I have followed the recent narratives on the agitation for Biafra by IPOB and its sympathisers with an open mind. What caught my interest are the unspoken fears by all sides of the debate. The truth is that all sides are uncertain of the future of both Nigeria and Biafra should the wishes of IPOP and its sympathisers come to pass.
The fear of the north despite the daily chanting by a section of its populace that Biafra is unviable is self-evident. They have no doubt in their minds that an independent Igbo land will lead to irreversible break up of Nigeria. The north will then become effectively landlocked. This is the unspoken fear of the north that propels it to oppose any idea of a Republic of Igbo land. The oil and gas revenue, VAT revenue and the maritime revenue will no longer drift beyond the boundaries of the old southern protectorate.
The fear of the IPOB and its supporters is very clear. They are convinced that an independent Biafra they are seeking without coastal minority tribes of the old eastern region will not effectively give meaning to the Eldorado they are dreaming of. This is why they continuously draw a map that includes the eastern minorities without their consent. They have refused to restrict themselves to Igbo land. I dare them to produce a map of Igbo land and concretely define this economic wonderland that will benefit Ndigbo better than the full spectrum dominance (apologies to US State Department} in present day Nigeria based on responsibility, respect for others and humility in the face of internal diasporean successes.
The South West fear is simple: the north will not give up without fighting. They fear that the milestone of Lagos and other surrounding cities will be destroyed. Beyond this, they are fully aware that without the oil wealth from Niger Delta, Lagos economy will depreciate by almost 50%. Of more worry is the unavoidable cash flight from Igbo businessmen in Lagos to Igbo land. It is different when you are in one country and using one currency.
The Niger Delta is only scared of the road to South Sudan. Some tribes are not comfortable of being under the control of other troublesome tribes. They are also afraid of the great danger an independent Igbo land that is not their friend will pose.
So why are we working hard to drift apart when we know that no region will be alone without huge challenges?
Let us holistically look at those issues that are fuelling the desires for separation and cure them. Pretending that you will be happy if Nigeria is balkanized is the greatest self-deception of the century.
Kelechi Jeff Eme