In the last interview conducted by ChannelsTV, President Buhari, when asked about his opinion on restructuring, brought up the issue of an additional state being demanded by the South-east.
In answering, he said that those who want restructuring have not defined what they mean in their own concept of restructuring. He asked if they want more states, in an attempt to pin the clamour for restructuring on the South-east and also for their quest for an additional state, he asked the South-east people to look at the map, and at whose expense is their demand?
“I have a problem with people from the South-East; they said they wanted another State, as each of the geopolitical zones has six states.” President Buhari said.
The South-east currently has 5 states and wants an extra state to be on a par with other zones which have 6 states each and the North-west having 7 states. On this, the president referred the South-east to look at the map to see how many of the existing states that can contribute to it even as he returned a chuckle, concluding that after that, the demand had died down when the leaders of the zone didn’t return to him.
The South-east is shortchanged when it comes to the number of representation due to it in the National Assembly and the country in general, making the zone the smallest and a minority in the affairs of the country.
Last year, in a similar interview, president Buhari referred to the South-east as a “dot in a circle”. It is obvious that the president is making an issue out of the small geographical space allocated to the South-east on the map of Nigeria.
Either he is bringing it up for attention or he is being sinister at it.
To anyone who is not paying attention, when it comes to propaganda or manipulation of information as regards the actual geographical space and in telling the world about the country, the map of Nigeria is a potent tool for such a message which is direct and impactful.
The map of Nigeria has the entire South-east positioned like a dot, in the midst of the towering sizes of other zones especially the northern zones which presents the South-east zone as the smallest in size. This size seems to keep decreasing and with an attempt to make Igbo land exclusive with the South-east region regardless of the massive land space occupied by the Igbo people outside of the South-east.
This biased information is being taught in the school. A map used in teaching obtained from social media, tells of what is taught in schools.
Not only that a good size of Igbo land is in the North-central and South-south, but the information being propagated, is made to be believed that the whole of Igbo land is only in the South-east.
With the map which gives the world an idea of the size of the region clamouring for a self-rule, it gives the impression of a state which may not be viable even as it is larger than Malta. It is even smaller than some states in the north. With the towering size of the entire northern regions, and the South-east becoming the smallest according to the map, how can this region be in equal partnership with other regions? Why will they desire to have extra state and at whose expense?
So, as the president chuckled while talking about the size of the entire South-east and referring the people to the map, it gives insight to the politics being played with the map, the manipulation and entrenchment of misinformation presented using the map.
A map is a historical tool for presenting information about the world and a location in a simple but visual way. It teaches about the size, shape, and features of a country. The attempt to allocate a tiny space to the region on the map as it relates to the Igbo people is a disservice historically.
It will interest the president that the Igbo people have been at the expense of the politics of domination and systemic marginalistion played in Nigeria which includes the smaller number of states that affect the number of representatives and the gradual regard as a minority. Having looked at the map as directed by the president, it can be redrawn to include the Igbo lands added to the North-central and South-south and with that, two additional states can be created. It is possible and achievable without playing politics; Mr. President.