Biafra Separatist Agitations, South East Elites and Political Stability in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic (1999-2020)

  • F. Olalekan Oketokun Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
  • Oluranti Oluronke Ayomola Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
  • Victor Adesiyan Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria


The South East geo-political zone of Nigeria has been the hot-bed of separatist agitations since the beginning of the Fourth republic in 1999. Despite various measures taken by successive governments, the agitations have refused to go instead, it has escalated even with the proscription and outlawing of one the main separatist groups in the zone, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the series of military operations that security agencies have embarked upon in the zone. This paper examines the motives behind the agitations with particular reference to the role of the elites in the matter and how that role has impacted political stability not only in the zone but in Nigeria generally. Specifically, elites have been described variously as a small group of powerful individuals who shape events in the society, they are the more educated, more wealthy, and more sophisticated members of the society whose opinions and world view impact on the society in very profound manner. The study is qualitative as it adopted the phenomenology research design which relied on the ‘lived experiences of the people involved in the phenomenon’ (Kruger,1999; Holloway,1997; Kvale, 1996; Maypole &Davies, 2001) in conducting the research. The study is anchored on the elite theories as espoused by Mosca, Pareto and Michels and relies on both primary (key informant Interviews) and secondary data. Findings from the study revealed that the elite of the South East geo-political zone were more interested in preserving the status quo by non-support to the cause of the agitations. The political elite specifically, were just pre-occupied with protecting their positions both at the state and Federal levels. Study therefore, recommends that the elite should play the role of mediators in the crisis by arranging on bringing the two parties (federal government and agitators) to a roundtable for dialogue and reconciliation. The elite should also try to disabuse the mind of government on the use of force to solve the problem as that has only escalated the crisis with supposedly unknown gun men attacking government agencies and critical infrastructures such as INEC offices, Prisons, Police and military personnel and facilities in the zone amongst others.

Keywords: South East, Elites, Biafra, Separatist Agitations, Political Stability, Nigeria

How to Cite
OKETOKUN, F. Olalekan; AYOMOLA, Oluranti Oluronke; ADESIYAN, Victor. Biafra Separatist Agitations, South East Elites and Political Stability in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic (1999-2020). KIU Journal of Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 4, p. 93-102, jan. 2022. ISSN 2519-0474. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 jan. 2022.