Do With Nigeria’s Unity? -By Tony Osborg

Filed under: National Issues |
Tony Osborg

Tony Osborg

 

Nigerians need to sit down to discuss this marriage of its different constituents and renegotiate its terms. Until she does so, Radio Biafra will be seen as the Hero and the Nigerian Government as the enemy; at least, to those who think Nigeria’s marriage needs renegotiation.

The growing influence of Radio Biafra across the country and the government’s inability to completely shut down its operation is another confirmation that Nigeria is a failed state. The failure of this state does not lie only in its impotency but in also in its shortsightedness and refusal to confront its structural and regional challenges as the only way of bringing lasting unity.

…the radio station preaches hate, calls for anarchy and a total overthrown of a democratically elected government. It even goes as far as calling for the head of the president, the attack of a certain South-Eastern governor and the attack of certain pastors and the destruction of their churches operating within the present day South-Eastern region of Nigeria. The only offence these people have committed to warrant these threats from Radio Biafra is that they preach ‘One Nigeria’.

The government did what was appropriate by attempting to shut down Radio Biafra. First, Radio Biafra is an unlicensed station spreading its message within Nigeria. That alone is a sufficient reason for the government to bring it down. Second, the radio station preaches hate, calls for anarchy and a total overthrown of a democratically elected government. It even goes as far as calling for the head of the president, the attack of a certain South-Eastern governor and the attack of certain pastors and the destruction of their churches operating within the present day South-Eastern region of Nigeria. The only offence these people have committed to warrant these threats from Radio Biafra is that they preach ‘One Nigeria’. As far as Radio Biafra is concerned, anybody or group who preaches one Nigeria is an enemy of Biafra and should be attacked and possibly killed! These actions alone by Radio Biafra amounts to treason.

These two major reasons I have mentioned are a sufficient reason for any sensible government to shut down such a radio station. Therefore the federal government did what was appropriate and expected of it. Anybody looking at this issue from another angle is only being mischievous for another reason best known to him.

…there is something Radio Biafra is saying that the federal government needs to listen to, understand, consult widely on, and possibly state its own position clearly before taking further actions or making compromises.

Radio Biafra might be using a crude and dangerous mode to propagate its objectives but the fact that its message interests and motivates certain people show that its message might not be entirely invalid. Therefore there is something Radio Biafra is saying that the federal government needs to listen to, understand, consult widely on, and possibly state its own position clearly before taking further actions or making compromises. This is exactly what I am interested in, what we all should be interested in. What does Radio Biafra want?

Radio Biafra, on behalf of the present day South Eastern Nigeria if suing for a divorce to the marriage called Nigeria.

The Biafrans, just like the Niger Deltans believe that Nigeria is built on an irreconcilable, metaphysical and economically fraudulent foundation designed to favour the North at the expense of the South. This perception was what partly what led to the civil war and has being the basis upon which Nigeria’s unity as been threatened. While the Niger Deltans and a few parts of the West believe that this lopsidedness can be corrected if the country is restructured, the Biafrans believe that secession is the only way out of this fraud. According to the Biafrans, marriage is not by force and the general standard is that consent must be present in every relationship. Since the consent of the Biafrans were never sort for in this marriage called Nigeria, there was, therefore, never a marriage in the first place and even if there was by forced means, the time is right to invoke the section of the marriage contract which gives room for divorce. This is exactly what Radio Biafra has done, is doing and might continue to do. Radio Biafra, on behalf of the present day South-Eastern Nigeria if suing for a divorce to the marriage called Nigeria. It’s that quiet simple. Even if we do not like their actions, we must respect their choice.

Present day Nigerians do not need to be politically united before they go into social and economic relations with each other. Social and economic relations are born out of necessity and interest and not out of forced political marriages. Socio and economic relations are what propels political unity, not the reverse.

The greatest mistake the federal government of Nigeria has ever made is to assume that political unity is a driving force for social and economic relations. Present day Nigerians do not need to be politically united before they go into social and economic relations with each other. Social and economic relations are born out of necessity and interest and not out of forced political marriages. Socio and economic relations are what propels political unity, not the reverse. The fact that a Hausa man is automatically united to an Igbo man under the title of ‘One Nigeria’ is not a guarantee that the Igbo man loves and must continue to love the Hausa man. True love is born out of needs, mostly socio or economic needs, which gives rise to the political. If Nigerians are doing business with Ghanians despite belonging to different countries, the Igbos, Yorubas and Hausas will always do business together whether Nigeria exists or not. Nigeria’s political unity is not a sufficient reason for the socio-economic relations of Nigerians. Having said this, let us look at how the yearnings of every region of Nigeria can be met without necessarily dividing the country and without any region seceding.

Until Nigeria gives True Fiscal Federalism a thought, its political unity will continue to be threatened…

True Fiscal Federalism provides a perfect solution to Nigeria’s unity challenges without anybody leaving the marriage. In fact, under a True Fiscal Federalism, we can have a ‘Biafra Region of Nigeria’ without Nigeria losing a single section or people of the present day South-East. That is what a compromise can do. Returning back to regionalism might be the solution to Nigeria’s threatened unity.

Until Nigeria gives True Fiscal Federalism a thought, its political unity will continue to be threatened till it reaches its elastic point from which self-destruction of the present day Nigeria might become inevitable.

True Fiscal Federalism becomes the major solution, if not the only solution.

Nigerians need to sit down to discuss this marriage of its different constituents and renegotiate its terms. Until she does so, Radio Biafra will be seen as the Hero and the Nigerian Government as the Enemy; at least, to those who think Nigeria’s marriage needs renegotiation.

True Fiscal Federalism becomes the major solution, if not the only solution. The earlier the discussion begins, the better.

Tony Osborg writes from Port Harcourt.

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