Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 216

Full Length Research Paper

Cultivating Biafran agenda in Nigeria: Evaluation of the influence of radio Biafra’s rhetoric of ethnic marginalization on rural dwellers in the South-east

IKEGBUNAM Peter C
  • IKEGBUNAM Peter C
  • Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus, Anambra State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
AGUDOSY Fabian I
  • AGUDOSY Fabian I
  • Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus, Anambra State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 06 April 2020
  •  Accepted: 21 October 2020
  •  Published: 31 January 2021

 ABSTRACT

The systematic exclusion of the Igbos from key national leadership positions in Nigeria made the rise of secession-seeking groups and demand for self-government inevitable in the region. IPOB is one of these secession seeking groups which uses its radio station to communicate its agenda. Following its stirring rhetoric and extremist views, much has been heard of the place of radio Biafra in the ongoing IPOB agitation in the south east. Owing to radio’s ability to cultivate social and political realities in the minds of people, rhetoric of marginalization which forms the basis of radio Biafra’s broadcast may not leave people free from thinking of what is being communicated and what could be done to actualize the desired self-freedom which the station cultivates. Against this background, this study examined respondents’ level of exposure to radio Biafra’s broadcast, their perception of the broadcast messages and whether the messages persuade them into believing the course being preached from the station. The study was anchored on cultivation and social exchange theories with survey and FGD as research methods in studying 400 respondents purposively selected from 1,306,739 which forms the population of the study. Findings revealed that respondents believed in the mission but lacks the will-power to realize the dream. The study, therefore, recommended that radio Biafra content presenters should reconsider the messages they dish out to the people to avoid a repeat of the Rwandan episode in Nigeria. It was also recommended that government should look into these marginalization complaints from South-Eastern states.

 

Key words: IPOB, rhetoric, marginalization, social exchange theory, cultivate.


 INTRODUCTION

The Igbo people and the continuous allegations of being marginalized have formed the basis of several crises and loss of lives in Nigeria. Their allegations of marginalization originated from perceived denial of their rights in  the manner at which national leadership positions were distributed in the country for sixty years and counting.  Critically, when considered in line with other tribes, there seems to be a systematic denial of sense of belonging to the Igbo people especially in development and leadership positions. This can be found in what may be described as strategic exclusion of citizens from the five Igbo states from certain position of authority in Nigeria and location of major national industries and facilities in the area. This perceived denial of supposed national rights over the years has placed the Igbos on the verge of complain of being marginalized. In this regard, some Igbo activists capitalize on this perceived marginalization and subjugation of the Igbos to form different secession groups to press home the Biafran agenda. Their major target is to make the younger generations imagine the pains of the Biafran war that ended in 1970 and see the need to support segregation. In the views of these activists, the Igbos is subjected to different kinds of marginalization as a punishment for the Biafran war (Orji, 2001). Unfortunately, all the complaints from the region usually end in wishful thinking. This is because the government of Nigeria uses force to stop any form of orientation aimed at exposing the younger generations to the pains of the war.
 
With its commitment on the agitation and persistent demand for self-government, the IPOB resuscitated the radio Biafran station which was heard last during the war. IPOB strengthened the station and hoisted it on air through the internet such that the government of Nigeria cannot interrupt its activities and operations. This led to the current surge in the renewed agitation for Biafra with the radio station as the major source of communication to the people. 
 
Radio is the widest and most popularly used mass medium in Nigeria. Considering the availability of radio sets in Nigeria, Asodike and Udoh (2014) argued that nearly every household in Nigeria has a radio set. This reason accounts for why researchers say that radio has the highest penetrability to the Nigerian audience, talking to them in the farm, in the house, on the road, while traveling or in the evening stroll using the “walkman” in the office while working and while reading. No wonder coup plotters easily battle to capture Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) to announce their coup (Cappella and Jamieson, 1997) cited in Asodike and Udoh (2014).
 
From the aforementioned postulations and scholarly views, radio has been adjudged to be one of the best and most effective information dissemination means that reach out to different people using their local dialects. Radio can be used to mobilize the people at the grass root level for community development and national consciousness. This is why no serious mass-oriented development program, especially in rural communities in Africa ever succeeds without the active involvement of the people within the traditional system. Nigeria is among the countries with the best environment for media practices given their vibrant media landscape (Nwabueze, 2014). Since the end of the Nigerian Biafran civil war, the Nigerian media environment was characterized by self-censored media practitioners who rather than expose the ills in the society choose to praise the machineries of the government (Ekeanyanwu and Ezeigwe, 2012).
 
Rural programs serve as source of cultural, political, health and other educational and enlightenment programmes for the masses, leading them towards self-actualization and national development. In this regard,  Asemah et al. (2013) opined that much of the failure that attends government mass-oriented program are traceable to the fact that policy makers at the national level fail to utilize this powerful and credible medium. The aforementioned postulation demonstrated that radio has enormous power in shaping realities to its listeners through coverage of political and other national issues. Noticeably, the media environment in Nigeria changed in 2013 following the sudden emergence of Radio Biafra which enlightens its audience on the need for self-determination and governance for the South-Eastern population whose complaints of being marginalized in the scheme of things in the country have spread everywhere in the country.
 
Historically, Radio Biafra was last heard during the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967-1970 when it was used as the Biafran war propaganda medium to champion the Biafran course. The new Radio Biafra, according to its director, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in an interview with the Sun, Newspaper (April 24, 2013) had been broadcasting from London on Short Wave frequency since 2009. The station was later extended to the shores of Africa with particular target audience in Nigeria. The aim of the station is to cultivate the Igbo agenda and inculcate the need and desire for self-government among the Igbos in the South-East.
 
Because of its inflammatory rhetoric and extremist views on the present government under Presidents Buhari, much has been heard of the role of radio Biafra in encouraging the IPOB agitation and activities in the South-Eastern Nigeria. The station had posed a serious threat to the national unity of the country following its determination to secure the long sought self-government through the airwaves. Its ability to by-pass other local stations and broadcast through their frequency makes it impossible for the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to control. The content of the station’s broadcast is carefully calculated and disseminated in such a way that it can appeal to both emotions and pity of the listeners. The messages are rhetorically designed to make the indigenes feel that they are unwanted, very highly marginalized and neglected in the developmental projects and distribution of key leadership position in Nigeria. Consequently, the attention of the government of the federation was attracted by the station for their messages which led to the arrest and detention of Namdi Kanu and three others in 2015.
 
At the event of this arrest, radio Biafra started seeing itself as the ‘sole source of news to the Igbo population in Nigeria. The station further began to see itself as the sole authority and voice for interpreting the reasons behind the arrest of its leader and the need’ for the agitation to enable them win souls from among the population in a view to actualize their dream: self-government. However, the desire and serious determination of the station to inculcate in the minds of the people their views and the height of marginalization meted on the Igbos may not be too far from the position held in Mavric (2012) who affirmed that self-determination is something you take, not something a government gives to you. By applying all kinds of rhetoric in communicating the Biafran agenda, Radio Biafra is doing what they believe they can do to get what they seek. Self-determination encompasses both land rights and self-governance, as land is understood to be the economic (and in some cases spiritual) basis for indigenous communities to be self-governing (The Conversation, 2014).
 
Globally, marginalization of different kinds has caused a lot of issues leading to loss of lives, property and finally secession in different countries of the world. Today, some countries are product of secession- Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia, Bangladesh from Pakistan, East Timor from Indonesia, Algeria from France, The former Soviet republics left from the Russian Federation, Uruguay seceded from Brazil. Greece and Serbia left from the Ottoman Empire and South Sudan seceded from Sudan (Brandon, 2017).
 
Significantly, secession occurs among countries with multi-ethnic nations of different socio-cultural and ethno-religious diversities. Among the basic cause of secession among such nations is injustice and inequality resulting from power imbalance as can be found in Nigeria (Osaretin, 2019). These groups are united by their desire to uphold their sense of oneness and collective identity. Moreover, indigenous leaders around the world is united by the burning desire for their people to be respected, resourced properly and then left to make their own share of mistakes and their own progress (McMullen, 2010). Anything beyond this very desire brings about fear of domination and demand for self-determination which are best expressed through the media. In this regard, IPOB resuscitated radio Biafra to express their perceived marginalization of the Igbos in Nigeria. Radio in a country should influence social and, especially the political fabric. The social objective of using radio to mobilize people in Nigeria is highly noticeable in the area of education, information and entertainment.
 
Unfortunately, the current tempo at which Radio Biafra propagates their self-determination ideology is tilting towards violence in the country. It however suggests that the management of the station has lost believe in achieving the desired effect through peace and legal means and is, therefore, set to wage war with Nigeria if that will accomplish the mission (Ugorji, 2015a). To them, “it is impossible to achieve independence without war and violence” (Government of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), 2014: 15).
 
As a force for social transformation and mobilization for group action, the media handlers in radio Biafra station have intensified efforts towards persuading the Igbos and their supporters both from within and outside Nigeria. The possible outcome of these efforts may generate the strong and undiluted feelings of being marginalized among the populace because of the language of the messages dished out concerning the war, non-locations of life aiding infrastructures facilities in the east and power imbalance in the country. These revelations are tailored in a way that can make the Igbos feel more cheated, neglected and forcefully captured in the country. Such media contents when frequently dished out to a people may instigate reaction as a response or feedback to the message. The radio station kept on bombarding communities and individuals constantly with messages that encourage hatred of the leadership of the country and at same time promote the desire among the people to join the ongoing IPOB agitation. These messages promote moods, attitude, and a sense of what is and what is not important. It is worthy to note that the evolution of radio Biafra in Nigeria served as a great boost to the tempo of the Biafran agitation of this recent time, heightening the political, social and ethno-religious issues in Nigeria nation. This view is strongly supported by Onabajo (2000), where he opined that broadcasting has the power to work within a political system or against it, oil or ease the social, ethnic, religious and economic wheels of a country.
 
The views expressed earlier corroborated that of Berelson (1953) cited in Agbanu (2014: 107) who argues that some kinds of communication on some kinds of issues brought to the attention of some kinds of people under some kinds of condition, have some kinds of effect. This study, therefore, seek to examine the influence of the rhetoric applied by radio Biafra in communicating the Biafran agenda on old and young listeners in remote areas of South-Eastern Nigeria.
 
Statement of problem 
 
The development of every nation is the peaceful co-existence of its population therefore, peace and social harmony is the desire of any nation state (Owuamalam, 2016). Breeding disharmony among the citizens of a state is what caused Rwanda the landmark genocide record around the world in 1993-94 which was motivated by Radio Rwanda. Actually, Nigeria is going through the rigorous challenges of agitation, hate speech and counter operations in a bid to secure a united Nigeria. The agitators have their reasons for their actions and believe that it is right to share their views through the radio Biafra for others to hear and understand their take. No doubt, agitations of all kinds are likely to introduce conflicts which may disrupt national peace and security. Agitations, especially the IPOB agitation for self-government  in Nigeria had facilitated some bloody clashes most of which culminated in loss to lives and property.  Yet, the radio Biafra had not ceased to propagate the ideas that encourage different kinds of agitations to different audience using heart-touching and marginalization inspiring rhetoric. This is a social problem that its influence on the recipients is worthy of investigation. Though studies on the Biafran agitation abound, little attention has been given to the influence of radio Biafra’s rhetoric of ethnic marginalization on the Igbo people of Nigeria who forms the target of the message. Understanding the rhetoric of radio Biafra station and its influence on the citizens of the South-Eastern Nigeria is very important given the wave of events resulting from the actions of IPOB and their supporters within and outside Nigeria. Providing the views held among old and young respondents on the ongoing Biafaran agitation is the gap that this study is set to fill.
 
Scope of study
 
This study covered both youths and elderly persons in South-Eastern Nigeria but specifically only those who listen to radio Biafra. The study cut across remote areas of Imo, Anambra, and Abia states. Areas in the select states that are urban were not selected for this study. The implication of this scope is that the study recommendation should be based on the selected locations under investigation. The choice of the mentioned states was formed by the fact that the activities of IPOB agitation is more pronounced in the states.
 
Justification of the study
 
This study aims at revealing the relationship between the rhetoric of radio Biafra and the people’s mind in the south east. Given the impact of radio Rwanda in the 1993-1994 world genocide history, this study will draw public attention to the impending danger that radio Biafra use of rhetoric in communicating the Biafran agenda can pose to the unity of the country. While exposing the views of the youths vis-à-vis the elders in the south-eastern part of the state on Biafra, this study will serve as a means of explaining the influence and power of communication on the people. Again, this study will draw attention to the constitution of this country with a view to ascertain the rights of the people to self-determination under its jurisdiction. This will help Nigerians to understand what the law permits and what it do not permit.
 
Again, the study can serve as a way of exposing the dark history behind the resuscitated IPOB agitation of this recent time. While suing for careful choice of words by radio Biafra broadcasters, this study will open a call for an accountable leadership and provision of security for all Nigerian without discrimination of any kind. This study  in another development will provide a leadership template for the management of the political, religious, ethnic and scarce resources which forms the bases of the radio Biafra choice of words in championing the Biafran agenda. It is the position of this study that unaccountable and unjust management of collective resources is the brain behind different kinds of agitation in Nigeria, IPOB inclusive and therefore should be silenced only if the needed accountable and all inclusive leadership is instituted in the country by those at the control of the steering. Finally, this study will add to retinue of studies on Nigeria and the Biafran agitation by different pro-Biafran groups in the country. Subsequently, the study looked at relevant theories that can provide a bearing for proper understanding of its findings.
 
Theoretical framework
 
In keeping with the scholarly importance of theories to social science research, this study was anchored on the cultivation theory of mass communication which explains "how media cultivate attitudes to the people through repeated publication of a given content through rhetoric. The study was also anchored on the social exchange theory which looked at the people’s desire to take an action over a communicated message from the perspective of cost/benefit analysis.
 
The cultivation theory
 
This theory was developed by Gerbner and Gross (1976) in their study on the effects for extensive use of TV programs. The position of this theory according McQuail (2010: 553) is that the more people are exposed to media contents, the more their ideas correspond to the communicated content. This theory becomes apt for this study as it explains how radio Biafra audience’s exposure to the rhetoric of the station cultivates the realities of Biafra in their minds. It will be on the regular and seldom exposure to the rhetoric by the consumers and their reaction to the contents they have been exposed to overtime.
 
The basic assumption underlying the cultivation or enculturation approach is that repeated exposures to consistent radio Biafra portrayals and themes on ethnic marginalization of the Igbos is likely to influence their listeners’ perception of Nigeria and encourage their quest for the actualization of the Biafran state in the direction of the radio portrayals. Some research studies indicated that media portrayals of certain topics could have an impact on audience perceptions, particularly if the media were the main information sources to the people on that particular issue (Ezeh, 2009). The monotony of radio Biafra’s communication of the Biafran agenda makes it the  only  source  of   information on  the Biafran  state actualization among the South Easterners. This theory says that media cultivate or constructs a reality of the world that, although possibly inaccurate becomes accepted simply because we as a culture believe it to be true. The researchers base the judgments about the listeners’ perception of Biafra on this cultivated reality provided by radio Biafra through its constant dissemination of issue relating to gross marginalization and ethnic hatred of the Igbos in Nigeria. Cultivation theory was adopted in this study as a result of the concern over the effects of radio Biafra contents on the need for the actualization of Biafran state. This theory has been applied to countless other media-cultivated realities such as beauty, sex roles, religion, the judicial process and marriage in television studies. In all cases the assumptions are the same, the radio, like the television cultivates realities among audience.
 
In line with this, radio Biafra’s use of rhetoric in communicating the Biafran agenda may not leave the listeners without any impulse that can trigger reactions either for or against the mission. It may not be out of place that the station is making its audience had a rather distorted view of their social system and the true position of things in the leadership of the country which they maintain is chiefly against the Igbos.
 
Therefore, cultivation theory is concerned with the total, not individual impacts of communication through the radio where people (including youths) attempt to learn and cultivate their predisposition from experience which they have obtained through radio messages especially on issue of national concern which affect their fortune in the Nigerian state. One negative effect of this is that, radio Biafra’s messages may not generally present the realistic view of the Biafran agitation to the people. Cultivation theorists argue that broadcast media have long term influences which are small, gradual, indirect but cumulative and significant (Baran, 2009). This same thing applies to radio, which sometimes uses the people’s dialect to present an issue to them in a manner they will always remember it. This theory argues that the mass media cultivate attitudes and values which are already present in a culture: the media maintain and propagate these values amongst members of a culture, thus, binding it together (Baran, 2009).
 
Cultivation research looks at the mass media as a socializing agent and investigates whether radio listeners come to believe the message version of reality the more they listen to it from the radio (Okeoma, 2012). The research contends that radio messages targeted at some kinds of people under some kinds of condition, have some kinds of effect. In this study, the South Easterner are in some kind of condition which is to support Biafra and face the war imminent or remain marginalized in Nigeria since signs of restructuring the system for the better is never at sight. People who listen frequently to radio Biafra are likely to be more influenced by what they hear from the station which may move them from their love for Nigeria and its leadership to desire to secede.
 
Based on the nature of this study, the researchers consider this theory relevance following its ability to explain the influence of radio Biafra’s rhetoric on the listeners concerning the communicated Biafran state agenda in respect to the alleged gross marginalization of the people in the area under study.
 
The social exchange theory
 
The social exchange theory propounded by Homans (1958) posits that every human being considers the cost and the benefit of any offer by a marketer before deciding to buy and use the product or service offered by the marketer (Njoki, 2013). Further the theory also indicates that to arrive at a decision, a customer weighs the value provided by the product or service and compares this to what other competing firms in the society offer before choosing to buy or not to buy.
 
Social exchange theory is a social psychological and sociological perspective theory that explains social change and stability as a process of negotiated exchanges between parties. Social exchange theory posits that human relationships are formed by the use of a subjective cost benefit analysis and the comparison of alternatives. The theory has roots in economics, psychology and sociology. Social exchange theory features many of the main assumptions found in rational choice theory and structuralism. It is also used quite frequently in the business world to imply a two-sided, mutually contingent and rewarding process involving transactions or simply exchange.
 
The individuals therefore, are expected to consider the costs of their behaviour-monetary gains and future impacts that can follow up an action taken as a result of media message adoption and acceptance. If actually, they buy this idea to engage in an action to get Biafra, what is the benefits such behavior will provide in both short and long term bases?
 
Actually, while dishing out the rhetoric of marginalization and hatred by radio Biafra, they have their target audience at heart. The people who they want to sell their ideas to and the people who will serve the secondary audience to influence others into accepting what is communicated. The position of this theory is that people accept to act in a particular manner if they consider the benefits of engaging in the action or the new cultivated behaviour to outweigh the costs of embarking on such behavior.
 
Moreover, this theory shares the same aspiration with the uses and gratifications theory which presupposes that the world have transcended from what the media contents do to the audience to what the people do with the media contents (Agbanu, 2013: 176; Nwabueze, 2014: 47; Nwodu, 2007: 141). It is pertinent to also state that the theory shares the same view with the theory of reasoned action which according to Glynn cited in Agbanu (2014),  opines that the that humans are rational beings and as a result, calculate the cost and benefits of their actions and inactions before taken decision on media messages.
 
Relating this theory to this current study, the message of marginalization and hatred meted against the Igbos as portrayed in the rhetoric of radio Biafra have been received by the respondents but whether they buy the idea and as well act in the direction of the message is by this theory seen as a matter of exchange controlled by observed cost/benefit analysis. Given that the study has to do with what language use got to do with the audience of the media, the researchers also looked at the concept of rhetoric.


 RHETORIC: A BRIEF REVIEW

Rhetoric is built on persuasion and meanings of the words that are used by a medium in communicating a desired action. The rhetoric used among radio Biafran presenters in seeking their Biafran agenda can change the views of the people about Nigeria if persuasive enough for the idea of marginalization of the Igbos in Nigeria. This is because of their exposing the Igbo population to various activities and actions of the government of the federation suggestive of the fact that the Igbos is second class citizens in the country.
 
As a powerful means of persuading an audience into acting in an expected communicated manner, Li (2016) argue that rhetoric is a persuasive artistic means of communication capable of shaping society. According to Beqiri (2018) rhetoric motivates specific audiences in specific situations. The Biafran agitation sets the center stage for examination and re-examination of the Nigerian leadership for sixty years and counting. The rate of negligence and lack of federal presence in the South East Nigeria crowned by the appointment of the ongoing administration paved the way for the Biafran radio presenters’ rhetoric to penetrate the people. Significantly, radio Biafran presenters adopt deliberative rhetoric in dishing out their messages to their audiences. Deliberative rhetoric is that kind that examines previous happenings and events, presenting them in perspective to the current situation with the aim of getting the listeners to act in a predetermined manner (Beqiri, 2018). Through this kind of rhetoric, radio Biafran presenters or rhetors expose the people to the weakness and the injustice against the Igbos by the Nigeria and its government since 1970.
 
Drawing from this scholarly position in Li (2016) and Beqiri (2018), the rhetoric of ethnic marginalization as being communicated to the population of Igbos in Nigeria can shape their views and support for the continued agitation for Biafra. The strength of rhetoric in shaping human behaviour was captured in Eyman (2015: 24) where the author supports the views among contemporary rhetoricians that rhetoric can affect people's behaviour. This implies that if the presenters become successful in convincing the Igbos into buying the Biafran agenda, their behaviour will likely shift from the idea of one Nigeria to the desire for Biafra. Through their use of rhetorical modes, the presenters have had a place in the minds of their listeners, the question that this study is set to answer is whether these audiences of the radio Biafra are ready to act in the direction that they are being informed. At this point, this study looked at the relations between setting and acting the cultivated Biafran agenda by the Igbos in Nigeria.
 
Setting vs. acting the Biafran agenda
 
Drawing from the postulations of the two theoretical frameworks reviewed earlier, it is clear that one thing is to cultivate a particular behavior among the people and another thing is for the people to adopt and accept to participate in the change behavior communicated. The position of things as it concerns the Biafran agenda remains that the Igbos are feeling marginalized in the Nigerian state. Given the condition of the people, the only thing that can appeal to them is to seek for self-government from the Nigerian system which they have seen and concluded to be totally against their well being. Having dashed off all sense of futurity in the country, the Igbos were left with no option than to secede from Nigeria.
 
The rhetoric of marginalization and ethnic sentiments that characterize the radio Biafran station may not be enough to motivate the people into taking the desired decision of turning violence in their resolve to achieve Biafra. It is the views of radio Biafra that the Igbos are deprived of things of high importance or necessity in their society such as status, money, rights and justice among others. The station therefore tends to instigate social movements in order to register their grievances or dissatisfaction for attention to be given to them. It is the belief of Ezemenaka and Prouza (2016) that people who are deprived of things of importance in their society collaborate to join social movements with a view to agitate for a better tomorrow. While citing Singer (1992), Flynn (2009) noted that fraternal deprivation may strengthen a group’s collective identity and draw their attention into taking group action.  Unfortunately, this becomes possible only if the people have the will power to do so. Drawing from this, it could be possible that the respondents in this study through the rhetoric of radio Biafra have adopted the required change of attitude of supporting Biafra even if its actualization can lead to violence, but after considering what they are likely to put in as a sacrifice, they choose to remain marginalized in the country. The aforementioned view was captured succinctly in Thompson et al. (2016) who stated that by May 1967, it was obvious that most easterners preferred secession to any other form of association with the rest of the Nigerian
 
Kendall (2005) argues that the ‘will’ suggests that individuals are propelled into, or determine to join, a social movement whose activity they believe can address their discontent or marginality within society and work to resolve the prejudices they face. In other words, individuals who engaged in social movement activities believe in the strength of their ‘willpower’ to help them achieve meaningful results. Unfortunately, any sort of denial or removal of this willpower prevents some individuals from joining the group action for the actualization of the desired group objective, despite facing the same problems, deprivation, marginalization injustice or issues as those who join social movement activities. This is exactly the case with IPOB and the federal government. The IPOB wanted to secede, but the Nigerian government is denying them the right to secede and by so doing make use of their security agents to destabilize their efforts towards achieving the Biafran dream.
 
The main hindering factor against the people’s desire to move for the Biafran dream is the fact that they take decision of their own as a planned action considering the pros and cons of the action they are about to take. This reason accounts for inward support and prayers for the actualization which lacks physical backing and general participation among the people. Invariably, the majority of people of South Eastern Nigeria may want Biafra inwardly but the solemn sacrifice of war for the actualization of the dream is what is lacking in them and this may account for why federal government is never ready to allow for referendum. The end point of all these is that the media can succeed in telling the people what to do but may not be too strong to force the people to do it. To add to knowledge, this study looked at the evolution of the current radio Biafra with special attention to its modus operandi.
 
Radio Biafra: A brief historical evolution
 
Radio Biafra is a radio station established by the defunct government of the republic of Biafra during the Nigeria-Biafra war from 1967 to 1970 to champion the Biafran war propaganda (Omaka, 2017). The radio station was the official radio of republic of Biafra that existed from 30th May 1967 to 15th January 1970. Biafra took its name from the Bight of Biafra (the Atlantic bay of its south) (Ugorji, 2015b). The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria.
 
On the 30th of May, 1967, Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Eastern Regions military governor, pronounced the republic of Biafra, citing the killing of easterners in the post-coup violence as a major reason for the break-up. The large amount of oil in the region also created conflict, as oil was a major component of the Nigerian economy (Minahan, 2002: 762). The need for radio broadcast became imperative for Biafra because during  the  war, newsprint  was  very scarce and the government owned newspaper, the Biafra Sun, could print very few copies. Addressing this challenge, Nkpa (1977: 334) notes that:
 
The major difficulty in the dissemination of information was the fact that only about 15 percent of the population of Biafrans is literate. The commonest source of information for the average citizen was by word of mouth, a situation that is known to be very conducive to the formation of rumors. Radio remained the only channel through which the Biafra government could communicate to the populace both in English and in local dialects.
 
Nkpa (1977: 4) further states that, “the radio, the newspapers and official pronouncements were not very much trusted, and the average Biafran made no distinction between radio broadcasts and official pronouncements”. He explained that “the two came from the same source the radio and were regarded as one and the same thing”, hence “transistor radio which were owned by many young men were very useful both to the literates and the illiterates as those who cannot understand the broadcasts in English can understand the ones in vernacular” (Nkpa, 1977: 4). Being a study set on the ethnic marginalization, the researchers further looked at the Igbos in Nigeria and their alleged marginalization.
 
The Igbos and the concept of marginalization in Nigeria
 
After the civil war in 1970, to create enabling conditions for the unity of all Nigerians and facilitate the reintegration of Biafrans, the then military head of state of Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon, declared “no victor, no vanquished but victory for common sense and the unity of Nigeria.” Included in this declaration was a transitional justice program popularly known as the “3Rs” - Reconciliation (Reintegration), Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Unfortunately, the genocide committed against the Igbos during the war was not addressed by any court neither did any government did anything to perpetrators of the genocide (Odoemene, 2012; Ugorji, 2015b, 2017). As noted by Morgen (2016), in reality, the recurring secession attempt is the result of a buildup of the various illogicalities within the Nigerian state. Various constitutions had been negotiated and adopted prior to 1966, but none addressed the fundamental social differences, ethnic imbalances, economic competition and political tensions that the Nigerian state struggled with.
 
Because the postwar transitional justice program was inefficient, and failed to address the human rights abuses and genocidal crimes committed against the Igbos during the war, the painful memories of the war remains green in the minds of many Biafrans even sixty years after. According to Ugorji (2017), war survivors and their families are still suffering from intergenerational trauma of the war till date. In addition to trauma and yearning for justice, the Igbos in the southeast of Nigeria feel completely marginalized by the federal government of Nigeria. Since the end of the war, there has not been an Igbo president in Nigeria neither had an Igbo man held a sensitive position in the political equation of the country where they were said to have been reintegrated after the war. Integration in Nigeria is very hard as each ethnic group struggle to maintain dominate the others, no trust and no sense of unity among them (Ekanola, 2006; Heywood, 2007; Udebunu, 2011). Nigeria has been ruled for over forty years by the Hausa-Fulani from the north and the Yoruba from the southwest. And this fact makes the Igbos feel they are still being punished because of the aborted session of Biafra (Folarin et al., 2014).
 
In the light of the discrimination that characterizes the inhabitants of the country, people vote along ethnic lines making it highly unlikely that the Hausa-Fulani that constitute the majority in Nigeria and the Yoruba (the second majority) will vote for an Igbo presidential candidate. The implication of this is that an Igbo man had no hope of becoming the president because, even he contests, the voting strength is against him and he will lose. This makes the Igbos feel frustrated and completely deprived of what they consider very important to ensure their wellbeing in the country. Because of these issues, and given that the federal government has failed to address the issues of development in the southeast, new waves of agitation and a renewed call for another Biafran independence have emerged both from the region and within the Diaspora communities abroad (Ugorji, 2017).
 
In terms of development, there was no seaport in the South East and the one in Portharcourt that may be closer by is not working. There is only one international airport and no railway line in the entire region. These and many other kinds of infrastructural decay in the area point to the suspicion among many proponents of the Biafran agenda that the country did not want the progress of the Igbo man. Dredging the river-Niger to serve as a link to encourage sea transportation will help the Igbos who are mostly merchants to deliver their merchandize from abroad, but that has formed a political bait to lure the people in the area into voting for a presidential candidate year in year out. 
 
Empirical literature
 
Since the resurgence of the Biafran agitation in Nigeria from the Uwazurike days to this current Kanu era, researchers have been examining the possible causes and developments on the agitations and the possible threats that it pose to the unity of the Nigerian state. Akinyetun (2018) examined the Biafran agitation from the points of views of the causes of the renewed agitation in this recent time. The study was carried out using a library method which gave the researchers the opportunity to examine literatures on the issues concerning the Biafran agenda since 1966. The study found that the resurgence of the Biafran agitation of these current days is based on issues relating to marginalization, economic imbalance, social alienation, ethnic suspicion and superior-subordination contestation which are rampant in the system. The researcher recommended deployment of peacekeepers and builders while efforts should be made to utilize the different forms of peacemaking initiatives such as negotiation, mediation, settlement, and tracks of diplomacy (Diamond and McDonald, 2013; Ramsbotham et al., 2011) to resolve the Biafra conflict. The researcher also proposes three levels of peacemaking processes of Intra-group Dialogue within the Biafra separatist movement; conflict settlement between the Nigerian government and the pro-Biafran movement and multi-Track diplomacy to reach out to all ethnic groups especially the Hausa Fulani Moslems and the Igbo Christians.
 
Unfortunately, this study did not address the need of the Biafran agitators which hinges on good governance or true brotherhood devoid of marginalization of any kind. The study is therefore different from the current one in the sense that as the previous one is a library study, the current one is empirical which is looking at the recipients of the radio Biafra messages in the south eastern state bearing in mind the impact of the message of marginalization brought to them under the condition of being short-changed in what was supposed to be collective property. This study is much more concerned with the relationship between the messages received and the will power to engage in an action as a result of the communicated contents.
 
In another study, Chiluwa (2012b) set out to find the reason for the persistence agitation of the Biafran agenda in Nigeria despite all efforts by the government of the country to bring to a halt the agitations at different times. The study was based on the use of social media networks by the agitators to send across their messages to the wider world. The study applied a sociolinguistic-based Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to investigate how sociolinguistic issues such as virtual community, identity, language variations and social interaction are used to project self-determination and the struggle for political independence. The study found that the Igbos are gradually getting themselves mobilized for the Biafran agenda through the social media encouraged by increased internet enabled devices that are rampant in the society today. This study agrees that there is danger for the unity of the country in the face of determination for self-government among the Igbos. As this current study is concerned with the rhetoric used in communicating the marginalization of the Igbos, the previous one is concerned with the use of social media as a mobilization instrument for championing the Biafran agenda among the Igbos.
 
Similarly, Egwu (2016) used the deprivation, rising expectation and frustration aggression theory to examine the causes of popular movements particularly MASSOB and IPOB self-determination quest as against the Nigerian state position on the issue. This study also used library research method to examine literature on the renewed agitation of the groups for the Biafran cause in Nigeria. The study found that the causes for this renewed agitations for self-determination is as a result of the inability of the Nigerian state to give the people sense of belonging at the centre. The researcher condemned in entirety  the act of using military might and the judicial system alone in seeking to resolve conflicts with ethnic and religious components in Nigeria which he said, will rather lead to further escalation of the conflict as military intervention and the retributive justice that follows did neither have within themselves the tools to uncover the hidden animosities that fuel the conflict nor the skills to get the required data to transform the “deep rooted conflict by eliminating structural violence and other underlying causes and conditions of deep conflict” (Cheldelin et al., 2008: 53). On this ground, the researcher while citing Ugorji (2012) recommended, a paradigm shift from retributive policy to restorative justice from coercive policy to mediation and dialogue.
 
Again, this study looks at the causes and not the influence of the use of mass media in communicating the Biafran agenda and the possible implication among the people to whom the rhetoric were dished out.
 
Other studies include Ezemenaka and Prouza (2016) where it was concluded that Nigeria is seen as a fragile state. This fragility according to Fund for Peace (2016) reveals the weakness or ineffectiveness of the central government to exert practical control over much of its territory; low-provision of public services; widespread corruption; criminality; refugees; involuntary population displacement; and sharp economic decline. The method of this study is different from the current one which is particularly looking at the influence of the radio use in the propagation of the Biafran agenda in the minds of the Igbos populace in the south eastern Nigeria.
 
In another study, Onuoha (2014) sees the Biafran crisis as more of generational action that questions the old power to stand for the Igbo of today in the height of this political marginalization suffered by the people of the region since the return to democracy in 1999. In his view, the crisis is more of the voice that will be speaking for the Igbos in the national level for the recognition and inclusion in the political equation of the country which they have seen to have completely eluded them for long now. This is what caused the aggression that sustained the continued agitation for self-government from Nigeria by IPOB.
 
Similarly, in his dissertation, titled “Forging a Nation while losing a Country: Igbo Nationalism, Ethnicity and Propaganda in the Nigerian Civil War 1968-1970” Doron (2011) concluded that the Biafrans lost what they sought to gain carelessly following Ojukwu’s trust in western aids which they enjoyed from both French and European machineries which could have helped him secure the future of the Igbos from the war by suing for peace. The study was also conducted using the library method in exploring literature concerning the Biafran case in the country. The author finally explained that the Igbos are still leaking the wound of the war and can never be contented in the country unless they are seen as part of the country which he confirmed is not forthcoming in the Nigeria of this generation. 
 
Finally, Thompson et al. (2016) examined the history of the Igbos in Nigeria, their status and agitation for self-determination as well as the response of the Federal government over time concerning their agitation. These scholars concluded that the Igbo question is one of the most unity-threatening issues in the country which the state had failed to address. They acknowledged that the choice of self-determination is inalienable but maintained that any group that wants self-government must follow due process rather than a means for seeking attention, personal aggrandizement or political subversion while advising the federal government, to approach issues of this nature through dialogue and an all-inclusive policies rather than the use of military force. It was observed from the study that self-determination is not new in world political landscape but the Nigerian constitution contravenes the international law in this regard. This study was also conducted from available literature of the state of Biafra and Nigerian leadership. Very much unlike this current one which set to examine the relationship between what the recipients of radio Biafra messages and their actions after being exposed to those contents which are very much like the contents of the radio Rwanda of the 1993-94 which gave birth to the Rwandan genocide.
 
Research objectives
 
This study aims at the following objectives:
 
(1) To ascertain the respondents’ frequency of exposure to radio Biafra rhetoric of ethnic marginalization.
(2) To ascertain if their exposure to the radio Biafra increase their knowledge of the need for continued agitation for the actualization of the state.
(3) To ascertain if their exposure to the station increase their believe in the generality of alleged marginalization of the Igbos in the Nigerian political equation
(4) To find out if there is a significance difference in views expressed by the young and elderly respondents after being exposed to radio Biafra
(5) To find out if they can support violence means of achieving the Biafran dream since radio Biafra had seen legal means as unattainable.
 
Research questions
 
This study was guided by the following research questions posed from the research objectives set earlier:
 
(1) What is the respondents’ frequency of exposure to radio Biafra rhetoric of ethnic marginalization?
(2) Does exposure to the radio Biafra increase respondents’ knowledge of the need for continued agitation for the actualization of the state?
(3) Does respondents’ exposure to the station increase their belief in the generality of alleged marginalization of the Igbos in the Nigerian political equation?
(4) Is there any significance difference in views expressed by the young and elderly respondents after being exposed to radio Biafra?
(5) Are the respondents ready to support violence means of achieving the Biafran dream since radio Biafra had seen legal means as unattainable?


 METHODOLOGY

This study was based on mixed method. The survey research method and focus group discussion (FGD) were used to enable the researcher obtain both qualitative and quantitative data for the study.
 
Area of study
 
This study is premised in South-Eastern Nigeria which comprises Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. The reason for premising this study in this part of the country is because they are the region that complains of being marginalized in the Nigerian political equation which leads to the renewed agitation for the Biafran state by IPOB. The study will cover only listeners from Anambra, Abia and Imo states given that these are the states where the agitation is more pronounced with the attending harms done to the people and their properties.  
 
Population of the study
 
In Anambra State, the researchers selected Dunukofia with a total of 124,000, Ayamelum with a total of 203,200 and Ekwusigo with a total of 203,500. In Abia State, the researcher selected Arochukwu with 221800, Umunneochi with 213700 and Ohafia with 322,200 local government areas while the Mbaitolo with 32700, Okigwe with 182700 and Orlu with 196600, making a total of 1,973,093 projected to 2018 to be 2,061,014 from where the researchers selected 400 respondents using Taro Yameni sample size determination formular.
 
Sampling technique
 
This study used the purposive sampling technique which allows the researcher to examine participants based on their knowledge and exposure to radio Biafra and its rhetoric of ethnic marginalization. The reason for the use of purposive sampling technique was to enable the researchers to select only those who are exposed to the station’s contents. The reliability of these instruments was tested using the test-retest reliability testing method.
 
Data collection methods
 
This study applied the survey and focus group discussion as the research method. The application of these two research methods helped the researchers to provide qualitative and quantitative views from the audience under study and as well ensure that any empirical lapse observed in one method is taking care of by the other. The researchers used the questionnaire and the interview guide as instrument for data collection.
 
Data presentation and analysis
 
All qualitative and quantitative data generated from the field were presented descriptively using frequency tables and percentages. The results and findings were discussed in relation to previous studies and theoretical frameworks adopted in the study. 
 
Table 1 reveals that the respondents are well exposed to radio Biafra and its rhetoric of marginalization used in cultivating the Biafran agenda. It conveys the accessibility of the station among residents of South Eastern Nigeria.
 
Information from Table 2 demonstrated that the peoples’ exposure to the radio station and their rhetoric serves as a source of information on the marginalization and suffering of the people of the Igbos before, during and after the war with Nigeria. Their response revealed that the radio has succeeded in cultivating the need for agitation at least if not to achieve a separate state, to secure a better situation unlike what obtained now in the country.      
 
From the data in Table 3, it can be observed that the majority of the people understudy nurse the belief that the Igbos in Nigeria are being marginalized as a result of their exposure to the radio Biafra station and personal experience from living in Nigeria.
 
Table 4 demonstrates that though the people have been exposed to the radio Biafran rhetoric of ethnic marginalization against the Igbo people of the South-East, they have not been motivated to accept violence as a means of achieving the Biafran dream.
 
Analysis of the focus group discussion
 
The focus group discussion was conducted in 9 different locations to cover the select local government areas understudy. Each group has a total of 10 participants making a total of 90 participants. The time for the discussion was approximately 50 minutes each. For the sake of convenience, the discussion was conducted at the various local governments secretariats of the local governments understudy. The first group was the Ayamelum discussion group which held at the local government secretariat on the 3rd of January, 2020. The discussion which started at exactly 12 noon saw 10 participants in attendance. The next group was the Dunukofia group held at the secretariat on the 10th January and Ekwusigo  was conducted on 17th January.
 
 
The groups held in Abia State are Arochukwu local government on 24th January, in Arochukwu, there are only 6 participants in attendance. The Umunneochi group was conducted on the 17th day of February and Ohafia local government held on 31st January with 10 participants. Every other group was complete during the discussion. The reasons for holding the discussions on Fridays were to ensure the participants are free with the time schedules. The discussions conducted in Imo State include Mbaitolo local government area held on 7th February, Okigwe local government held on the 14th February and Orlu local government held on the 21st February all in 2020.  
 
The focus group discussion on this question shows that the radio station is a source of knowledge to the people in the area. In the words of a young female discussant in Ekwusigo, radio Biafra is very revealing in terms of information on the state of the Igbo man in this country, she said. Another participant from Ekuwsigo local government stated that every hidden piece of information that took place during the war is being exposed to the people. One of the discussants in Okigwe made it clear that the station is very important as it makes the Igbo man to know his level and position in this country. This view does not augur well with a discussant in Ayamelum local government who said that radio Biafra is set to initiate another civil war in the country. In his words, “the ways the radio station is packaging and sending their messages is very provoking and peace threatening. I will only advice the youths to ask the elderly ones questions about the previous war before they will accept to go and die in another one” contrary to another view expressed by another discussant in Orlu who said that the government of Nigeria should just let the Igbos leave. His reason was basically the level of denial of the Igbos some rightful positions of authorities in the country. To him, good governance devoid of marginalization will assuage his desire for self-government. Generally, the people wished that Biafra can be achieved but not through this way that radio Biafra is pushing for it.
 
The information from the FGD also supports the earlier finding as majority of the respondents acknowledged being exposed to some information that they have not been acquainted to in their previous lives. According to one of the discussants from Ummnneochi, “I cannot deny getting any new information that is revealing and worth being regarded as knowledge from the station. The discussant further stated that one aspect of the station is the use of foul languages in addressing government officials and people of other tribes, a situation she maintained should form one of the recommendations of this study. Meanwhile, in trying to avoid future outbreak of war, the use of foul language in radio Biafra has to be curtailed, she warned.
 
Reacting to the information on whether the respondents now agree to the fact that there was marginalization of the Igbos in Nigeria, the respondents generally admit being marginalized but a good number of the people adjudged the marginalization as self-inflicted by the Igbos themselves. According to one elderly discussant from Dunukofia, our problem is self-inflicted, we love money more than every other tribe in Nigeria and we are even ready to sell our blood brother to make the needed millions of money irrespective of the implication tomorrow. Supporting his view another discussant from the same group added that other tribes pursue group interest more than the Igbos and that is what caused the height of the marginalization. On whether they will be part of what could be done to get a better position for the Igbos in the country, all the participants are of the opinion that they need a better position for development of their region. Some of them complained bitterly on the inability of the government of the federation to create an additional state for the Igbos in the south east to measure up with other regions.


 DISCUSSION

Research question one which sought to ascertain the respondents frequency of exposure to radio Biafra revealed that the respondents are well exposed to the station and that they hear the words the station used in communicating the people about Biafra. This information confirms the finding obtained from the quantitative study where the researchers found that the majority of the respondent frequently visit and listen to the station. While reacting to the question in Okaigwe, a middle aged discussant said that “he tune-in to the station to listen to the Biafran episode when there is any activity concerning IPOB”. In another discussant’s word, “radio Biafra is a station for the Igbos set for the liberation of the people of this region, we listen to them and what they are saying is the truth and Nigerians hate the truth” This finding corroborates the views of the proponents of cultivation theory which according to McQuail (2010: 553) who states that as the people get exposed to a particular media channel, with time they are likely to begin to believe and accept the messages communicated through the channel as the truth. Moreover, the level of wide exposure to radio Biafra is a sign of the universality of radio as a medium of information dissemination (Asodike and Udoh, 2014). The significance level of communication observed among the people revealed a high commitment of the station to take what they wanted. This finding is in tandem with the views expressed in Mavric (2012) who affirmed that Self-determination is something you take, not something a government gives to you. Unfortunately, the message exposes the people to different things while their minds and thought are becoming more considerate on what they intend to do over the message that they have received from the station.
 
On the second research question, it was found that the respondents have general believe that the Igbos is being marginalized. One thing that is revealing from the FGD is the fact that as the younger ones blame the elderly generations for the marginalization, the elderly people blame the younger ones for their love for money which they said made them wish to pursue personal rather than group interest in politics. According a discussant in Arochukwu, the problem of marginalization of the Igbos in the country is a self-inflicted one. We marginalize ourselves and some of us will go to radio Biafra to seek for whom to deceive. The fact remains that the people believe in the language of marginalization but have different views on the persistence of their said marginalization. The aforementioned findings corroborated the postulation of the social exchange theory which sees human actions on issues communicated in the media as a result of calculated behavioral change which is placed against the comparative advantage of the action to be taken as directed by the media message Njoki  (2013) and Glyn (2004) cited in Agbanu (2014). Already, the station and its presenter have offered the people the message on the need for secession from Nigeria but the people are more concerned with what they stand to gain or loss in the course of acting the radio Biafra’s script.   
 
On the research question five which sets to examine if there is a difference between the view of the elderly ones and the new generation of Igbos, the focus group discussion revealed that there is a transfer of moral burden (Duru, 2015) from the two groups of people in the region. The younger ones see their present day situation in the country as being the fault of the elderly ones while the elders see the persistent marginalization of the Igbos as a result of the younger generation’s love for money which they (the elders) alleged was responsible for lack of trust on the Igbos by any other tribe in the country.
 
When asked whether they will support violence means of achieving the Biafran state, there were general mixed feelings among the people. This draws attention to the relationship between cultivated behaviour and the accepted behaviour (Njoki, 2013). When there is conflict between what is communicated and the well thought action of the respondents, social exchange will ensue and a planned action subject to negotiated exchange takes precedence. This finding recalls the views expressed in Nwodu, (2007) when he questions the media power of setting agenda. From practical experience in this study, radio Biafra has initiated the secession messages using all kinds of abusive rhetoric but the people seem to think otherwise with much emphasis placed on the cost-benefit analysis of acting the communicated messages. With the uncertainty of likely outcome of engaging in violence as alternative, the Igbo people are not much that out to support Biafra especially among the elderly ones who witnessed the previous war. The fact is that majority of the people accepted that they like Biafra as a state but were afraid that pressing for its existence may lead to war which they never wanted.
 
According to an elderly discussant from Orlu, “the need for Biafra is at the heart of many Igbo men but never through war or any form of violence. There is the hope that one day; God will liberate the Igbos from this marginalization”. To this discussant, there is no need for the use of violence in pursuing their Biafran dream. This fear was as a result of the people’s lack of the will power and the drive to take what they may have wanted (Ezemenaka and Prouza, 2016) even when it is glaring to all of them that they are not well situated in the country. This is in line with earlier position held in Thompson et al. (2016) who stated that by May 1967, it was obvious that most easterners preferred secession to any other form of association with the rest of the Nigerians but cannot just achieve that easily.


 CONCLUSION

This study is very a revealing one on the use of foul languages by radio Biafra presenters as means of pressing the government to grant IPOB’s need. From both the qualitative and quantitative data collated and analyzed, the study has proved that there is difference in reasoning of Biafran agitation between the young and elderly Igbo men. Most fortunately and most striking revelation here is that the study have shown that the Igbos need Biafra but were still silence because of lack of the will power to achieve their desired goal of getting self-government which literature have proven is not given but taken. It also found that there exist differences between what is communicated and what is acted by the people. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that given any slightest opportunity, majority of the Igbos will join the move for a self-government from Nigeria.


 RECOMMENDATIONS

From the empirical data obtained from the field and analyzed, the researchers recommended as follows:
 
(1) That more inclusive government should be used to assuage the Igbos’ desire and quest for this Biafra if the country still appreciates the unity of its existence.
(2) That the people in radio Biafra should be very careful on their use of language in order not to instigate another war in Nigeria. What happened in Rwanda between 2003 and 2004 should serve as a serious warning and life experience of what radio languages can do to any nation.
(3) That the government may consider any means of educating the citizens on historical issues that had happened to reduce the influence of the rhetoric of radio Biafra on the citizens.
(4) The youths should make use of their senses in assimilating media contents so that they will not end up in acting what they did not know its origin.


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.



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