DOI: 10.36108/IJSI/2202.11.0360


  • Scholastica N. Atata Department of Communication and General Studies, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Nigeria
  • Ayokunle O. Omobowale Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan Nigeria


southeast Nigeria, Nigeria civil war, Igbo, Development, Biafra renaissance


The transition to democratic system of government in Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the emergence of ethnic movement groups. Such ethnic movement groups are the pro-Biafra groups in reaction to perceived socio-political and economic exclusion of the Igbo and reflect the extent of development the people benefit in Nigeria. This study examined the possible effect of Biafra renaissance on the underlying dimensions of development in South-East, Nigeria. Using relative deprivation theory, this study presented
the sense of marginalization expressed by Igbo people and two dimensions of development in South-East, Nigeria. Qualitative methods of data collection and analysis were adopted, these include: in-depth interview, focus group discussion and case study. The data collected in two cities–Aba and Onitsha– were analysed using ethnographic and content analysis. It argued that Biafra holds a value that projects the needs and expectations of Igbo people and suggested the need for peaceful dialogue for socio-political and
developmental changes.


Abrams, D & Grant, P.R. (2012). Testing the social identity-relative deprivation SIRD model of social change: The political rise of Scottish nationalism. British Journal of Social Psychology 51:674–89.

Achebe, C. (2012). There was a country. A personal history of Biafra. USA: Penguin Press

Achuzia, J. O. G. (1986). Requiem Biafra. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers.

Adams, H. (1995). The politics of ethnic identity: comparing South Africa. Ethnic and Radical Studies, 18 (3) 458-475

Adekson A.O. (2004). The civil society problematique: Deconstructing civility and Southern Nigeria’s Ethnic Radicalization. New York and London: Routledge.

Ademoyega, A. (1981). Why we struck. The story of the first Nigerian coup. Ibadan: Evans Brothers Limited

Adeyeri, O. & Adejuwon, K.D. (2012). The implications of British colonial polices on Nigeria’s development. International Journal of Advanced Research in Management and Social Sciences, 1,2: 1-16

Adiche, C.N. (2006). Half of a yellow sun. Lagos: Farafina Agency Report, (2018). Federal ministry of power, works and housing (works sector). Nigerian govt publishes 69 ongoing road/bridge projects in South-east. Retrieved March 13, 2019 from

Ake, C. (1996), Democracy and development in Africa Washington DC: The Brookings Institution

Akinyemi, A.B. (1972). The British Press and the Nigerian Civil War. African Affairs, 71, 285 , 408-426.

Akpan, N. (2013). The struggle for secession, 1966-1970. A personal account of the Nigerian civil war. 2nd edition. New York: Routledge

Alabi-Isama, G. (2013). The tragedy of victory: On the spot account of the Nigeria-Biafra war in the Atlantic theatre. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited.

Amaize, E. Okoli, A. & Nwaiwu, C. (2017). 16% completion of 2nd Niger Bridge: The facts on ground. Retrieved from

Ashforth, B.E & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and organization. The Academy of Management Review, 14:1. 20-39

Atata, S.N & Omobowale. A.O. (2022). Identity capital and Biafra activism in Southeast Nigeria. National Identities, 24, 4, 377-392, DOI: 10.1080/14608944.2022.2055535

Chinda, B. B. (2004). Will this house fall? Atlanta: Ivory Printers Connor, W. (1989). Leninist nationality policy: Solution to the national question. Hungarian Studies Review, 15 (1-2) 23-46

Diamond, S. (2007). Who killed Biafra? Dialectical Anthropology, 31(1:3) 339-362

Duruji, M.M. (2009). Social inequity, democratic transition and the Igbo nationalism resurgence in Nigeria. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 3 (1) 54-65.

Effiong, P. (2000). Nigeria and Biafra: My Story. Aba: Business Forum Publication.

Falode, A. J. (2011). The Nigeria civil war, 1967-1970. A revolution? African Journal of Political Science and International Relation, 5 (3) 120-124.

Fox, G.H. (1995). Self-determination in the Post-Cold war era: A new internal focus? Michigan Journal of International Law 16 (3) 733-781

Gbulie, B. (1989). The fall of Biafra. Enugu: Benlie Harnischfeger, J. (2003). The Bakassi boys: fighting crime in Nigeria. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 41, 1. 23-49

Henderson, E. A & Singer, J. D. (2000). Civil War in the Post-Colonial World, 1946-92. Journal of Peace Research, 37(3) 275-299.

Heraclides, A. (1992). Secession, self-determination and nonintervention: In quest of a normative symbiosis. Journal of International Affairs, 45 (2) 399-420

Hoogvelt, A.M.M. (1977). The sociology of developing societies. United Kingdom: Humanities Press

Hornsey, M. J. (2008). Social identity theory and self-categorization Theory: A historical review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass,2/1, 204–222

Ibeanu, O, Orji, N. & Iwuamadi, C.K. (2016). Biafra separatism, cause, consequences and remedies. Enugu: Institution for Innovation in Development.

Ikelegbe, A. (2005). State, ethnic militias, and conflict in Nigeria. Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, 39, 3. 490-516

Ikpeazu, N. (2000). Post–Biafran marginalisation of the Igbo in Nigeria in Amadiume, I and An-Naim, A. (eds). The politics of memory: the truth, healing and social Justice. London: Zeb Books

International Legal Materials, (1967). Biafra: Proclamation of the Republic of Biafra. 6 (4) 665-680

Islam, R. M. (1985). Secessionist self-Determination: Some lessons from Katanga, Biafra and Bangladesh. Journal of Peace Research, 22,(3) 211-221

Johnson, I & Olaniyan, A. (2017). The politics of renewed quest for a Biafra republic in Nigeria. Defense &Security Analysis, 33 (4) 320-332

Kalu, K.A. (1996). Political economy in Nigeria: The military, ethnic politics and development. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 10 (2) 229-247

Korieh, C.J. (2012). The Nigeria-Biafra war-Genocide and the politics of memory. New York: Cambria Press.

Kumar, P.K. (1991). Relative deprivation and union participation. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 26 (3) 271-277

Lawan, M (2011). Law and development in Nigeria: A need for activism. Journal of African Law, 55 (1) 59-85

Madiebo, A. (1980). The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers.

McNamara, T. (1997). Theorizing social identity: What do we mean by social identity? Competing frameworks, competing discourses. TESOL Quarterly, 31 (3) 561-567

Meagher, K. (2009). The Informatlization of Belonging: Igbo Informal Enterprise and National Cohesion from Below. Africa Development, 34 (1) 31-46

Mimiko, N.O. (1995). Between Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia: the Abacha coup, the national conference and prospect for peace and democracy in Nigeria. Social Justice, 22, 3:61, 129-142

Morning Post newspaper, (1966). Onitsha gateway to east, Nigeria. Saturday January, 15: 8

Nnoli, O. (1995). Ethnicity and development in Nigeria. United Kingdom: Averbury

Obasanjo, O. (1980). My command: an account of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970. Ibadan: Heinemann.

Obianyo, N.E. (2007). Citizenship and ethnic militia politics in Nigeria -marginalisation or identity question? The case of MASSOB. Paper presented at the 3rd Global Conference on Pluralism Inclusion and Citizenship, at Salzburg Austria. November 18-19.

Odunsi, W. (2017). MASSOB regrets causing low turnout of Igbo during 2006 census. DailyPost newspaper, February 24. Retrieved on April 2, 2017 from

Ojukwu, C. O. (1989). Because I am involved. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited

Ojukwu, C.C. (2005). The politics of integration and marginalisation in nation-building: The Igbo question in Nigerian politics. UNILAG Journal of Politics. 2 (1) 130-153

Okonkwo, N. & Alaribe, U. (2016). Stop clampdown on pro-Biafra protesters, MASSOB and IPOB tell SEast, S-South Govs. Vanguard Newspaper February 16

Okonta, I. and Meagher, K. 2009. Legacies of Biafra: violence, identity and citizenship in Nigeria. Africa Development, 34 (1) 1–7

Olutayo, A.O. (1999). The Igbo entrepreneur in the political economy of Nigeria. African Study Monographs, 20 (3) 147-174

Oluwole, O.J. (2014). A political history of Nigeria and the crisis of ethnicity in nation-building. International Journal of Developing Societies, 3 (1) 87-95

Olzak, S. (1983). Contemporary ethnic mobilization. Annual Review of Sociology 9, 355-374

Omeje, K. (2005). "Enyimba enyi": The comeback of Igbo nationalism in Nigeria. Review of African Political Economy, 32(106) 630-636.

Omobowale, A.O. (2009). Nigeria, protest and revolution, 20th century Ness, I (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Oxford: Willey-Blackwell Publishing, 2482–2484

Onuoha , G. (2013). Cultural interfaces of self-determination and the rise of the neo-Biafran movement in Nigeria. Review of African Political Economy, 40 (137). 428-446

Onuoha, G. (2011). Contesting the space: The new Biafra and ethno-territorial separation in South-Eastern Nigeria. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 17(4) 402-422.

Onuoha, G. (2012). Contemporary Igbo nationalism and the crisis of self-determination in Nigeria. African Studies, 71(1) 29-51

Pettigrew, T. F. (2015). Samuel Stouffer and relative deprivation. Social Psychology Quarterly, 78( 1) 7-24

Pitty, R. (2002). Indigenous people, self-determination and international law. The International Journal of Human Rights 5,4, 44

Plotnicov, L. (1971). An early Nigerian civil disturbance: The 1945 Hausa-Ibo Riot in Jos. Journal of Modern African Studies 9 (2) 297–305.

Rodney, W. (1972). How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. London: Bogle-1’Ouverture Publications

Runciman, W. G. (1966). Relative deprivation and social justice. London: Routledge

Silva, E. G. (2015). Social movements, protest, and policy. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 100, 27-39

Smith, H. J & Huo, Y. J. (2014). Relative deprivation: How subjective experiences of inequality influence social behaviour and health. Policy Insights from the Behavioural and Brain Sciences 1(1) 231–238

Stets, J. E. & Burke, P.J. 2000. Identity theory and social theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63 (3) 224-237

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An intergrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin and S. Worchel (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Thoits, P. A & Virshup, L.K. (1997). Me's and we's: forms and functions of social identities. In Richard D. Ashmore and Lee Jussim (eds) Self and Identity: Fundamental Issues,. New York: Oxford University Press.

Todaro, M. (1981). Economic Development in the Third World (2nd ed.). New York: Longman.

Ugwuanyi, S. (2016). Army explains why it attacked protesting MASSOB, IPOB members. Retrieved 6 July, 2018 from

Ujumadu, V. (2013). One killed, 10 injured as police, MASSOB clash in Onitsha. Retrieved January 8, 2015 from

Ujumadu, V. (2017). MASSOB backs national census, regrets action during 2006 exercise. Vanguard newspaper, February 24. Retrieved April 2, from

Ukaegbu, C.C. (2005). Lessons from Biafra: The structuration of socially relevant science in the research and production directorate. Social Forces, 83 (4) 1395-1423

Ukiwo, U. (2009). Violence, identity mobilization and the reimagining of Biafra. Africa Development, 34 (1) 9–30

Uwalaka, J. N. (2003). The struggle for inclusive Nigeria. Igbos to be or not to be. Enugu: Snaap Press Limited.

Uwechue, R. (1971). Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War facing the future. New York: African Publishing Corporation

Vaughan, O. (1995). Assessing grassroots politics and community development in Nigeria. African Affairs, 94 (37) 501-518




How to Cite

Atata, S. N., & Omobowale, A. O. (2023). BIAFRA RENAISSANCE AND THE DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA IN SOUTHEAST, NIGERIA: DOI: 10.36108/IJSI/2202.11.0360. Ibom Journal of Social Issues, 11(3), 52–66. Retrieved from