Nigeria is a land full of milk and honey. She is blessed with abundant natural and mineral resources. All that it takes to move a nation forward are available in the nation. She is an evergreen river that lacks water. Not the drinking or washing type but the prophetic and administrative ones needed for good governance. This accounts for what we will be discussing herein; the secession of Bakassi.
Due to this administrative ineptitude Africa as a continent has suffered a lot in general and Nigeria in particular. There is no doubting the fact that we were governed by the colonial masters who never knew us nor understood our beings. Our boundaries were unknown to them but they carved out modalities to suit their administrative convenience. But they adjudicated us as they deem fit for administrative convenience based on how the colonies were arranged then. At this time in question, Africans were governed by different colonial masters with different interest groups, philosophies and ideological camps. Their primary aim was to amass vast territory so as to acquire more wealth and large expanse of land in replacement of those which they lost in theirs nations and others as the case may be.
In the nineteen century we had the Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern Protectorates and Southern Cameroun as another protectorate. Which blossom fully into one nation in the twenty century. These protectorates came together to form one nation called Nigeria. It will be recalled that during independence they still felt much more at home with Nigeria. The idea of where they belong to was never a problem to them. Willingly and gladly they joined Nigeria to enjoy their feat.
During the Nigeria Civil War Bakassi was fully on ground for Nigeria, it wasn’t a contestable issue. As opined by some people from some quarters, that it was during this critical and crucial period in the anal of Nigeria history that an agreement was reached by Nigeria government with Cameroun in order to support her in the war against Biafra. Its essence was to prevent the succession of the Eastern states and others under the Biafra Republic.
Today, the war is over but the after effects are with us. We have succeeded in curbing the excess of the Biafra Republic and Nigeria is one but the irreparable damage has been made. We cannot shy away from the fact through pretense. No, not at all! Some have heaped the blame on the Attorney general of the federation then Prince Bola Ajibola as been unserious, insensitive and uncalculated in his handling of the case. There may be atoms of reality in that, no doubt, but to what extent, we would try our best to do a full extrapolation of the whole matter so as to know whether to censure or exonerate him. What could he have done under such critical and precarious situation? Was he not working under someone’s guidance? Was he proscribed for the sadistic act by the boss? What was the position of the boss then? The two houses were they aware of the case? What were their position and disposition in this matter?
Until the time the matter went to the International Court of Justice lots of souls were lost on both sides. The zone was a very hot one where bullets reign like water and lives not valued resulting to carnage. Despite that, it was still fully under the control and influence of Nigeria. In fact they had their representatives in the house who acted as their mouth piece. Although it generated a lot of arguments, but it all ended like a pack of card with no concrete and definite resolve on the matter. No wonder the matter was laid to rest and placed in the cooler for so long. How did it come up again? Who raised the matter and why was it revisited?
The ICJ verdict on the secession of Bakasi Peninsula to Cameroun was subject to appeal for a period of ten to fourteen years. Why then has Nigeria been so calm about it? Why the sudden twist when the period of appeal is just a few weeks to go? Why is it now that it is dawn on them to challenge the verdict? Are they serious and sincere about this advocacy? What would be the implications and impacts of this on the nation and its populace?
Early to bed early to rise so they say. With this impromptu arrangement, will they be meticulous enough to address the matter in an apt and condign manner? Anything done in a hurry is never done well. Therefore our preparation should not be shoddy so as not to lose again. Once beaten twice shy. As concerned Nigerians, we need to rise to the occasion in unionism and fight the just war once and for all. Yes, the rumour that the president then President Olusegun Obasanjo had a stake in it should be thoroughly investigated. It will be useless to go to war with a divided house, hence, my advice that there be an in house examination and re-examination
Due to this singular action, people who initially lived there as Nigerians no longer enjoy the rights and privileges accrue to them. Now they are ostracized and no longer given a befitting treatment. They are now subjected to choice making either to still go with their former identity or join the new found land. What a mystery!
The crude oil from the Island that was initially utilized by Nigeria is now under the domain of Cameroun. The proceeds once enjoyed is now lost. Aside this, the people also we have lost. Imagine the number of people that became destitute as a result of the action. What could be more devastating than this?
If we decide not to challenge the case through appeal, definitely we are going to miss it for life. That means we are going to lose the oil rich island to Cameroun. Its pains and distortion will hunt us all through. Also, it will bring down the moral of those who feel strongly that they will live there as Nigerians.
No matter what we should try our best even if we lose the case. However a trial will convince us. For nothing venture nothing win. Therefore, whatever it will take to get out of this quagmire should be done.
WRITTEN BY IFIDON BENSON