Last week, there was a book presentation at SOAS in London. The book, The Politics of Biafra and The Future of Nigeria, was written by Chudi Offodile, who used to be a member of the House of Reps. I wasn’t there, but a good friend was, and he nacked me some gist about what happened.
As expected, many London-based pro-Biafra people made it to the book launch, and as usual, they made their voices heard. To quote my guy, “The Q&A session was fire!”.
At a point, one bobo asked Mr. Offodile a question, then kept interrupting him as he tried to answer. In frustration, Mr. Offodile said, “If you want to answer your own questions, you might as well come and join me on the podium.”
Another thing that happened, and this tends to happen a lot in Nigerian events, was that members of the audience who were given the mic to ask questions, would, rather than asking questions, use the opportunity to make long speeches. No prizes for guessing what the speeches were about.
Therein lies one of the big issues with the Biafra crowd. It is rather unfortunate, but they live in one huge echochamber. How long this echochamber will sustain before collapsing in on itself is anyone’s guess. What is certain to me is this — almost every pro-Biafra person I know, and I know quite a few of them, displays the same tendency during discussions: they don’t listen, even to fellow pro-Biafra agitators in many cases. Rather they keep regurgitating the same thing over and over again, shouting at anyone who dares to present an alternative view, even if that view is not pro-Federal Government of Nigeria.
For too many of them, Biafra is a religion, so rationality goes out of the window. At the event, KC asked one of them how he thought a referendum on Biafra would go, and the response was that “90% of Igbo people would vote in favour.” The man just “knew” all Igbos were Biafra supporters. At least someone once attempted to do a scientific survey, which proved that claim wrong.
Many, more rational Igbos, at least from discussions I’ve had, think that the “Igbo problem” would be solved by having an Igbo president of Nigeria, even if for four years. I think it would help, but just a bit.
I have to ask, what is the “Igbo problem”?
You see, simply having an Igbo president, as the Yoruba, Fulani, and Ijaw know, will not necessarily bring development to ani Igbo. So, like most of Nigeria, we need to properly define what our problems are, rather than going for short term tokenism, which will leave us even more bitter, when the tenure of such a president is done.