Biafra agitation: Abuja, Aburi or Araba?
Only political illiterates would not understand that the sustained agitation for a Biafra Republic which has seen weeks of protests across the South East is not a development that can be wished away.
It may look so but it is not like warts that whatever you do they usually go away by themselves – unless you have an underlying condition that affects your immune system. The bad thing is that it takes time for them to disappear. Three out of 10 warts will go on their own in 10 weeks. Within two years, two-thirds of all warts will go without treatment.
If treatment was easy and effective, then no one would wait to get rid of a wart. But the cure can be worse than the condition: any treatment will irritate the healthy skin around it. Why not just cut them out, you may ask? Because the warts often grow back.
To treat or not to treat is the dilemma Nigeria is at the moment, over a ticking bomb that the situation represents .The alleged killings of nine of the protesters at the Onitsha bridge by security agents is bound to change the tenor of the hitherto peaceful protests .Those were unnecessary casualties if the Nigerian state were not dumb given what it faces till date post the extra-judicial murder of the founder of “original “ Boko Haram in 2009.
Outside our shores many of the merchants of death in ISIS that are troubling global peace today have been identified as children of those killed when America bombarded Iraq. They are now waging war of attrition in their vengeful mission with innocent blood spilled on daily basis.
A multi-ethnic state like Nigeria should know that it had no immunity from the wave of self-determination that is sweeping across the globe in the post cold-war era. Contrary to the illusion of peace which some scholars predicted with the emergence of a unipolar world, the word “genocide” has been heard around the world in the era of globalisation than any other period in history.
Many of the conflicts going around the world today are not about wages and social issues but about civilizations as humans are now defining themselves in terms of their culture, religion and history. Many countries that were united by ideology but divided by culture have disintegrated (USSR,Yugoslavia et al) or are under strains(Nigeria, India, etc).Those that were divided by ideology but united by culture have come together (East and West Germany).The European Union has been far more successful than the United Nations in recent times because of cultural kinship in this age of self-determination.
It is within this context that the command and control center (Abuja) appears to be losing grip of the country by the day with centrifugal forces on the ascendancy. It is nothing but sheer malady for Abuja to continue to delude itself that Nigeria can still be handled in the old way of an overbearing centre lording it over the constituent units with force of arms. It has since lost that
monopoly with the proliferation of arms in the hands of non-state actors which have seen the embarrassing situation where men of our armed forces run from insurgents. Abuja today is no more than an incompetent and ineffective bloat that cannot even write a letter to communicate the proper percentage of reduction in fine to MTN. Abuja is damn useless in the resolution of any crisis confronting the union as it has withered over the years.
In moments like this,we must turn to Aburi. The Aburi Accord was reached in 1967 at a meeting attended by delegates of both the Federal Government of Nigeria (The supreme Military Council) and the Eastern delegates, led by the Eastern Region’s leader Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu. The meeting was billed to be the last chance of preventing all out war. It was held between January 4 and 5, 1967. Aburi, Accra Ghana was chosen as a venue because Ojukwu’s safety could not be guaranteed anywhere within the Western or Northern part of the country.
Delegates at the meeting agreed to the following :•“Members agree that the legislative and executive authority of the Federal Military Government should remain in the Supreme Military Council, to which any decision affecting the whole country shall be referred for determination provided that where it is possible for a meeting to be held the matter requiring determination must be referred to military governors for their comment and concurrence.•Specifically, the council agreed that appointments to senior ranks in the police, diplomatic, and consular services as well as appointment to superscale posts in the federal civil service and the equivalent posts in the statutory corporation must be approved by the Supreme Military Council.
The regional members felt that all the decrees passed since January 15, 1966, and which detracted from previous powers should be repealed if mutual confidence is to be restored.
In response to the accord, the Federal Government promulgated Decree No. 8, which was mainly an embodiment of the accord.
Embodiment of the accord
The accord finally broke down because of differences of interpretation on both sides. This led to the outbreak of the civil war.
This column holds that with trustful give and take, the unity of the country can still be preserved via negotiated settlement(Aburi). And there is no need reinventing the wheel as the over 600 resolutions passed at the 2014 National Conference presents a good start.
If Abuja however continues to block the Aburi Accord, God forbid that we should head to Araba as a country. Araba in Hausa means to separate. The term first appeared on placards carried by rioters in Bauchi in May 1966 after promulgation of the ill-advised Unification Decree No 34. That is why the May riots, which quickly spread to other towns in the North, are sometimes called the Araba riots. It was later to be the code name for the July 1966 revenge coup staged by Northern officers .It behoves the leadership of the country to embark on reconstructive surgery to steer the country away from this direction. And the time is NOW