by Dr. Charles Awuzie (Johannesburg)
“The use of force to deprive peoples of their national identity constitutes a violation of their inalienable rights and of the principle of non-intervention…By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every state has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.” ~Ref: Hurst Hannum; Autonomy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights, Page 38.
I have endured the urge to write about the on-going agitation for the release of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and the subsequent declaration of the Sovereignty of Biafra for two reasons:
1) Because of my principle of not publicly speaking about any subject I have no clear understanding of.
2) Because of my doubts about the honesty of the motives of the incarcerated leader of the #IPOB – Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
Its okay if you have a problem with my second reason, I also do. The proliferation of Secessionist Movements in recent times has made some of us to question the motives, aims and desires of the leaders of such groups before we lend our tiny voice(s) to their cause.
For the record, I believe in the principle of self-determination, whether it is Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’s call for the secession of the Yoruba people from Nigeria or Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’s struggle for Biafra’s secession from Nigeria; I believe in both ideologies but I always have problem trusting in the pioneers of such movements, perhaps because of my secret romance with conspiracy theories.
Back to the purpose of this macro-blog, I am afraid that Nnamdi Kanu might not make it out of ‘prison’ alive, not because Buhari will kill him but because the security agents might snuff the life out of him in the course of interrogating him. But before that happens, here is my two-edged-sword:
First to Biafrans: Protests, no matter how peaceful have never solved any socio-political problem instead it has created more confusion and chaos. You have a just cause. The actualisation of Biafra is a dream every Biafran hates to be awoken from. That you and I love Biafra doesn’t mean that we hate Nigeria. It just means that we would rather choose to relate with Nigeria as a mother and no longer as a sister. If Nigeria understands this, she would let Biafra go in peace having understood that at one stage in life, a mother will have to release her child to take care of himself.
Like everyone else, I believe in self-determination but I do not believe that IPOB and MASSOB are doing it the right way.
Biafrans should immediately withdraw from the streets and mobilise a team of high powered international lawyers who would engage the United Nations in the processes and procedures of self-determination. This would culminate in the summoning of the Nigerian Government to a world court and subsequently, the Nigerian Government would be given an ultimatum by the international community to either hold a referendum on the Biafra-Secession saga or risk sanctions. I strongly believe that if the international community forces Nigeria into holding a referendum on Biafra-Nigeria marriage, Biafra would surely win. This way, we would have secured victory without further bloodsheds and unnecessarily frustrating economic activities in South Eastern Nigeria.
To the Nigerian Government: I believe that you have the right to protect the unity and sovereignty of Nigeria. I also understand that you do not wish to kill Nnamdi Kanu in detention. But please understand that it is dangerous to fight an ideology whose time has come. The war against Boko Haram has not been won because it is a fight against an ideology. Biafra is an ideology and not an enemy. Only fools fight ideologies with bullets. I will advise that the Nigerian Government call for a referendum on the secession of Biafra. I bet you that there are millions of Biafrans who would vote against Biafra, not because they don’t believe in Biafra but because they don’t trust the after-effects of the declaration of the sovereignty of Biafra. They are afraid that if the igbos are still divided over grey-haired issues like the OSU-Nwadiala myth, the ODIBO/ORU-OGA mentality, The inter-State dichotomy where Abia would freely deport Anambra civil servants while Anambra would not promote an Enugu civil servant beyond a certain grade level because of their state of origin and all the crinkum crankum familiar with the politics of the Igbo people. With fears like these and perhaps a few state-sponsored propaganda, Nigeria might win the referendum.
#NO2Protests #YES2Referendum #ReleaseNnamdiKanuNOW #CharlesAwuzieSPEAKS
Dr. Charles Awuzie is a South African based Nigerian pastor, succeeding businessman and prolific blogger. He blogs on www.charlesawuzie.com and tweets @pastorcharlesc.