History of Separatist Agitations in Nigeria since 1914 to Date

The history of separatist agitations in Nigeria since 1914 is an interesting one. It is interesting because the three major regions that form Nigeria as an entity have all threatened to separate at one time or the other.

Recall that these regions had lived as separate regions before 1914. That was how the colonial masters met it. After much deliberation in 1914, they decided that all the regions should become one entity. Thus, they made it one indivisible and indissoluble entity.Information Guide Nigeria

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Separatist agitation in Nigeria started with the Northern region. As early as 1950, Sir Amadu Bello said that the 1914 amalgamation was a mistake. He called it, “The mistake of 1914.” To him, it was better that the regions remained as they had been.History of Separatist Agitations 

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In the constitution conference held at Ibadan in 1950, the delegates decided that the North should produce forty-four representatives in the central house; the East, thirty-three while the West should bring thirty-three. The Emir of Zaria disagreed. He said their share must be fifty. Otherwise, the North will secede (Tamuno, 1970).

Well, the then colonial masters decided to grant the Emir’s request. The North then produced fifty representatives in the then central legislature. The North then stopped their agitation for separation.

That grant of the colonial authorities put the North over all the regions in Nigeria. The position they still desire to maintain until date.Top 10 Most Powerful Spiritual Herbalists in Nigeria

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In 1953, the North came up again with another threat to separate from Nigeria. Again, they felt unsatisfied with the political development at that time.10 BEST CARS TO BUY IN NIGERIA

One thing is very glaring and surprising in all the separation agitations. Whenever a region tried to separate, the other regions disagree and go against the region that is trying to separate.

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Thus, when the North tried to separate, the other two major regions teamed together and stopped them.

1954 was the turn of the Yorubas to come up with their separation agitation. Awolowo and his Action Group were very ready to leave Nigeria. When Awolowo came up with his separation agitation, Nnamdi Azikiwe withstood him and said that the then constitution did not make room for separation.

1964 was the turn of the East to start their agitation for separation from Nigeria. At this time, Dr Michael Okpara spearheaded the separation agitation.

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It was then the turn of the then Premier of the Northern region to stop the East from separating from Nigeria.

In the same year, 1964, the Middle Belt took its turn. Isaac Shaahu decided that the Tiv would become a sovereign state. Again, others went against them and stopped them from separating from Nigeria.

1966 was the turn of Niger Delta. Following the coup that produced Aguyi Ironsi as the Head of state of Nigeria, Isaac Adaka Boro decided to declare the Niger Delta Peoples Republic. To him, he was not ready to live in a country that an Igbo man is ruling.

As usual, others went against him and crushed the Republic. He had only twelve days in his Republic. After twelve days, his Republic ended.Npower recruitment

The king of the separatist agitations in Nigeria since 1914 to date took place in 1967. In 1966, General Aguyi Ironsi emerged as the Head of state of Nigeria. Despite that, in 1967, another military leader from the same Eastern Region, Odumegwu Ojukwu Chukwuemeka, declared the Republic of Biafra.

Ojukwu’s case was not a separatist agitation per se. his own was outright separation. He declared his own country out of Nigeria. This time, it became a fight to finish.dollar to naira rate

As usual, the rest part of Nigeria went against him and his troop. Heavy war broke out. The slogan from the Nigerian side then was, “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.” They fought to keep Nigeria one. They never wanted another country from Nigeria. Nigeria must be one entity.

For about four years, the war between Nigeria and Biafra raged on. Many people were killed just to keep Nigeria one. Much money was lost for the same reason. Things were destroyed. It was a bitter experience.

When the war became so tough, Ojukwu ran to Ivory Coast for political asylum. Things became so tough for his followers that they had no alternative to surrendering to Nigeria. Nigeria became a one Republic once again.

The oneness of Nigeria was enjoyed until about 1990 when the West broke it. They came up with another agitation for separation. They started the agitation for Oduduwa Republic. The Agitation for Oduduwa Republic was still on as at the time of writing this article.WAEC result

In 1999, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike resuscitated the separatist agitation for Biafra. Though Biafra lost the war, he felt there was still need for it being its own sovereign state. He founded the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASOB).

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At this time, Ralph resorted to a peaceful agitation. His experience in the war made him dread another one. Yet, he wanted the Eastern region to be away from Nigeria. He wanted the region to be on its own.JAMB form

In 2012, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu started another separatist agitation. He started his own separatist movement: the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). To him, Ralph Uwazuruike was not doing enough for the actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

To Ralph, the Sovereign State of Biafra can be actualized peacefully. Nevertheless, to Nnamdi, violence is needed for the actualization.

The most recent of all the agitations is that of Indigenous People of Biafra. Nnamdi Kanu has gone everywhere in his bid to actualizing his dream of being in his own country outside Nigeria. He has his own army. He has his own flag, and he has his own radio station.

In all, okra cannot be taller than his owner can. An individual cannot be greater than the federal government. As usual, the federal government went against him. As at the time of writing this article, he was in detention awaiting treason trial. If he is found guilty, the penalty is death.

Going through the history of the separatist agitations in Nigeria since 1914 until date reveals something interesting. All the regions have attempted separating at one time or the other. Whenever a region tries to separate, the other regions refuse that region separating. Even those who shouted to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done during the Biafra-Nigeria war tried to separate thereafter.

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Another thing apparent is the fact that Nigeria is a country that a written constitution is ruling. Nothing can be done outside the constitution. Until the constitution permits separation, separation is almost impossible. All the agitations are a waste of time. The federal government will always go against whoever tries to break the country.

Check it from 1914 till date. No secession attempt has ever succeeded. The civil war was only a waste of lives and money. The question now is, why continue to do what will not yield good results?JAMB Result


All Nigerians need to decide whether to be together or not. An individual cannot decide it all alone.

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Isaiah Atawheke

Isaiah is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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