Following the Nigeria-Biafra, the (former) Eastern Region never truly went back to the position it had in Nigeria as an equal foot of the so called tripod, in fact, Nigeria in whole never truly recovered from where it was left off. The eastern region lost any momentum it had in terms of development to keep it short which meant that even more people relied on other regions and to a certain extent still do, it is probably correct to say a chunk of the middle class of the eastern region lives in Lagos and Abuja and contributes in that way. Before the war, the Eastern Region was as diverse as the other regions, some of the census from before the war list Yoruba and Hausa ethnicity numbering up to 10% of the population of cities like Enugu for instance, the former capital, this was in addition to the firm footing the Eastern middle class had in places like Enugu, Owerri, Nsukka and Port Harcourt. Nigeria: Background to Nationalism By James Samuel Coleman https://books.google.com/books?id=ZOgdDZlJqG8C&pg=PA334 The three years made a massive demographic and economic shift in the East, which has not rebounded, not only did people move out of the war ravaged East after the war to establish themselves in places like the then capital Lagos, thousands of brilliant easterners, many of them from the middle class as well, sought refuge during after the war in places like the United States, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Europe, this mass exodus contributed to the degeneration of the east into a sort of backwater that's been neglected under the post-war status quo which many of the defeated easterner allowed because they were simply okay with not being exterminated any further, plus the environment of successive military governments after the war, all of them non-Easterners, didn't allow for the sort of protests that are a little more accepted in this fourth republic. Aba brewery, 1959. Simon Ottenberg. The question is how would the East bounce back harder, not just a slow crawl. One of the solutions may be to acknowledge that the East is still recovering from the war in many ways, the biggest way is in the attitude from the central government towards the development of the region and the backwards way in which Eastern middle class and wealth, probably because the derivation from the federal government have been shfited from the east, is mostly situated outside of the East, especially in other areas of Nigeria. This isn't to say everybody with money of Eastern heritage to repatriate to the East, but that it would be better to form a voice to tackle the issues, both internal to the East and external, that make the place unsuitable for a thriving middle class. Agricultural Show at Abakeleke (Abakiliki), Eastern Region, Nigeria. 1959-1960. Simon Ottenberg. Other issues of the war was the refugee crisis and the fact that a lot of people born between 1945 and 1965 are suffering from post-war issues, whether it is unresolved personal issues relating to the suffering of the war, or direct issues relating to education (even with the 'good' examination scores turn out) and the regression of the society. The East used to be forward looking in terms of technology and knowledge, the university town of Nsukka had hosted some of the foremost brains in Africa including Christopher Okigbo, Chinua Achebe, artists like El Anatsui, Uche Okeke and so on. In the Produce Market; women drying cereal http://amightytree.org/otu/ I think through that way, the middle class of the east can begin coming back and situating themselves in the homeland, this is not an exile after all. A lot of people talk about Enugu Airport, or ports, or even opening other airports, but those things will fail if the people who have the money, and in high numbers, do not actually need to use them apart from travelling back home for Christmas, death, or marriage. The average Easterner looks at their ancestral house like a holiday home instead of a permanent home, even in old age. There will be economic inequality, but that is what precedes a developed society. The run off of these people is what the East really needs, not even that much government intervention apart from the basic needs which are not met, but of course is there really a reason to meet this need if people with voice from the region are all in Abuja and Lagos? It is a question of which should come first, development or the push to move back, in any case, it should be people of the region, whether they live there or not, who should be the ones that have the mind to put their regions first.