Nigeria And The Biafra Agitation (#OnBiafra1)

By Nextier Advisory

On Friday, January 15, 2016, Nextier Advisory, through its public dialogue initiative, development discourse convened a public discussion on Nigeria and the renascent agitation for Biafra. The discourse was held at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, Nigeria.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR (two-time President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) presented the keynote address. He subsequently joined a panel of discussants consisting of Chief Simon Okeke, OFR (former Chairman, Police Service Commission), Tolu Ogunlesi (West Africa Editor, The Africa Report), Kadaria Ahmed (Host “Straight Talk with Kadaria”), and Chido Onumah (Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy). Patrick O. Okigbo III (Principal Partner, Nextier Advisory) moderated the session while Jerome Okolo (Executive Vice Chairman, GeoQinetiq Limited) was the compère.

Click HERE to download the Communiqué or copy and paste the link below to your browser:

Click HERE to watch the full-length video of the dialogue or copy and paste the link below to your browser:

Click HERE to download the transcript of the dialogue or copy and paste the link below to your browser:

Click HERE to view photos from the event or copy and paste the link below to your browser:

The event, which is the first in a three-part public discussion series on the Biafra agitation, aimed to identify the root causes of the agitation and proffer solutions to diffuse the tension in a proactive and sustainable manner.

The three-part public series planned from January to March 2016 is setup as follows:

· #OnBiafra1 - January: Cross-generational dialogue across Nigeria’s sub-nationalities

· #OnBiafra2 - February: Leaders of the various agitations across Nigeria present their grievances and raison d’etre

· #OnBiafra3 - March: Strong voices and public intellectuals across Nigeria proffer well-considered solutions to the growing tensions across the country.

At the end of the three-part series, the various parties in the conflict would have gained a deeper understanding of the issues and the Federal Government of Nigeria will receive a suite of solutions that could help defuse the nationwide tension.

The points raised at #OnBiafra1 include Igbo marginalisation, 1966 Pogrom, post-war victimisation (20 Pounds, Indigenisation Policy, Abandoned Property Law), the 3Rs (Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation), political structure of Nigeria,referendum on Biafra, inclusion of Biafra in school curriculum, forging a national identity, arguments for regional governments, etc.

The transcript of the 2-hour dialogue has been edited for readability while preserving the character, meaning, and flavour of spoken expression. This means that cosmetic changes have been made to the verbatim transcript to eliminate unintentional repetitions, misspoken words, non-words, small talk, and miscellaneous fillers.

Jerome Okolo delivered the Opening Remarks. Click HERE to read his opening remarks or copy and paste the link below to your browser:

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, delivered the Keynote Speech. Click HERE to read the speech or copy and paste this link to your browser:

Obi Nwakanma’s essay, “What Do Igbos Want?” was referenced at the event. Click HERE to read the essay or copy and paste the link below to your browser: