Nigeria's unity has never been this questioned since the end of the civil war which spanned for over 30-months (1967-1970), as regions now seek to be self -dependent while others call for a restructuring of the country.
The Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River sitting directly on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. This area consists of nine coastal southern Nigerian states, which include: all six states from the South South geopolitical zone, one state (Ondo) from South West geopolitical zone and two states (Abia and Imo) from South East geopolitical zone. Of all the states that the region covers, only Cross River is not an oil-producing state.
Historically and cartographically, it consists of present-day Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States. In 2000, however, Obasanjo's regime included Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River State, Edo, Imo and Ondo States in the region. Some 31 million people of more than 40 ethnic groups including the Bini, Efik, Esan, Ibibio, Igbo, Annang, Yoruba, Oron, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Itsekiri, Isoko, Urhobo, Ukwuani, Kalabari, Okrika and Ogoni, are among the inhabitants of the political Niger Delta, speaking about 250 different dialects.
As the call for both secession and restructuring intensifies, regions have come out to identify where they would better fit in should the country end up being divided and this brings us to the billion dollar question, where would the Niger-delta be better off.
The South eastern part of the country has been at the centre of the secession, with various groups springing forth but with one common goal that the independent nation of Biafra should be created. The groups have been vocal about their stance and any move to pacify them so far has yielded no result. The groups include the Independent People of Biafra(IPOB), Movement for the Actualization of Biafra(MASSOB) just to name a few and they have all maintained their stance even though with different approach.
The South easterners claim they were being marginalized as the reason for the call to be independent and this claim was further proven with the recent constitution of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) board with no single Igbo person on the list.
Scholars have always pointed it out that the unity of a nation is bounded by two main factors 'Beliefs and Religion'.
Northern Nigeria was not same with Southern Nigeria until the British amalgamated them to enable them rule easily, this was done selfishly not considering the beliefs and Religion of the protectorate.
By this amalgamation Britain already set the part to conflict for the nation and to this knowledge, while would the people of the Niger-delta who are predominantly Christians (about 90%) go with the North which is already established as an Islamic enclave while on the other hand, the Biafra republic if it would ever come to fusion is already a Christian in which the Niger-delta would fit in religion wise.
The North has two main tribes namely the Hausas and the Fulanis and they both seem to be driven by same set of belief which is far different from the way the Igbos and Niger-deltans see things. In the North a girl can be married off at a very tender age and it’s not a crime while on the other hand it's strictly prohibited in the Niger-delta, which already would create a conflict of interest if the latter is to side with the North in the eventuality of a break up.
An average Northerner sees a non-Northerner as lesser Nigerian irrespective of where the person hails from, they are born with a 'rule' mentality and this has been the bane of Nigeria's political problem. The North has ruled the country for over 43 years in the nation's 57th year of existing, leaving a paltry 14 years for the other regions combined. Who would want to co-exist with such people? The Niger-delta would not want to be a minority again after years of being so when the opportunity is presented before it. They would surely want to negotiate with a group that share same belief and religion and don't see them as less but rather as brothers and partners in progress.
To this end the Niger-delta region is far off better alone or with Biafra than co-existing with the North who they share nothing with from beliefs to region to religion.
A restructured Nigeria is the best as each region would have to control its resources but if that can't be accepted then the nation is better off separated