November 28,2017

The word ‘Referendum’ for years has been on the lips of every Biafran; they sing it as a song and miss it like their lovers, yet it has not been able to embrace them like their lovers. Emotional Biafran journalists prior to Anambra gubernatorial election allowed it overwhelmed them. They dream and write of their impending referendum while IPOB leadership kept working tirelessly to secure UN or EU backed referendum which is considered the ultimate.

Recently; we have seen countries conduct referendum and have also seen the cons and pros of the move. Catalonia did and Catalan leader with his allies found themselves in Belgium to escape Spanish wrath. Kurdistan did and found itself sustaining the move while negotiations are currently on going; whatsoever comes out of the negotiation will be the gain of the Kurds. It is not easy to have a sovereign country on a round table. In Nigeria; the definition of referendum varies, Nigeria sees referendum as illegal act or rather unconstitutional thing that targets the fall of the country and they forbid it. To Biafra; referendum is undeniable right of the people and the obligation Nigeria has as a result of her signatory to UN 2007 Charter on the Rights of Indigenous People. UN Charter’s article is not conflicting in any shape or form; Nigeria is only being unruly while Biafra is being just. The two are locked up in a battle of strength; as law or order has eluded them. What is referendum? In absence of big grammar and context, I will practically give the definition of referendum. Referendum is an act of legally/peacefully forming or declaring a nation through the ballot; to break it down further, referendum is an act of restoring Biafra; when you mention referendum, always have at the back of your mind that what you are saying is that Biafra that existed years before amalgamation is to be finally given the status of independent state. Let me kindly remind that 3.5 million died in 1967 when this attempt was made and 1.5 million children of starvation. Since 1999 Biafra agitation came to the front burner once more; the people of Biafra have lost thousands of her indigenes. Blood keep flowing on daily basis for this singular quest and the final push which is referendum will not be easy going. Referendum call is as bad as declaring an independent state and hence the referendum is not called by the parent country, the cost of declaring independent state is also the cost of declaring referendum. It is very crucial that the people of Biafra understand what referendum is before choosing from the options before them.
Referendum can be illegal and likewise legal; legal referendum is a referendum parent country was pressed or forced into acceptance and monitored by UN or EU. Illegal referendum is a referendum called by the aspiring indigenes; this referendum can secretly have the backing of UN or EU but the major success of such referendum is anchored on strength. While the debate on referendum may have occupied a space among the agitators; it is imperative they review it properly and know what they are going into before they head to the poll. Referendum has taken place in Biafra via sit-at-home order and the call for official one is to formalize it.

Having explained referendum to its practical term; it is left for the leadership and the people of Biafra to reason and choose the path they so wish. If there is an impetus to finally create the state of Biafra which referendum portends; that will be the greatest achievement since the birth of IPOB.

Ifeanyi Chijioke is a thinker, revolutionary writer, a senior journalist  in TheBiafraPost and socio-economic and political analyst that writes from  Onitsha in Eastern part of Biafraland

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