Brexit: Breakup of Nigeria now imminent, Biafra a reality – Akinyemi

By Editor on 25/06/2016

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President Muhammadu Buhari, would now have to find an effective talisman, to prevent the breakup of Nigeria, beyond his iron-fist strategy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, said, Friday night.

Reviewing the circumstances that saw Britain exit the European Union, the renowned diplomat, argued that agitators for the state of Biafra, Niger Delta separatist entities in Nigeria and other parts of the world, have been handed a strong weapon to drive their ambitions.

Akinyemi, who was a guest on Channels Television 10 O’clock News, told his host that Britain had actually set a bad example that would have a domino effect across the world, blaming the Prime Minister, David Cameron for the development.

Denouncing the Prime Minister for putting such a delicate matter in the hands of those who hardly understood the issues, rather than a more sophisticated body like the parliament, he said the world had grown beyond such elementary democracy.  

“The world has grown beyond elementary democracy, where everything must be taken to the people whether they understand the issue or not. Rather, what we now have is representative democracy, where the people elect others to think for them,” he said.

Explaining the import of the development on Nigeria, he said that only a deft move by Buhari, would prevent the disintegration of Nigeria, due to increased agitation from separatist groups that would now be pointing to the British example and building their case therefrom.


Incidentally, he spoke minutes after the President himself, hailed the British Prime Minister, for his decision to respect the will of the people.

Even though he said he was saddened that Cameron, would be exiting government in the way he did, Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Garuba Shehu, said his resignation in response to the outcome of a referendum that supported Britain to leave the European Union “was a demonstration of courage by a democratic leader who respects the will of the people, even if he didn’t agree with their decision.”

He noted that by ‘‘putting the will of the people before his political future, the Prime Minister proved himself to be a selfless leader with respect for democracy and voter sovereignty.’’

But Akinyemi, saw danger in the development, regarding the unity of Nigeria, as those countering its breakup might not have very strong point to continue maintaining their position.

Here’s how he captures the entire import of the development, including the dangers ahead: “It’s like debating about a common currency for ECOWAS and you put it to vote, where Dangote would have one vote, Otedola would have one vote, Elumelu would have one vote, you would have one vote, Akinyemi would have one vote, a gardener would have one vote and a truck pusher would have one vote. What do they understand about the complexities of a common currency?  

“That’s why you have parliament. He should have left it to the parliament to debate and take the decision on behalf of the people.

“This is a leap in the dark. It is a leap off the cliff. Nobody knows what is going to happen. This has never happened before. And that is why it is going to take two years, even though the President of the European Union said he hoped that the divorce would be clean, sharp and no wastage of time. I think the British will like to drag it out. We just have to monitor things and see the way it will go. But I foresee a situation where the British will seek to energise the commonwealth as they seek to build new building blocks for their global role. Whether that would work or not, I don’t knows. But that obviously will affect us as one of the leaders of the commonwealth.

“Over the years, or do I say over the decades, the European Union has had a positive effect on the development of the African Union, to the effect that we even copied their name. We changed our name from the OAU to the African Union, in other to copy, in a positive way, developments in the European Union. Apart from Morocco that has stayed out of the old OAU, nobody had thought about the possibility of exiting the AU is an option on the table. But now this has happened in the European Union, obviously, it becomes a policy option on the table for those who are not happy about the AU over one thing or the other.

“The same thing is going to happen with ECOWAS. We are not happy with some of the decisions coming out of the ECOWAS court. Before, nobody would think that you could possibly leave ECOWAS. But now the British has set a very bad precedent, for all of us, it is a calamity, not just for the British, but for the European Union, the African Union and ECOWAS.

“In a more direct way, we need to fear in Nigeria. One of the possibilities of development in Britain, is actually Scotland that voted massively and positively to remain in the European Union, actually voting in another referendum to leave the United Kingdom.

“If that happens, don’t forget we fought a civil war in this country. And a large part of the reason why Nigeria won that civil war, was because the rest of the world was on the side of the Federal Government. Nobody wanted to hear of exiting of anything. But if Scotland exits the United Kingdom, you have so many groups in Nigeria, who have fears and who have grievances about what we call the Nigerian project. That will energise their activities and it will now make the prospect of demanding that they should be allowed to leave Nigeria a high probability.

“So, to that extent, it is a danger for us. But I hope that the fact that it is going to take two years for development to mature, which means Scotland itself will not gather referendum until about two years time. That Nigeria has the window of opportunity of two years to sort itself out, to get its acts together, you must address the fears and the grievances of the various protest groups and protest movements that you have all over the country. This is not a pretty day for people who believe in multi-nationalism and people who believe integration, not just in Britain, but all over the world. It is not a happy day.

“We are having a debate now about the outcome of the 2014 national conference. The President said he doesn’t like it. Fair enough. But, the problems that we sort to address at that national conference, are still there, are still confronting the country. He has got to address those problems. And that’s why I said, Nigeria has a window of opportunity of two years. The President, who is the embodiment of the Nigerian state, has got to sit down and face squarely how he is going to face the situation.

“The bombing of the oil pipelines, the reduction in the oil export, the reduction in the revenue accruing to Nigeria, are already issues that have caught his attention. I hope he knows how short two years can be.”       




Source Channels TV

Posted on June, 25 2016

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