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Friday, 1 July 2016

BREXIT EFFECTS: London based analyst says Britain has lost all moral right to stop Biafra exit from Nigeria

BREXIT EFFECTS: London based analyst says Britain has lost all moral right to stop Biafra exit from Nigeria

By Paul Ihechi Alagba
For Family Writers

The recently concluded Brexit referendum votes in the United Kingdom has generated a wide range of reactions among several analysts across the globe, who have been faced with a very busy week in the analysis of the effects and impacts of the decision of the British people to leave the European Union.

It is in this light of events that the Director of TGS Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime, David Otto Endeley in an exclusive chat with Paul Ihechi Alagba of Family Writers, buttresses the key consequences the Brexit will be having on United Kingdom based on their continuous integration and international relations.


On this aspect, David Otto noted that Brexit has put the UK in a fragile state as Scotland, Northern Ireland and others are likely to reignite their quest to separate from the UK as majority of the people voted to remain in the EU. He noted that the EU 'remain' campaigners did not expect to lose out in the referendum as much as the 'leave' campaigners were uncertain of winning, figuratively linking the current state of things with the events of 2015 Presidential elections in Nigeria-

"The current leave the EU scenario has put the UK in a very precarious situation. The truth is that the 'leave' the EU camp did not expect to win, so they really had no way-forward plan- but they did enough to convince voters to vote leave. The 'remain' in the EU camp did not expect to be defeated, but they were so complacent, they did very little to ensure they won. In my opinion, they undermined their 'leave' opponents and suffered what I term "the 2015 Goodluck Jonathan and PDP syndrome.

"Within the UK, there are real concerns that Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland have good reason to demand for another chance from the UK for a separation referendum, to reflect their voters, majority of who voted to remain. Great Britain could be turned to little Britain in a couple of years to come if negotiation at the EU after the trigger of article 50 become unmanageable for Scotland and Northern Ireland." David Otto said.

Going further, he remarked-

"The outcome is that Scotland is now clamouring to stay in the EU. This is not possible if they are part of the UK. Scotland can only remain in the EU if they were to become independent from the UK, and this can only happen if another referendum is carried out.

  "The UK and Westminster will have to agree to allow Scotland have another referendum after the recent one. However, if the Scottish Parliament agrees in full to have another referendum and puts pressure on the then Prime minister and Westminster, there will be very little choice but to allow for another Scottish referendum. At the moment, opinion polls show that there is a very high possibility that Scotland will vote to leave the UK union."


The British government has always maintained their staunch support towards the indissolubility of Nigeria despite the global attention Biafra agitation has drawn in the country, with several cases of killings and incarceration of Biafra activists repeatedly reported. However, David Otto have argued that the UK government can no longer afford to move against the issue of self determination in other countries while they have continually respected such right through referendum in the UK.

Speaking on the impact Brexit will be having on the UK as regards to their African Commonwealth members, especially Nigeria where the agitation for a Biafra sovereign state has reached its maximum propensity, David Otto noted that UK exit from EU will in no doubt affect their huge influence on some of these African countries when it comes to the issue of self determination as it will be morally impossible for the UK to preach against what is being practised in their doorstep-

"Brexit has changed the UK and the EU, and it will affect the UK covert policies and relations not just regionally, but also with some of its Commonwealth country members in Africa like Nigeria.

"If referendums are taking place left-right and centre, to determine by virtue of democracy the general will of the people, it will no longer be morally possible for the UK to take a position contrary to what it practices. You cannot preach unity at home and discourage self determination against minority groups that are clamouring for separation like Biafra and perhaps, the new Niger Delta militias in the South South of Nigeria and even beyond." he said.

David Otto however stated that the issue of organising referendum for Biafra remains the responsibility of "the government of the day" in Nigeria, noting that the case of Brexit "has shown that referendums when granted expose the real thoughts of the people and not what the elites think of the people."

Speaking further, he said-

"Brexit will have a ripple effect not just internally in the UK or in Europe, but it could have series of repercussions in Nigeria with Pro-Biafrans seeking for a break-up in their relationship with the federal government.

 "Perhaps Brexit will go further and usher a green light signal for African commonwealth nations to start evaluating their relationship on the balance of profit and loss, if their current relationship with the UK as head of Commonwealth is subject to review or national referendum, to either leave the commonwealth or remain part of it. These are changing times and we see that the music of geopolitics is rapidly changing, and the world must change the dance as well- Like Chinua Achebe- Things are falling apart, but will get worse and hopefully get better."


Answering the question on whether the Nigerian government should imitate her UK ally by organising a Biafrexit referendum for Biafrans, David Otto noted that it is not indispensable that Nigeria as a sovereign nation, follows the footsteps of the UK in organising referendum for Biafrans, he nevertheless stated that a need for such should not be ruled out when other strategies must have been exhausted without any positive result-

"The federal government does not need to imitate the UK because the circumstances are very exclusive and the FG is sovereign in making its decisions. However, in a global environment, what happens outside Nigeria can have a massive effect in Nigeria- thanks to massive media coverage. So there is need not to ignore or fail to learn from any situation like what Brexit or Scotland referendum exposes.

"In this case, the federal government has to notice that if Biafra wants to have independence and these are genuine concerns for feeling of self determination due to clear concerns, and there are constitutional provisions that allow for referendum, I do not find any legal reasons why that option of giving referendum for Biafra should not be explored if other measures have been tried and they seem not to solve the underlying problem. In a democratic setting, the people have the right to decide their fate, but that right can only be given to them by their elected government. The common experience is that most governments will only grant referendums for minority groups if they truly believe that it will be in their favour. However, the Brexit vote on June 23rd 2016 has shown that opinion polls are not reliable."

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