Mankind must put an end to war or else war will put an end to mankind – John F. Kennedy.
The “war of unity” also known as Birafran war which ensued more than 40 years ago was meant to put an end to the uprising, agitation and unrest which was occasioned by perceived injustice, exclusion and unlawful killings of the people of eastern origin of Nigeria, the fact that a resurgence of a similar uprising is gradually springing up more than four decades after the bloodshed which claimed the lives of more than half a million Nigerians, mainly Igbos is a pointer to the fact that that “war of unity” didn’t achieve really anything desirable. The right to self determination like other rights and fundamental freedom are non-negotiable. Nations that genuinely desire to maintain unity should invest in justice and equality, shared prosperity, inclusion and social justice and not forcefully keep people to live together through the use of guns and ammunition.
The British-Scotland democratic referendum has provided a formidable template and an ample example for everyone to emulate. Rather than engage in needless wars and crisis than will end in the massacre and killing of several innocent citizens like we experienced in 1967, the need for the government of Nigeria under the leadership of president Buhari to institute a democratic referendum is the right way to go in line with the realities of the 21st century, civilization and in consonance and alignment with the British approach of peacefully ending Scottish independence agitation through a referendum.
If war can effectively silence genuine agitation and subdue peoples to unite and leave together, then we wouldn’t have had incidence of renewed secessionist agitations by the IPOB, MASSOB and Radio Biafra. Countries like Eritrea, South Sudan, East Timor, Kosovo etc couldn’t be silenced or forced to continue to live together against their wishes any longer, hence the reason why a referendum was instituted for the citizenry to have a say and make a decision as it affects them in line with provision of the freedom of a people, the United Nations charter and ultimately democracy and rule of law.
The act of war for the purpose of holding a nation together or ensuring national peace is not only old fashioned and uncivilized, it is tantamount to holding a gun to people’s head and forcing them to be part of a nation. This is certainly not different from apartheid, slave trade or colonialism and can never be a legitimate means of keeping a people or a nation together. If the people of the south east desperately wish or wants to secede from Nigeria they should be allowed to do so within the ambit of international rights to self determination and rule of law. All the Nigerian government needed to do is to be sure that these agitations truly reflect to decisions and opinions of the generality of Igbos, by carry out a referendum.
There’s nothing wrong in the Igbos having their own country only if such is what every south eastern citizen desires and wants and that of course must be properly and carefully channeled through the political and traditional leaders unto the government of the federal republic of Nigeria. Beyond the fact that the federal government of Nigeria needs to do more practical work in persuading the Igbos that their interests will be better protected in terms of inclusion in government, securing of lives and properties, resource control, equity and equality, and social justice like the British did to the Scottish, if a Biafra referendum got an overwhelming YES votes the Nigerian government should graciously allow them to go peacefully and prevent a repeat of the 1967 massacre. War is not picnic, it should be avoided by any sane people.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.