BIAFRA: What if the Civil War was to Reoccur?

In this series we have looked at the operational and strategic lessons of the Nigerian Civil War, this instalment analyses how a secessionist effort would be conducted today.

As discussed previously, Biafra’s military defeat was a result of strategic decisions taken by the leadership as well as the geography of the region which lent itself to a devastating blockade and did not favour the conventional defensive war Biafra chose to fight. These factors led to Biafra being overwhelmed by the superior numbers, firepower and resources of the Federal Government

This piece will examine how another Biafran War would be fought, this is relevant as present day agitation for Biafra increases.

This new Biafra could emerge through revolution or evolution. The latter would involve gradually building up a social and political movement, supported by the basic building blocks of a functioning society such as a diverse economy, rule of law, security and functioning infrastructure, whilst balancing the needs and desires of the indigent population and allaying the fears of the rest of Nigeria. This would be a lengthy, gradualist process building consensus amongst the elite and the masses in the mould of the Scottish, Quebecois or even Catalan mainstream secessionist movements.

Whilst fascinating to look at from a geopolitical or academic point of view, there are very few military or strategic lessons in an intelligent evolutionary path as it is emphasises democratic and administrative battles rather than violent ones.

The revolutionary path would use violence to achieve a political objective without the consent of the elite or the masses. As the political leadership of Nigeria has historically struggled with basic governance and cannot agree on even simple issues (except their own salary and allowances), a revolutionary path is more likely and we will look at it in more detail.

Revolutionaries Strategic Objectives, Problems and Imperatives

The overall strategic objective of neo-Biafrans can be defined as the recreation of a sovereign state of Biafra, which for the purpose of this paper we will define as the 9 states of the old Eastern Region.

This gives the neo-Biafrans the following problems

Narrative: Biafra is identified as a mainly Igbo cause in a multi tribal region, of which only 5 of 9 states are Igbo. These 5 Igbo states are landlocked, each with their own political, economic and social issues. The 4 non Igbo states have their own rivalries, political, social, environmental and security dilemmas and have no desire to become Igbo vassal states.

Unlike Biafra 1967 the neo-Biafran revolutionary does not have the immediate memory of a pogrom presenting an existential threat with which to craft a universally accepted narrative, neither do they have access to monopolistic or popular mass media allowing them to reinforce their narrative and influence public opinion.

The narrative of self determination and marginalisation might make sense to many Igbo’s but it is insufficient to motivate and mobilise a large, diverse tribe much less the 4 non Igbo states thus a narrative must be crafted to each audience group individually and made into one unifying narrative. Having to appeal to 5 distinct audience groups, each with their own requirements makes for a weak, diluted narrative.

Access to the sea: without the coastal states Biafra is landlocked and isolated facing the same restrictions as in 1967.

International relations: neighbouring states are unlikely to be supportive, Cameroun with the closest land border, hosting a sizeable Igbo diaspora and a restive Anglophone movement would be especially hostile, especially due to their immediate experience of what happens when a Nigerian insurgency goes ‘viral’ with both Bakassi militants and Boko Haram stretching their security forces. The major world powers (despite the fears of Nigerian conspiracy theorists), needs a strong united Nigeria as a market for their goods and services, as a regional power in West and Central Africa and as a source of raw materials. A secessionist movement that would threaten their investments would not be popular.

Geography and Weather: The Eastern States are the smallest in the country, densely populated and covered by swamps, creeks and forests. The weather is always humid, debilitating diseases prevail and the long rainy season causes floods and erosion. Whilst the distances are shorter, the implications of the differing difficult terrain, indifferent weather, medical and sanitation issues create logistic problems for a professional, well equipped force much less an insurgency.

Cost and consequence: Secession by force requires the revolutionaries to impose their will upon their opponents either by increasing the human and financial cost of the war beyond acceptability, capturing vital territory or defeating their opponent’s forces. This would mean destroying much of the infrastructure that would support the new state and displacing its people.

Post conflict: Even if successful the new country would need to rebuild its damaged infrastructure, build a united military, restart its economy and prevent other nations such as Cameroun, Nigeria or even Equatorial Guinea from interfering and prevent internal tribal, political and personality issues leading to a new conflict like in South Sudan or a repressive dictatorship like Eritrea.

Thus we can summarise their key strategic imperatives are:

  • Unify Igbo people behind their cause
  • Unify the non Igbo peoples of the East behind their cause
  • Begin hostilities
  • Increase the cost of hostilities beyond acceptability
  • Secede from Nigeria

Unify Igbo people behind the cause:

Igboland is divided into 5 states and 95 LGA’s, with at least 10 political parties and numerous socio cultural groups for different villages, towns or provinces. The Igbo nation whilst generally monoethnic and monolingual has at least 9 dialects and over 20 sub tribes, some of whom do not reside in traditional Igbo states. It is mainly Christian with traditional Catholic and Anglican churches outnumbered by new ‘prosperity’ evangelical churches.

The main ‘Igbo’ political party has had mixed electoral success. Commerce revolves around trade, manufacturing and services. Agriculture is mainly subsistence, producing cassava, palm oil, yam, rice, maize etc seasonally. Protein is provided by goats and chickens, cattle imported from the north, local and imported fish. Commercial farms mainly produce cash crops for export. There is a huge diaspora, with Igbos settled in all states in the Federation, across West Africa, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Europe (Germany, UK and elsewhere), South America and Malaysia, China, Thailand. Whilst there is a national socio cultural grouping it has as much credibility as any other national group party in Nigeria. Most local and diaspora groups are organised along town, state or provincial lines.

Pre colonial Igboland like most societies was a male dominated hierarchical society. Unlike most African societies however, hierarchy was based not on entitlement but on achievement, with age acting as both a limiter and enhancer of prestige. Thus upward social mobility was open to almost all males-which in a densely forested, subsistence agriculture economy with relatively poor soil meant success depended on hard work, thrift and trading acumen. In colonial time’s education (provided mainly by Christian missionaries) also became a measure of success. In moderns times whilst education is still fanatically pursued, wealth (however obtained) is an unambiguous measure of success.

Thus whilst education is still revered; many working class males would rather trade or go into business than school. The more conservative Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Baptist faiths have been greatly eroded by evangelical churches preaching prosperity and miracles in which loyalty to the church or Pastor is almost as important as family or tribe.

This new society has created several different classes such as the extremely wealthy, corrupt political class, wealthy businessmen, industrialists and traders, aspiring middle income and start up traders, educated professionals, rural dwellers, conservative ‘old’ Christians, evangelical Christians and finally the unemployed, under employed or subsistence workers.

These different societal groups have different needs. The political class depends on the Nigerian state for patronage and wealth, wealthy merchants need the markets and networks built up in Nigeria and stability in order to do business, traders have invested or borrowed limited resources which they would lose if there was conflict or secession. Only the unemployed, under employed and subsistence workers have little or no stake in the status quo.

Thus a revolutionary must unite these disparate economic, religious, political and social groups and find a common narrative that they can all agree with.

The easiest way to do this is with the lowest common human denominators of fear and greed.

Greed is unlikely to work amongst a business minded people as there are virtually no economic incentives to a war, loss of recognised citizenship, markets, security and investments outside the homeland. Fear on the other hand is easy to create and sustain particularly amongst those with the least invested in the system. In absence of a threat one must be created using the following tools:

Propaganda: 1967 Biafra used propaganda to sustain a strong believable narrative. Whilst untruths and exaggerations were used, the propagandists and their audience genuinely believed the core of their narrative- that they faced an existential, genocidal threat.

As such a threat does not exist today, the revolutionary must create it by using crude and sensationalist propaganda to attack other tribes and religions and own tribe opponents. The objective of this propaganda is not to create rational, logical debate but to create a general climate of conflict, provoke response (preferably in kind) and give fellow minded people a place to indulge and feed their beliefs.

Radicalisation: whilst the majority would ignore or dismiss the propaganda others will not. Some will become sympathisers (generally agreeing with the cause but not actively involved), some will become supporters (donating funds, time, resources etc), some will become activists (actively working for the cause) and some will become radicals, prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve the objective.

Agitation: Activists will meet, campaign, broadcast, distribute propaganda material (virtually and physically). These actions will attract more activists, supporters and sympathisers and reinforce the word view of the radicals. It will also antagonise opponents, other tribes or groups, the government and security forces

Provocation: radicals will initiate incidents such as vandalism, riots, civil disobedience, harassment or attacks on own tribe opponents and other tribes and the security forces. The objective of this exercise is to provoke overreaction from other tribes and the security forces in order to create martyrs or newsworthy incidents which can be portrayed as repressive measures not just against the revolutionaries but against the tribe as a whole.

Reaction: as these incidents escalate, the security forces will respond with security measures such as curfews, stop and search, checkpoints, cordon and search, raids etc. Even if done professionally these will inconvenience for people. If done unprofessionally, with mass detentions, harassment, illegal or inhuman detentions, extra judicial murders or torture, it feeds into the revolutionaries’ narrative of persecution and victimisation. Detention centres could be used by detained revolutionaries to radicalise or coerce criminals or innocent detainees.

The overreaction of members of other tribes with their own negative propaganda, harassment and attacks will inevitably affect mainly innocent people creating a general climate of fear and further reinforcing revolutionary propaganda.

Retaliation: real or perceived excesses by other tribes or the security forces allows the revolutionaries to increase violence against these groups claiming self defence or revenge, leading to more retaliatory counter attacks. This cycle of violence will be mostly affect innocent civilians on both sides, leading to heavy casualties and massive displacements putting pressure on the economy and administration of the Eastern states and cementing the climate of fear and uncertainty, leading even moderate or conservatives to consolidate around the revolutionaries’ narrative.

Summary: Through a campaign of propaganda and agitation the revolutionaries will create conditions in which members of their tribe are targeted by other tribes and the security forces, thus creating ‘unity by fear’ and forcing all members of the tribe to unify in self defence around the revolutionaries narrative.

Unify the non Igbo peoples of the East behind the cause: without the coastal minorities Biafra is isolated and militarily and economically untenable as a functioning sovereign state.

To overcome this the revolutionaries will need to unify the aspirations of the Igbos and coastal tribes, which have never recovered from the war. Two conflicting views exist; Fear of Igbo political and economic hegemony and disaffection with the Nigerian state due to underdevelopment and pollution. This is further complicated by ethnic divisions within the coastal minorities with smaller minority tribes fearing domination by larger minority tribes like the Ijaw.

For the revolutionaries to overcome this, they must emphasise disaffection with the state while reassuring minorities of autonomy. Or more simply make the argument that my enemy’s enemy is my friend.

The latter is more likely and can be done using a similar path as above using proxies such as disgruntled former militants and militants-to-be who are missing or have missed out on the amnesty and patronage largesse.

Unlike with the Igbo’s the coastal minorities have no historic narrative of genocide nor do they face a credible physical existential threat (although it can be argued that pollution and environmental degradation present exactly this). Unlike Igbo’s their national and international diaspora is smaller and they are less vulnerable to pogroms. However the key lesson from the last Niger Delta insurgency is that crime pays. Lucky militants were paid a stipend and sent on expensive foreign courses, militant leaders were awarded huge contracts became billionaires, whilst oil bunkering and illegal refineries proliferated. Thus the common denominator will be greed.

Propaganda: these proxies will use propaganda to agitate the populace, with a narrative of disenfranchisement and unfair treatment after the last Presidential election, combined with the existing narrative of under development and pollution. Perceived slights or discrimination would be exaggerated to overcome the cynicism with the outcome of the last insurgency, which enriched a select few but left the rest in exactly the same state as before.

Incentivisation: the economic gains of insecurity such as theft, piracy, bunkering, protection rackets, political patronage and so on as well as the potential benefits of a post conflict ‘amnesty’ will be used to recruit fighters, activists and sympathisers

Provocation: a resumption of attacks on oil facilities, kidnappings, attacks on security forces etc as well as general crime such as robberies and so on will generate a sense of lawlessness, in order to provoke a security force overreaction.

Reaction/ Counter reaction: efficient law enforcement and counter insurgency methods such as checkpoints, patrols etc will cause inconvenience, inefficient methods such as mass detention, collective punishment and indiscriminate attacks will reinforce the insurgents’ propaganda and increase their support. An increase in repression would lead to the insurgency becoming more violent, this in turn leads to more counter insurgency measures which disaffect the populace. As long as the insurgents demonstrate a level of discrimination in their targeting and appear to protect civilians, the populace will become more sympathetic to them.

Alliance: as the insurgency continues, the narrative of resource control can translate to independence. The proxies argument would be that both insurgencies have better chance of success if efforts and resources are pooled and that resource control would be easier in a smaller state which they fought to create.

Summary: By relaunching attacks in the Niger Delta and provoking the security forces to react a common feeling of persecution and conflict will be created. The financial rewards would recruit and pay for fighters and weapons and allow proxies to make the argument that a common cause with Biafran revolutionaries is their best chance for success

Begin hostilities: the preparation stage consisted of propaganda using media to create a unity of fear and provoke a counter reaction. This stage uses low level terrorism and minor guerrilla warfare to reinforce the narrative, compel the security forces to deploy and use repressive or unpopular methods, cause casualties and damage, militarily and economically as well as create conditions for conventional conflict.

  • Preparing urban and rural terror cells
  • Preparing training camps
  • Raising Funds.
  • Procure weapons and equipment by purchase and capture
  • Use guerrilla attacks to attrite and isolate government forces
  • Develop conventional forces
  • Define inhospitable terrain as base areas from which to launch conventional attacks

Preparation: this phase occurs simultaneously with the latter part of propaganda stage with radicals training and forming cells in preparation for combat. This will be sustained by supporters providing them with money and other resources and masked by normal campaigning activity of the activists.

Fund could be raised from various sources within the Region; donations from activists, blackmail, robbery, protection rackets, kidnap for ransom, illegal taxes on legitimate goods (palm oil, spare parts etc), illegal taxes on criminal activities, oil bunkering, piracy or contributions from politicians. Going to outside sources for funds would potentially expose them to detection by local and international law enforcement thus is less of an option.

‘Start up’ weapons could be obtained by theft or purchased from corrupt military and police. Others will be bought from the Central or West African arms market. They would likely initially consist of light weapons as well as civilian weapons such as shotguns, dane guns, locally made pistols etc. Heavier weapons such as mortars would come later as skills and finances improve.

Terrorism: assassination of isolated security personnel, government officials, politicians and moderate own tribe opponents would be used to spread fear and capture arms. Terror attacks will also using arson, IEDs, small arms and other means on symbols of the state such as courts, prisons, secretariats as well as businesses, markets, mosques and cultural or religious objects of other tribes or religions. These acts would compel the security forces to prioritise force protection measures over defending the population, thus isolating and alienating them from the population

Out of area attacks are likely particularly in the Western Nigeria and Abuja. These attacks as well as those in the East would inevitably lead to further anti Igbo attacks and massacres, feeding a vicious cycle of revenge attacks.

Guerrilla warfare: would most likely be begin with attacks on isolated police patrols or police stations in order to capture more weapons and ammunition. When better equipped, attacks will escalate to overrun larger police stations, small military outposts and small convoys. Attacks will continue on this scale until the militants are confident or well equipped enough to attack larger military bases or patrols. The revolutionaries are likely to use IEDs and small arms ambushes and illegal checkpoints along transport routes to attrite and restrict security force movement and also extort funds, spread propaganda and terror and give the impression of omnipotence.

As attacks increase security forces will be forced to divert more resources to defending themselves, main population centres and economic targets leaving rural areas and smaller population centres poorly defended. This allows the revolutionaries to define safe areas for arms caches, training and bases, which even if the security forces attack and clear will not have the manpower to hold. The revolutionaries will simply retreat deeper into forest or swamps or disperse in slums, where the security forces superiority in numbers and firepower is countered by the terrain.

Parallel government: as the insurgency increases in strength, institutions of government will leave or be pursued from captured or contested areas and the revolutionaries will step into this vacuum to reinforce their claims of legitimacy. Overt symbols such as flags, passports/ ID cards, passes, licenses etc will be issued, people in the contested or occupied areas would be coerced into destroying official documents so as to further disenfranchise them and force them to adopt militant bureaucracy.

The militants could reinforce this by forming a genuine parallel government governed by laws and customs acceptable to the local populace and attempt to maintain a recognisable security, judicial, economic and administrative structure. Alternatively these enclaves will be dominated by local warlords who will rule it as their personal fiefdoms according to their whims.

Summary: The insurgency will utilise terror and guerrilla attacks to shape the battlespace. Their operational objectives will be to force the security forces to concentrate in defined areas such as their own bases, major population centres and key targets such as oil, power, transport and industrial infrastructure. These actions suck up huge numbers of troops and resources, leaving few in reserve for offensive action allowing the revolutionaries maintain the initiative picking fights when and where they can win and defining safe spaces in which to train and grow their forces and also isolate and alienate the populace from the government.

Increase the cost of hostilities beyond acceptability: In this stage the revolutionaries objective is de facto or de jure secession, either seizing or denying sufficient territory to set up a parallel state and drain so much blood and treasure that the government is willing to negotiate a secession or simply accept facts on the ground and fail to contest it anymore. This requires several tasks

  • Initiate conventional attacks in conjunction with terror attacks
  • Use conventional attacks to engage government forces
  • Use conventional attacks and terror to attrite and stretch government forces
  • Seize territory
  • Hold or deny territory to government forces
  • Set up parallel government structures in captured territory
  • Achieve strategic stalemate through military decision or social, political or economic exhaustion
  • Negotiate or unilaterally impose secession

Conventional warfare: as more no go areas are defined and security forces are further isolated in the population centres, the revolutionaries conventional capability will develop with, captured and purchased equipment hidden, fuel and ammunition stockpiled and forces trained.

Timing will be critical; the majority of the local population should either support the cause or be intimidated into cooperation or inaction.

Security forces would need to be in an operational and tactical stalemate; overstretched, demoralised and incapable of effective offensive action, whilst the government and non Eastern population needs to either be war weary or psychologically unprepared for a general offensive.

The friendly strategic priority would be to maintain control of the ports, cities and economic areas, this would suit the revolutionaries operational objective as they could isolate these forces by constant raids and IED attacks and raiding targets on the approaches to these key targets thus fixing them with and making the security forces concentrate on defence rather than offence, leaving them with the freedom to gradually isolate and then overrun targets on the periphery of their safe areas, until these areas have expanded sufficiently to constitute a contiguous zone.

Depending on the operational situation the enemy would then seek to overrun more major targets or simply defend their gains.

The most important factor of this general offensive is that even if it fails to defeat government forces or overrun or hold a large amount of territory the economic cost will be huge, due to the large military expenditure, damaged or destroyed infrastructure, humanitarian crisis, destruction of oil and industrial facilities and stagnation of economic activity. This will lead to a strategic decision point.

Decision Point: the government will need to make a strategic decision as to whether the cost of the conflict is bearable.

Unlike the civil war it is unlikely to have unqualified major foreign power support. Unlike the civil war the government would still be the legal power responsible for all the victims of the war. Unlike the civil war the population is much larger and civil administration inefficient and ineffective. Unlike the civil war there are multiple security crisis all over country, absorbing the security forces. Unlike the civil war there are other African powers, with mobilised combat experienced Armies on the borders who could take advantage of the situation.

Balanced against this is the prohibitive cost to the economy of the war and the loss of revenue from the Region. Even if terrorism is contained and the conventional offensive fails the increased security and transport costs of doing business in southern Nigeria will deter investment and lead to divestment.

Unlike Boko Harams vague need to ‘Islamise Nigeria’ the Biafran narrative is logical and based on an internationally recognised principle of self determination thus a basis for a negotiated settlement exists.

International Escalation: the large Igbo diaspora in Europe, North and South America and Asia will be a huge resource if motivated and organised. Many will be conditioned by the retaliatory attacks and conflict to support the revolutionary cause with funds and demonstrations. However a further element could be motivated to conduct acts of terror and sabotage particularly against countries overtly supporting the Government. This could be considered the ‘nuclear option’ used only when the situation at home is bordering on defeat or support in the target country is wavering. Its outcome could result in increased support for the Government or the opposite, however as an option it has the benefit of demonstrating the revolutionaries reach and boosting their international profile. Security measures taken against Igbo’s abroad, particularly in less politically correct countries in Asia or South America will also feed into the unity through fear objective.

International settlement: the conflict will develop a natural operational tempo, most likely dictated by seasons, with spikes in violence to coincide with other events such as elections, budgets, negotiations, international or media interest. Locations will change hands repeatedly and civilian casualties will increase. International organisation like the UN or AU will mediate. The negotiated solution will almost certainly emanate from outside Africa, if not under the auspices of the UN then from traditionally pacific countries such as Sweden or other Scandinavian countries as it is probable by this stage that neither party will accept mediation from any of the Permanent 5. The UK will be hampered by its colonial and 1967 Biafra history, the US will be hampered by its status as the sole superpower and thus be accused of either starting, fomenting or in some way contributing to the conflict (or failing to intervene), France will also be dogged by its colonial and Biafran War past, China and Russia will most likely be selling weapons directly to the Government and to the revolutionaries through third parties so are unlikely to be trusted as honest brokers. However it is likely that the permanent 5 and the AU will have observer and guarantor status at the peace talks.

Whilst negotiations are ongoing both sides will try to improve their negotiating position by trying to inflict military defeats on their opponents.

The conflict is unlikely to result in a peace deal and more likely a ceasefire, leaving the basis for future conflict.

Summary: the revolutionaries will seek to achieve their aims by using conventional and unconventional warfare to overwhelm the government, socially, militarily and economically. Whilst they may not achieve battlefield decision, they stand a fairly good chance of achieving either independence or a semi autonomous status through negotiations due to presume from the rest of the world that is having to deal with the economic and humanitarian effect of the conflict

Conclusion: this paper is based on an analysis of the behaviour of insurgencies in Africa particularly secessionists movements, such as in Eritrea, Cabinda/ Angola, Azawad/ Mali, Casamance/ Senegal, Darfur/ Sudan and South Sudan. It also looks at the peculiarities of the Eastern Nigeria, in which there is no current overt persecution but an unresolved bitter historical legacy, similar to the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda or Myanmar/ Burma.

It does not factor in an intelligent counter insurgency and counter radicalisation strategy. It simply sets out a likely enemy course of action.

Biafran nostalgia is a recurring undercurrent in Igboland, whilst dislike for the Igbos and ignorance of the facts and circumstances of the civil war pertains amongst many in Nigeria.

These conditions make it easy for a determined actor to agitate certain sections of Igbo society into provocative actions and as history shows other tribes need little incentive to retaliate violently.

This cycle of violence would become self perpetuating and self sustaining, forcing the vast majority of Igbos to support the secessionists simply out of self defence.

As Nigeria’s military history has shown, whilst individual soldiers have shown great courage and resilience, organisational and strategic failings have made conflicts more costly in blood and treasure than they need be.

The poor organisation, logistics and lack of operational and tactical innovation and predictable conventional response of the Nigerian security forces to crisis favours any force willing to accept the appalling loss of life and destruction that an asymmetric conflict would bring.

As destructive as the Boko Haram insurgency has been it has taken place far away from key Nigerian terrain and presents a bigger existential threat to Chad, Niger and even Cameroun than it does Nigeria. An insurgency in the South East takes place within a key economic area of Nigeria, within striking distance of the economic areas of the West and the food producing areas of the Middle Belt.

The massive dislocation of people fleeing the fighting would disrupt states on the periphery such as Benue, Kogi, Delta, Edo etc all of which suffer their own internal militancy and IDP issues.

Despite the destruction of the civil war, it was fought between two armies, a revolutionary war would be fought amongst the people, with the people as both the objective and the target. As military history shows, even the most professional and disciplined forces in the world struggle with counter insurgency, thus it is likely that COIN operations in the South East would generate a high level of casualties and destruction, which as set out above the revolutionaries would deliberately provoke on their people in order to unify them by fear.

Even if the secessionists aimed for a negotiated outcome this is fraught with complications, despite the fact that unlike Boko Haram, neo Biafrans actually have a logical and achievable goal and the pressure both internally and externally to negotiate a settlement would be immense.

The problem with this is there is no outcome that would be satisfactory to either side. Biafra without access to the sea would be untenable, Biafra with access to the sea would cost Nigeria virtually all of its oil income, which would be anathema to the political elite.

This would present an irreconcilable red line to both sides.

Even if Biafra was granted or captured the coast, conflict between the Niger Delta militants and Igbo militants would be a high probability as arguments over how resources are shared erupt.

If they accepted a loss of the coast, as a landlocked country surrounded by a hostile power, Biafra would need to maintain a strong, large military to safeguard its sovereignty to the detriment of reconstruction and development, leading to a situation like in Eritrea of a militaristic, perpetual police state.

However the war ends, an insurgency in this small, densely populated, urbanised and industrialised region with close proximity to key areas of Nigeria would be cataclysmically destructive and whoever ‘won’ would have brief pyrrhic victory before the conflict restarted in another form.

It is thus the opinion of this commentator that a revolutionary attempt to actualise Biafra through violent insurgency would present not just a clear existential threat to the Federal Republic of Nigeria but to Igboland and the Igbo nation as a whole.

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About peccavi

A Nigerian with interests in defence, security, geopolitics, the military particularly small unit tactics, COIN, stabilisation and asymmetric warfare
This entry was posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Geopolitics, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Stabilisation, Terrorism, West Africa Defence, West Africa Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to BIAFRA: What if the Civil War was to Reoccur?

  1. Biafran Prince says:

    Rubbish article, Igboland does not end in 5 SE states, there are Igbo in almost all SS states,and lower Benue of Benue state, keep deceiving youself, you people are in for a rude shock,

  2. Biafran Prince says:

    and again. Biafra is not and Igbo thing, Igbo is one of the languages in Biafraland.

    • peccavi says:

      The article clearly states that for the purpose of the write up Biafra is the 9 states of the former Eastern Region. You have mentioned Benue and not even Delta state? Of these 4 are not Igbo majority. If you contend that Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states are Igbo states then you have either never been to or know anyone from those states or are being deliberately disingenuous.

  3. SIF says:

    Outstanding predictive assessment of a probable Secessionist War. Nonetheless, a majority of Igbos seem contended being Nigerians.

    • peccavi says:

      Thank you.
      I agree. There is little mass desire for secession in my opinion bit as the former Yugoslavia shows, people who barely identified as Serbs, Croats or Bosnians suddenly rediscovered a dormant identity when motivated by a demagogue. Fear and nationalism are potent weapons in the hands of a ruthless and determined party

      • Assumptions, assumptions. The only way to test this hunch is by a referendum. i think that there is a strong desire for secession not only among Biafrans, but also among many other Nigerians who are too dishonest or fearful to admit it to themselves. Nigeria has been sustained by fear – especially fear of the unknown. While the threat of recolonisation was a concern, that was the fear used by people like Gowon to justify a “unified” Nigeria. Now it is the morbid fear of the unknown. Many Nigerians have based their argument for the existence of Nigeria on nothing other than fear. Not security, not progress, not emancipation of the Black race. Just fear.

        “Biafra is more than a human tragedy. Its defeat, I believe, would mark the end of African independence. Biafra was the first place I had been to in Africa where the Africans themselves were truly in charge.” -Richard West

        To me, Biafra represents an argument against fear. An argument that says Africans are not monkeys; Africans can think for themselves instead of following slavishly the political paths and borders set by colonialists. Biafra is more than an Igbo ethnic enclave – it is for Africans who are not afraid of hardwork; who prefer self-reliance to aid and entitlement. It is a remaking of the destiny of Africans. #GodBlessBiafra

      • peccavi says:

        @Phil Collins: of course they are assumptions, but it is based on a study of revolutionary/ secessionist movements. I’d be interested in hearing of any successful violent secessionist movement that resulted in a broad based democratic polity.
        As there are several pro Biafran groups and their aspirations and plans are as vague as the average Nigerian group or political party it is unclear how else one can judge a future group other than by historical comparison

      • @peccavi
        Maybe you can acquaint yourself with American history as the classic style of provoking a powerful external colonial power to overreact was used. And like I said, the Americans were used to a republican lifestyle for so long. They were essentially independent of the mother state – Britain. The naysayers of those days – the Southern colonies – didn’t see the sense of conflict over taxes and were loyalists to the British. Put simply, the disagreement between Northern and Southern colonies were more palpable and even violent than the exaggerated disagreements between the Igbo and the Eastern minorities.

        And if you want to truly bring history on board, then it would be more sensible to consider that the Eastern minorities have leaved at peace with the Igbo long before there was a Nigeria. And I would not judge the sentiments of Eastern minorities based on what their parents thought in the 60s. As much as there are some who hold the same feelings as their parents, many more minorities might be amenable to Biafra in the Niger Delta than you think. Only a referendum can measure by how much, not online comments.

  4. Olu Adebari says:

    Once again, a fantastic article. If i may ask, it would be fascinating to get your take on what a nation called Biafra would look like, what would be its relationship with its neighbors, would unity among the Igbo still stand or would divisions start to show?, governing structure to best suit it, etc

    Once again, hats off to you!

    • peccavi says:

      Many thanks.
      The nature of a new Biafra’s internal and foreign affairs, I believe would be a function of how they came about.

      If it is formed using an evolutionary process building a social, economic and political base and presenting a unifying internal platform as well as a reassuring posture to other in the Federation then the I believe the relationships will be essentially peaceful and stable. This is because the necessary confidence building steps would have been taken already to build a unified platform, crisis and controversies would have been faced already and mechanisms will be in place for conflict resolution.

      If however it is through violence then it will be a disaster.
      As South Sudan has shown when alliances of different tribes come together against a common enemy once, that enemy is gone they turn on each other. Particularly if those groups are built around personalities or parties rather than broad based.
      Likewise after a war, there will be bitterness. Border disputes etc.
      If Nigeria is comprehensively beaten Biafra might look to expand to other natural Igbo areas such as Delta or Benue state leading to clashes. Likewise Nigeria could sponsor minority tribes to rebel.
      The governing structure would most likely be a one party state either built around a strong man or a junta. This will be necessary as a revolution needs a unified message and command structure, as there will be security issue following the conflict it is unlikely that the Revolutionary’s would allow free elections that might dilute their power or rob them the fruits of victory.
      Nigerians seem to need very little reason to turn against each other, in 1967 Biafra there were grumblings about the power allegedly in the hands of Nnewi people and Ika Igbos from the Mid West complaining of discrimination, today it would be 20 times worse, so I would expect internal unity amongst the elites to dissolve almost immediately.

      • I believe the prediction of one-party state or military junta is very short-sighted. How Biafra comes about may affect how it is govern, but only in the short term. The people of Biafra, especially the South-Easterners, cannot be governed under any system that is not democratic in the long term. What determines the system a nation chooses is very dependent on culture and history. It is the same reason American colonials, especially the northern colonies, were very opposed to higher taxes from the crown after Britains war with France – because they were so used to a republican existence.

        I do not doubt that 1967 Biafra had grumblings over the power Nnewi people had, or the compliaints of the Ika Igbo. But they were just that – grumblings. Other Nigerians enjoy exaggerating this perceived division. The fact is that 1967 Ika people would be more preoccupied with staying alive and surviving the Nigerian onslaught than complaining about discrimination. They bore the brunt of the Nigerian killings during the war and fought the hardest. Even now, there is a strong desire of many Ika Igbo to be carved out of Delta state and be considered a member of the South East block. They are definitely not as preoccupied with fears of discrimination as other Nigerians would prefer. If anything, conditions today would be 20 times better, not 20 times worse. If we consider how the Igbo identity has evolved over time; how this complaint of intra-ethnic discrimination was a big issue in the past between Onitsha Igbo and their brethren, and how it is a complete non-issue now, any level-headed observer can not but be hopeful of how such relationships will evolve over time. The biggest issue for the Ika Igbo today is not intra-ethnic discrimination, but inter-ethnic discrimination – how their fellow Delta brethren view them with scorn and suspicion.

      • Olu Adebari says:

        Absolutely fascinating and i just have to say well done. Your article is one of those rare gems on the internet that has made the comments section worth reading.

  5. Re: BIAFRA: What if the Civil War was to Reoccur?

    “Biafra is identified as a mainly Igbo cause in a multi tribal region, of which only 5 of 9 states are Igbo. These 5 Igbo

    states are landlocked, each with their own political, economic and social issues. The 4 non Igbo states have their own

    rivalries, political, social, environmental and security dilemmas and have no desire to become Igbo vassal states.”
    Taking this apart:
    “Biafra is identified as a mainly Igbo cause in a multi tribal region”
    That wouldn’t be a first. Nigeria’s independence was also seen as an Igbo cause by the British, and the Igbo seen as the

    most hated in Nigeria.

    “These 5 Igbo states are landlocked, each with their own political, economic and social issues.”
    Don’t we all. While all parts of Nigeria have their own “political, economic and social issues”, I think the ones of the

    South East are the most manageable. The South East has always solved its own intercommunal issues without input from the

    Federal Government and is the least represented in the list of debtor states owing workers salaries. I daresay that any

    “economic issue” is exogenous, from the rest of Nigeria.

    “The 4 non Igbo states have their own rivalries, political, social, environmental and security dilemmas and have no

    desire to become Igbo vassal states.”

    And Biafrans have no desire for vassal states. Never had, never will. Biafra needs every region within to pull its own

    weight and contribute into the national purse, instead of waiting for allocations. The master-dependency style of

    statecraft has been outmoded since the end of European colonialism. Biafra would much rather give the Southern states

    regional autonomy than have them as vassal states.
    But if you’re referring to the silly paranoia of “Igbo domination”, which has been, and still remains, a pathological

    fear of Nigerian existence, then I will address that point. The fact is that while the South-South have this fear, as

    well as other parts of Nigeria, a new current of fear of Yoruba

    domination is sweeping the region. I believe that the people of the Niger Delta will be as passive aggressive about

    “Igbo domination” as they are now about “Yoruba domination” – they’ll complain about it, but would not undertake violent

    acts to change it. Kind of how people complain about White previlege in the US. And in a Biafran federation that is more

    amenable to true federalism and resource control, unlike Nigeria, there just won’t be any reason to act violently

    against the system. The fact is that the South East states are as resource rich as the South-South states. Indeed, some

    of the oil-producing communities of present-day Rivers state, for instance, were expropriated from Imo state. Besides,

    the educated Igbo are aware of the dangers of the Dutch disease and its effect on other aspect of the economy. This is

    quite apart from the fact that the status of oil and its ability to shape geopolitics has waned significantly since the

    Civil War.

    “Unlike Biafra 1967 the neo-Biafran revolutionary does not have the immediate memory of a pogrom…”

    Whatever “immediate memory” means, no one or group affected by genocide ever forgets! Whoever needed “immediate memory”

    to forge national identity? Till this day, Afghans talk about the activities of Alexander the Great on their land. The

    Turks and Greeks have been at loggerheads since the days of Darius.

    “The major world powers (despite the fears of Nigerian conspiracy theorists), needs a strong united Nigeria as a market

    for their goods and services, as a regional power in West and Central Africa and as a source of raw materials.”

    While it is debateable if the world powers want a “strong” Nigeria, they definitely need a “united” Nigeria to get raw

    materials and corruptly-enriched elite to buy their goods and oil their banking system. However, I do not believe the

    west would be keen on having an economically and politically strong West African country challenging their influence in

    the region.

    “These different societal groups have different needs. The political class depends on the Nigerian state for patronage

    and wealth, wealthy merchants need the markets and networks built up in Nigeria and stability in order to do business,

    traders have invested or borrowed limited resources which they would lose if there was conflict or secession. Only the

    unemployed, under employed and subsistence workers have little or no stake in the status quo.”

    This seems to be a regularly recurring motif in your article – only the unemployed, under employed and subsistence

    workers would be interested in secession. I don’t think you have been to Nigeria in a while.
    Even if this assumption was true, the high unemployment rate in the country means that such parties are in the majority.

    But you know what they say about assumptions. The fact is that the people who support secession are mostly the

    enterprising, engaged and educated members of society. The people that make up the audience and callers of Radio Biafra,

    for instance, are mostly engaged individuals. The Igbo do not depend on Nigeria solely for the majority of their market.

    In a continent where records and identification data are badly kept, citizenship is not a big factor in doing business.

    The “loss of citizenship” threat does not scare the itinerant trader/businessman. The leadership and membership of

    separatist organisations like MASSOB consist of employed people.
    The traders would appreciate security and property rights which the Nigerian state does not provide. They are definitely

    NOT for the status quo.
    While we may never agree on this, we surely can agree that a referendum would provide a better measure for the mood in

    the region on the subject.

    “In absence of a threat one must be created …”
    It is important to note that “creating a threat” is not in the character of Biafran separatists. Besides, very few

    separatist movements are actualised by “creating a threat”. Most such movements are a response to existing threats and

    unresolved grievances.

    “1967 Biafra used propaganda to sustain a strong believable narrative. Whilst untruths and exaggerations were used, the

    propagandists and their audience genuinely believed the core of their narrative- that they faced an existential,

    genocidal threat.”
    The “narratives” were not just “believable”, they were true. The Aba Massacres for instance was proof that the Biafran

    people faced a real threat of genocide if they surrendered. While both sides used propaganda, the Nigerian side used

    untruths to motivate their exhausted soldiers to fight. Telling them that Biafrans will kill them and their families if

    they didn’t. Well, as history would have it, it was the Nigerians that killed Biafran families and children before and

    during the war. It is quite puerile to suggest, or even think that Biafrans would have been motivated against all odds as

    they were during the war by lies.

    “As such a threat does not exist today, the revolutionary must create it by using crude and sensationalist propaganda to

    attack other tribes and religions and own tribe opponents. The objective of this propaganda is not to create rational,

    logical debate but to create a general climate of conflict, provoke response (preferably in kind) and give fellow minded

    people a place to indulge and feed their beliefs.”
    While I understand this classical theory of provoking an overreaction from a bigger and stronger country in order to

    unify the people sufficiently against that country, I find the “attack other tribes and religions and own tribe

    opponents” unnecessary and patently stupid. Unnecessary because the Nigerian state does not need that level of

    provokation to overreact; there have been many pogroms against the Igbo long before the famous one that birthed the Civil

    War. Stupid because it plays into the narrative that the Civil War happened because Igbo “attacked other tribes and

    religions” in their “Igbo coup”. No mention is made of the Yoruba and Hausa participants of the January 1966 coup, and

    the general support, especially in Southern Nigeria, that the January 1966 coup had. And attacking “own tribe opponents”

    would feed the Nigerian narrative that the Biafran struggle is just a means of getting power.
    The Biafran movement has thrived on “rational, logical debate” and is very willing to employ this. The Nigerian

    ideological defense is nonexistent. At best, it sounds something like this: “Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable”. At

    worst, it goes like this: “All against Nigeria’s unity must be killed/crushed”.

    “whilst the majority would ignore or dismiss the propaganda others will not. Some will become sympathisers (generally

    agreeing with the cause but not actively involved), some will become supporters (donating funds, time, resources etc),

    some will become activists (actively working for the cause) and some will become radicals, prepared to do whatever it

    takes to achieve the objective.”
    I am then forced to conclude that Radio Biafra’s content was not Biafra as virtually NOBODY ignored it, and that includes

    the Nigerian government.

    “To overcome this the revolutionaries will need to unify the aspirations of the Igbos and coastal tribes, which have

    never recovered from the war. Two conflicting views exist; Fear of Igbo political and economic hegemony and disaffection

    with the Nigerian state due to underdevelopment and pollution. This is further complicated by ethnic divisions within the

    coastal minorities with smaller minority tribes fearing domination by larger minority tribes like the Ijaw.”
    And this is why I said that the Eastern minorities would be unwilling to violently in Biafra. The question they would be

    confronted with is: What are the alternatives? The options are examined below:
    Self-rule: This comes with the risk of Ijaw domination. As the interaction between other Eastern minorities and the Ijaw

    have often been violent, I wager that they would fear “Ijaw domination” more than “Igbo

    domination”. They might even question the legitimacy of the morbid fear of “Igbo domination”. Even when the expression of that fear was

    loudest, their complaint did not include the fear of violence or subjugation.

    “Unlike with the Igbo’s the coastal minorities have no historic narrative of genocide nor do they face a credible

    physical existential threat (although it can be argued that pollution and environmental degradation present exactly

    this). Unlike Igbo’s their national and international diaspora is smaller and they are less vulnerable to pogroms.”
    Wrong!
    While it is true that their diaspora are smaller in nominal terms, they are almost as vulnerable to pogroms as the Igbo.

    As it happened during the Civil War, many Eastern minorities were mistaken as Igbo. Not a few Eastern minorities

    expressed their fears at Oba Akiolu’s comments; not because they loved the Igbo, but because they know how inefficient it

    is for other Nigerians to distinguish Igbo from Eastern minorities. Even in the #LagosDeportation issue, a few non-Igbo were “deported” to Anambra.

    “assassination of isolated security personnel, government officials, politicians and moderate own tribe opponents would

    be used to spread fear and capture arms.”
    While I am not sure what your definition of “moderate”, I am convinced that those would more likely be attacked/killed by

    other Nigerians than fellow Biafrans. The Biafran movement is not a terrorist movement the term “moderate” is probably

    misplaced. But if you are referring to those Igbo people who, like myself, would prefer a peaceful means of actualising

    Biafra, then attacking such people would be counterproductive. The fact is most Nigerians are not committed to Nigeria.

    It is my experience that even those non-Igbo Nigerians who speak against Biafra usually express their own desire for

    their own separatist state. I think this particularly Nigerian dishonesty can be interrogated and leveraged on by those

    who seek a peaceful rise of Biafra.

    Now, while your article focuses on military ways Biafrans can pursue secession, it is more meaningful to examine other

    ways that Biafran independence can be archieved. For this, I turn on the experience of de facto sovereignties on the

    continent – Somaliland and Azawad. The first case emerged out of conflict that spiralled out of the control of central

    government. The second surprised itself when it defeated a highly corrupt government that was too corrupt to defend its

    integrity. The two scenarios are very possible in Nigeria as it is a fact that Nigeria’s borders have always been

    maintained with foreign assistance – both during the Civil War and against Boko Haram.

    • peccavi says:

      Hello Phil Collins,

      Thanks for your comments and taking the time to give a detailed response.
      I want to answer sequentially but I will start first by saying, this article looks at what I consider to be the worst case scenario. A range of scenarios from the gradual, democratic, socio political to the military were looked at and this is the one that had the most likelihood of fruition as well as the worst outcomes (in my opinion)
      ‘….the ones of the South East are the most manageable….’
      I beg to differ. Virtually all states are in arrears for salaries and pensions, roads, sanitation, education are all poor and mismanaged. This is not peculiar to the South East but those states are as badly managed as any others in Nigeria. The political dysfunction in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State are also symptomatic of the issues raised.
      ‘But if you’re referring to the silly paranoia of “Igbo domination”, which has been, and still remains, a pathological
      I agree. The fear of Igbo domination is ever present in the south south states, however assuming a siddon look posture is an incorrect reading of history. Sufficient numbers were motivated to jump ship during the civil war prior to Federal forces overrunning their land, post war, the gloss has faded however the fear is real. But anyway the point I was trying to make is that two sets of peoples who might be considered natural allies, have a healthy dose of mutual distrust to overcome
      ‘Whatever “immediate memory” means, no one or group affected by genocide ever forgets!’
      The point I am trying to make is about radicalisation, I’m sure there are more elegant terms than ‘immediate memory’ but the reality is that the average person does not comprehend the enormity of the pogroms and displacements of 1966, the same way the average Nigerian cannot comprehend the utter nightmare that is going on in the North East. The vast majority of people are pacific and apathetic. They need something to push them over the edge. Demagoguery and rabble rousing is a highly successful method, thus a Serb who grew up all his life a Communist in the space of a few months began talking about Kosovo Skopje as if he saw it with his own eye after hearing Milosevic, a Bosnian communist who has drunk and smoked and never been to the mosque becomes a fundamentalist.
      ‘However, I do not believe the west would be keen on having an economically and politically strong West African country challenging their influence in the region.’
      I would dispute that somewhat. Other than France the other main Western powers need strong regional allies, as the past few years has shown a few people in tiny, powerless countries can have a strategic effect with very little resources. The past few years have also shown that large Western Armies cannot defeat fluid asymmetric threats, well planned, targeted special forces actions are more successful but to be successful long term they need to be there a long while. To this end Western powers need strong regional allies they can partner their forces with. A strong, well run Nigeria would serve the same function to the West as Turkey or Japan, a customer for weapons, base for operations and a counter weight to instability.
      ‘This seems to be a regularly recurring motif in your article – only the unemployed, under employed and subsistence workers would be interested in secession. I don’t think you have been to Nigeria in a while.
      Even if this assumption was true, the high unemployment rate in the country means that such parties are in the majority.’
      I am not trying to indicate only this social class would be pro secession, my point is that they will make up the majority of the foot soldiers. By underemployed I include graduates working as gatemen or drivers. They like the uneducated labourer have been failed by the system
      Boko Haram is as much an uprising of the underclass but their supporters are wealthy, middle class types. I see the same thing here, possibly in the next article you will see and understand why I am focussed on this social group.
      The “loss of citizenship” threat does not scare the itinerant trader/businessman.
      I am presuming the leadership of MASSOB are still Nigerian citizens and travel on Nigerian passports. Until Biafra is a recognised state anyone claiming to be Biafran and renouncing their Nigerian citizenship is essentially stateless.
      ‘It is important to note that “creating a threat” is not in the character of Biafran separatists. Besides, very few separatist movements are actualised by “creating a threat”. Most such movements are a response to existing threats and unresolved grievances.’’
      I refer you to the Yugoslav Civil War, the Rwandan genocide etc. Historical grievances were magnified into imminent existential threats by extremist demagogues
      ‘It is quite puerile to suggest, or even think that Biafrans would have been motivated against all odds as they were during the war by lies.’
      Please reread the paragraph and the previous article in which I addressed Biafran propaganda. As I clearly stated, they genuinely believed that they faced an existential genocidal threat. However propaganda was used to exaggerate casualties in order to attract external sympathy and support. As many actors civilian and military attest (I refer you to Madiebo, Ekwe Ekwe, Achuzia, De St Jorre’s works) Biafran propaganda was all pervading, believable and effective. Biafrans fought virtually to the death not because of propaganda but because they believed their existence depended on it. Propaganda simply reinforced that view

      ‘I find the “attack other tribes and religions and own tribe opponents” unnecessary and patently stupid….Nigerian state does not need that level of provocation to overreact;… Stupid because it plays into the narrative that the Civil War happened because Igbo “attacked other tribes’
      I think that is the point. It takes very little for anti Igbo pogroms to begin and it would serve the revolutionaries interests to provoke this. A cursory listen to Radio Biafra or review of comments on pro neo Biafra sites clearly shows that attacks on other tribes is a fairly popular option amongst a certain subset. I do not understand how you juxtapose a hypothetical, worst case scenario with the ‘Igbo coup’ narrative, again read my actual words on the issue in previous articles
      ‘What are the alternatives? The options are examined below: Self-rule:’
      The other options are; remain within Nigeria as they are or with more autonomy or with more resource control. Again the central point I that the aspirations of Eastern Minorities and Igbos are diverse, in order to unify them there would need to be a determined effort
      ‘Wrong! While it is true that their diaspora are smaller in nominal terms, they are almost as vulnerable to pogroms as the Igbo. ‘
      Hence my use of the term ‘less vulnerable’ I would contend there are more Igbo’s in Kano alone than there are Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River or Akwa Ibom people in all the Northern States. Thus Igbos are more vunerable by proportion
      ‘While I am not sure what your definition of “moderate”, I am convinced that those would more likely be attacked/killed by other Nigerians than fellow Biafrans. The Biafran movement is not a terrorist movement the term “moderate” is probably misplaced. But if you are referring to those Igbo people who, like myself, would prefer a peaceful means of actualising Biafra, then attacking such people would be counterproductive. The fact is most Nigerians are not committed to Nigeria.’
      This is a crucial and interesting point. Moderates such as yourself are almost always the first to be eliminated in such circumstances because you are targeted by both sides. For the neo Biafran extremists people ready to compromise and negotiate would be considered a threat as they need a total, unified and uncompromising view to maintain discipline throughout the difficult struggle. For the security forces, frustrated by their inability to find the extremists, people quietly campaigning will be an easy target to arrest, or attack. Peaceful demonstrations will be an easy target. After the 2009 Boko Haram uprising, many members were killed including those who had been in government, business etc. People who understood and were sympathetic to the cause but were not violently inclined. Their naiveté was such that many went into the police themselves or were picked up at home. The extremists all ran into the bush or mountains. Boko Haram then killed anyone left who tried to negotiate and any cleric who preached against them. Likewise in Rwanda moderate Hutus were targeted along with Tutsis, in Nicaragua, Vietnam or any other country that experienced a communist takeover, those fellow travellers who were not communists but were opponents of the government, were all liquidated or put in reeducation camps. It is a historical reality of revolutionary conflict that moderates are easy targets.
      ‘Now, while your article focuses on military ways Biafrans can pursue secession, it is more meaningful to examine other ways that Biafran independence can be achieved. ‘
      I agree and as I stated the evolutionary track is interesting and the initial draft of this article described the process (as I saw it) but it consists of political, social and economic methods and has no military or security factors, thus is slightly beyond the remit of this blog.
      The objective of this article and this series is to highlight security issues that face Nigeria and try and provide solutions.
      I offer no opinion on Biafra or separatism, I am merely interested in what happened before and what it means for the present.
      As part of the research for this article I followed the Mid West Invasion route, via Asaba and Onitsha, the axis of advance to PH and the area around Owerri/ Uli. My conversations involved people of all economic strata’s in fact it was the utterances of the ‘unemployed, under employed and subsistence workers’ that made me realise that a negative stream of radicalisation was taking place, the traders. ,merchants etc all dismissed it.
      I was forced to compare things with my previous trip to the North East, where senior military and political figures all said one thing, whilst junior soldiers, officers and the common people said another.
      This disconnect in reality is what I am trying to address and prevent the issue from becoming another conflict we could have prevented, thus I stand by my conclusion- a revolutionary attempt to actualise Biafra through violent insurgency would present not just a clear existential threat to the Federal Republic of Nigeria but to Igboland and the Igbo nation as a whole.

      • It is apparent the article looked at the worst case scenario only on reading. I guess I should have been forewarned. But here is my response:

        “I beg to differ. Virtually all states are in arrears for salaries and pensions, roads, sanitation, education are all poor and mismanaged. This is not peculiar to the South East but those states are as badly managed as any others in Nigeria. The political dysfunction in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State are also symptomatic of the issues raised.”

        I disagree. Virtually all states are in arrears of salaries, but not ALL states are. While Abia and Imo states, and now Ebonyi is headed in the wrong direction economically, Anambra state has learnt from an earlier experience with economic mismanagement under Mbadinuju. So Anambra is not on the debtor list and even plans to raise salaries for civil servants. And like I said, whatever economic issues the South East has is mostly exogenous. The fact that the Nigerian legal system is corrupt, bloated and ineffective; the fact that crime pays in the country affect all parts of the country, including the South East. And I said the South East is LEAST REPRESENTED on the states debtor list. I stand by that.

        “I agree. The fear of Igbo domination is ever present in the south south states, however assuming a siddon look posture is an incorrect reading of history. Sufficient numbers were motivated to jump ship during the civil war prior to Federal forces overrunning their land, post war, the gloss has faded however the fear is real. But anyway the point I was trying to make is that two sets of peoples who might be considered natural allies, have a healthy dose of mutual distrust to overcome”

        I also think irrational paranoia is a false way of addressing this problem. Sufficient numbers “jumped ship” before the Civil War. Sufficient numbers enlisted in the Biafran army. But a significant number changed alliance only after their territories were overrun. That’s not unique to the people of the South-South; that’s human nature. It would be a cold day in hell before nations abandoned their ideals because they have traitors. American and British spies and scientists sold their military secrets, including the Nuclear Weapon, to the Russians. True, there is distrust to be overcome between the peoples of the Niger Delta and people of the South East; no two groups of people are “natural allies”. The Americans and the British planned and did fight wars against each other before they became allies. So, again, there are no “natural allies”. There is distrust to be overcome, and I daresay that it will. Like I said before, even at the worst, the Niger Deltans did not fear violent suppression or subjugation from the Igbo. They were just afraid of competing.

        “The point I am trying to make is about radicalization, I’m sure there are more elegant terms than ‘immediate memory’ but the reality is that the average person does not comprehend the enormity of the pogroms and displacements of 1966, the same way the average Nigerian cannot comprehend the utter nightmare that is going on in the North East. The vast majority of people are pacific and apathetic. They need something to push them over the edge. Demagoguery and rabble rousing is a highly successful method, thus a Serb who grew up all his life a Communist in the space of a few months began talking about Kosovo Skopje as if he saw it with his own eye after hearing Milosevic, a Bosnian communist who has drunk and smoked and never been to the mosque becomes a fundamentalist.”
        If you are aware of recent happenings: the killings in the North and reprisal killings in the South, the Fulani herdsmen conflict with different communities throughout Nigeria, the killings of NYSC students, etc; you would understand that there is a constant reminder of the Civil War and how it started. No one needs to “comprehend the enormity of the pogroms and displacements of 1966” to understand that a recurrence is an ever-present threat. This constant comparison with Serbia is very misplaced. And even that conflict is not as one-dimensional as you interpret it. No conflict ever is. Even a demagogue cannot take advantage of a condition that is absent. They usually take advantage of undercurrents of hatred that society is in denial of and never addresses. That’s what other societies, including Nigeria, can learn from the Balkans, and indeed Nazi Germany. The people who were suddenly motivated to go about killing others are people who have always expressed their hatred of other in private but go about saying “we are all one”, “discrimination does not exist or is insignificant”. Put simply, these people were never “pacific and apathetic”; they just didn’t have the opportunity.

        “I would dispute that somewhat. Other than France the other main Western powers need strong regional allies, as the past few years has shown a few people in tiny, powerless countries can have a strategic effect with very little resources. The past few years have also shown that large Western Armies cannot defeat fluid asymmetric threats, well planned, targeted special forces actions are more successful but to be successful long term they need to be there a long while. To this end Western powers need strong regional allies they can partner their forces with. A strong, well run Nigeria would serve the same function to the West as Turkey or Japan, a customer for weapons, base for operations and a counter weight to instability.”
        @Italicized: That only proves that the West need minions to do their policing for them. What else is new? It costs them less if others can do their dirty work for them. Even the British government allied with pirates to fight their enemies for them and loot treasures. It reduced the cost to the crown of maintaining Naval presence. But guess what happened when those pirates became too powerful: a war was declared on piracy. Same with Africa, they don’t care if Nigeria is well-run or not; and Nigeria isn’t well-run, by the way. As long as their access to raw materials and corruptly-gotten wealth from Africa is not threatened, they could care less. That goes for Britain as well as for France. And the truth is – it’s not their job to care, that’s our job. They have their interests, we should identify ours. And Big useless countries on the continent, like Nigeria and Mali, that act as houseboys for the West is not in our interest.

        “I am not trying to indicate only this social class would be pro secession, my point is that they will make up the majority of the foot soldiers. By underemployed I include graduates working as gatemen or drivers. They like the uneducated labourer have been failed by the system Boko Haram is as much an uprising of the underclass but their supporters are wealthy, middle class types. I see the same thing here, possibly in the next article you will see and understand why I am focussed on this social group.”
        And they would make a majority only because the unemployed are in the majority THROUGHOUT Nigeria. The Civil War itself happened at a time when Nigeria did not have such a high unemployment rate, after all. Unemployment is a big issue of our time, but secession movements in Nigeria are older than Nigeria. I always say that even if Nigeria becomes a prosperous country tomorrow, we would still confront fundamental questions that we have proven incapable of agreeing on. If wealth eliminates the chance of breakup, then rich men or beautiful women would never have to bother about divorce.

        “I am presuming the leadership of MASSOB are still Nigerian citizens and travel on Nigerian passports. Until Biafra is a recognised state anyone claiming to be Biafran and renouncing their Nigerian citizenship is essentially stateless.”
        That is a rational assumption; but it could also be false. They could be using Cameroonian passports, Ghanaian passports, etc. Many officials in the Nigerian government have multiple passports, even though it is supposed to be illegal. And, in more ways than one, statelessness is a reality for many Nigerians. Ask the Bakassi people. The people of Azawad and Somaliland are also essentially “stateless”. But they would rather be that than be in a disagreeable unit just so they can have passports. Again, nobody fears statelessness on the continent.

        “I refer you to the Yugoslav Civil War, the Rwandan genocide etc. Historical grievances were magnified into imminent existential threats by extremist demagogues”
        I would refer you to the history of Nigeria’s Civil War. If there was any demagoguery, it was not on the part of the Biafrans. Being Igbo in Nigeria WAS an existential threat at that time. So, demagoguery is a bigger threat TO Biafrans than it would be FROM Biafrans. The Rwandan genocide was not a separatist war, as far as I know. And again, most movements are a result of unresolved grievances. Demagogues do not create hatred, they take advantage of hatred that was already there.

        “‘It is quite puerile to suggest, or even think that Biafrans would have been motivated against all odds as they were during the war by lies.’
        Please reread the paragraph and the previous article in which I addressed Biafran propaganda. As I clearly stated, they genuinely believed that they faced an existential genocidal threat. However propaganda was used to exaggerate casualties in order to attract external sympathy and support. As many actors civilian and military attest (I refer you to Madiebo, Ekwe Ekwe, Achuzia, De St Jorre’s works) Biafran propaganda was all pervading, believable and effective. Biafrans fought virtually to the death not because of propaganda but because they believed their existence depended on it. Propaganda simply reinforced that view”

        Reread that paragraph. It really looks like you are suggesting that Biafrans “genuinely believed” the propaganda despite its use of “exaggerations”. Who ever remembers casualty numbers? Unlike you, and most other Nigerians, no one notes the exact number of people killed if they see the killings as murders, not body counts or mere numbers. The Biafrans know that the Igbo were targeted and killed in brutal fashion. Most Igbo people, even today, will remember that pregnant women were disemboweled and their foetuses butchered. But virtually no one keeps a mental record of what the numbers were. Killing 5 people is as bad as killing 50 or 500 people. The numbers were not as important as the fact that the killings were targeted. So, no, Biafrans were not motivated by numbers; they were rather more motivated by not ending up being a number. And many Biafrans who actually fought the war remember that it was pictures of starving children that brought “external sympathy”, not numbers. The “propaganda” people talk about is given too much credit. Interestingly, no credit is given to the actions of Nigeria before and during the war. Biafrans were more motivated by news of the Asaba massacres than any propaganda to keep fighting. The fact that no one was prosecuted for the pogroms, even till now; and Gowon’s reneging on the Aburi Accord demonstrated that the Nigerians could not be trusted. This played a bigger part than any propaganda. Nigeria gave Biafrans every reason to believe that Biafra was the only solution.

        “I think that is the point. It takes very little for anti Igbo pogroms to begin and it would serve the revolutionaries interests to provoke this. A cursory listen to Radio Biafra or review of comments on pro neo Biafra sites clearly shows that attacks on other tribes is a fairly popular option amongst a certain subset. I do not understand how you juxtapose a hypothetical, worst case scenario with the ‘Igbo coup’ narrative, again read my actual words on the issue in previous articles”
        I think such attacks will serve the Nigerian interest. The juxtaposition was made because it is a popularly-believed falsehood, even by supposedly educated Nigerians, that all Igbo people, wherever they were, were clued-in on the January 1966 coup. They believe that the coup was an Igbo attempt to “dominate” the country. So, any such attacks will play into that narrative, as silly as it sounds. There is a subset, as you say, that thirst for revenge for the pogrom. That is a natural human instinct. That’s more of an emotional reaction than a strategic means of provoking overreaction for those who subscribe to it.

        “‘What are the alternatives? The options are examined below: Self-rule:’
        The other options are; remain within Nigeria as they are or with more autonomy or with more resource control. Again the central point I that the aspirations of Eastern Minorities and Igbos are diverse, in order to unify them there would need to be a determined effort”
        I actually didn’t finish that part as the staying in Nigeria option was one of the options I was going to explore. Your suggestion sounds very commonsensical. But that raises the question: why has it not yet been done? Very simple really: the fear of secession and the inability of the country to wean itself off oil. So it is very unlikely that Nigeria would give the Niger Delta autonomy or resource control while oil still flows. They will more easily get autonomy in Biafra than in Nigeria. And my point is that the alternatives are not good enough for the Eastern minorities to violently act against a Biafran state if they found themselves in one. The bigger issue that Biafra or Nigeria has to worry about is inter-communal clashes in the Niger Delta, a concept older than Nigeria. How Nigeria or Biafra plans to manage inter-communal fights over resources in an autonomous Niger Delta is the discussion we should have. That is a greater danger than an Igbo vs Eastern minority war.

        “Hence my use of the term ‘less vulnerable’ I would contend there are more Igbo’s in Kano alone than there are Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River or Akwa Ibom people in all the Northern States. Thus Igbos are more vunerable by proportion”
        Well, I’ll say that they would almost as vulnerable as the Igbo to be attacked, though in smaller numbers. But let’s not quibble on semantics. No Niger Deltan would go “them kill Igbo people pass us o, nothing spoil”. Nobody affected by targeted killings split hairs over numbers.

        “This is a crucial and interesting point. Moderates such as yourself are almost always the first to be eliminated in such circumstances because you are targeted by both sides. For the neo Biafran extremists people ready to compromise and negotiate would be considered a threat as they need a total, unified and uncompromising view to maintain discipline throughout the difficult struggle. For the security forces, frustrated by their inability to find the extremists, people quietly campaigning will be an easy target to arrest, or attack. Peaceful demonstrations will be an easy target. After the 2009 Boko Haram uprising, many members were killed including those who had been in government, business etc. People who understood and were sympathetic to the cause but were not violently inclined. Their naiveté was such that many went into the police themselves or were picked up at home. The extremists all ran into the bush or mountains. Boko Haram then killed anyone left who tried to negotiate and any cleric who preached against them. Likewise in Rwanda moderate Hutus were targeted along with Tutsis, in Nicaragua, Vietnam or any other country that experienced a communist takeover, those fellow travellers who were not communists but were opponents of the government, were all liquidated or put in reeducation camps. It is a historical reality of revolutionary conflict that moderates are easy targets.”
        That I’m “moderate” doesn’t mean I am willing to negotiate Biafra’s independence. What I am more concerned about is exploring the peace route but not leaving military option off the table. Ojukwu did this with the peace agreement: the Aburi Accord. I am not a supporter of killing people just to provoke an overreaction. I believe that even if Biafrans want to use force to provoke a reaction, we should start with sabotage and not murders. While it is true that those wiling to negotiate Biafran independence are under threat from both sides, I believe their bigger threat is Nigeria. The peaceful protesters, for instance, are not being attacked by “right-wing” Biafrans but by the Nigerian government. And, for many reasons, I am not willing to compare Biafran separatism with Boko Haram. Whatever the cause Boko Haram was pursuing doesn’t seem to include separation.

        “If they accepted a loss of the coast, as a landlocked country surrounded by a hostile power, Biafra would need to maintain a strong, large military to safeguard its sovereignty to the detriment of reconstruction and development, leading to a situation like in Eritrea of a militaristic, perpetual police state.”
        Strange that the example that you used turned your prediction on its head. Ethiopia is landlocked while Eritrea is not. Eritrea is the “perpetual militaristic, police state” that “maintain[s] a strong, large military to safeguard its sovereignty to the detriment of reconstruction and development” while Ethiopia is planning to develop a large dam. Their tense relationship with Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea not forced them to overlook development. Like I said, history and culture is a bigger influence over what system a nation chooses in the long run than their relationship with neighbours.

        “The objective of this article and this series is to highlight security issues that face Nigeria and try and provide solutions.
        I offer no opinion on Biafra or separatism, I am merely interested in what happened before and what it means for the present.
        As part of the research for this article I followed the Mid West Invasion route, via Asaba and Onitsha, the axis of advance to PH and the area around Owerri/ Uli. My conversations involved people of all economic strata’s in fact it was the utterances of the ‘unemployed, under employed and subsistence workers’ that made me realise that a negative stream of radicalisation was taking place, the traders. ,merchants etc all dismissed it.
        I was forced to compare things with my previous trip to the North East, where senior military and political figures all said one thing, whilst junior soldiers, officers and the common people said another.
        This disconnect in reality is what I am trying to address and prevent the issue from becoming another conflict we could have prevented, thus I stand by my conclusion- a revolutionary attempt to actualise Biafra through violent insurgency would present not just a clear existential threat to the Federal Republic of Nigeria but to Igboland and the Igbo nation as a whole.”
        I have also talked to people who dismiss separatism. Then I ask: If Biafran exit was subject to referendum, what would their vote be. So far, they have always answered that they would vote for Biafran secession. The question to ask is why would they vote yes, but dismiss Biafran secession. One answer: FEAR. That seems to be the biggest factor in sustaining Nigeria.
        And it seems your article focused more on predicting gloom for a Biafra established by revolutionary effort than on providing solutions. You pointed out some legitimate concerns, no doubt. And I don’t mean to sound to dismissive of those concerns. But if we put history in proper perspective, most of those concerns are exaggerated.
        Separation that is violently gotten does present its own set of challenges. But I think that a whether Biafra gets independence violently or peacefully, and whatever route the Niger Delta chooses to follow, the bigger danger is inter-community strife in the Niger Delta.

  6. Kay says:

    Great article. Just to add, the igbos also extend into some areas beyond the 5 eastern states. Delta, Rivers and so on.
    Anyway I hope as political maturity begins to set in, it’ll be easier to address their secession amicably instead of the current method gaining steam.

    • peccavi says:

      Thanks Oga Kay, the hope is that is we look at this issues objectively, we can resolve our issues intelligently.
      I kept the assessment to the 9 core states of the former Eastern Region for simplicities sake.

  7. peccavi says:

    I agree Phil Collins that a referendum would answer a few questions, in fact if there was an above board, rational movement then the risk of radicalisation would be reduced. But a combination of the generally heavy handed Government response and the demagoguery of certain actors means the revolutionary route is more likely

    • Not sure what you mean by an “above board movement”, but I think the onus is on the government and people of Nigeria to be more tolerant of opposing views. Nigeria is supposed to be a democracy. If Nigeria was an actual democracy, peaceful campaigners would not be attacked and these movements would have become a political party that would be on the ballot to be voted for. Really, the Nigerian government should encourage peaceful settlement of the issue. The people of the movement would not go freely into politics until the government demonstrates this willingness. This we can learn from Britain and its history of The Troubles.

      • peccavi says:

        During the troubles there were always pro Republican and pro Unionist parties in NI. In fact the Troubles were started as a part because of the rigged political system against the Catholics.
        An intelligent secessionist movement would ally with a compliant party delivering them foot soldiers, resources and voters.
        They would build legitimacy with the people by ensuring these parties delivered a people centred, manifesto with good governance and development as the key.
        They would be ideologically consistent, i.e. they would understand that endorsing a Presidential candidate makes no sense when they wish to leave that country and that President has taken no conciliatory steps such as releasing detained members, concessions towards autonomy, reconciliation gestures re the Civil War etc.
        They would engage in positive engagement with other tribes realising that militarily and economically the country they wish to create is untenable if it is blockaded or in constant warfare.
        These would be a few steps that wold make a secessionist movement credible.
        I agree with the sentiment that Nigeria should encourage peaceful campaigners and defeat them with ideas and actions not brute force but that is an unfortunate reality of Nigeria.
        A lot of these points will be addressed in the next instalment

      • I think you have made my point for me more than anything else. A government that attacks, maims and kills peaceful secessionists would definitely bar any political party that allies with separatists. There could have been some pretense about democracy in Northern Ireland while rigging the Republicans out, but there is no such pretense in Nigeria about secessionists.

        I agree that it is silly for a secessionist organisation to be endorsing presidential candidates. But you need to know that MASSOB is not the only secessionist organisation in Biafran territory. There are quite a few of them that have not made such endorsements. No competent analyst should expect only one secessionist group. Different secessionist groups could have different aims and objectives that could range from the sublime (Biafran Independence) or the conciliatory (regional autonomy) to the ridiculous (Igbo presidency). Even among the aforementioned groups could reside subgroups based on how they want Biafra to be run – Capitalist of Socialist. I believe the Catalonia has such separatist political parties with such different leanings. It would be healthy not to tar them all with the same brush. If one group does not sound “intelligent” or “above board” to you – as some don’t to me – you might be listening to the wrong group.

        In all this, my main concern is that, as the government violently suppresses these groups from association or freedom of speech, the ones that profess far-right ideas begin to gain currency. It is not just in the interest of the Biafran people that they are allowed to express their aspiration to secede peacefully, it is also in the interest of Nigerians.

      • peccavi says:

        Well we are in agreement on many points, however my focus is on a violent revolutionary insurgency.
        Other methods of secession are generally unimportant from a decsef pint of view until the point where secession becomes a viable reality, i.e. post referendum or act of parliament.
        As there is no independent polling of Eastern Nigerians it is unclear how popular secession genuinely is.
        I would conclude by pointing out that Biafra legally ceased to exist on 15th January 1970, thus there are no group of people that can legitimately be referred to as Biafrans

      • I believe my response had sufficient focus on violent revolutionary insurgency and came up with a very different prediction. Here’s a summary:

        1. An independent Biafra would bother more about communal clashes in the Niger Delta than a Niger Delta rebellion against Biafra. Really, what is there to rebel against? Suppression? I think not. The Niger Delta is not monolithic anyway.
        2. Given the prevalent culture and history in the East, a democratic government is the only form that can be used to govern the area in the long term. Even if Biafra starts out under military rule, she will eventually transition to democratic rule.
        3. Biafra would be as capable as Nigeria in investing in destabilization abroad. Since a Nigeria, or whatever remains of her post-Biafran secession, would have more fault-lines than Biafra, encouraging instability in Biafra would be a doomed move.

        True, there is no independent polling of Eastern Nigeria on the issue of secession. However, what is more doubtful is the assumption that secession is unpopular.

        I will also conclude by pointing out that Nigeria legally ceased to exist in 2014, so no one can be legitimately referred to as a Nigerian. But hey. Neither of us will get arrested for our choices of references.

        #GodBlessBiafra

  8. peccavi says:

    What is there to rebel against in the Niger Delta?
    Resource control
    Elements who do not want to be Biafran
    Elements scared about Ijaw/ Ikwerre/ Andoni/ Ogoni domination
    Elements scared of Igbo domination
    Environmental degradation
    Criminals who thrive on conflict and see the opportunity

    I see no evidence that democracy will just naturally happen.
    The current structures in place at local and state level are not democratic. It is exactly the same leaders and followers who will be in place in a neo Biafra.
    I see no evidence of a democratic tradition in any of the numerous neo Biafran organisations, rather monolithic leaders who demand absolute loyalty.
    Again the argument is not the merits of Biafra or secession but the manner in which it is implemented.

    The difference in Biafra destabilising Nigeria and Nigeria destabilising Biafra is that Nigeria is bigger, richer and although inherently unstable less susceptible to external subversion. The biggest prize would be the West seceding as an independent republic but then if this is contested, there will be war which again could spill over to a fragile Biafra trying to recover.
    To fund its budget it will need credit, it will need aid, businesses will need insurance. These are prohibitively high for new countries and post conflict countries, if there is a war or instability in the country or just over the borders this again affects the economy of the new country.

    How did Nigeria cease to exist in 2014? Unless I am currently in some vast Matrix like reality, I’m relatively sure there is still a country called Nigeria.

    Its been a pleasure interacting with you. If we must trouble God, lets ask him to bless all the peoples in the land called Nigeria whatever they wish to call themselves

    • Resource Control: There is NO reason why Biafra would not allow resource control. Some South East states have oil and other mineral resources. Nothing is so special about the oil in the Niger Delta compared to the Oil in Anambra, Abia and Imo.
      Elements do not want to be Biafran: An assumption. But nevertheless, fewer of them want to be Nigerian. You just need to speak to those displaced from Bakassi and others who have many more complaint about Nigeria. Some Ijaw groups, for example, have challenged Nigeria’s amalgamation. One of the proposals from the Ijaw bloc during the “National Conference” is a recognition of their right to secede. Only a referendum can determine who wants to be a Biafran and who doesn’t. I concede that some Niger Deltans would not want to be Biafrans, but it is foolhardy to assume that ALL Niger Deltans don’t want to be Biafrans. Personally, I do not want ALL of the Niger Delta to be part of Biafra.
      Elements scared about Ijaw/ Ikwerre/ Andoni/ Ogoni domination: I would like to know who is afraid of Ogoni dominiation. The 2006 population of the area was given as 832,000 – quite a small number. I think, like I pointed out earlier, that the fear of Ijaw domination would be more of a disincentive to rebel against Biafra. If the Niger Deltans have not engineered a secessionist rebellion against Nigeria because of Hausa/Fulani domination of the polity, the fear of “Ijaw/ Ikwerre/ Andoni/ Ogoni domination” would not be good enough reason.
      Elements scared of Igbo domination: There is also a palpable and increasing anger about Yoruba domination of the Niger Delta oil industry. If they are not rebelling because of that, they will learn to confront their unfounded fear of Igbo domination.
      Environmental degradation: This is more reason for the Niger Deltans to rebel against Nigeria, not Biafra. The regional setup that Nigeria had in the past where much of the Niger Delta was with the Eastern region did not have the complaint of Environmental degradation. Many Niger Deltans, in their honest moments, admit preferring those times to now. Environmental degradation in the Niger Delta is a Nigerian phenomenon, and is a bad argument against Biafran separatism.
      Criminals who thrive on conflict and see the opportunity: You mean the criminals that Nigeria has rewarded with foreign scholarships and many concessions? I wonder why there is rebellion from the Niger Delta yet.

      Democracy has been naturally running in the Igbo heartland for centuries before colonialism. I see no reason why that will change. The real danger is the extent to which interaction with other Nigerian cultures and Nigeria’s history with dictatorship has corrupted this culture. A future Biafra would not be governed by leaders of separatist groups, but by the Biafran people. It insults our intelligence to assume that anyone would be able to command loyalty by force in Biafra. Anyone who thinks this way should learn our history before attempting to make predictions. If Ireland could become a democracy after their liberation from the UK, and the US could become a democracy after their War of Independence, there is even more reason and antecedence in Biafra that shows that it would end up as a democracy. The leadership structures of separatist organisations is not relevant. Many of American first presidents were Freemasons. Freemasonry is not a democracy. But America is a democracy. Why, you ask? Because of culture and history. Biafrans already have and cherish their democratic culture and history.

      Switzerland is a small country in size and population. It is even composed of ethnic groups that have been at war with each other on the European continent for centuries. However, it has been more peaceful within for centuries than many bigger European countries like France. It is fallacious to assume that size confers some sort of immunity from “external subversion”. History has many instances where that is not true. And if Nigeria is richer, it is only because of the money from Oil that is sourced from – you guessed it – the former Eastern region. Also, the loyalty that the people of the former Western region – the Yoruba – have to Nigeria is very questionable, to say the least.

      Many of Africa’s de facto nations – like Azawad – are surviving without credit from IMF. Many Nigerian businesses are funded without credit, and except the big businesses who have access to political influence, not many businesses in Nigeria are insured. Given what an average Nigerian goes through, and the conflict within Nigerian borders, those factors you have listed are the least of our concerns.

      It would be beneficial to you if of your Matrix of reality includes study of history and current events. Maybe your analysis would have been better informed. But it would interest you to know that Nigeria’s amalgamation was meant to last for 100 years only. You might say that no one is acknowledging that; I would note that it would be the first time that Nigeria has refused to respect agreements and ordinances.

      The pleasure is all mine. I would leave you to trouble God with blessing Nigeria. It’s your right, whatever you wish to call yourself. Just as it is mine to Bless Biafra.

      #GodBlessBiafra

      • CORRECTION:

        You might say that no one is acknowledging that; I would note that it would be the first time that Nigeria has refused to respect agreements and ordinances.

        I mean to write the following:

        You might say that no one is acknowledging that; I would note that it would NOT be the first time that Nigeria has refused to respect agreements and ordinances.

  9. Eke says:

    Its painful when people show they know little about Nigeria’s history by saying Igbo killed, the reason for the attempt to wipe them out. Sir Amadu Bello the saduana of Sokoto as far back as 1954 preached hate against against the Igbos while implementing his northern agenda, when he replaced every important position they held by northerners. It was when their killing started.
    The article below will give as insight on the furtherance of the a gender set by the north, which is the cause BH is fighting.
    http://www.thebiafraherald.co/2015/10/we-also-captured-ilorin-killed-their.html?m=1

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