Not long ago independence was easy to earn. The mighty Soviet Union disintegrated into many countries, some with populations of less than ten million. Later some countries earned it from suffering, persecution and by actually fighting for it. Kosovo is a recent example. East Timor, of a population of about five hundred thousand people, earned it with the active support of the United Nations of which it is now a proud member. South Sudan earned it by battling the Arab North for decades.
These days with the United Nations’ stance of non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries it is very difficult. Groups aspiring for independence now have to work at it doggedly and for long periods to force the hands of the countries they wish to secede from. Scotland, a member of Britain for seven hundred years, tried for it recently but Scots favouring remaining in Britain had a slight majority. I suspect they will try again in future. The Basque region of Spain has been agitating for it for decades. Now a great majority of Basques support independence and have voted for it. But they cannot get it by force. Spain is fighting back diplomatically and constitutionally. But the inevitable will surely happen in the not too distant future. You cannot keep people in a country they are determined not to remain part of.  
But here in Nigeria we have the Biafra agitators. They have a `pirate’ radio station. They say they have an embassy in the Basque country of Spain, a region still begging for independence. They even make presentations to the United Nations. Once in a while a member of the United States House of Representatives or the British House of Commons speaks out for them. They go by several names, MASSOB, IPOB and other splinter names. IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is being held without trial. They say they are fighting for the independence of  Ndigbo, for Biafra! That once proud fight for survival of which many Ndigbo who lived through it, including myself, remember with nostalgia is now being made a mockery of by people who were hardly born during those heroic years that brought out the best in Ndigbo ingenuity.
Nigeria is a sovereign country, a member of the United Nations whose motto includes non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries. Hence Sudan has the privacy and the right to ban the foreign press to enable it use its army undisturbed to wipe out the people of South Kordofan or to use the Arab Janjaweed to decimate the black people of Dafur. Yes, Sudan is a sovereign country and can govern itself the way it wants. It can commit genocide in the name of non interference in its internal affairs. It is in this same era that Igbo youth are carrying out demonstrations, sometimes stopping traffic on the Niger Bridge, disturbing the peace of Ndigbo from going about their normal business in this misgoverned country. It is the same Ndigbo that MASSOB, IPOB and other splinter groups want to carry into their dream republic, Biafra. Nobody in Igbo land has record of those killed in the Civil War. What were their names? Were they male or female? What a shame! The Jews have records and the names of every one of the six million Jews that was killed during the holocaust. No, that does not concern our modern day Don Quixotes. They are being killed and dumped in unmarked graves by the security services of the sovereign country of Nigeria. The security services will say one or two people were killed or injured. But in truth hundreds may have been killed. Who cares? After all this is a sovereign country and history is usually written from the point of view of the people in power. In any case this our sovereign country has no business with truth, history. History is no longer a subject in our schools! It is all right to feed our children with falsehood or even nothing.
But our `heroic’ Biafra agitators will not take notice of the fact that the American government, the British government and others advise the Nigerian government to embrace dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers and other agitators in the oil rich Niger Delta. But nobody mentions the Biafra agitators. It is as if they do not exist. But actually in the scheme of things they do not exist. They are only a minor distraction to Nigeria, a sovereign country.  
But these agitators fail to learn from history. In this incongruous country lives do not matter. Igbo lives, in particular, do not matter. Our lives have never really mattered in this country in which periodically since nineteen fifty three Ndigbo have been killed in churches without anybody caring. The Boko Haram began by killing Ndigbo and is still doing so. An old Igbo lady only recently got beaten to death in Kano because she told some Moslems not to pray in front of her shop. Akaluka was beheaded and his impaled head paraded round Kano. His killers and the policemen who killed some the Igbo traders in Abuja are still walking free. After all they are Ndigbo. Their lives do not matter. The most brilliant tribe in Africa has been reduced, first by the Civil War loss, and now by our being sucked into supporting ex-president Jonathan virtually one hundred per cent, to a people who just make up the numbers, a people who can be conveniently ignored in the distribution of federal appointments and capital projects. Our federal roads are death traps. Unemployment is at its highest ever. Our naira is virtually worthless.
They say we are an ingenious people and this is the time to really think of how to save ourselves from hunger and starvation. But we choose this of all times when everybody is hungry and angry to constitute ourselves into a nuisance not just to our almighty rulers but to the long suffering Ndigbo. We choose this of all times to hand our youth over to security agencies for annihilation! We will have no record of our youth being dumped in the Ezu and other rivers or being buried in unmarked graves.
Where are our elders? Must we keep quiet while our youth are being butchered? Where is Ohazulike? Is this the MASSOB he has in mind? Will somebody ask Nnamdi Kanu, a hero to some, whether he supports the elimination of thousands of Igbo youth by the security agencies.
The leaders of MASSOB, IPOB and the like must put on their thinking caps. I can boldly say that most Ndigbo like the idea of Biafra. But this is not the way to go about it. Let them first show Ndigbo that they appreciate our suffering in silence in this country in which we now only just make up the numbers. Let them demonstrate to us that they share our pain. Let them take a leaf from the Oodua Peoples’ Congress. Let them be our security wing. I live in Lagos and have seen on television many times hapless Ndigbo cowering in churches and schools following raids by Kogi youth attacking our oil refinery. Where were MASSOB or IPOB? Fulani herdsmen killed many in Nimbo, Enugu State. Where were MASSOB and IPOB? The same herdsmen whom the Sultan of Sokoto recently described as foreign terrorists are everywhere with their cattle eating our farm crops and killing whoever objects. Where are MASSOB and IPOB? MASSOB and IPOB must carry the rest of us Ndigbo along in their quest for independence. Their quest is futile without us. And when they have shown us that they respect and are fighting for us we can then together wage the long battle for Biafra.
The future disintegration of Nigeria is inevitable because Nigeria is built on faulty foundation. The centre will not hold for long. As long as the people who feel that the country belongs to them refuse to restructure the country so long will its disintegration be surer. For now we have to learn from our more politically savvy Yoruba brothers how to plan and work for the future. We should be our brothers’ keepers. Aregbesola was a commissioner in Lagos State. Now he is the governor of Oshun State! Can that happen in Igbo land? The Oodua states are currently planning light rail services for the Yoruba States. Can that happen in Igbo land? They are planning a regional newspaper. Can we do that? Ndigbo, MASSOB, IPOB must go back to the drawing board and plan for survival. As of now we are only hitting our heads against a brick wall. I am afraid that if by accident or design somebody grants Biafra independence now the debacle in South Sudan will be child’s play compared with what might happen.

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