Leading Separatist Groups in Nigeria

Nigeria, as we have it today, came into being in 1914. Before then, it existed as Southern Nigeria Protectorate, Northern Nigeria Protectorate and Lagos Colony. Lord Fredrick Lugard, the British governor then, deemed it fit that the three regions should come together as one entity. He did this for his convenience. He thought that bringing the three regions together would ease his governance.Information Guide Nigeria

Today, different people interpret that ease of governance differently. The different regions now find peaceful coexistence difficult. Those who find peaceful coexistence difficult now want to separate from Nigeria. They want to form their own country.

Thus, we now have different separatist groups in Nigeria. There are many of them. The two notable ones are the Biafra Republic group and the Oduduwa Republic group.

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Biafra Republic Secessionist Movement

In 2012, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu formed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a separatist group in Nigeria. His major aim in forming the group was to establish the Biafra Republic in the Southeastern part of the country.

Recall that the struggle for the Republic of Biafra did not start today. It started with Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu when he was a military officer. At that time, he was the military governor of the then Eastern Region. He was not satisfied with what he was seeing and experiencing. So he decided to break away from Nigeria.Leading Separatist Groups

In 1967, he declared the Republic of Biafra. Nigerian army halted him. The halt resulted in the civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970.

Biafra army surrendered because of starvation. Nigeria refused to give them food and salt. Nothing was working for them. Therefore, they surrendered.

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After the defeat, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu ran to Ivory Coast. There at Ivory Coast, he was granted political asylum. After some years, he returned to Nigeria. He died here in Nigeria without realizing his dream of having the States of Biafra.

When Ojukwu was pursuing the creation of the states of Biafra from Nigeria, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike was by his side as a young boy. However, he was not too young to know what was going on. He experienced the civil war in full.

After Ojukwu had run to Ivory Coast, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike formed the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASOB). Nigeria saw the movement as illegal. Nigeria then arrested Ralph Uwazuruike and put him in detention.JAMB Result

When Ojukwu returned from Ivory Coast, he went to see Ralph in detention. When Ojukwu died in 2011, the Igbos named Ralph as his successor. Today, Ralph Uwazuruike is the leader of the Biafra Independence Movement (BIM).

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When Ralph formed MASOB, Nnamdi Kalu joined him. They all became members of MASOB. However, Nnamdi Kalu was not satisfied with the way Ralph was running the movement so he left him to form another group.

Having experienced the civil war, Ralph is against violence as that can result in another war. He believes that the Republic of Biafra can still be actualized without war.

Nevertheless, to Nnamdi Kalu, anything can go. He is more violent than Ralph is. He insults leaders anyhow. He has no respect for the elders. Nnamdi’s way of life makes Ralph disagree with him many times. Thus, the fight for the Republic of Biafra is a divided one. Some Igbos agree with Ralph, others agree with Nnamdi and still, others do not want anything like that.How to Check MTN Bonus Balance in Nigeria

Ralph stays in Nigeria but Nnamdi stays both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria since he is also a Briton. If Nigeria becomes too hot for him, he runs overseas. His last arrest was done outside Nigeria.

Since the fight for the actualization of the Republic of Biafra is a divided one, they may succeed. An army started it without realizing it. It is now the turn of civilians. Perhaps, they may be able to succeed where an army failed.

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While the Eastern Nigeria secession movements are fighting for their country out of Nigeria, other Southern Nigeria secession movements are fighting for another country out of same Nigeria.WAEC Result

While Biafra is in the Eastern part of the country, Oduduwa is in the West. The key players of Oduduwa Republic are various with diverse demands and objectives. The Oduduwa Republic, like Biafra, does not have consensus objectives and demands. While some are demanding their own country, others are against it.

Nnamdi Kalu, creating Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) while the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra was in existence, is a clear indication that the two leaders have different agendas. Ralph later changed his movement to Biafra Independence Movement (BIM). All these go to mean that they are divided in their pursuit.JAMB Form

The interpretation is that some Igbos wants to secede while others do not want secession. When we come to the Yorubas, the same thing is applicable. While some Yorubas are agitating for the Oduduwa Republic, some others do not want the republic.

Sunday Igboho, for instance, is not a leader of any group. Yet, he is a very strong agitator for the Oduduwa Republic. He supports any group that comes up to demand the republic.

Dr Frederick Fasehun founded Oodua People’s Congress (OPC). He intended to protect the Yoruba people. He also decided to promote the interest of the Yoruba people. His objectives include:

  • Identifying with the historical origin of the YorubasHow to Check MTN Bonus Balance
  • Gathering all the descendants of Oduduwa all over the world
  • Identifying with the cultural origin of the Yorubas
  • Self-determination of the Yorubas
  • Bringing autonomy to the Yorubas
  • Bringing self-governance to the people in Oduduwa land
  • Reuniting all Oduduwa descendants in the whole world
  • Controlling the economy of Yoruba people

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Frederick does not believe in violence. He believes in a peaceful resolution. To him, effective deliberations can be used to achieve his demand. All that he wants is the creation of the Oduduwa nation from present Nigeria.

Professor Banji-Akintoye is the leader of another secession movement group known as Ilana Omo Oodua. This group is demanding a separate Yoruba nation. The group wants an independent Yoruba country.

Gani Adams is another Yoruba nationalist who wants the Yorubas to break away from Nigeria. To him, the breakaway should be done peacefully. He does not believe in violence.Npower Recruitment

The irony of the whole thing is that not all Yorubas want a separate Yoruba nation from Nigeria. While some groups are demanding a separate Yoruba nation, some other groups are there saying no.

For example, the Yoruba Welfare Group (YWG) does not want any Yoruba nation from present Nigeria. To the leader of this group, Comrade Abdulhakeem Adegoke Alawuje, “those clamouring for the Oodua Republic cannot decide for the Yoruba people.” They are only “attempting to destroy the peace, love and harmony of Yoruba land.”

Therefore, we cannot say categorically that secession is the solution to the problem of Nigeria. If secession were the solution, everyone will see it and agree to it.


Nigerians should find a lasting solution to their problem. Infoguidenigeria will soon publish the solutions to secession agitation in Nigeria. So, keep reading articles on www.infoguidenigeria.com.

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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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