This refers to a popular vote (usually) of a political nature in which a people decide on a direct political issue involving them for immediate action. Referendum can be conducted on people clamouring for outright change or adjustment in constitutions, laws, etc or and secession. Hence it is otherwise a peaceful and orderly exercise and not a violent one. Recently, the people of the United Kingdom (UK) have voted either in support or opposition of exiting the European Union (EU). Scotland also a member of the United Kingdom has demanded referendum to free her from the authority of the crown. In the African continent, it is not strange a phenomenon as there have been the Egyptian constitutional referendum of 2011, the sovereignty referendum of Eritrea in 1993 held in order for them to be independent of Ethiopia; cast by nearly 1 million voters. In Morocco as well, in 2011 they conducted series of constitutional referendums.

The United Nations (UN) charter was drafted and then signed on June 26, 1945 by 51 countries  in the aftermath of the second world war with the primary aim of preventing a third occurrence. Even so, its aims and objectives are numerous but I will outline a few so as to support the purpose for which this thesis is being written.

(Some) Aims of the UN

1. To foster peace and security all over the world

2. To exterminate all forms of terrorism

3. To promote social justice built on equality of rights

4. To respect the principles of self determination.  Etc.

5. To encourage democratic governance in every nation the world over.

Although the UN has successfully prevented the outbreak of a third world war for now, it has not quite been able to prevent civil wars in member regions. This is due in large parts to the body itself either not doing enough or not doing anything at all to douse the flames of growing tensions in those areas prior to the explosive emergence of the full blown wars witnessed or ongoing. Nearly a billion lives have been wasted (if I’m not understating), should the casualties of the various civil wars be summed up! The truth is, a lot of these wars could have been avoided had the United Nations swung into action a little sooner for wars don’t just magically start themselves. It is the last resort for aggravated individuals or groups who either righteously or selfishly move to help themselves by lifting arms. Many of their grievances are rather addressable and should never have escalated as high as war.

Nigeria being a nation-state has always been a fragile one from inception, much like a terminally born infant. And this is bore chiefly out of the vehement hesitations of its body parts to assemble in order to allow breath in its body. That is to say it is a stillborn child-dead on arrival, whom miraculously by the wizardry of the Brits, invoked demons which substituted the natural life the child never gained ab initio. The British fully aware that this was an experiment doomed to fail then entered it in the Amalgamation Treaty of 1914 that after a hundred years,  any of the conjoined regions of the Nigerian federation reserved exclusive right to secede from the “forceful” marriage. This evil of the British Empire is a sin for which God will never forgive her as it has led to steady decline, regression and left countless dead in its wake. That aspect of this evil treaty has yet to be revisited three years after its expiration and the centres are no longer holding up.

Therefore, an impartial and closely monitored referendum is the answer. The people of the South Eastern region of the evil Nigeria reserve exclusive rights as present in the UN charter to decide who they are. Referendum is a statement of declaration and not war. It should not be one to evoke needless violence and tension. It is not an alien concept or the newest thing on the planet as numerous nations have at one point or the other voted to determine who they are or where they want to be and it has never been recorded as apocalyptic!  The Nigerian federation have nothing to fear if it has been indeed fair to the people of the South Eastern region who are clamouring for a sovereign Biafra for it is their God given right to aspire for self-determination.

Biafra is never a war-mongering ideology. for a referendum is justifiable since it is the only way to arrive at relevant facts needed regarding the unity of the century old amalgamation of the various distinct regions that constitute Nigeria. We as a people were visited with a pogrom over a mere expression of dissatisfaction and the world played along with it in different parts by their actions and inactions both. However, such MUST NEVER AGAIN be allowed to repeat itself even though it has been allowed to go unpunished by the so called UN.  The call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the people of the South, and other relevant bodies championing the already stressed struggle for self-determination achievable by the disengagement of the evil entity known as Nigeria, and empirically observable in the event of a referendum must be adopted and upheld for true progress and success to be recorded in this already over-flogged saga of Biafra’s sovereignty as also this demand is driven towards protecting the sanctity of human lives before further loss originating from splenetic persons and bore out gross and extreme malevolence, spite and uttermost hatred resurges similar in kind to that witnessed circa 1967.

The pendulum is swinging fast. “A stitch in time”, they say…

- Chimezie Mbata
  IPOB Lagos Media Team.

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