This is not the best time for Nigerians to dabble into international politics. Here we are with a political phantasmagoria, complex enough to bury our eyes in our own books; and what wisdom is it for a man who strives to save his neighbour from a mere “insect bite” when his own house is on fire?
Yet ironically, we must not turn our deaf ears to echoes of turbulent events around us, especially the ones whose ripples wouldn’t spare our nation despite our indifference. Thank God for the Yoruba adage: “if you fail to warn your neighbour who indulges in eating bad insects, then his crackle wouldn’t allow you for a rest”.
Such was the proverbial “bad insect” meal taken by Britain when it voted in a referendum to pull out of the European Union (EU) on Thursday June 23, 2016 – the Brexit. The interpretation and implication of these to the Britons is a story for another day; it is grave, it would be long lasting and the reverberation would be far-reaching.
Already, the Britons are regretting their actions at the imminence of economic and political disorder. As for us in Nigeria, we might be “lucky” to weather whatever economic complications arise from Brexit, after all, our economy is already in a volatile condition.
What is much more dreadful and threatening, however, is the Domino Effect we may have to deal with as to the political fate of the nation.
Far long before the Brexit, Nigeria had had her own share of similar agitation with several political colorations and nomenclature that have metamorphosed to the present day call for a Biafra exit (Biafrexit) through its several military juntas – Niger Delta Avengers, IPOB, MASSOP, and others.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian constitution doesn’t allow for such “silly” referendum that could have propelled Biafrexit to success. Never! Not even with a straightjacketed PMB in power, perhaps Biafran agitators would need a more cunning and manipulable president like David Chameleon (as he is so called) to actualise such referendum in Nigeria.
But jokes apart, this is Nigeria, where anything happens. After several failed strategies of the militants, the Brexit has rippled to IPOB a less violent sense of direction, now it’s an amplified call for a national conference where Biafrexit would be tabled.
Such is the momentum gained from Brexit when Biafrans now call on the Britons for a support in their course. REALLY? Are Biafrans that much silly? Calling on someone to support you on what he just regretted doing to himself?
While the Brexit was precipitated by bigotry and long-time rivalry, Nigerian copycats whose agitation is more about regional neglect and long-time suffering failed to understand that the EU referendum is more of a call for political dominance and identity rather than disintegration.
Biafrans should have taken a clue from David Cameron’s resignation whose action sounds more like the proverbial “devil” after deceiving his victims to evil actions fly off and leave them to bear the consequence alone.
The ripple effect of that silly referendum is already manifesting in Britain with a Pandora’s Box. A recent Google report showed that young Britons were vigorously searching Google for the meaning EU just after the vote; they never really understood what they voted for in the first place! In the wake of this confusion, a petition for a second referendum demanding for the reversal of the result has seen over three million signatures.
In just a few days, not less than 38 Labour Party members have resigned in response to the low confidence in their party leader Jeremy Corbyn. This was followed by England’s exit from the ongoing European Championship, a scenario critics described as “Brexit Vol.2”.
The economic front was not spared; immediately after the referendum on Friday, the British Pound crashed against the US$ by -8 per cent (the lowest since 1985), the 10-year treasury yield contracted to 1.42 per cent just a little above 1.404 per cent recorded as the all-time low in July 2012.
Perhaps those are just for a start, when things normalise, other challenges such as losing influence over the single market rule, setting new trading relationship, establishing what tariff and other barriers to entry, free movement, and passports are permitted. These, experts say could take more five years to resolve.
Back to Nigeria, within the limit of imagination, the consequence of Biafrexit to the Biafrans is best left for the time to tell. The bone of contention and the only natural resource they long to settle for – crude oil is already on the decline all thanks to the actions of the military wing of Biafra and the global fall in oil price.
Biafrexit would probably come to reality when all the oil tanks have blown up and spilled over and the global price looms at $10/barrel.
Then, it would no longer be an exit; it would be an eviction and an exile to hell. It is believable that the Britons were deceived into letting themselves out of Europe, but it would be unforgivable that Biafrans deceive themselves out of Nigeria.
We only hope that Biafrans quickly recover themselves from the Brexit intoxication, learn from the mistake of their role model and see for themselves what horror that awaits them should Biafrexit come to success. Nevertheless, the “Big Brothers” wouldn’t hesitate to lend a “helping hand”. Who doesn’t love those who “voluntarily” share his pain?
To sing the sermon to pro-Biafra youths, disintegration has never helped any country. It has NEVER been the solution to the opposition’s plight.
If the lessons from Sudan and other divided nations are not enough to re-align our thought for “One Nigeria”, at least let the Britons suffer the consequence of their actions alone and lets not voluntarily invite the ripples to our nation.
The Nigerian government must also take a clue from this “bad insect” to ensure an all-encompassing governance without favouritism. Rueben Abati was right:
“When people are not happy with their government or their circumstances, they are ready to make any choice that looks like an alternative”
By Yussuf Ayodele, Nyanya, FCT Abuja