The Arewa-IPOB clash: What it means for businesses in the North

by | Jun 14, 2017

The past couple of months have seen a wave of unrest stir up between the Arewa group in the North and the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB). Much of this dispute has been down to the ultimatum by some Arewa youth group asking the Igbos resident in the North to relocate to the East within the next three months.

The move has drawn considerable comments and reactions from supporters and neutrals alike, with leaders from both regions highly in support of the move.

If followed to the letter, Igbo residents across the 19 Northern states in Nigeria will have to move back to their homelands by 1st October 2017. While this is yet to play out, it looks like history repeating itself, bringing to foray some of the scenes that occurred during and after the civil war — that lasted three years. It will be recalled that mayhem struck during the war as many unsuspecting innocent citizens lost their lives. The few surviving ones had to seek refuge (or chased away as the case may have been) at their homelands for fear of being massacred.

However, shortly after the war, affected citizens went back into the ruins to revive what was left of their dilapidated territories. The good thing is that some settled quite quickly into a post-war life and others got help from unlikely sojourners who helped with the rebuilding process. The uncanny sense of oneness displayed among different tribes showed how quickly Nigerians were willing to move on from the past.


Handwritings on the wall to consider

Now that an impending uprising appears to be stirring, there’s every possibility that the North could be at the receiving end of loss when it comes to owning the business landscape. Technically, every side boasts of both human and natural resources to steer its own internal affairs — not as a sovereign state — but the necessity of one overlaps on the other, and that might just prove to be the difference.

For instance, the northerners are known for many things, notably their undeniable position as Nigeria’s largest food basket, but arguably not the astuteness that has seen the Igbos become the nerve of commercialization in any place they reside; even outside the country.

Their dedication to their craft is extraordinary, with an age-long reputation to toil from dusk till dawn, at times, pulling all-nighters and even staying for days at their places of work without going home just to beat production and sales deadlines.

As we would also have it in the modern world, the manufacturing sector is still regarded as a basis for determining a nation’s efficiency. Although the sector wasn’t the best initially, with the shift to petroleum since the discovery of crude oil, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP has risen steadily over the years. In 2016, Q4, the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP was 8.34%, an improvement relative to the decline of 4.3% recorded in the Q3. Much of this growth can be attributed to the witty attitude of Igbo manufacturers who seem to have flooded the market with made in Nigeria products.

Asking that they leave now might precipitate a sudden rise in unemployment owing to the number of small businesses belonging to the Igbos that will be shut down. Not to even mention the mass migration of skills that would follow in the wake of such an action.

Even though it appears to be gathering clout at the moment, there are suggestions that the “Igbo evacuation campaign” dates as far back as 2009. If that is anything to go by, the Northerners (the Arewa group) might just be stalling on the move to force the Igbos out of their territory.

And in an era where technology sets to be dictating the pace of development across the globe, Nigeria is still trying to close in on the West. Our technology exploration last year to the Northern Nigeria revealed a bridge in the level of technological advancement between the North and the South. Despite the obvious pool of talent in the North, one thing that lacked is the real entrepreneurial spirit that can transform a great product to a profitable venture.

Perhaps, a strong marriage of talents from the North with the shrewdness typical of the easterners may just help to harness the full potential of technology in the Northern region of Nigeria. This could even possibly just put the entire animosity to bed once and for all.


Ifeanyi Ndiomewese
Ifeanyi Ndiomewese

Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.

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Kung Lao
Kung Lao
4 years ago

Very one-sided and biased article from a so-called “reputable” tech website. Smh

Looking at the author’s name, I’m not surprised at all anyway. It’s the same “we are saints being persecuted” crap. “They hate us” . “We control this and that”. “They can’t do without us”. I don’t even need to talk about the usual throwing of figures around. I’m used to that already.

People Deliberately Pilfering
People Deliberately Pilfering
4 years ago

I am not surprised your supposed good work in area of technology and innovation has not gained desired patronage by the right people. I initially concluded that mediums such as yours are only there to get insight into other peoples ideas not to provide any support cos I have visited severally and couldn’t see any take home from your posts rather than advertorial style articles and then this…

You have just failed the name Techpoint.. I think you guys should wake up.

Mediums such as your are meant for stimulating talents and nothing more.. The article above has nothing to offer some one seeking motivation to succeed through technology rather a reminder that one exists in a deeply polarized society even though technology age is supposed to help diminish such thoughts.

Please (Ndiomewese Ifeanyi ) do not bother to respond to my view here as there is absolutely nothing you have to defend such a bigoted mindset you have just exhibited.

I had asked my colleague to contact you with our tech idea in the burner but I am now in doubt this medium means good for Nigerian youths giving this opinion or sponsored article.

We shall leave you in peace.

Muyiwa Matuluko
Muyiwa Matuluko(@muyosan)
Reply to  People Deliberately Pilfering
4 years ago

Hello @peopledeliberatelypilfering:disqus I am sorry that you feel this way about this article. It was never intended to be polarising in anyway. The author only seeks to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and brings everything together in a peace-seeking conclusion:

“Perhaps, a strong marriage of talents from the North with the shrewdness typical of the easterners may just help to harness the full potential of technology in the Northern region of Nigeria”.

Nevertheless, it will be reviewed for wording nuances. Thanks for your contribution.

People Deliberately Pilfering
People Deliberately Pilfering
Reply to  Muyiwa Matuluko
4 years ago

Thanks Muyiwa. I was very happy to find your Tech blog.

I am actually not in support of anyone in our generation ..yes youth of today.. seeing any sense in the activities of anti unity of Nigeria. I am a Nigerian that has been privileged to see to some extent the problem causing this agitations, it boils down to greed and selfishness all guided by some personal failure of so people to succeed otherwise in life, so their solace is to disrupt what I see as relative peace which we all need in other to harness abundant opportunities available to real hardworking people to change the present tide and help redistribute our fortunes for betterment of present generation , yet born generation and as a country .

Please lets be fair to everyone… every side has their shortfall but the few positive minds from all sides can really make the difference required to better things for Nigeria.
“Perhaps, a strong marriage of talents from the North with the shrewdness typical of the easterners may just help to harness the full potential of technology in the Northern region of Nigeria”.
Lets keep it so.
I would also like to be educated on what you term as start up in your medium. I hope you can assist me on this. I see a lot of solutions that are pure replication of foreign systems that are referred to as startups. Is the term referring to a business that has just started in Nigeria or an innovation that is very clear to be a first mover with unique features peculiar to the given startup?


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