The recent news that the current Northern Nigerian governors met and warned against the division/ dissolution of Nigeria, agitates all freedom loving people, particularly Biafrans because they (Northern Nigeria governors) and their hirelings cannot decide for the Indigenous People of Nigeria if Nigeria should be divided or not. They are the problem of Nigeria and have held Biafrans and other indigenous people of the country down against their wish since the creation of this contraption to serve British economic interests since 1914, which was re-legitimised in 1960 during it’s flag independence.
What’s more ? The Northern elites have run the country exclusively by itself or it’s southern stooges with the exception of the brief period of President Goodluck Jonathan, to the economic misery of the hapless citizens. Biafrans who are the major producers of the economic resources that sustain the contraption, have been at the receiving end of stone-age economic policies and have been visited with economic damnation and political marginalization, resulting in Biafrans constituting over 90 % of Nigerians in the diaspora. A review of the leadership of Nigeria since independence will show the North’s monopolization of leadership at Nigerias helm of affairs, particularly during the military era.
Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a Northerner, was Nigeria’s first leader. He was a lieutenant of Sir Ahmadu Bellov (Premier of Northern Nigeria) and ruled Nigeria with his directives. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was actually the father of Nigeria’s independence struggle, ended up as Nigeria’s nominal President. On taking over power, Balewa commenced a scheme to permanently northernise political power in Nigeria and Islamise Nigeria. He jailed the opposition leader, Obafemi Awolowo and sought to confiscate democracy. This led to his overthrow and murder by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu in January 1966. Unfortunately, this coup was not totally successful as Major General Aguiyi Ironsi stopped the coup but ended up hijacking the leadership for a brief period due to the vacuum created by the death of Tafawa Balewa.
Following Tafawa Balewa’s death, the Northern Fulani Oligarchy aided by the British, contrived a series of events which included protests, agitations, Igbo genocidal killings and general insurrection against General Ironsi’s government, ultimately leading to his violent overthrow & death in July, 1966. Paralleling Ironsi’s death was the brutal killings of virtually all Biafran army officers by Northern Nigeria military officers between July 25th and July 29th, 1966, culminating in a return to power to the North within a space of just six months. General Yakubu Gowon, another Northerner took over power following that coup. Gowon’s regime superintended genocide against Biafrans, killing over 3.5 million Biafrans between 1966 and 1967. General Gowon was overthrown by another Northerner, General Murtala Mohammed in July, 1975 following his failure to hand over power to civilians as earlier promised.
General Murtala Mohammed was characterized by the entrenchment of Northern hegemony evidenced by lopsided state creations and the commencement of a transition program designed to entrench an islamised democracy in Nigeria. Murtala Mohammed, a brutal genocidist who killled hundreds of innocent civilians in Asaba who came to welcome his troops with shouts of one Nigeria was caught in his own game by his fellow vendors of violence and killed in an unsuccessful violent putsch by Col. Bukar Sukar Dimka in February, 1976. He was replaced by his deputy, Major General Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-1979).
Obasanjo, a Northern protege, actively participated in the 1975 military coup. Subsequently, he was named as deputy in Mohammed’s government and was also targeted for assassination but managed to escape. He re-established security in the capital as well as army rule. By the time Obasanjo was in power (after Mohammed’s death), a program to restore civil rule in Nigeria was already ongoing which he continued, holding general elections in 1979 and finalizing the military supervised 1979 Nigerian Constitution.
On the 1st of October, 1979, Obasanjo handed power over to a civilian ruler, Shehu Shigari. President Shehu Shagari (1979-1983) served as Nigeria’s second civilian ruler. Before becoming President, Shagari was appointed Minister of Economic Affairs in 1970, and later as the Minister of Finance by General Gowon. After the booming oil prices cooled off in 1981, the Nigerian economy was in trouble. The deterioration of the Nigerian economy, as well as consistent allegations of corruption and mismanagement, led to Shagari being overthrown in yet another military coup in 1983 led by another Northerner, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari. After successfully overthrowing the democratically elected government of Shigari, Buhari justified the Army’s actions in 1983 on the basis of rampant corruption in Shagari’s government. Buhari suspended Nigeria’s 1979 constitution indefinitely.
The harsh reality of how bad the Nigerian economy was during this time prompted Buhari to quickly implement policies that would stabilize the economy. These policies included the raising of interest rates, reduction in government spending and borrowing. Buhari also broke economic ties with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during his regime. His tenure is best remembered for the harsh economic policies imposed on the citizenry and the gross limitations of human rights exemplified by detentions, illegal arrests of government critics, military trials of civilians, long term jail sentences, retro-active decrees and state executions for previously unknown offences.
The Army and the country became unhappy with Buhari’s sectional, autocratic, irresponsible and unaccountable leadership. This led to a bloodless coup whose leaders- Generals Babangida and Abacha (another Northern stream) promised to end human rights violations and institute a democratic transition program. Babangida took over power in August 1985, with support of loyal mid-level military personnel whom he strategically placed into positions to benefit his aspirations of power. In 1990, Babangida’s government was almost overthrown by a failed coup attempt from the Army.
In June of 1993, Presidential elections were held in Nigeria with the goal of civilian rule being restored. After these elections, Babangida and his government nullified the results, which led to civil unrest and labor strikes in the country. Many Nigerians believe Babangida’s government was the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history. After the civil and economic unrest of 1993, Babangida caved to public pressure and appointed Ernest Shonekan, another Northern protege, as the Interim Head of State in August of 1993.
By this point in time, inflation in Nigeria had become uncontrollable and foreign investments in non-oil related industries had significantly waned. During his brief time as President, Shonekan tried to create a timetable that would lead the Nigerian people back to a democratic rule. This initiative failed as Shonekan’s interim administration only lasted three months until he was overthrown by his own Secretary of Defence, General Sani Abacha. Shortly after overthrowing President Shonekan, Abacha issued a decree that essentially gave his government absolute powers.
He was involved in all Nigerian coups from 1966 till his death in 1999 when he was replaced by General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Although Abubakar was reluctant to accept the leadership of Nigeria when Abacha passed away, Abubakar was sworn in on the 9th of June, 1998. He and his government created a new Nigerian constitution with out the consent of the Nigerian people, aimed at entrenching the interests of only the Fulani ruling class without considering the interests of the indigenous people, particularly Biafrans who provide the economic resources that sustain the contraption. Abubakar was succeeded by President Olusegun Obasanjo, a renowned Northern protege who reigned between 1999 to 2007.
Obasanjo had already led Nigeria as a military leader, but he was ‘elected’ as a President by Abubakar’s sham transition program. He ruled from 1999 to 2007 and was succeeded by Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua 2007-2010, another Northerner who ruled Nigeria more from his sick bed rather than in good health. He gave up the ghost in 2010 and was replaced by his Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. President Jonathan’s government was characterised by efforts to appease the Northern ruling class to no avail as the Northern oligarchy simply wanted Power back. The Northern push for the return of power to itself was characterised by killing of southern youth corpers during the 2011 presidential election following the defeat of General Mohammed Buhari, the launching of Boko Haram insurgency against the Jonathan government and insurrection. It was climaxed with the election of General Mohammed Buhari as President in 2015 with essentially northern votes in a flawed election.
Having contested unsuccessfully in the previous Presidential elections ( 2003, 2007 and 2011), Buhari was finally successful in his 2015 bid to become President of Nigeria. Sworn in on May 29, 2015, Buhari became the second ex-military leader to become a President of Nigeria. After being elected, On the 6th of June 2016, Buhari went to the United Kingdom to seek medical treatment for a persistent ear infection during which he spent four good months after, the matter of him being alive or not, arose but the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu repeatedly stated that he did not survive the surgery he went for at united Kingdom.
President Buhari’s current tenure continues to signpost Northern domination, Biafra and other indigenous people’s subjugation, economic mismanagement and human rights violations evidenced by deaths, disappearances, illegal detentions and criminalization of dissent. The challenge before Biafrans and other indigenous people is to stop the years of subjugation and free our people from this yoke.
Freeing our people does not involve the consent of Northern leaders and the Fulani oligarchy who are hostage takers but to ensure the dissolution of this British contraption.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media