Pro-Biafran activist Oguchi Nkwocha likened Nigeria to an abusive relationship on Al Jazeera in the second part of The Stream’s #Biafra50YearsOn: Is Nigeria’s secessionist movement re-emerging?
Nkwocha was answering a question from host Femi Oke on what would be a compromise solution to the issue of Biafra seceding from Nigeria. His position was that there was no way to compromise in what is an abusive relationship, that is hurting the person involved, and that relationship should be ended.
Watch it here:
Incidentally, comments from Laolu Akande, a spokesman for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were read out on the programme, in which he dismissed the agitation for secession by claiming the majority of Nigerians agree with the government that Nigeria should stay as one country. This could well be true, but it was not Akande’s place to make assumptions about what the majority of Nigerians think since that question has not been put to them.
Nkwocha also went down the route of assumptions when he claimed that it was possible that 90-95% of Biafrans (presumably Igbo people) wanted a referendum. Nobody has asked them yet. Both sides of the argument seem to favour positions that are not evidence-based.
The discussion threatened to descend into farce as all the guests, including Rudolf Okonkwo, Jaafar Jaafar, Uche Mefor and former Anambra State governor Peter Obi kept, talking over each other. With so little decorum between these apparently educated people, you have to wonder how Obi’s barmy idea of solving Nigeria’s problems by ethnic groups coming together to find a way forward, is going to work in reality.
Okonkwo reminded him that there have been at least four occasions where there were national discussions about how to “structure” Nigeria. Those discussions usually involved the elite from all parts of Nigeria but never invited Biafran activists. Interestingly, Jaafar, the “token” northerner on the panel, admitted that the current regime of President Muhammadu Buhari had not “carried the Igbos along”. Many Nigerians have wondered why the Biafran agitation has become more pronounced since Buhari came to power in 2015.
Watch Part 1:
One viewer commented that secession would not deal with the problems Biafrans are complaining about because it would still be “leaders” like Obi in charge of Biafra. But the strident pro-Biafrans on the panel – Mefor and Nkwocha – were having none of it. For them, the solution was every ethnic nationality that made up Nigeria governing themselves as independent states.
Mefor told those advocating “restructuring” that it was impossible to “restructure” the lives of those pro-Biafrans killed by the Nigerian authorities. Nkwocha believed that “nobody is a Nigerian” because the country is a patchwork of various nationalities.
After two parts running over an hour, with guests talking over each other and in the little time when one person had the air all to himself, it appeared that nobody on the programme knew what they were talking about.