An SBM Intelligence survey has revealed that unfair leadership, perception of marginalization, as well as restriction of economic choices may have fuelled the current secessionist agitation for the state of Biafra.
The survey reveals that 31.3 percent of respondents see marginalization as the main reason the idea of Biafra appeals to them, while 25.4 percent attribute their love for Biafra to restriction of economic freedom by the Nigerian government to chart their own course.
Another 19.2 percent say lack of fair, just and unbiased leadership in the country is responsible for the current wave of protests calling for Biafra. 18 percent however claims the fact they do not have anything in common with northerners and so they would support the course of Biafra.
Findings from the survey also show that in general terms, the support for a Biafra is in the South-east and South-south geopolitical zones.
However, those who support secession are not yet in the majority.
Most respondents spoke of unfair leadership, perceptions of marginalisation, and restriction of economic choices, as the key reasons they currently find an idea of Biafra appealing. These are factors that can be resolved by focused and visionary leadership and does not require the force of arms to win over these respondents and by extension, the larger populace in the two regions.
The survey report also indicates that more people are inclined towards a restructuring within a united Nigeria, that in Aba, the epicentre of IPOB protests, support for Biafra is relatively low compared with the rest of the South-east.
A deeper interrogation of the findings showed tha new economic initiatives may be responsible for the renewed belief in their prospects within Nigeria.
Support for the idea of Biafra is even said to be greater in Delta State than it is in the other South-South states.
“We believe that because of the presence of a large Igbo speaking community, with respondents in Delta North almost unanimous in support,” the survey stated.
The report specifically indicated that creating martyrs and symbols as is being done with Nnamdi Kanu, and will be done if military forces kill more protesters would be counterproductive and would only further strengthen the perception of oppression and marginalization that fuels the separatist sentiments.
For government to win over those who today do not support it, it must make use of a policy/diplomatic approach in solving the problem,targeted at winning hearts and minds more than anything else.