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Monday, February 22, 2010

Odumegwu Ojukwu: The last campaign of the Biafran General

By Emma Okocha 
"It matters not who the voter, what does matter is who counts the votes”-Russian Dictator Joseph Stalin.
"As far as we know there is one state in Africa that never had one king for all”.
That is my own state, the Ibo….most decentralized in our political and bureaucratic organization; since there is no salary for filling political posts, corruption is rare, since there is no Police, no party system, politicians are like priests, often very poor.”
- Eastern Nigerian Minister of Finance, Philosopher, Pioneer Nationalist, Mazi Mbonu Ojike.
”Only people who share worldviews can share dreams. The British created a political power configuration that would allow them ‘leave-and -stay’ in Nigeria.

This arrangement made sense through some worldviews within Nigeria and did not make sense through other worldviews within Nigeria. The duty of a great leadership is to synthesize a common worldview to reconcile the peoples within the polity. Nigeria did not have such leadership. And things fell apart.
Neither Emeka or Gowon went into the army to rise to the rank of Head of State. Their persons or roles were not the theme of the drama. Plays are independent of the actors. Actors, although, can contribute differences in style, and so, influence dramatic outcomes. Still if they are not available, other people will play the role better or worse.”
- Dr. Ben.Chidi Osuagwu, Keynote Address celebrating the 70th birthday of General Odumegwu Ojukwu, Owerri, November 1st, 2003.
”In three years of war, necessity gave birth to invention . During those three years of heroic bound , we leapt across the great chasm that separates knowledge from know-how. We built bombs, rockets, and we designed and built our own refinery and our own delivery systems and guided them far. For three years, blockaded without hope of import, we maintained all our vehicles.
The state extracted and refined petrol, individuals refined petrol in their back gardens. We built and maintained our airports, maintained them under heavy bombardment, and after each raid we were able to recover and maintain the record as the busiest airport in Africa. We spoke to the world through a telecommunication system engineered by local ingenuity.
In three years we had broken the technological barrier, became the most advanced Black people on earth. We spurn nylon yarn, we developed new seeds for food and medicines.”
[Emeka Ojukwu,1998]

His father was the business emperor who traveled the United Kingdom without any traveling papers. He was in Kings College and therefore can be branded a Lagos boy. A graduate from Oxford he is the first Nigerian graduate to enlist and to command a Nigerian army formation, the fifth Battalion, Kano.
Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is the first African to appear on the front color cover of the world’s most influential documentary, the American Time magazine.
Kwame Nkrumah the late Ghananian President was actually the first black man to be featured on the Times black and white cover when that nation won its independence in 1957.[see Biafra Agony, TIME, August 23, 1968] Ojukwu was on the cover of the Times and for the last three years of the romantic decade of the ’60s was the headline, from the chilly landscape of the Scandinavians to the Siberia wastes of the Supreme Soviet.
His overthrowing charisma and his Biafra story held the front pages of the newspapers and on television screens, the blood curdling tragedy of the Biafran starving children, shocked the entire humanity. The Canadians with little bother for their own safety, rushed in food and medical supplies. Reverend Johnson founded the Jesus Line and for the first time the Christian west, ignored their lethargic governments, chartered their own aircraft and landed Biafra. They dropped food to the desperately hungry hinterland and took off with the kwashiorkor children.
The French doctors in revolution and on their own moved in to take care of the wounded, the victims of the incessant air bombardment; and that is the origin of the now world renowned humanitarian group, Medicine sans frontier- Doctors without borders.
There were other unforgettable Christian organizations like the Caritas, the World Council of Churches who braved the rocket infested skies to bring succor to Biafra. The Red Cross, in one of those savage contentions, had its plane brought down and into the Atlantic crashed the pilot, the heroic volunteers. Instead of going to the hungry children, donated tons of food and medical relief materials went to the fishes of the ocean.
The Russian Mig fighters responsible for all those Geneva contraventions were operating on the orders of the Supreme Soviet. The later regarded the survival of the young nation, as an unwarranted menace to the over all Russian interest in Africa.
Even though, the Russians had acknowledged Ojukwu’s socialist envoy, Justice P. K. Nwokedi, giving him the rare honor to address the Supreme Soviet Parliament, Leonid Brezhnev and the Communist leadership had made up their mind. Russian intelligence led by Romanov her Ambassador in Lagos had reported that the Biafran rocket had out distanced the latest of the red army’s artillery. It would therefore be in the interest of that Super Power to stop the Biafran revolution.
After three years of grit and blood, the war was over. As it is always with men of determined path, Emeka Ojukwu’s life has been a high voltage risk, full of dramas, a ballet, and also have featured on the edges, very rough Abariba head hunters’ dance contests with and against destiny.
Right from the day he slapped a colonial authority as a student in Kings College, to the day he declared Biafra; the day he passed the Midwest Command to Col. Banjo, on the day he personally directed field operations to ward off Federal land and sea assault on Oguta, and onwards to that final day of transferring Command to General Philip Effiong, before going into exile.
Indeed, it was a risk sending him to England to read. He attended tutorials driving a Rolls Royce to class and inviting his Professor to come riding with him. As a graduate it was a major risk joining the army from the ranks. A most risky undertaking was asking the escapee Easterners to return to the north, only to be slaughtered in September, 1966. Declaring Biafra no matter the justice of its cause was risky and returning from exile to join the NPN against the party of Zik, was a major risk.
His last campaign for the APGA gubernatorial quest was characteristically risky. Why would the Lion of Biafra be led and physically challenged as he lumbered from place to place, mounting one podium or the other, desperately campaigning for the Governor of Anambra , a state that provided two provinces of the former Biafran entity?
In his evening years, the risk of losing another election at home will definitely force the re rewriting of his legacy, and history is usually unkind to world actors who suffered humiliating exits, or stayed too long on the stage. The victory of Governor Peter Obi in the last Anambra elections was therefore in many ways a major triumph for the last Eastern titan.
A final salute by the Anambra people to their general for his former services and also a signal to the Onye Ije to say Goodbye from the stage. For if the big masquerade fails to retire in time from the village square, the children would be empowered to throw sands his direction.

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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