Oil and Conflict in Polarized State of South Sudan: Lessons for Biafra Agitators in Nigeria

Mutiullah A. Olasupo, Solomon Benjamin Adekunle


Sudan has been at war for most of its modern history. Sudan is divided between an Arab, Muslim north and an African south which is largely Christian.  Tension between these two polarized societies has caused Sudan to know only eleven years of peace since independence in 1956. This culminated into the declaration of independence by South Sudan from Sudan on 9 July 2011 and become Africa's first new country since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993. Recently, there has been a renewed struggle for the Republic of Biafra by members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Nigeria and outside the country. Nearly Fifty years after the Biafran War which almost destroyed the unity of Nigeria, its agitators have refused to give up the struggle. This paper opines that while ethnicity and religion have played a significant role, the conflict has mainly been fought over oil. The Marxist theory was employed to explain the politico-economic framework through which oil is being exploited and distributed as mostly responsible for trigging and fueling numerous conflicts within African societies, including agitation for the Republic of Biafra. The paper carefully examines the destruction of the past civil war, or rather of the social mechanisms that brought about the current turbulent experience in the quintessential case of Biafra Agitators in relation to South Sudan. Though the author is aware that it is rather hazardous at this point in time to predict a peaceful and sustainable future for South Sudan, the paper upholds that the initiators of current struggle for Biafra are terrorists and have not learnt from the Sudan catastrophic war before and after its independence. Therefore, the paper recommends systematic Joint-Problem-Solving process of dialogue to be employed by the President Buhari government in engaging these disenchanted Nigerians and that sustainable solution can only come through amicable and harmonious society in which every individual regardless of his religion and ethnicity is treated equally to benefit from the commonwealth.

Keywords: Oil, Conflict, Marxist Theory, Polarization and Sustainable Peace

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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