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Ir Paper

1499 words - 6 pages

EMEKA OKOYE.
NEOREALISM AND THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR.
The Nigerian civil war, popularly known all over the world as the "Biafra War" was fought from 2 July 1967 to 15 January 1970.  The war was the culmination of an uneasy peace and stability that had plagued the Nation from independence in 1960. This situation had its genesis in the geography, history, culture and demography of Nigeria. The war was between the then Eastern Region of Nigeria and the rest of the country.  The Eastern Region declared itself an independent state which was regarded as an act of secession by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria. The events leading up to ...view middle of the document...

In Neorealism the international structure acts as a constraint on state behavior so only states whose outcome fall within an expected range survive. Hence the system is seen as similar to a microeconomic model in which firms have to maintain their prices within a certain range in order to stay in the market. The quest for survival causes states to develop both offensive and defensive capabilities which are a sign of uncertainty amongst states. This lack of trust is called security dilemma. In general, states see each other as in a race for similar needs but not in capabilities for achieving them. This uneven distribution is what actually limits cooperation amongst states because of fear of relative gains as a result of the possibility of one state becoming dependent on another. The relative abilities of each state to maximize power and desire for power are the root of international relations.
Elaborating on the first point, the political crisis which was the immediate cause of the civil war itself may be identified as the coup and the counter coup of 1966 which altered the political equation and destroyed the fragile trust existing among the major ethnic groups.  As a means of holding the country together in the last result, the country was divided into twelve states from the original four regions in May 1967.  The former Eastern Region under Lt. Col. Ojukwu saw the act of the creation of states by decree "without consultation" as the last straw, and declared the Region an independent state of "Biafra".  The Federal Government in Lagos saw this as an act of secession and illegal. In addition the electoral fraud which included rigging and irregularities in the election were alleged to be more brazen and more shameful.  Law and order broke down completely leading to an almost complete state of anarchy.  Arson and indiscriminate killings were committed by a private army of thugs of political parties.  Law abiding citizens lived in constant fear of their lives and properties.  Several meetings were held to resolve the issue peacefully without success. Neorealism explains all that has been said above because it is obvious that all that is happening from the text is as a result of lack of central authority and fear of one state being dominated by another. However Neorealism does not explain the fact that to avoid disintegration and promote reunification of the country which was their actual goal so the central government was left with only one choice of bringing  back the Region to the main fold by force .
(Wale Soyinka, “The Nigerian Civil War,” Nigerian History, vol. 1. No.1. , 1990
Secondly, Secession simply put is an act of withdrawing from a membership in a group. In addition, Secession occurs when persons in a country or state declare their independence from the ruling government. When a dissatisfied group secedes, it creates its own form of government in place of the former ruling government. Secessions are serious...

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