I have never been an agitator for the state of Biafra all my life. What I have been is a very conscious Igbo man so fond of his identity like other normal human beings.
Even the Nigeria I belong to right now, until otherwise stated, I am a passionate citizen for the image of Nigeria. What I hate with passion is the Nigeria system that no reasonable person should actually applaud. Nigerian is a prison and should not be cherished. Of course no right thinking person relishes a system which has the best and outputs the worst. Anybody who knows this country has the potential to be among the best in the world would never rejoice about this contraption.
And only a change in the system popularly called RETSTRUCTURING would unleash the potential energy of Nigeria.
Reporting Nigeria over the years, I have travelled to 90% of the states with the eyes of a reporter and saw that all of them have enough to make them live in plenty and comfort. It is only this retarding system that lulls the regions of Nigeria into lethargy and atrophy. And that must change unless we want our children to hate us for bequeathing something faulty to them. In every meaning of it, Nigeria operates a faulty system.
Although beneficiaries of the animal farm delude themselves otherwise, but unless we change the structure, Nigeria must certainly explode someday soon.
In the present melee, I have read and heard many argue that the reason Igbo or especially the Biafra agitators demand secession is that they plan to appropriate the oil of the neighbouring South South states.
That is the most uninformed argument by anyone that thinks he or she knows anything about Nigeria. But it also goes to prove that the same people stand against any secession just because their minds and psyche have been rigidly tied to the same South South oil and don’t want to lose the gains.
Before we come to whatever decision, I tell the oil-centric Nigerians that no oil producing country in the world is among the richest economies. None of the richest economies relies on oil, in fact, 95% of them don’t have a semblance of oil.
Moreover, if oil is the wherewithal, why then has Nigeria that was Africa’s largest oil producer and world’s number six for years been crawling in over 60 years of living on oil?
What has always grown and would always grow an economy is human resource. It is human resource that made us know that we had oil all the ages gone underneath our feet and also made it useful by creating those technologies that rely on oil.
To bring an end to this crass argument of Igbo eyeing South South oil, may I educate those who don’t know and those who claim not to know that from the NDDC creation, Imo and Abia have been among the nine oil producing states. I decided to make it an issue after the jaundiced interview by former Commissioner of Police Abubakar Tsav who joined street urchins that know nothing going on to argue the same way. It’s quite unfortunate that malice beclouds our knowledge. Tsav and others should have known this fact, and that Imo had been the 5th largest oil producing state.
From the table of quota of production, the two Igbo states, which Yakubu Gowon malice spared after ceding Igbo lands out, still produce 25.5% of Nigeria oil, and the South South taking the lion share of 70%, out of which they earn a benefit of just 15%. The South East takes 11% as the rest go to feed those that slander Igbo for targeting other people’s oil. The South West of Nigeria in Ondo State produces the remaining percentage of the Nigerian crude supply.
The same old tricks had stopped Nigeria, through her over reliance on oil, to abandon the coal deposits in Enugu. To a large extent, the abandonment of the coal in Enugu after the war was another of Gowon’s tricks to cripple Igbo economy. So, we can sing eureka today that our neglected coal is there to provide us electricity should the push come to a shove. I am sure that up till today, China, the country with the largest electricity generation in the world still relies on coal power to the extent of 65%.
You know why the oil produced in the two Igbo states doesn’t seem to be known by the man in the street, and even Tsav who should know? It is because the host communities of the states have rather preferred to be peaceful and never toed the militancy line. Because Nigeria only listens to those that rake up mud and spit fire and violence, it has gone unnoticed that there is oil in Igbo land and the likes of Tsav make it the propaganda against us.
No matter their thinking however, if the structure of Nigeria is changed tomorrow, Igbo know better than relying on oil, the same undoing of Nigeria that created artificial poverty in this land of plenty. Only fools don’t learn from history.
However, if oil is what it all takes, I remind the canvassers of this idea that the first oil find in Nigeria was in Edda in present Ebonyi State in February 1927. I dug up the archived pages of the laboratory analysis and reports from the National Archives Enugu for a report on abandoned oil finds in the South East published in the Saturday Sun of March 26, 2011 (see this link (http://www.gasandoil.com/news/discoveries) That’s one of the internet reproductions from The Sun website.
This article gives details of the oil finds in Anam region of Anambra that necessitated the Orient Petrochemical Plant that is still in the making, the natural gas finds in the Eha Alumona and Awgu areaa of Enugu State and others.
In December 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Ebonyi State and I was at the gathering when then Governor Sam Egwu told him story of the Ebonyi oil finds and urged him to include the state in the NDDC list.