By Samuel Oyejola
Catalonia is the most industrialized region in Spain. Although the call for independence of this region is century old, the recent push for independence is taking a new dimension.
On October 1st Carles Puigdemont the regional President organised referendum to decide amongst Catalonians whether to be secede or remain an autonomous nationality in Spain. Although the referendum was declared by a constitutional court in Spain as illegal, the Catalonian government claimed 2.3m (barely half of the eligible voters) participated in the referendum where 2m voted for an independent state, in a region with a population of 7.5m.
Although the decision of the Spanish government to disperse pro-Catalonia independence protesters with baton laden police attracted more attention to the call for the independent of the region, France has categorically thrown its support for the government of Spain while no other country in the European Union has publicly indicate any support for the secessionists.
Due to the volatile state of the region, thousands of bank customers have moved their account from the region while businesses and large corporations are beginning to relocate their legal seats from the region to other parts of Spain.
A large crowd recently protested peacefully across Bacelonia for a united Spain. According to The Economist, this is the first time the quite majority is speaking out in a region minority secessionists have a louder voice.
The minority pro independence pushers are better organized than the majority anti-independence who are divided on various lines but agreed on the matter of not creating a new border.
With reality dawned on him, Puigdemont has called for talks with the Spanish government but their government is yet to respond to this olive branch. The secessionists this time are on a lonely journey.
What is the moral of the journey the Catalonia minority has played out to Nigeria, especially to the South-East of the country? Every action has polarized effect. In spite Catalonia being an autonomous region in Spain with more financial autonomy than any other region, leaders push for the creation of a new border.
The economic implication of this is the withdrawal of companies from the region to other parts of the country. This obviously would not be to express their allegiance to the government of Spain but to protect their businesses.
Those calling for the creation of Biafra needs to learn from the development in Catalonia. They must not be cajoled by the support of some countries that have nothing to lose with the breakup of Nigeria. They must never forget the blood of those who died during the civil war. They must put the interest of the region in the front burner and ask themselves if truly what is best for the region is an independent state of Biafra.
Like President Buhari said in his October 1 national broadcast, the elders must tell the younger ones what the civil war was like. If the people of the south east would listen to their inner voice and conscience the trouble with the southeast is not with the government but the south east elites and politicians.
If truly the government at the center has failed the people of the South East, what has been the effort of the states government in the south east? How has the Senators and House of Reps members affected their districts?
Every region has its challenges and opportunities. The refusal of the northern region to embrace formal education over the years produced the boko haram. The last time I checked the region elites did not push the blame on the federal government or any other region.
How does Biafra intend to survive without Nigeria? Who are the crops of leaders sincere enough to paddle the canoe of a new state of Biafra? What magic wand does the likes of Nnamdi Kanu, the state governors, the senators, House of Reps members, and other politicians in the region have for the state of Biafra that that cannot be offered in a unified Nigeria? Like they say even a weeping eye can see clearly.
Let us not be fooled by the machinations of bitter losers. Let us not be carried away by the promise of a better and separate country outside Nigeria. What is good for us all is to agitate for true federalism regional productivity and resource control while the federal manages international relations and external security.