The Nigerian State, which was created and designed by Britain for her economic gain, was an aftermath of the 1884-1885 European Conference held in Berlin for the partitioning of or scramble for Africa. The interest for the acquisition of Africa – its lands and peoples – followed the “abolition” of slavery and slave trade. Though said to have ended; it has to be clearly stated that slavery continued in a new dimension/fashion which could be regarded as “homeland slavery” and total possession of the peoples of Africa. Theophilus Okere expresses it clearly thus: “The powerful nations of Europe that had carried on the slave trade now decided to make slaves of all African peoples not in faraway America, but in their homes, not by buying or selling them individually but owning them wholesale. They issued themselves a certificate of occupancy over the entire land of Africa and a title of ownership. They withdrew the peoples’ sovereignty, declared virtually all Africa a subject people and went ahead to reprogram their lives, economies, culture and religions. There was some slight embarrassment about sorting out who owned what, but it was sorted out amicably in Berlin.”
What is known today as the Nigerian State came through the instrumentality of a Scottish man, Frederick Lugard, in a swift of amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914. As a result, the peoples of Biafra, Oduduwa and Arewa with completely diverse opposing/conflicting cultures, civilization, languages and worldviews, etc. were forced together as one in the contraption called Nigeria. Upon these tripartite nations were imposed an alien language – English as a unifying communication tool.
The name Nigeria was derived from a coinage “Niger” and “Area” given by a Journalist and daughter of a British General Flora Shaw in 1897 whom Frederick Lugard later married in 1902. From these two words – “Niger” and “Area,” these different peoples (Peoples of Biafra, Oduduwa and Arewa) were now given a colonialist label name of slavery and of total possession, which is called “Nigeria”. This is shameful, questionable and smacks of a denial of fundamental human rights and human dignity – a process of dehumanization. It is so because these three different peoples and nations never unanimously bargained or consented at any point in time in history to enter into a union as one or marriage with a nomenclature “Nigeria.”
Notably, in putting records of history straight and right, go to Google search engine and type “Ancient Map of Biafra 1861,” that would be of immense help for students of history and for those denied of the opportunity to know their history in school. Before the above stated year the 1884-85 Berlin Conference had never taken place for the partitioning of Africa that eventually led to the creation of Nigeria through amalgamation of 1914. But Britain was ready to maintain and sustain the territorial integrity of this artificial creation as long as it yields her desired fruit. According to Frederick Forsyth “For those inside Britain who concerned themselves in any way with Nigeria, that country represented like others, not a land with a population of real people, but a market. Any tendencies inside Nigeria that might be viewed as harmful to the market were to be discouraged, and Biafra’s desire from the rest of the country fell squarely into that category”. Late Saduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, once described Nigeria as a piece of historical mistake while Obafemi Awolowo described it as a mere geographical expression. Truth must be told! The Bible reveals Christ Jesus’ words of admonition for life thus; “…and you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). Indeed, with this historical displacement and neo-slavery, gradually many Biafrans coupled with the trauma of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war 1967-70 (a genocidal war that claimed more than 3.5 million Biafran lives) began to lose sense of self-identity to self-condemnation, abnegation and destruction. Every Biafran no matter the amount of money he or she had in the bank after the war was given only a paltry sum of £20 (20 Pounds) with the seizure of their huge material wealth as abandoned property. Greeted with this tragedy and inhuman treatment on a people naturally industrious, creative and hardworking, Biafrans were completely traumatized, psychologically hounded and deprived of the opportunity to truly exist as humans.
Yakubu Gowon’s “3Rs” – Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation proclaimed after the war as a measure to re-integrate the people of Biafra into the Nigerian state and reconstruct/develop Biafra land ended up a mirage and an exercise of hypocrisy. Instead of reconstructing the war torn Eastern Region, attention was given to developing other parts of Nigeria, where no war was fought. Be that as it may, to avert the threat of hunger and utter decimation, many Biafrans left their homeland and scattered all over the world in search for survival. It is almost a common saying today in the Nigerian state that any community one visits in the world and could not see a Biafran especially the Igbo speaking Biafran should be considered unfit for human habitation. Although some are said to be successfully doing well in the country where they find themselves, some died on their way going, whereas many others are languishing in various prisons where they are serving jail terms in many countries of the world.
Today, the various sea ports, namely, Calabar Sea Port, Port Harcourt Sea Port and Warri Sea Port in the South South are no longer operational to serve the people of both regions (“South East” and “South South”). The people of both regions are compelled by circumstance beyond their control to bring in their containers and goods from Lagos Sea port. Most international flights (if not all) from the airports in these regions make a stopover either in the Northern region or South Western region before they fly out of the country as well as on arrival, while Arewa and Yoruba people board flights and comfortably take off from their own region homeland and fly out of the country. Sam Mbakwe International Cargo airport in Imo State though long established and operational, is yet to offer the citizenry the full services it is supposed to be rendering regarding its name. In spite of the fact that people from both regions (South East and South South) are known as great merchants in the Nigerian State. These skewed practices manifest that the people from the South East and South South are second class citizens or rather treated as slaves.independence in 1960 with virtually all Federal projects executed in the North and South West has significantly kept Biafrans in perpetual subjugation to the benefit of the Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba. Today, in the South East (where the majority of Igbo speaking Biafrans inhabit), scarcely does one find any Federal presence as almost all the existing industries are now moribund. Nigeria’s political structure is unitary but Federal system in disguise. It is a political structure that greatly and inimically hinders productive economy, ingenuity, sense of creativity, industry and spirit of competition in growth and human societal development. Its citizens are brutally rendered incapacitated in many fronts by a regrettable incessant power failure, as well as, through a one product mono-cultural economy, that is, crude oil which she exports and in turn imports its various derivatives. The Nigerian state, unfortunately, continues to import toothpick, one of the smallest ever producible commodities in the world today, despite her immense highly gifted human resources.