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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 ahmadsheehu@yahoo.com.

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Gov Fintiri Sends List Of New Members Of Boards, Commissions To Assembly

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Adamawa State House of Assembly has received 57 nominees from Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri for confirmation as Members and Executive Directors of various Boards and Commissions. News Plartform.

The nominees for screening and confirmation for Adamawa State Local Government Service Commission include: Kennedy Dauda, Fibi Nuhu , Amos Drambi , Aliyu Umar Toungo, Barr. Abdulhamid Alkali and Aminu Dahiru

Those nominated for Local Govt Staff Pendion Board are; Dr. Nuhu Tari, Hajiya Habiba Hassan, Musa J. Afraimu, while Ibrahim Abba, Mr. Philemon Bakari Amtonbito, Hon. Jika Mustapha , Sabiru Yari , Hon. Yosi Lerum Jp have been nominated for State Pension Board.

Adamawa State Planning Commission has Mary Paninga, Hon Harald Mirchalum, Isa Shettima while those for Adamawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency include: Dr. Sulaiman Saidu Bashir , Adamu Simon, Renos B. Peter.

The assembly also received the names of Barr. Musa Kaibo, Alh. Salizu Buba, Mrs. Patience Ahmadu, Jephet Kefas, Kennedy Bartimawus for Adamawa State Civil Service Commission.

Likewise, Dr. Aiden Amzaranda, Jibrilla Dauda Hamidu , Solomon S. Domsanda, Dr. Yahaya Bapetel, have been nominated for Hospital Services Management Board, while Hon. Umar Daware , Alh. Adamu Chagwa, Barr. Lillian Stephen Nobe , Hassan Kaigama are for Fiscal Responsibility Commission.

The assembly equally received the names of Mohammed Umar Jabu, Zidon Love , Emmanuel Anuhu Abba, Gidado Abdussalam , Mark Balanso, Suleiman Yahaya Vokna , Mohammed Tuki, for State Independent Electoral Commission.

Others include: Hanatu Kadala, Ahmed Salihu Kabillo, Ahmed Abdulsalan Shelleng, Talatu Yohanna Kusari , Adwawa Dongolok Guyuk for House of Assembly Service Commission, while Dr. Murtala Umar Babayi, Adiel Kurda, Dr. Aliyu Sa’ad, Mrs. Korah Bongi, Abdullahi Ndjidda Damare, Umar Isa, Hassan Dadi for State Universal Basic Education Board.

The nominees for State Boundary Commission are; F. B. Bilala, Zainab Ahmed, while Hon. Daniel Ijafu, Hon. Hassan Mamman Barguma and Mrs Egla Nashon are nominated for Board of Internal Revenue.

The names of the nominees is contained in a letter sent to the assembly by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and read by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Bathiya Wesley , while presiding over Wednesday, plenary session.

After reading the letter, the Speaker directed the nominees to appear before various relevant House Standing Committees for screening and submit their report in the next 2 weeks.

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JUST IN: Gov Fintiri Appoints Special Assistants

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Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has approved the appointment of Special Assistants to help in the running of the administration.

Those appointed include:

  1. Diana Beatrice Gayus
  2. Ahijo Hammaadama
  3. Barr. Mahmud Gurumpawro Abubakar
  4. Mohammed A. Hamma
  5. Mohammed Hayatu Umar
  6. Ajuji Nuhu
  7. Hon. Thomas Godwin
  8. Mr. Audi S. Tagiya
  9. Hon. Joseph Gadzana Apagu
  10. Ishyaka Yusuf
  11. Arc. Zidon Nzangopwa
  12. Philip Kenan
  13. Alh. Adamu Abdu Zumo
  14. Engr. Yusuf Abdu Audu
  15. Abubakar Muhammad Barkindo
  16. Mr. Wodinughoro Obed
  17. Ismaila Bila Lakamso
  18. Wilberforce Y. Songhai
  19. Isa Alhaji Hamidu
  20. Hadaya Yusuf
  21. Tsamari Fakuta
  22. Hon. Adamu Jikan Sarki Mohammed
  23. Kiliyobas Sunday
  24. Istifanus Johnson Hadabi
  25. Hon. Peter Da’ape Gengle
  26. Kingsley Clement Tumba
  27. Bala Usman
  28. Mr. Geoffrey Garba
  29. Tanko B. Ezra
  30. Alh. Musa Aliyu (Wali)
  31. Kabiru Hammanlai
  32. Mohammed Buba
  33. Comrd. Mohammed Faisal Abubakar
  34. Barnabas Pata
  35. Yahya Abdullahi
  36. James Tallachi Yusuf
  37. Gani Gideon
  38. Manu Kondo
  39. Muhammad Hayatu Atiku
  40. Umar Sadiq (UJ)
  41. Hon. Kavohgye Ezra
  42. Christopher Adamu Tsuda
  43. Suleiman Musa Belel
  44. Musa Mohammed Gengle
  45. Sabastine Lines Tumba
  46. Daniel Amos
  47. Mr. Robert Pwadimadi
  48. Alh. Abubakar Muhammadu Bomu
  49. Mal. Mauludu Shuaibu
  50. Andrew Gangbonso
  51. Danlami Ahmed
  52. Alh. Hamidu Aji Jada
  53. Kaleshi Zephaniah Niyorodo
  54. Salihu Haruna
  55. Ibrahim Ngyibeso
  56. Maiborno Hammawa
  57. Mohammed K. Bello
  58. Hon. William Dathini
  59. Suli Adamu Fagami
  60. Hon. Jehaziel Pwanidi
  61. Alh. Hayatu Bobbob Alkali
  62. Titus Samaila
  63. Augustine Anthony Ndaghu
  64. Ishaku Hyalaba Zira
  65. Ms. Ellah Walter
  66. Hajj. Halima Ayuba
  67. Grace Ayuba Balenjeso
  68. Umaru M. Dikko
  69. Aishatu Dahiru
  70. Donatus Raymond Bwano
  71. Danladi Isa Farang
  72. Basari Christopher Columba
  73. Abubakar S. Raji
  74. Isa Allen Lindagard
  75. Kwantau Jaringyal
  76. Hon. Mathew Ali
  77. Dickson Wangamorti
  78. Mrs. Justina Patrick Sebastian
  79. Sylvanus Kafina
  80. Hon. Anthony Yamdu Emmanuel
  81. Kabiru Hassan
  82. Marshal Zamani
  83. Ibrahim Paul Wampana
  84. Hon. Ibrahim Zubairu
  85. Mr. Friday Vactor
  86. Abubakar Aliyu Kolejo
  87. Ahmed Adamu
  88. Gidado Tahir Tukur
  89. Akham Jaloh
  90. Abubakar Abbo Waziri
  91. Bukus Ishaku Kisinomi
  92. Yunusa Bakari
  93. Nathan Bumani Gabun
  94. Comrade Chakukuyada G. Bulndi
  95. Dishon Daniel
  96. Hon. Hickson Michael
  97. Hon. Amos Dali
  98. Alh. Usman Bobbo
  99. Benson Kpantizang
  100. Mark Zira Thlavaghi
  101. Adamu Risku
  102. Yakubu Musa Dirbishi
  103. Kadiri Alhaji Mai
  104. Hassan Ahmadu
  105. Muktar Mohammed Aliyu
  106. Mrs. Pwanahakai Asura Bakari
  107. Dahiru Guruma
  108. Abubakar Ribadu Audi
  109. Boniface W. Ugwabiya
  110. Sunday Garba
  111. Andrew Dunah Shalldang
  112. Suleiman M. Ibrahim
  113. Mr. Abalis Luka
  114. Francis Zamman
  115. Haruna Maksha
  116. Abubakar Usman Teri
  117. Markus Sunkwa Jimre
  118. Yusuf Eli Chimaro
  119. Sanusi Mohammad
  120. Zeal Jibrailu
  121. Usman Babba
  122. Aliyu Belllo
  123. Adamu U. Dallatu
  124. Wandara Ellon Philimon
  125. Hon. Ikurhyel Hananiya
  126. Hon. Julius Jockthan
  127. Hon. Paul Wankari Singari
  128. Abubakar Abdullahi Jingi
  129. Audu Buba
  130. Fashe Yanna
  131. Aliyu Mamza
  132. Isa Giwa Bajam
  133. Hon. Bashiru Adamu Abdullahi
  134. Liman Yahya
  135. Suleiman Bello Abubakar
  136. Polycarp Bayaro
  137. Caleb Ngimanchi Simon
  138. Geoffrey Haniel Chatuda
  139. Elizabeth Paul
  140. Mrs. Mary Ijabani
  141. Faith Samuel
  142. Ahmad Alhassan
  143. Aliyu Hamman Adama
  144. Kusaniel Amos
  145. Ushiwa Drambi Kwabe
  146. Azumi Dauda
  147. Alheri Musa
  148. Hon. Hamza Abdullahi
  149. Danjuma Yuguda
  150. Adamu Jauro
  151. Adamu Jibrilla Maigonjo
  152. Bristone Buba Wariyaki
  153. Adamu Mohammed
  154. Sikamya’an Stephen Audu
  155. Mr. Bala Usman
  156. Ahmadu Adamu Ijakirayu
  157. Newton Nyaviyuse
  158. Danbaba James
  159. Luka Filibus
  160. Cecilia Jonathan (Mrs)
  161. Rasheeda Ahmed Almustapha
  162. Gershon Sylvester
  163. Samaila T. Wutsuware
  164. Fimbar Kpasi
  165. Christopher Bakeri Mapeo
  166. Musa Iya Yadafa
  167. Barr. Jibril Ibrahim Jimeta
  168. Christopher Bakeri Mapeo
  169. Sulieman Usman Buwanga
  170. Usman Mu’azu Dalatu
  171. Rabiu Ibrahim
  172. Abubakar Musa
  173. Buba Mohammed Joda
  174. Mohammed Gidado
    Mohammed
  175. Ahmad Umar
  176. Chubado Mohammed
  177. Sajo Abubakar Jada
  178. Adamu Alimu
  179. Hon. Sherrif Elijah
  180. Wamcaku Ishaya Nicholas
  181. Hon. Sanusui Musa
  182. Joseph Eto

The appointments are with immediate effect.

Humwashi Wonosikou
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
22:05:2024

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Summit: Gov Fintiri Urges Youths To Embrace Digital Skills Acquisition

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has urged youths in Adamawa to embrace the acquisition of skills created by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the betterment of the state.

He gave the charge on Wednesday while declaring open a 2-day Youth Summit on ICT skills convened by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth empowerment, Safrat Dungus which held in the Banquet Hall, Government House, Yola.

Governor Fintiri says as a matter of deliberate policy, his administration, has always placed youths at the centre of its programmes and projects especially in the area of education and entrepreneurship among other sectors.

He therefore commends the eagerness of the participants to acquiring new skills in the ICT at the summit which he noted is a testament to their determination to succeed and contribute to the development the state.

The Governor urged youths to commit to innovation, continues learning and progress as well as collaborate with one another to build Adamawa to prosperity that the yet unborn generation will be proud of.

Earlier in her remarks, the convener of the programme, who is the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Empowerment, Safrat Dungus said the summit was organised to empower youths and shape their future.

She underscores the committment of the government to ensuring that youths regardless of their background, religion, social status or party affiliation have the opportunity to contribute to the progress of Adamawa.

The Youth Summit which has the theme “Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders was being attended by youths from across the twenty one local government areas of Adamawa State.

SAHEL REPORTERS.

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