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Nigeria @ 61: If There Was Biafra



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  • Should there be, BIAFRA would be one of the most overpopulated countries, vis-à-vis its landmass and population

By Ahmadu Shehu, PhD.

It is no longer debatable that Nigeria, despite its crippling challenges, may never disintegrate, at least geographically. Of course, the animosities, hatred and distrust between the ethnic and regional nationalities might worsen, but Nigeria’s elasticity is exemplary and uncommon. However, I still do not accept the convenient folktale deployed by politicians that our country’s unity is non-negotiable.

By now, our experience as a nation should have liberated our minds to begin a conversation on any topic of national interest, no matter the controversy or emotional delicacy.

As we attain the 61st birthday of our beloved country, I find it imperative to discuss this controversial but important issue.

From the outset, let me clarify that this article is not about the Igbo as an ethnic group or the southeast as a region. Given the rise in pro-Biafra sentiments and agitations at the moment, this article is only meant to provide an outsider view of some arguments espoused by the secessionists in their attempt to generate sympathy and popularity.

When you think of Nigeria’s disintegration, the first thing that comes to mind is Biafra – a defunct Igbo separatist nation in the country’s southeastern part.

The attempt to curve this region from Nigeria in 1967 remains one of the most gruelling experiences of our country. A barely six-year-old nation was thrown into chaos by a set of greedy politicians and unscrupulous military officers who wanted power at the centre. Within those thirty months, millions of innocent citizens lost their lives, got injured or lost their possessions. In addition, Nigeria lost a large chunk of its national treasury meant to set the country on the right footing. The rest, as they say, is history.

Instead of learning from our past mistakes to avoid the recurrence of this destructive, reckless and unnecessary event, Nigerians of this generation seem to be oblivious of the necessary truth. As with most factual historical events in the Nigerian psyche, this painful experience, its true causes, and damning consequences are not well-known to the younger generations. The biased narratives in various country sections ensure that our population only hear the stories that suit their mindsets without alternative facts that would open their minds to self-criticism.

In the case of Biafra, most of the young Igbo folks have a pretty false image of their fate as a people if Biafra had happened. This skewed imagination is not unconnected with the biased, often imaginative stories these young Nigerians were told about their defunct “nation”. The Igbo popular culture and the intelligentsia depict a fictional image of Biafra as a dream-nation where the Igbos shall live in peace and prosperity devoid of challenges.

They imagine, albeit naively, that Biafra will be unlike Nigeria and that their lot would have been better than it is today. These unsuspecting chaps are led into believing a mirage of living in a nation flowing with honey and milk. They are also told that other ethnic and geopolitical sections of Nigeria are responsible for all their woes. They argue, albeit ignorantly, that if not for the North, the West, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, etc., theirs would have been a heaven on earth. These ignorant tales conclude that a united Nigeria does not help their course as a people.

Well, I think that these views are simplistic. I also believe that it is our responsibility to tell our brethren the truth that they need to hear.

Firstly, the creation, proclamation of Biafra was not in the interest of the ordinary Igbo people. It was the last-ditch by Igbo politicians to hide their faces from problems they caused and ensure they stayed in power.

Secondly, our brethren are mischievously told that the Igbo were so rich that the Igboland was the largest economic contributor to the federation. Unfortunately, the falsity of this assertion is not far-fetched, as the southeast was and is still the least contributor to the Nigerian GDP. Moreover, during the attempted secession, Nigeria’s GDP was mainly from the agricultural sector, predominantly from the North.

Thirdly, it seems that many people are misled into believing that Biafra would be an oil-rich country even though none of the Southeastern states is truly oil-producing. The Niger Delta, Nigeria’s oil pot, was not and will never be part of Biafra.

Fourthly, young Igbo people tend to believe that the southeast was Nigeria’s cash-cow at independence. The bitter truth is that even in the ’60s, the perceived strong Igbo economy depended entirely on other regions. This scenario is worse today as there are probably more Igbo people and Igbo businesses in other parts of the country than in Igboland. Worse still, the Igboland is closed and unfriendly to Nigerians, making external investments impossible.

The most supposedly intelligent argument advanced by the secessionists hinges on the current centralized federal system. They claim that the centre is too powerful and that Igbo states are marginalized. This is an argument of convenience, at best. Nigerians are not oblivious that the current unitary system was the handwork of Igbo politicians who saw a unitary arrangement as the answer to their political agenda. Today, the tides have turned, and these very people are calling for the system they abolished.

Restructuring this country – whatever that means – might be a good idea, but only after a genuine debate that will ensure we do not return to the same vicious circle.

People with secessionist tendencies have used the challenges in northern Nigeria as reasons for disintegration. However, Biafra will by no means be a safer or better place.

Currently, some of the most terrible crimes bedevilling this country are not unconnected with the southeast. From drugs to internet fraud, armed robbery and kidnapping to arms smuggling, if not worse, the southeast is not holier than other parts of this country.

Another commonplace argument is that the industrious nature of the Igbo people is enough evidence that Biafra will be a great country. But this argument, too, has failed to account for the fact that the wealthiest and most successful Igbo people and their businesses owe their success significantly to Nigeria and not Igboland. The Igbo people are traders, and the economic success of trading lies in the customer market, not the number of sellers. What do the Igbo people actually produce or sell that does not rely on the larger Nigerian population?

On the one hand, there is nothing that the southeast offers that cannot be produced or sold by other Nigerians. But, on the other hand, everything from food to livestock, energy, and the market for everything sold depend on the other regions. The southeast is asking to leave under this situation is the most absurd strategic blunder of the century.

Similarly, Igbo politicians and administrators have not distinguished themselves from the rotten Nigerian public servants. We do not see a difference between southeastern institutions or southeasterners in Nigerian public offices and their counterparts in other regions or ethnic groups. The same crop of people will lead Biafra. So, nobody should be enthusiastic.

Therefore, it is evident from the preceding that the viability of Biafra as an independent state is not assured. For one, it will be a landlocked, forty-one thousand kilometres square piece of land, which is just a half of Niger state and less than the size of Kaduna state. Worse still, it will be circled on all four corners by its biggest adversary, the Nigerian state. Secondly, it will depend on its biggest adversary for nearly everything except air, including waterways, food, and labour. Third, it would be one of the most overpopulated countries vis-à-vis its landmass and population.

The bitter truth is that these ecological, geographical, demographic and economic factors do not support the presupposition that the Igboland is better off as a separate entity than it is within the Nigerian federation. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that even if Biafra was to happen on a platter of gold, it is not going to be the rose garden these populists have configured our brothers to believe. Thus, we should all look before we leap!

Dr Ahmadu Shehu is a nomad cum herdsman, an Assistant Professor at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, and is passionate about the Nigerian project. You can reach him at

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Fintiri Appoints Auwal SSG, Edgar Chief Of Staff, Ardo Head Of Service




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Adamawa State Governor, Rt Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has approved the appointment of Hon Awwal D. Tukur as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

Hon Awwal was a former Member of the House of Representatives and served as the Director General of the Adamawa Presidential and Gubernatorial Campaign Council in the 2023 national elections.

Governor Fintiri has also approved the the appointment of Dr Edgar Amos as Chief of Staff Government House.

Following the appointment of Dr Amos who before now was the Head of Service, Shehu Isa Ardo takes over as Head of the Civil Service.
The appointments take immediate effect.

Humwashi Wonosikou
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

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USAID, IITA Unveil 2023 Agricultural Inputs Fair In Yola




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By Abdulaziz Abubakar Damare

The USAID in Partnership with IITA through its project “Feed The Future, Nigeria Integrated Agriculture Activity” has declared its 2023 Agricultural Inputs Fair opened in Yola, the Adamawa state capital on Monday 5th June 2023 at Mahmud Ribadu Square in Yola, Northeast Nigeria.

In his address, the Executive Governor of Adamawa State Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, commended USAID and its Implementing Partner IITA for choosing Adamawa as one of the beneficiaries of various training and supports by the organizations.

The Governor who is heavily represented by his Deputy Prof. Kaletapwa George Farauta, expressed the readiness of Adamawa state government to partner with relevant organization to boost food security in Adamawa.

Fintiri who described the training given to farmers on modern techniques as timely, called for the NGO’s to train farmers on application of fertilizer and manure as part of their project to ensure bumper harvest.

He added that the state government will pay more attention on the stomach infrastructure of the good people of Adamawa in its new tenure.

Earlier in his welcome address, the chief of party Integrated Agricultural Activity (IAA) Mr. Prakash Kant Silwal said they have engaged over 30,000 farmers in Adamawa on various training and modern farming techniques in the state.

Mr. Prakash said the inputs fair is an opportunity for producers of various crops, seeds, food among others to sell their products.

He added that the inputs displayed at Mahmud Ribadu Square are qualitative, accessible and affordable compared to that of market prize.

In his remarks, the chairman Agro Dealers Association Northeastern Nigeria Alh. Usman Bapullo Ribadu, challenged farmers to harvest a certified seed and acquire the knowledge of farming before venturing into the sector.

On their various testimonies on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mal. Dauda Mohammed from Guyuk Local Government and Josia Stanley said the training obtained from the NGO’s has yielded a positive result and made them self reliant.

The two-day inputs fair in Yola continues Tuesday 6th June and in Gombi on 7th June 2023.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is an award-winning, research-for-development (R4D) organisation providing solutions to hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources in Africa since 1967.

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Unmasking The Illiteracy And Hate Of Faceless Stakeholders In Yola North




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In the aftermath of the 2023 governorship election in Adamawa State, a group of faceless stakeholders have emerged, driven by illiteracy and animosity, on a mission to undermine the efforts of the committed and experienced Secretary to the Adamawa State Government (SSG). These self-proclaimed stakeholders, by flagrantly violating the orders given by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri to engage their constituents for political appointments, are exposing their true intentions while playing a manipulative game of ‘reverse psychology’.

The recent allegations leveled against the Chairman of PDP Yola-North, Abdullahi Sarki (Audu Kacisa), claiming that he secretly visited critical stakeholders in an attempt to influence the selection process for the best eleven (11) political appointees, are baseless and a desperate ploy by these naysayers. Their accusations hold no merit and only serve to highlight their own incompetence and lack of substantiation for their supposed commitment during the election.

Furthermore, the claim that the stakeholders visited by the Chairman have unanimously refused to comply with the request is nothing more than a display of symptoms resembling a new strain of bipolar disease. These so-called stakeholders, who lack the courage to prove their commitment and support, are resorting to baseless allegations in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of those genuinely dedicated to the progress of Adamawa State.

The assertion that the Chairman’s actions were influenced by the former Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Mallam Bashir Ahmed, is the pinnacle of irresponsibility exhibited by these pretenders who worked against the victory of the PDP in the last election. While true patriots are eagerly seeking collaboration for the betterment of the state, these nattering nitwits continue to throw tantrums and impede progress.

It is important to note that SSG Bashir Ahmad, through his unwavering determination and strategic political calculations, demonstrated his competence without the support of these detractors. While they were engaged in trivial pursuits, he successfully navigated the political landscape, leaving them in the dust. As the reality of their own ineptitude and irrelevance unfolds, they are quickly fading away like flies.

It is crucial for the good people of Adamawa State to recognize these faceless stakeholders for what they truly are: ill-informed individuals driven by ignorance, illiteracy, and a deep-seated hatred for progress. Their attempts to discredit the Governor and his administration, as well as the dedicated individuals who have been instrumental in the state’s success, should not be taken seriously. Instead, the focus should remain on building a united front and fostering collaborations that will lead to the development and prosperity of Adamawa State.

In conclusion, let us not be swayed by the manipulations of these faceless stakeholders who seek to undermine the progress made in Adamawa State. Their illiteracy and hate are evident, and their actions serve only to hinder the collective efforts of those genuinely committed to the state’s growth. It is time to rise above their petty games and work together towards a brighter future for Adamawa State.

By Concerned Citizens of Yola North

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