The quit notice from the Arewa youths have now brought firmly into the Nigerian mainstream a conversation that positive looks at and encourages the departure of the Igbo from Nigeria and the establishment of a Biafran homeland for the Igbo nation.
What people have yet to analyse is that the establishment of a Biafran homeland for the Igbo can actually turn out to be a major benefit for the Nigerian nation with very little downsides. At the current time, the Igbo nation takes significantly more from the Nigerian nation than it gives her when viewed from the prism of economic, political and social indices. As of the last reports from the Nigerian Bureau of statistics, the entire South East of Nigeria raises internally generated income of less than the amount raised by Ogun State. For each 100 naira it gets from the federation account, the SE contributes less than 1 naira from revenue obtained from exploiting natural resources from within the South East. Additionally, the South East of Nigeria represents the least friendly place in Nigeria for a non indigene to live. The relocation of non Igbos from the Biafran igbo homeland will have minor adverse costs and the returnees can be resettled to land vacated by the Igbo Biafrans relocating from other parts of Nigeria.
Another benefit to Nigeria from the actualization of Biafra would be the significant fall in crime and economic sabotage. We all know that all Nigerians engage in crime. At the moment, certain crimes have drastically more adverse impacts on the economic growth of Nigeria. Kidnapping, counterfeiting, large scale importation of consumer goods and the manufacture of fake drugs appears to be crimes that the Igbo seem overly concentrated in. These crimes have the most debilitating effects on the economic prospects of the Nigerian nation as they affect inward investment, growth of local industries and the health of Nigeria’s most productive part of its working population. The realization of the Biafran nation will allow Nigeria to control migration of Biafrans into Nigeria. Biafra’s productive workforce of doctors, bankers and other professionals can be allowed in to Nigeria the extent that they are needed to fill any professional shortfall and the largely unproductive yet disruptive elements of the Biafran population can be kept away from the Nigerian landscape.
As Biafra would be entirely surrounded by Nigeria, Nigeria can allow imports into Biafra and exports from Biafra through Nigerian ports at Calabar or Onne to be subject to a 50% tax on the cost of items being exported from or imported into Biafra. 30% of the tax to be sent to the Nigerian Federal government and 70% of the Tax to be retained by the states that house those ports. This would effectively give Nigeria massive passive income over the years from Biafra, provide employment opportunities for the Nigerian youth of working age and free Nigeria of having to subsidize the igbo south East as we are doing at the current time. This means that Nigeria would be freed of its most disruptive force if Biafra fails and it gains 50% passive income on any exports from and imports to Biafra if Biafra eventually succeeds as a manufacturing hub. Nigeria will have a monetary stake in Biafra’s success and can insulate itself from the risk of Biafra’s collapse by ensuring that high walls are constructed with very deep foundations to ensure that Nigeria does not face large scale illegal immigration into Nigeria. Nigeria will also be in a position to control weapons flow to Biafra in a manner that ensures that it can never threaten Nigeria’s territorial integrity militarily. Nigeria will also have to insist that Biafra is not admitted into ECOWAS.
The advantages listed above will have to be juxtaposed with the risk that the exit of the Igbo Biafrans will give rise to demands from other ethnic groups to leave. This risk can be reduced by the restructuring of Nigeria (post Biafrexit) in a manner that devolves significant economic power to states or regions and the agreement of a slightly different political structure that keeps within Nigeria, the three economically essential regions of the North West (Agricultural Behemoth), The South West (the commercial behemoth) and the South South (the oil and Gas Behemoth). I believe this is achievable but will have to be squared off before Nigeria lets the unproductive South East float away from Nigeria.
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