The myth of the Tower of Babel in the Bible (Gen11:1-9) presupposes that there is weakness in diversity and strength in uniformity. From moment the people lost their common language which bound them together, it was no longer possible for them to speak with one voice and carry out a common cause. The story tells us that the people began to build a tower with its top in the heavens: “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, these are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.” One might argue that God Almighty put a knife in the thing that held the whole earth together—one language—and after that things fell apart. We observe the unifying power of common linguistic and cultural values as an instrument in nation building. Nigeria is a clear case of a country with linguistic and cultural dissimilarities, and the Nigerian project—the aspiration or quest for nationhood is akin to the Tower of Babel. To understand why Nigeria is not working, and will never work, is to understand the myth of the Tower of Babel. The story of the Tower of Babel is the thematic and structural paradigm on which states like Nigeria were deliberately constructed by the British. In other words, the British founders of Nigeria programmed the country to be a failed state since there would always be a conflict of culture, ideology, language and destiny within the country. 
When two cultures with differing ideological outlooks are brought together to mesh willy-nilly, there are usually problems of gargantuan proportions. The Igbo Biafran worldview with its Judeo-Christian (Occidental) orientation has always been at odds with the Hausa-Fulani Islamic-Arabist (Oriental) worldview. In many respects, the Igbo Biafran mind, psychology and emotions work rather differently from the Hausa-Fulani (Oriental) mind, psychology and emotions. For instance, the Igbo see the human being, madu, short for mmandu, as the beauty of creation, or the beauty life, and so place a high premium on human life. For the Igbo, life is the greatest gift and so should not be destroyed unnecessarily. The Igbo can only destroy life when it poses an unappeasable threat to another life or in retribution for murder. But the Hausa-Fulani have an insatiable bloodlust, with bloodletting written deep in their DNA. It explains why they are habitual and pathological killers, and are ready to kill with little or no provocation. It explains why Buhari could unleash his soldiers and policemen on unarmed, innocent youths—boys young enough to be his children—who were holding a prayer meeting, singing and calling upon their God to grant their most cherished aspirations—the restoration of the state of Biafra, having been failed by Nigeria.
Furthermore, the Igbo are naturally republicans and had practised village-based democracy before the intrusion of Europe. Democratic ideals are etched deep in the DNA of every Igbo. Chinua Achebe, the late novelist in There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, agrees in these words: “The Igbo are a very democratic people…Their culture illustrates a clear-cut opposition to kings, because…the Igbo people had seen what the uncontrolled power of kings could do.” The Igbo built no monarchies because they did not trust a king to exercise power justly. However, in those few Igbo communities which had semblances of monarchy like the priestly kingship of Eze-Nri, or the Obi institutions, the monarchs did not exercise dictatorship over the people. They were more or less figureheads. There is an Igbo saying that goes like this: ‘Ama nile wu eze eze.’ Every homestead has its own king. The Igbo believe that every man is a king in his own right. Every man is as good as the next man. And so, the man who seeks to lord it over his fellows has his work cut out for him since convincing his fellows to accept him as their leader is not going to be easy. An Igbo proverb states that if a god proves too aggressive it is shown the wood from which it was carved. In other words, if a leader proves too troublesome, he will be shown the way out of office. A people who did not hesitate to burn the image of a god that had failed them would not hesitate to dethrone a leader who was going against their will. That is the full ramification of Igbo traditional democracy. British colonial rule destroyed indigenous Igbo democracy and did greater harm to the people by amalgamating them with other ethnic groups to form the geographical and political space called Nigeria. The Igbo were dragged willy-nilly into the amalgamation. At independence, the British mischievously handed the Igbo over to the Hausa-Fulani, rather than return them to status quo ante i.e., disintegrating the country and decolonizing the federalized regions as sovereign, independent units. The Islamic Hausa-Fulani traditionally belong to a feudalistic, dictatorial world and have a different understanding of reality altogether. Even before the conquest of the Hausa and much of northern Nigeria by the Fulani jihadists, the Hausa and other northern peoples were ruled by kings who exercised despotic powers over them. Despotism is natural and traditional to the north, the Yoruba and the Benin peoples, but it is abnormal to the Igbo because it was not there ab initio. That is the point I am trying to make. Frederick Forsyth who apparently knows the Igbo and the easterners better than the northerners do avers without any equivocation: “The whole traditional structure of the East makes it virtually immune to dictatorship…” This distaste for dictatorship was one of the reasons for the Aba Women’s Riots of 1929, the failure of indirect rule in the Eastern region and the Biafra-Nigeria war of 1967-1970. The Igbo resent any form of imposition and like their opinion to be asked before one might take action on matters that impinge on their destiny. That they have accepted northern Nigeria (Hausa-Fulani) repressive feudal domination since 1970 does not mean that their nature has changed and that they have finally come to accept dictatorship as a way of life; rather it is because faced with no other option they had to adapt to the new historical reality in order to survive. The years of northern military cum feudal repression of the Igbo including the present regime have severely tested Igbo endurance. But there is a limit to human endurance, and that is why IPOB and other secessionist groups are saying that Nigeria does not appeal to them any longer.    
The majority of the Igbo are Christians, and quite an appreciable number has converted to Judaism recently. Nigeria has, it is rumoured, surreptitiously become a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) despite its much touted secularism. And the Muslim North has never lost the dream or ambition to Islamize the entire country including Biafraland. However, the Biafrans have stated their opposition to the OIC outing and the dream or plan to Islamize them. So there is clearly a conflict between what the Islamic North is doing and what the Igbo want with regard to the OIC and Islamization agenda. The country faces the risk of being torn to pieces by conflict between fundamentalists and secularists.

The secession of Biafra in 1967 was an attempt by the Igbo to revert to the status quo ante (as it was before colonialism). The Biafra-Nigerian war was a collision of civilizations, and although the Igbo lost, those democratic ideals in them remained alive, crying to be reborn. It is clear, as clear as the sun in the sky, that there is a world of difference between the Igbo Biafrans and the Hausa-Fulani. The Igbo are not used to despotism. It is alien to their civilization, nature and lives. Despotism defies their worldview. Despotism constricts their creative freedom. Despotism alienates them. In the traditional Igbo imagination, despotism over the Igbo is an abnormality, nay; it is an augury of the end of the world. The successive Nigerian leaders from the north have continued to rule the Igbo despotically while blatantly ignoring the fact that despotic rule strikes at every sensitive point in these people. If the northern leaders must practise despotism, let them practise it on their own people and leave the Igbo alone. All that the Igbo have asked for is to be allowed to go and work out their destiny according to their vision and energy, nothing more, nothing less. But if the northerners insist on keeping the Igbo with them in this stupid, directionless contraption called Nigeria, then they should get ready to reap a bitter harvest one day. Let me state it once more. The Igbo (Biafrans) and the Islamic Hausa-Fulani are not one people, and will never be. Let’s stop this ridiculous fibbing simply because some of us have a vested interest in the polity called Nigeria, and face the truth. The greatest harm ever done to my people was the destruction of autochthonous Igbo freedom by the British in the name of colonialism and the amalgamation of 1914. To continue to keep them in Nigeria by force willy-nilly is against nature, history and the will of God. Those people who spout unity in diversity and pretend to believe in it should read or re-read the story of the Tower of Babel and reflect deeply.


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