The ink was hardly dry on the Aburi Accord when Nigeria`s malcontents regurgitated their discontent to spit the country into the cauldron of a calamitous civil war between July 6, 1967 and January 15, 1970. What followed was haunting horror at its most harrowing: before the stunned eyes of defiled women, hunger stealthily but surely desiccated the bodies of their children.
Biafra`s story is now a familiar one which posts in its tropes a haunting elegy to a lost promise and the scars that lament such a lacerating loss.
With Mr. Odumegwu Ojukwu -the indiscrete midwife of Biafra – having joined his ancestors years ago, and Mr. Yakubu Gowon- its indiscriminate undertaker – very close to signing the eternal checkout himself, many have questioned whether the infectiously charismatic Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who has taken it upon himself to rekindle the Biafran flame that once threatened to incinerate Nigeria can live with the grotesque ghosts he invokes with the incendiary incantation that the IPOB is.
Mr. Kanu`s Indigenous People of Biafra movement has since its inception recorded a lot of double faults and unforced errors. Many times, in situations where the scalpel of discretion would have been perfect, the bludgeon of aggression has been used to cause irreparable harm. Thus, in Nigeria`s south-east, buildings have been torched and innocents slaughtered to agonizingly remind those who witnessed it of the three years during which an infant country was convulsed by the inexperienced sorcery of the uninitiated.
Today,Nigeria continues on its winding road to a future that is rather bleak and so far, it appears that as a vast canvass of challenges is being hoisted before the dark artists of the country who deceitfully masquerade as the artisans of its destiny, Biafra is only a dot marked with a sea of scarlet.
In 2015, having rode the exasperation of an exhausted people to power in defiance of sky-high odds, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari and his glaring of cats cast a withering glare in the direction of the south-east. Stung by both personal and party loss and stunned by the leer that followed it, Mr. Buhari as Nigeria`s President, forebodingly warned that the dogs who contributed so little to his victory must be content with the scraps that fall from the children`s table.
In the course of six years, the warning has proven prophetic as government in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country continues to pander to the bees who live off the noxious nectar of nepotism.
So, Nigeria is in the pangs of childbirth with a panicked country terrified by the prospects of another stillbirth and what it would mean fora severely strained marriage of convenience.
His most ardent followers have called Mr. Nnamdi Kanu a prophetic voice crying in the wretched wilderness that Nigeria has become.But can Mr. Kanu or any of the self-styled prophets of Biafra claim to have foreseen or predicted the apocalyptic speed at which Nigeria is unravelling?
Given the density of Nigeria`s gloom and doom at the moment, it would not take a lot of efforts to lay claims to the prophetic on that score. However, it appears that Biafra has long been one strangled cry about a country crying out for any kind of soul whatsoever.
Each of Nigeria`s unwieldy thirty-six states is currently beset by one form of intractable challenge on the other at the moment. While many states of the country may not be facing the existential crises rocking states in Nigeria`s northeast and northwest, who is to say that economic insecurity which works people into a lethal lather of disaffection is not an equally forceful problem.
In the southeast where the agitations for Biafra rise like the haunting howls of a gravely wounded wolf, many states and the leadership they have in place have shown a perverse predilection for failure.
In Imo State, the people continue to bewail the judicial abacadraba that has saddled them with a failure so arrogant that he beggars belief.
In 2019, as the unbearably inept administration of Mr. Rocahas Okorocha came to an agonizing end, the good people of Imo state rejected every attempt by the outgoing governor to install his son-in-law as his succesor. The people wanted Mr. Emeka Ihedioha and duly voted him in. But his tenure was short-lived. The supposed irregularities of the election somehow found judicial sympathy all according to the script of a certain political prophet from Enugu.
Now, unloved and unwanted,Mr. Uzodinma huffs and puffs, all to no avail.He does not help himself by his incendiary comments, his obsequious support for the government at the center and his obnoxious non-payment of salaries.
In Abia State – the home state of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the IPOB – the state governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu,appears content to continue with the insipid performance of his predecessors Messrs. Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji. He too neither pays salaries nor pensions.
In Ebonyi State, Mr. David Umahi prefers to abandon the business of governance to junket to Enugu to listen to political prophecies.While he is away, Ebonyi boils with discontent and insecurity.
In Enugu State, the honeymoon which greeted Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at his assumption of office in 2015 ended a long time ago and he has struggled to steer the state away from the colossal failures of his predecessors.
In Anambra State, a treacherous network of bad roads is not the only loose thread in an otherwise colorful tapestry of governance.
The proponents of Biafra argue, and ferociously too, that the Nigeria as a country is terminally ill and the only way out is to break it up.There may be some merit in the argument because an ungainly and unwieldy country appears increasingly unable to accommodate and support its many parts.
Even parts of the country that do not know whether to stick or twist are increasingly feeling the strain of a country profligate with its many gifts. To distract themselves, they loudly pound the drums of discord and amuse themselves with questions that bother on whether those angling for Biafra will be able to tolerate themselves once they attain independence.
The questionis a valid one because as South Sudan has sadly shown, starting out as a new country is not a cup of tea.As Nigeria harshly found out in 1967,independence is only a tip of the iceberg.The main challenge is keeping a newly independent or new country together.
Experience has shown that many new countries get pummeled by existential crises. Usually, once the goal of independence is attained, power becomes indiscriminately intoxicating to those who once posed as champion freedom fighters. Because many of them feel more entitlement to the levers of power than the people are willing to give, they soon become champion bloodletters.
There is something defective about the way the country is configured and constituted at present. Yet, those who call for change must eschew the profligacy of words and actions.
The task of rebuilding Nigeria or building a new country out of Nigeria is neither for the prodigal nor the profligate.Itis for the supremely prudent.