Many people are shaking with anticipation due to the Biafra referendum coming soon. The date has been recently revealed, and many rejoiced at the news. But isn't it a bit too soon to be celebrating?
Let’s take a look at the Biafra referendum latest news and how Nigerian people and government officials reacted to them.
Nigerian media outlets are always buzzing with news about Biafra. People keep talking about it, whether praising it or disapproving of the whole idea. Its believers and supporters never cease their efforts to make Biafra independent, while people that are against Biafra keep on bashing them.
The most recent development has shook everyone once again. And it is the news of the upcoming referendum for Biafra.
The month of June ended with a hopeful promise for the country of Biafra. The United States President Donald Trump allegdly announced the Biafra referendum date. It is to be held on July 21, 2017. This news was shared on Facebook by the Indigenous People of Biafra (or IPOB for short) representative in the US, Candy Stallworth.
According to her post, five leaders of the IPOB movement in the US will come to the White House for the referendum. Donald Trump, who has been a long-time supporter of Biafra, has granted his political power to the Biafran movement.
This development has been a long time coming. For years, members of IPOB and other pro-Biafra organizations have been rallying and protesting, trying to make their voice heard by the Nigerian government. For example, before the date for the referendum was announced, IPOB threatened to sabotage the government elections in Anambra State. Now that the date for the referendum is set, they are one step closer to the recognition of Biafra.
Biafra supporters and believers rejoice, as they see this referendum as a guarantee that Biafra will rise again. Their positive attitude is also fueled by government officials from other countries. State representatives from Great Britain and Turkey voiced their support of the movement for the independence of Biafra.
However, many claim that the referendum will not necessarily grant Biafra freedom. One of those people is Governor Aminu Bello Masari. In a recent interview, he said that, referendum or no referendum, Biafra has no place in the world. He thinks that Nigeria should stay united, as it is stronger when the three main tribe (Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba) stand together.
In Masari’s opinion, Biafra is just another fluke. He compared Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, to Boko Haram, who tried to forge an empire. He also drew an analogy between IPOB and the O'odua People's Congress (a Yoruba nationalist organization). Governor Masari said that members of pro-Biafra groups are not fighting for the idea, but more for the political power it will bring them.
Many people like Masari condemn pro-Biafra and other nationalist groups for separatist ideas. However, even Masari himself does not actually blame them for wanting independence. People will grow tired of being forced to live in the country they do not believe in. That is why they took a stand. This referendum will hopefully resolve the situation and have a positive result for everyone involved.
What is Biafra?
READ ALSO: Map of Biafra and states
To remind you, Biafra existed from 1967 to 1970. It shared borders with Nigeria to the north and west, and also with Cameroon to the east. It was divided into 25 states with the capital in Owerri. Biafra states correspond with today’s Nigerian states of Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Delta. Although the accuracy of this is up for debate as the official document on the Republic of Biafra has not exactly specified the borders.
Even though it has been almost 50 years since Biafra ceased to exist, many people still feel the need for Biafra to be considered an independent country. Which is why the Biafra breaking news about the referendum has caused quite a commotion among both Biafra supporters and opponents.
It is hard to say exactly what this referendum might bring. There are a lot of people that are pro-Biafra, those who call themselves Biafrans and reject the Nigerian nationality. At the same time, there are plenty of those who don’t even think Biafra should exist at all, let alone be independent. We will have to wait and see. July 21st is right around the corner, and a few weeks is not that long.
READ ALSO: Biafran currency notes