Nigerians are "better together"

Journalist and communications consultant Tolu Ogunlesi writes about the re-emergence of secessionist movements in southeast Nigeria in an opinion peace for the New York Times. The 1960s Nigerian civil war put an end to the short-lived independent state of Biafra, but many in the southeast continue to feel neglected by the federal government. Ogunlesi argues that activists should work within the system to achieve their aims. "The reality is that no part of Nigeria has a monopoly on victimhood. The impulse to protest suffering and to seek to determine one's destiny is not wrongheaded; the problem lies in seeking change in a manner that incites ethnic hatred and violence. It would be better for Biafran separatists to drop their calls for independence and push instead for constitutional change that would strengthen the federal system Nigeria purports to practice." Ogunlesi also offers advice for the government. "The best way for the government to permanently sideline those who call for political violence is to push for the economic reforms that President Buhari has vowed to accomplish. Tackling corruption and ensuring more equitable distribution of Nigeria's wealth will benefit all its people. Splintering the country into a hodgepodge of independent states will not."