Historically, the state is a transient phenomenon. Where are the world’s once great empires? Europe, with just a third of Africa’s population, has produced 23 new states since the late 1980s. There is no point in insisting that the Igbo people, victims of Africa’s worst – and ongoing – genocide, who want their own state, must remain a part of Nigeria.
The “Igbo question” is intrinsically linked to the Igbo strategic goal, presently, which is to end the occupation of their Biafra homeland by genocidist Nigeria – imposed since 13 January 1970. This is a structural facet of phase-IV of the genocide, launched by Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain on 29 May 1966. 3.1 million Igbo people or 25 per cent of this nation were murdered by Nigeria and Britain. Britain, which sought to “punish” the Igbo for leading the freedom movement to terminate 100 years of the British conquest and occupation of the states and peoples of this southwestcental region of Africa, supported the genocide right from the outset, from conceptualisation to execution – politically, diplomatically, militarily. As a result, Britain and Nigeria subjected the Igbo to 44 months of uninterrupted, unimaginable carnage and barbarity perpetrated on a people. Pointedly, no single nation or people in Africa has suffered this extent of gruesome and devastating state(s)-premeditated and organised genocide in history.
The genocide continues unabated and Britain’s support continues unflinchingly crucial. For Britain, contrary to the often clanking histrionics of prevailing international political rhetoric, its strategic alliance here, in this African region, has always been with the Islamist, Arabist, north region Hausa-Fulani leadership which vociferously opposed the restoration of African independence from the British occupation throughout the 1930s-1960s epoch. The Igbo steadfastly led this liberation mission. It is Britain’s alliance with the Hausa-Fulani leadership, situated atop the prevailing congenital anti-African constellation-equation emplaced in its Nigeria, that makes up the Anglo-Nigerian amalgam that executes the Igbo genocide. It is also from groupings with this same leadership that both Boko Haram (currently the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation, according to the Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace study, “Global terror index”, November 2015) and the Fulani militia (see also the IE&P’s study on this militia) were created and unleashed to murder tens of thousands of Africans and others in these times.
So, given the critical links between the salient features of the politics of the Nigerian occupation of Biafra and the overarching architecture of the genocidal campaign, it is the case that the Igbo termination of the occupation is at once the beginning of their freedom march from Nigeria and the implementation of an unprecedentedly expansive socioeconomic programme of reconstruction. The route remains Igbo freedom from Nigeria, an inalienable Igbo right with or without the genocide as I have argued severally. If the Scots, for instance, one-tenth of the Igbo population and without a genocide antecedent, would wish to leave a union they have largely been exponential beneficiaries for 300 years (Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, “Rights for Scots, rights for the Igbo”, Pambazuka News, 26 January 2012), the Igbo, surely, don’t require any agonisingly turgid historical and sociological treatise to wish to leave Nigeria.
Contrary to the amazingly ahistorical discourses on the nature of the state and its survivability in some circles, particularly in Africa where the extant Eurocentric conquest social sciences curriculum essentially reifies the “state”, the state is very much a transient relationship in human history: Kemet, Roman “empire”, Ghana “empire”, Mali “empire”, Czarist “empire”, Austro-Hungarian “empire”, Ottoman “empire”, Portuguese “empire”, Spanish “empire”, British “empire”, French Indo-China, Malaya Federation, Anglo-Egyptian-Sudan, Central African Federation, West Indies Federation, United Arab Republic, Mali Federation, Senegambia Confederation, West & East Pakistan, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, the Sudan...
What has indeed been the enduring feature of the state in world history on this accord, thankfully, has rather been “divisibility”, “dissolubility”, “destructibility”, each the antonym of that 3-headed genocidist mantra mouthed off at random by quite a few spokespersons of especially the genocide-state in Africa, particularly its devastating manifestation in a Nigeria. It is therefore not surprising that twenty-three (23) new states have, for example, emerged in Europe since the end of the 1980s. Even though a population of about 350 million, one-third of Africa’s, Europeans presently have more states per capita than peoples of Africa!
So, as history shows, constructively, the catastrophe is not the collapse of the state; the catastrophe is the attempt to destroy constituent peoples within the state as the Anglo-Nigeria amalgam has sought in Biafra since 29 May 1966. Here lies the Igbo question and the historically grounded response of the Biafra mission.
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