The South-East geopolitical zone and the rest of Nigeria

The
end of the civil war and the eventual victory for the Nigerian forces put a brief
stop to secession attempts by the people of Biafra. Balogun, (Owechue, 2004) However,
the rudiments were not addressed in the interregnum, therefore, agitations are
resurfacing. (Agbu, 2004) More than forty-five years after the end of the civil
war, the agitations for separation, which have been intermittent, have resumed
with a renewed dimension, and the Igbo dominated South-East geopolitical zone
and the rest of Nigeria could be heading for a messy divorce with serious
political and economic consequences for both parties. While the Biafra of circa
1967-1970 was defeated, the separatist spirit of that war still lingers among
many, especially with the return of democracy in 1999 with the formation of the
Ralph Uwazurike led Movement For The Actualization of the Sovereign State of
Biafra (MASSOB). (Collier, 2002) Things however did not escalate essentially
until 2005 when MASSOB reintroduced the Biafran Pound into flow. The move was
met with startling fervour in the South East and the Obasanjo government moved
to smash the energy by capturing Uwazurike, keeping him imprisoned until the
Yaradua government discharged him in 2007. Moves like the dispatch of the
Biafran Passport in 2009 prompted a re-arrest of Uwazurike and his allies,
prompting the Jonathan’s regime to proclaim the movement a terrorist group just
like the Boko Haram group in the year 2013. (Onuoha, 2013)

The
arrest of Nnamdi Kanu has brought to the front-line a clamour for a separatist
Biafran nation. The role played by Kanu, and his movement, the Indigenous
People of Biafra, IPOB, shows that unless the issue is tackled at its source,
newer and more difficult movements among younger generations demanding for
either Biafra or some other ethnic based national identification will keep increasing.
(ICG, 2015)

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This paper does not
make a case either for or against the independence of the Igbo people of
Nigeria. The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effect of
IPOB’s renewed agitation, government respond, its viability, and the level of
support it enjoys which objectively provide a case for or against the agitators.