Ambazonia, Biya’s Intolerance and Internet Democracy

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REUBEN ABATI
TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI, Email: reuben.abati@thisdaylive.com and abati1990@gmail.com

TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI

abati1990@gmail.com

A Biafra-like agitation for independence has been unfolding in neighbouring Republic of Cameroon since November 2016. The people of Northern and Southern Cameroons under the umbrella of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front (SCACUF) finally decided to affirm the independence of the English-speaking sections of Cameroon from the Republic. Like the Indigenous People of Biafra, the Ambazonians as they have called themselves since 1984, are protesting against their alleged marginalization by the dominant Francophone Cameroon and the Paul Biya government in Yaounde.

They insist that whereas oil is found in the English-speaking South Western part of Cameroon, the central government has practically neglected the region, and the people have been turned into “slaves” on their own soil. Like the Biafran movement in Nigeria, they have their own flag (white and blue) and a national anthem. The Cameroonian Anglophones claim that their struggle is non-violent and peaceful but they will insist on their independence, and the declaration of their own Republic. They further argue that whereas French and English are the official languages of Cameroon, the central government has imposed French as the language to be spoken in Anglophone Cameroon. They insist on their right to speak English.

After World War 1, the League of Nations shared the geographical territory known as Cameroon between the French and the British. The latter administered its own share from Nigeria. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain. British Cameroon had a choice between joining Nigeria or Cameroon. In a referendum conducted in 1961, the people of British Cameroon chose to join French-speaking Cameroon to form a Federation. But the planned federal system never really worked. In 1972, Cameroon changed its name to the United Republic of Cameroon. In 1984, the word “United” was removed from the country’s name by the Paul Biya administration, thus adopting the pre-unification name of French Cameroon and effectively raising fears of alienation among English-speaking Cameroonians.

Colonialism and its legacy may have been the foundation of many of the crises in post-colonial African states, but poor governance, ethnicity, competition over power and national resources, religion and sheer leadership incompetence have done worse damage. Post-colonial African leaders have failed to act as statesmen but as new colonialists adopting in West Africa, the twin colonial policies of divide and rule and assimilation. Cameroon has been a long-suffering country, first under former President Ahmadu Ahidjo and especially under 84-year old Paul Biya, who has been President for 35 years. It is ironic that 56 years after the country became a Republic, English-speaking Cameroonians are fighting against the seeming attempt by their French-speaking compatriots to “assimilate” and “marginalize” them. The two Cameroons are fighting over the language of the colonialists, national resources, and power-relations.

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, Sisiku AyukTabe, Chairman of the Southern Cameroons Governing Council, formally declared the independence of Southern Cameroons or the Federal Republic of Ambazonia: “We, the people of Southern Cameroons are slaves to no one”, he said, “Not now, not ever again! Today we reaffirm autonomy over our heritage and over our territory…It is time to tell Yaounde that enough is enough!” The response from Yaounde has been characteristic. Weeks before the protests and the declaration of independence in Southern Cameroons, soldiers were sent to the region to shoot in the air, prevent rallies, and intimidate the people. About 15 persons have so far been killed. “This division will never happen”, says Cameroon’s Communications minister, Issa Tchiooma Bakary, speaking for the central government. Just like IPOB and NIgeria? Yes.

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a wave of nationalist agitations across the world resulting in self-determination, secession and partitions, and the emergence of new countries. But self-determination or secession is not an automatic process, and it is not in every instance that the protests result in the Nirvana that the separatists seek. In Cameroon, the Biya administration must get off its high horse and engage the leaders of the separatist movement in dialogue. The international community must prevail on him to put an end to the abuse of human rights and the killings in Southern Cameroon. It is the refusal of the central government to address the grievances of the people of Southern Cameroon that has brought Cameroon to this moment. To quote AyukTabe, again: “The union was always intended to be a union of two equals. Unfortunately what our peace-loving people have experienced ever since is oppression, subterfuge, discrimination, violence, intimidation, imprisonment, forced occupation, cultural genocide, and misappropriation of our natural resources by the leaders of the Republic of Cameroun.”

It is instructive to note the similarity between the expressed concerns of the Ambazonian movement and similar movements in recent times in other parts of the world, and the attitude of the governments in power. In Spain (the Catalan secessionist move), Nigeria (the Biafra movement) and Iraq (the Iraqi Kurdistan) – the Catalans have held a referendum to leave Spain, but the Spanish government says this is “unconstitutional.” Biafrans want a referendum in Nigeria – the government says this is unconstitutional because Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable. The Kurds also want out of Iraq, but the central government is opposed to it on the grounds that the September 25 referendum is unilateral and unconstitutional! It is not just rhetoric that is involved, the military is deployed, violence is unleashed on separatists or critics of the extant union and the government. While these may seem to be traditional responses, the assault on the human rights of protesters now includes an increasingly important territory: the internet.

The internet is perhaps the most striking phenomenon of the century, in the manner in which it has extended the frontiers of human freedom and expression. It is the most modernist icon of globalization and the borderlessness of space and time. The internet does not know fear. It is an irreverent tool of political mobilization, commerce and social networking. It is the public mind in motion, and the anonymity that it offers in certain forms makes it a strong instrument of revolt. Elections can be won or lost, governments can be pulled down or popularized, through the mind of the internet. Given its power, reach, and impact, dictators are uncomfortable with the democracy of the internet which has proven to be much stronger than dictatorships, tyrants and intolerant governments. The relationship between the internet and authority has therefore been one of unease and distrust.

The result has been the attempt by intolerant governments and political figures to control the internet, shut it down or violate the rights of its users. China has an internet police that filters internet traffic. In 2011, Egypt tried to stop the people’s revolution by shutting down the internet. Tunisia, Italy, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Libya, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, Maldives, Iraq are other countries where the internet has been censored in one form or the other or completely shut down. The degree of civil society repression varies from one country to the other, but the excuse for abridging internet democracy could be as ridiculous as saying that the internet had to be shut down in order to prevent cheating in students’ examinations as has been the case in Iraq and Ethiopia.

Generally, shutting down the internet has become the new mode of repression and a standard response to dissent. African states and governments have joined the trend. In the last year alone, 11 African governments have shut down the internet in one form or the other. These include the Democratic Republic of Congo (ostensibly to reduce the capacity to transmit “abusive messages,” but actually to stop the people from opposing President Joseph Kabila’s attempt to prolong his tenure); Gambia (a few days to the 2016 elections), Togo (to check protests against President Faure Gnassingbe, and the people’s request for multi-party elections and Presidential term-limits), Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Egypt, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Morocco.

In Nigeria, there has also been so much official discomfort with what is termed “hate speech” on social media platforms particularly whatsapp, instagram, blogs, and twitter. One lawmaker even proposed a Social Media Bill which criminalises internet democracy. The worst anti-internet culprit so far in Africa would be in my view, not Egypt (where the revolution succeeded in spite of the repression) but Paul Biya’s Cameroon where intolerance and unpleasantness have been elevated to the level of state policy. In January, the government of Cameroon shut down the internet in English-speaking parts of the country. This lasted for more than three months. This has again been repeated. It is unacceptable.

The cost of internet shutdowns is enormous and disruptive, and the gain for governments is so small. The free flow of information is breached, the targeting of specific regions as in Cameroun is discriminatory; the right to free speech is violated, along with other rights: association, choice, and freedom of thought. The UN Human Rights Council in 2012, 2014 and again in July 2016, resolved that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online”, and all states must refrain from taking such measures that can violate internet freedom. The African Union Declaration on Internet Governance (Algiers, February 13, 2017) is on all fours with this UN Resolution. The UN should go further and impose sanctions on countries that violate internet freedom.

Worse, businesses suffer in the event of an internet shutdown. Internet services are accessed through broadbands provided by mobile telecom companies. When such companies are asked to shut down their services, they easily comply out of fear of being blackmailed by the government. They can be accused of supporting terrorism for example! By co-operating, they incur losses, part of which they may eventually pass to their subscribers. Similarly, with growing internet penetration in Africa, so many other businesses are dependent on the internet. Indeed, the internet is increasingly a shopping mall – for bloggers, advertisers, consultants and the average consumer of services, an internet shutdown in the light of this, undermines economic growth and development. Human dignity and relationships are also affected. The internet is a networking tool, so much so that many families depend on it for contact and interaction, and many individuals on it for survival.

Shutting down the internet rolls back the gains of the democratization process in Africa. African countries seeking growth and investment in the telecommunication sector, and within the economy generally shoot themselves in the foot when they seek to destroy such a significant tool. Internet registries worldwide should sanction errant governments which deny their citizens access to the internet. Men of conscience and thought leaders should speak out against the growing trend of internet shutdown or violation by African governments. In Nigeria, we must continue to discourage the government from ever contemplating any such misadventure. I am not in any way recommending, by this article a “sovereignty of the internet” in the sense in which John Perry Barlow, an internet activist spoke, when he issued “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” (1996), rather I urge the protection of the democracy of the internet and this democracy is about rights, obligations and the rule of law.

To return to the politics of imperialism and dissidence in Cameroon, Nigeria (for strategic reasons – the proposed Ambazonia being a buffer zone between Nigeria and Cameroon), ECOWAS and the African Union should intervene early to prevent an outbreak of social and humanitarian crisis, if not chaos in North West and South West Cameroon. The feuding parties should be encouraged to go to the negotiating table. What is going on in that country is as much a Cameroonian problem as it is a Nigerian problem.

  • “Just like IPOB and Nigeria? Yes,” you are completely wrong sir.
    Nigeria has already gone through its own war for 3 years – the bloodiest in Africa with brothers killing brothers and sisters killing sisters. The truth is that we soon realize in 1970 that war is not a solution. I hate when you compare Cameroon to Nigeria’s political issues.
    It’s not about colonialist’s language in Nigeria. Nigeria is a democracy and Cameroon is not with two Presidents since inception. Nigeria is 180 million people, larger in size than Cameroon with over 300 ethnic group. The “comparism” is unfair to all side.

  • “Korede

    I can imagine how Biafra will look like as a country if eventually it materializes considering the situations of all the south East states as at today. Best of luck to those who will eventually go to Biafra.

  • Nyanjoh Roger

    This is a great article, I am happy that someone in Nigeria has to say something concerning the southern Cameroon (Ambazonian) I am from southern Cameroon but I leave here in Nigeria. What surprises me the most is that, Nigerians and the media in Nigeria do not cover any event or has knowledge about cameroon at all despite being a close neighbour to each other instead Nigerian media covers every little event in Ghana despite the distance. Coming back to the Ambazonian crises, the French Cameroonians especially the Biya’s corrupt government sees southern Cameroonians as a threat to his government, Cameroon is the only nation in the world who unfortunately won the prestigious price of being the most corrupt nation in the world two consecutive times in 1993 and 1994 understand this evil dictator call Biya. This man is A DEMON IN HUMAN FORM. In terms of natural resources ranked among the riches nations in Africa but due to corruption the people do not have roads worse of it in southern Cameroon the evidence is very clear for everyone to see, if you are travelling from French Cameroon to any southern Cameroon regions, once to get the border of the region the road ends and you meet a terrible Road yet this are the two regions that generates 65% of the nations revenue in both agriculture and oil. I most let everyone know that Cameroon has never been a democratic nation because the governors are not elected they are appointed by the president and Biya do not rule with a constitution, he rules with decrees. What is going on now as we speak Biya has sent his soldiers to kill and arrest every youth in southern Cameroon, he has ordered the shorting down of Internet and worse still cut off electricity in the entire north west region so that people will not charge their phones and video the atrocities going on. The kill and carry the bodies of the people shot so that the public wouldnt take snapshots. We the southern Cameroonians here in Nigeria have written to the Nigerian government but as you know Buhari and Biya are in good terms so he doesn’t care. All we do now is to pray and prepare to defend ourselves in any way we can. Thank you very much for your time and to Dr Reuben Abati for this great write up

    • Netanyahu

      Mr. Nyanjoh Roger, I can feel your pains and frustrations. This has been the lot of the south east of Nigeria, at least in the past 47 years the civil war ended. I pity the other tribes, particularly in the south of Nigeria that think they are “favored” presently to think twice. They are taking sides with demons. The awusa/foolani do not even need their support. If in doubt, let them not vote for a northerner in the next election and see what happens. We forget too soon. No one remembers Abiola’s case again. No lessons learnt. Everybody is happy because the Ibos are complaining. Let us watch and see. Mr. Roger, continue with your struggle. I believe God will lead you out of this bondage. Your case is slightly different because you have the government alone to contend with. Here, it is a different ball game. Our neighbors want do not want to see us but would not want us to leave. Ironical.

  • Ify Onabu

    Physician heal thyself! Nigeria has the same problems… problems of marginalization, internal colonization by the caliphate, religious intolerance, islamic terrorism, herdsmen terrorism, agitations and threats of balkanization…and of course the attendant ‘break-dance’ [sorry egwu eke] of the military. Let us first remove the cataract from our own eyes before we advise others on what to do. Haba!

  • John Paul

    Beyond the population of people that want to secede, it will be revealing to decipher who the people that want to secede, really are

    In the case of Brexit, it has been revealed that the productive, innovative and creative people, the young urban professionals (otherwise known as yuppies) – though they were in the minority – voted to stay in the European Union

    75% of voters aged 24 and under voted against Brexit. A majority of people age 25-49 also voted to remain in the EU. While the old, jaded, faded, and tired, dragged the yuppies back, by voting to exit the EU

    If you have a two hour conversation with people that want to exit Nigeria, you will be shocked at their reasoning. Many of them are xenophobic. When you interrogate their socialization process, you will find out that they did not have adequate exposure to people outside their tribe, especially in their formative years

    Nnamdi Kanu is instructive

    He was born in his village (Isiama, Afara, Umuahia). He attended primary school in his village (Library primary School in Umuahia). He also attended secondary School in his village (Government College Umuahia)

    When he finally ventured out of his village to UNN, he dropped out and moved to the U.K. It is reasonably certain that all his friends in the U.K. were mostly from his village, or at best, Igbo. A very restrictive and stuffy socialization process

    So he, and many other people with that type of antecedent, view societal problems from a xenophobic prism.

    That is not to say that all separatist movements are motivated by xenophobia. But we must fight; tooth and nail, all separatist leaders who want to destroy the gains of globalization, on account of their own, deep seated xenophobia

    • Don Franco

      Dear John Paul.

      I can also make the argument that when you engage to decipher the mindset of those who want a one united nonnegotiable Nigeria, the revealing picture that appears is one of xenophobes united in their hate of the idea of freedom for Igbo people. Chinua Achebe should know, and he said so, in his last book, There Was A Country.

      Your Brexit example isn’t apposite to the extent that the majority of Britons want nothing to do with an European Union that exports jobs to Germany and floods the UK with cheap unskilled eastern european labour; and Islamic fundamentalist refugees that have no cultural or religious affiliation to Western traditions. Why do you think right wing nationalism is on the rise across Europe and North America?

      There is nothing xenophobic about Biafrans wanting to have a country of their own where they can freely worship as Christians and educate their children to be able to compete with their mates in Germany, Japan, Singapore or the US, for example; without worrying that someone who scored 120 in JAMB will become their boss at work, just for being from a backward part of their country.

      Nasiru El Rufai was born and raised in Kaduna State; where he undertook his early childhood education before attending Barewa College and then ABU Zaria; he earned a degree in Quantity Survey. Not in Medcine or Law, nor in Engineering or the Classics; where he would have rubbed minds with Southerners to modify his world view; it is easy to see how his northern environment and upbringing has influenced his outlook on life and mindset relevant to his ignoble role as the APC Chairman of the Committee on Restructuring. He told Chatham House two weeks ago, that the only restructuring that is needed in Nigeria is one of the mind; that the word “restructuring” isn’t contained anywhere in the Nigerian Constitution of 1999, as amended. Further, that it is unrealistic for Southeasterners to expect any political dividends, and reap from where they didn’t sow, the implication is that they voted PDP; so deserve to be grossly marginalized; as they are.

      My humble self, for example was born and raised in Gujungu, Jigawa State, until l traveled to attend the University of Texas, Austin, for my tertiary education; proudly Igbo, but fluent in Hausa. l’m an ardent Biafran, so your position isn’t factually accurate, as far as majority of Biafrans viewing societal problems from a xenophobic prism.

      My point, John Paul, is that Igbo people would do better as a people in a republic of their own, for themselves and by themselves where they can fully realize the gains of globalization that you spoke of. Nigeria has greatly set the Igbo back as a race of people and there’s no end in sight for their gross marginalization in Nigeria. It is very hard to even see how any significant progress can be achieved in a forced One Nigeria that a significant part of the populace want nothing to do with.

      • John Paul

        “the majority of Britons want nothing to do with an European Union that exports jobs to Germany and floods the UK with cheap unskilled eastern european labour; and Islamic fundamentalist refugees that have no cultural or religious affiliation to Western traditions. Why do you think right wing nationalism is on the rise across Europe and North America”
        ——————————————————
        The above quote is the definition of xenophobia.

        Globalization has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of globalization is that it had made the prices of consumer goods affordable and available to the average worker . Especially in developed countries.

        In 1954, an RCA Color television set (Model CT-100), 15 inches, was being sold for $1,000. The equivalent of $10,237.17 in today’s dollars. Today, a much better 50 inch Plasma TV is being sold for only $259.00, on account of globalization

        So even a house cleaner in the United States, like many other developed countries, has multiple TV sets, DVD players, computers, cars. clothes, shoes, and other consumer goods, because globalization has made these consumer goods cheap and affordable for all

        The downside of globalization in the West is that it has driven away manufacturing from the United States and other Western countries to where things can be made cheaper.

        So cities, mainly in the midwest/rust belt, that used to be the hub of manufacturing are struggling. This has caused many of the residents of those cities loathe globalization, because it robbed them of their jobs and became a leveler, whereby there is no real difference between you and your house cleaner, other than your zip code

        They look back, fondly, at the days where the ownership of a television set made you a big boy. Thus the rise of right wing nationalism. But despite their euphoria, the world has become a much better place

        The economies in the United States, and most parts of the West, has become a knowledge economy. So while the a majority of Americans of European decent are still ‘ballin’ – because they possess the knowledge and skill set – you can see an American of European decent, on food stamps, because he does not have the skill to survive in this economy, while a garlic smelling Indian (no slur intended), with a heavy accent, is making $2 million a year, in silicon valley

        Indeed, it is a culture shock. But progress. There is nothing wrong with living in a time where the “content of your character [skill set] trumps the color of your skin”

        As for Nigeria, many Biafrans have not lived outside Eastern Nigeria. When you have a conversation with them, you will have not doubt, in your mind,they have been been conditioned by their elite, to believe that other tribes are the cause of their malaise.

        There was a troubling event that happened in Port Harcourt International Airport not too long ago.

        An Igbo was about to select a cab to take him to Owerri, so many of the Taxi drivers – mainly Igbo – were hustling him to pick their cab. That Igbo, trying to play it safe, decided to pick a cab from one of a rental car companies – Aviz car rental.

        A riot ensured. The Igbo taxi cab drivers blocked the Igbo man from picking an Aviz car rental car, only because it was being driven by a Yoruba Taxi cab driver.

        It was only when that Igbo, pointed out to the other drivers, that Igbo drive Taxi in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and other places, without harassment, that the Taxi drivers cooled down, granted the Yoruba some reprieve, and allowed the Yoruba Taxi cab driver to pick up that Igbo and take him to Owerri

        The moral of this story is that the minds of the Igbo masses are being poisoned everyday, by IPOB and others, to hate other tribes because they are the root cause of Igbo malaise and underdevelopment – xenophobia

        The people that are doing this poisoning, are the hypocrites that looted the funds that was meant for Igbo development, and brought us to this place

        As for the – “without worrying that someone who scored 120 in JAMB will become their boss at work” – argument, respectfully, this is an overused false narrative, by our elite, who have abandoned Igbo culture

        The relevance of – “someone who scored 120 in JAMB becoming your boss at work” – only applies 1% of the time. And it applies to government jobs, which is the root of the problem

        Igbo did not build the largest middle class in Nigeria, from crying over government jobs. Like Ijebu, Igbo are self made. The Igbo crying about government jobs, are the same Igbo, that end up looting from the same government jobs that they are crying about, for their own selfishness, and not for the development of Igboland

        From Nnamdi Azikiwe, to Augustine Ilodibe (Ekene Dili Chukwu), to Vincent Amaechi Obianodo (Young shall grow) ,Sam Mbakwe, to thousands of Igbo in Aba, Onitsha, and Nnewi, Igbo made their bones from being entrepreneurs not from crying over turn-by-turn government jobs

        Perhaps, it is the abandonment of many Igbo of entrepreneurship, in search for loot in PDP, Abuja and elsewhere, that have set back our development and not marginalization by anyone

        If Igbo continued with the entreprenual zest from after the civil war, instead of joining the welfare-mentality Nigerian elite, many of our cities would have developed 500 times more than they are developed today, simply and squarely from taxation

        • okwuchukwu

          This your Igbo/Yoruba story Na Waoooo!! Am not pleased at all because you can do better .

          • Don Franco

            Dear Okechukwu,

            I’m sure you know that that story cannot be true. … it’s outrightly false.

        • Paulocaesar

          Dear John Paul,

          Please drop the abstract anecdotes and deal with reality. What other ethnic group surpasses the Igbos in Nigeria when it comes to exposure and sensitization to other groups?…. NONE!!!

          Talkinging about “globalization” to Igbos would be like trying to convert the Pope to Catholicism!

          If there’s a Black Man on an Eskimo village in the Arctic, please accept that it would be an Igbo.

          With all due respects when will you guys actually be honest and like the late Sardauna of Sokoto Ahmadu Bello and admit that your problem with the Igbos is not that they have not globalized enough, bout that they have globalized too much and are always trying to take charge wherever they are….(to that effect,…yes, it’s on YouTube).

          Why can’t you deal with the hypocrisy that is Nigeria???

          The list is too long.

        • newvoice404

          God bless you a million fold. John Paul. I have nothing to add to this masterpiece. You are so spot on as regards all issues discussed here.

        • taiwo

          John Paul: I always enjoy and usually learn something new and useful from you and American Abroad. You guys are arguably the finest minds on Disqus.

          You totally nailed the Brexit and xenophobia issues with your succinct explanation.

          Keep improving your own little corner in your own little way. Thank you.

      • newvoice404

        Please it will be so nice for igbos like you to properly define and delineate your so called country known as Biafra. If Its not greed on the part of igbos like you, why cant igbos form a country to be known as Biafra with only igbos where-ever they are indigenous to as the country, Biafra? Why must igbos want other ethnic minorities they lust over their land and resources in it? If you ask me I think igbos as represented by people like you, are more greedy and criminally minded than any other person in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world. Its this selfishness and quest for other peoples’ land cum resources that will forever be undoing of Igbo Biafra, no matter how igbos slice and dice this expansionist ambition. Shame.

        • Don Franco

          Dear Newvoice404,

          You’re clearly not well informed about the issues in contention; so I’m unable to dignify your empty rant of force and fury, with any response.

          • newvoice404

            Empty braggarts! When they are confronted with scrupulous facts about their confusion, selfishness and bigotry……they avoid attempting veritable answers they will never have, so they result to insulting people. I pity the so called igbo Biafra- for she will be peopled by your likes. Real shame.

          • Don Franco

            Dear Newvoice404,

            You have quite some ways to go before I can respond to you in any significant fashion on this forum…. You’re not conforming your conduct according to the requirement of the protocols of intellectual discourse. When you do, I shall engage you vigorously.

          • newvoice404

            Still bragging on nothing……..very typical! Shame again.

          • Netanyahu

            Just ignore him. His ranting will cease.

          • Don Franco

            Oga, I have. ..

      • Iskacountryman

        freedom for eboe people?….who has the eboe in bondage?

  • Daniel Obior

    Why is it often so difficult to let people who want to go, to leave in a peaceful manner? Marriages of convenience can only result in perpetual acrimony. Why should the world not have a unifies Kurdish country consisting of the minority Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria? Why can’t the Catalan or even also the Basques in Spain be allowed to be on their own, if they choose to? Why should English speaking Cameroon continue to be held hostage? Until relatively recently in 1961, they were not even a part of the present Cameroon. Why should Nigeria insist on holding on to the territory of Biafra, a people they do not want, in all intent and purpose? The answers probably lie in the greed and avarice in the nature of man. Unfortunately, the human being believes that he can only thrive when he has underdogs to ride on. Suppose those who want out of a country are allowed to go, we would have a complete reorder of smaller entities making up new countries, all over the world. With time, it may become clear some are viable and some are not. While the viable ones thrive, the unviable ones may then desire to either merge with others and be viable, or bear the consequences if they choose to stay by themselves. What this provides is free choice, which ultimately may make the world a better place. Let the people go.

    • Thompson Iyeye

      Very philosophical, though am inclined to agree.

    • Priestley Okorro

      Thank you very much. All those opposed to people wanting to opt out of non working unions are purely neocolonialists who want to maintain oppression whether in Spain ,Cameroon ,Nigeria or Iraq. Will Turks opposed to Kurdish independence like to be minorities? Most human beings are just marginally better than animals. The right to freedom must be respected even if it is unpalatable. Freedom is the greatest trait in humanity. The demonic British and French agreed to Kurdistan after the first world war but sent Sykes-Picot who cooked the nonsense map of the so called Middle East dividing the Kurds into five countries where they are minorities. Iraq ,Turkey and Iran are all criminals that want the Kurds as minorities. The Kurds as a group are the best muslims in the world. They are highly tolerant of other religions and groups.

    • remm ieet

      “Unfortunately, the human being believes that he can thrive only when he has underdogs to ride on”. This quote captured perfectly the challenges confronting us in Nigeria. It is the main reason why Nigeria is stuck in the mud.

    • newvoice404

      If Its not greed on the part of igbos like you, why cant igbos form a country to be known as Biafra with only igbos where-ever they are indigenous to as the country, Biafra? Why must igbos want other ethnic minorities they lust over their land and resources in it? If you ask me I think igbos as represented by people like you, are more greedy and criminally minded than any other person in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world. Its this selfishness and quest for other peoples’ land cum resources that will forever be undoing of Igbo Biafra, no matter how igbos slice and dice this expansionist ambition. Shame.

      • Iskacountryman

        dont mind the eboes…they want self determination for the minority people…do you believe in an altruistic nyamiri?…i do not…

      • Daniel Obior

        First of all, I have not told you I am Igbo, so stop spinning your wheels with your “Igbos like you”, etc. The problem with your type is that your judgement is always beclouded by ethnicity, which is rather sad. I will suggest you go back and read my comment again, making sure you understand and comprehend. If you do, you will find I am addressing a universal issue, using places like Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Spain, Cameroon and Nigeria, as examples. The shame will be on you if you fail to understand.

        • newvoice404

          From all you have written so far, it shows more than anyone else that you judge everything based on ethnicity. That is even why you are recalcitrant foot soldier for Igbo- Biafra, despite the fact that Nigeria’s problems cut across all ethnic groups. I can only pity you again, because whey you are exposed for whom you are , you attempt to shift the blame as and never taking any responsibility as usual. Shame.

          • Netanyahu

            I pity idiots like you. Keep hating, after you start pointing fingers at other people. Get lost, lunatic.

          • newvoice404

            Everyone can see that you are the acute lunatic here that hates everyone that is not your tribe, yet you wont leave their land. I am still waiting for your likes to get lost really from lands that are not yours. Yeye crazy Igbo shameless scavenger . Shame

          • Daniel Obior

            First to answer your question, I have stated in this forum that Igbos do not have a right to conscript others like the minorities of the SouthSouth region, in their aspiration of a Biafra. I made this point in some of my exchanges with Jon West, who is a copious contributor in this forum. Given that position, it is my view that Igbos have the right like any other groups, to aspire for self actualisation, if they feel marginalised in the entity of Nigeria. Secondly, it is obvious your warped ethnic mind has forced you to misunderstand and misinterprete my original comment. There is nothing there that suggests ethnicity, except in your mind. The only mention of Biafra was in consonance with other struggles in other places in the world. You simply displayed an ethnic siege mentality suggestive of a Hausa/Fulani slave. I will neither confirm nor deny I an Igbo, as that is irrelevant to the issues I raise. It is only a warped ethnic mind like yours that considers such important. Of course you have no shame, otherwise such nonsense will not have occupied your blinkered outlook.

  • Paulocaesar

    Another brilliant piece Reuben, the Igbo adage “adi ano ofu ebe ekili mmanwu” holds true in your writings of late.

    Somthn’s up!… the dictators have apparently decided to shoot the symptoms dead!…and jerryrig perceptions with so much gusto….. hoping the problem fades away.

  • Darcy

    An entire article on a Francophone country and no mention of France?

    The Ambazonians are being delusional, as are the Catalans and the Taiwanese e.t.c, all the world powers have separatists movements, if you think they’re going to fall into the trap of self-determination again outside the context of the Cold War, I have a few houses on Jupiter to sell you.

    That said, if Nigeria had a foreign policy, we’d help the Ambazonians, and take Bakkasi in the name of our persecuted citizens…but this is me being delusional, we neither have a foreign policy nor are we capable of standing up to France.

    • remm ieet

      You are right about France. They are in full control in the Francophone states.
      France’s policy of assimilation keeps the former colonies glued to Metropolitan France. Paul Biya is enjoying life presidency as a reward for giving France an unlimited access to Cameroun’s resources. If the Elysee Palace is pleased with you, no problem. Hollande or Macron, it doesn’t matter.
      France is democratic but they have no qualms with undemocratic Biya who siezed power and refused to give it up. The Ambazonians will have to resort to violence to get what they want. However there will be no tolerance for their separatism by France. As you said, great power politics will once again rear its ugly head. France will defend its colonial enclave for fear of losing a part of it to Great Britain.

    • Don Franco

      Greetings, Darcy,

      At a time when we’re fighting tooth and nail to extricate Biafra from the stranglehold of Nigeria; how can you suggest that a foreign policy that “take Bakkasi in the name of our persecuted citizens’? I’m sure the Ambazonians will opt to remain in Cameroon than be equally yoked with our Zoo.

      At any rate, in what part of the world did you ever hear of a Banana republic having a foreign policy? It is within your rights to have these dreams.