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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Biafra and the logic of Boko Haram -|- The agitation for Biafra

  • Biafra and the logic of Boko Haram
  • The agitation for Biafra

Biafra and the logic of Boko Haram
~TheGuardian, Nigeria. 

THERE is a new resurgence of Biafran sentiments in the southeast especially among youths born in the post-Civil War era. The arrow heads are youths, mostly Igbo, and they are mostly based outside the shores of Nigeria. They must have found the concept of Biafra romantic for they fill the social media with bellicose messages and propaganda. Lately, they have succeeded in attracting attention in the Igbo heartland of the southeast and even in Port Harcourt, the Garden-City named after the British colonial secretary of the late 19th Century. Such is the allure of Biafra that it wafts in the air like a recalcitrant scent. Who can banish this ghost?

The late Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who led the ill-fated Republic of Biafra for 30 gory months of war, hated being referred to as the former Biafran Warlord. "Was Gowon Nigerian Warlord," he queried. "What of Obasanjo, Murtala, Danjuma, are they warlords? Why is it only Ojukwu that is referred to as a warlord?" He blamed it on the bias of the media.

We had many interactions with Ojukwu especially in his house in Ikoyi, the famous Villaska Lodge which he inherited from his father, the millionaire transporter, Sir. Louis Odumegwu-Ojukwu. The young Ojukwu went to Kings College, Lagos and was dispatched to Oxford University by his rich father to have the best of British education. Then he joined the army and by 1966, when he was the commanding officer of the 4th Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Jos, he found himself at the epicenter of national politics.

On January 15, 1966, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, the Prime Minister, was killed by coup makers along with the premiers of the North and the West. History had reached a turning point and the devil was preparing for a rich harvest.
Balewa was succeeded by Nigeria first military ruler, Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, a bully commander who appointed four military governors for Nigerian then four regions: David Ejoor for the Mid-West, Hassan Usman Katsina for the North, Adekunle Fajuyi for the West and Ojukwu for the East. When Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon became Nigerian military ruler August 1966 following the assassination of Ironsi, he retained the military governors. He posted Colonel Adeyinka Adebayo to the West to succeed Fajuyi who had been killed with Ironsi during the counter coup.

The mayhem and massacres in the North in 1966 especially of people of Eastern Nigerian origin, mostly Igbo, precipitated an exodus to the East. Attempt to negotiate peace, including a retreat to Aburi in Ghana by Nigerian military rulers, failed. A Leaders of Thoughts Conference called for Lagos failed when Ojukwu suddenly withdrew his delegation, headed by the respected Professor Eni Njoku, former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos citing security concerns. When Gowon created 12 states in 1967, Ojukwu responded by announcing that the Eastern Region would now be known as the Republic of Biafra.

War was joined. In that conflict, it is estimated that almost one million Nigerians perished. For me, the war was a personal experience at the home front. Adeyinka, my eldest brother and my father's first son, went to war and was shot in the face during the battle of Onitsha in 1967. The bullet narrowly missed his right eye. He survived but carried the scar for the rest of his life. In 1969, Adeyinka, then a lieutenant, was company commander at the 131 Battalion, Iwo Road, Ibadan. The battalion commander was one Major Fagbure. We had two of our senior cousins who had just finished from Okemesi Grammar School. The songs of war were in the air and the siren was irresistible. What with the allure of heroism, the heady intoxication of youthful exuberance, the belief in reckless immortality and the pervasive romance with death. Despite the warning of our elder brother who had survived the horrors of war, one of our cousins fled to join the army at Mokola Barracks. They shaved his head and one day, he visited us in his private uniform. He was very happy and proud. Few days later, he was shipped along with his colleagues, to join the final onslaught on Biafra by the Third Marine Commando Division under the command of the methodical and thorough Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo. He never returned.

By the time Ojukwu returned from exile in 1981, he was a changed man. The then ruling party, the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, saw him as an instrument of offence against the Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP, that was dominating the politics of the Igbo heartland of Imo and Anambra states because of the enduring charisma of its leader, the legendary journalist and nationalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Ojukwu could not resist the temptation of partisan politics. He joined the NPN and was roundly defeated at the polls when he attempted to go to the Senate. He ended up in prison, along with many other politicians, when Major-General Muhammadu Buhari came to power December 31, 1983, and attempted to clean the Augean Stable created by the army of irascible politicians.

Ojukwu's faith in the democratic process never left him. He contested for other elections thereafter, including for the Presidency, and lost all, except one under General Sani Abacha. For him, Biafra as a political goal, ended with the Civil War.
However, as a philosophy against injustice, it lives on. He said anywhere there are oppression, injustice, impunity and violence, it is the duty of those who believe in the philosophy of Biafra to fight those evils. He said that he would wage war again if it was necessary to fight those evils. In the twilight days of the Abacha Administration, he did not see any serious contradictions in campaigning for the military ruler who was determined to perpetuate himself in power.

Those who are hoisting the flag of Biafra now have not made their position clear. What is Biafra in their reckoning? Are they including the non-Igbo speaking states of the former Eastern Region which are now the states of Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa? Unlike Ojukwu, they seem not to have faith in the democratic process and institutions. They are not in tune with what is happening in the contemporary world which is moving away from war and into an era where war would become an obsolete instrument of national and international relations. The world has seen the futility of war and most statesmen are working to create a world without war.

Not this new Biafran brigade. Apart from occasional filibustering on the social media, they have not articulated their position. What do they really want? Are they asking for a new state of Biafra? Do they want war without even giving Nigeria the benefit of a dialogue? My suspicion is that some people may have decided to turn the whole Biafran sentiment into a business. If militancy had paid off in the Niger Delta and Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, could get oil pipeline security contracts, why not try something that bring a big harvest. When hostage taking was a form of agitation in the oil rich Delta Region, some smart Alecs in the southeast simply formed their own Kidnapping Plc. Today, it is the biggest business in the region.

It is not in the interest of Nigerians, especially the Igbo, to turn Biafran sentiment into business. Nigeria may be imperfect, but we have learnt the hard way to know that dialogue and the democratic process is better than the eloquence of violence. If they are serious, let them articulate their points and how it can be accommodated and realised within the current democratic dispensation. The people they claim to represent have the right to decide through the democratic process including elections, whether they are willing to follow them. This means they should articulate their points and let their members contest for elections on the basis of their programme. Otherwise, President Muhammadu Buhari has a duty to treat them as the southeast equivalent of Boko Haram.

However, the Biafran wind is a wakeup call for us. Our Republic is good, but not perfect. We should be ready to always discuss the state of the union. This would make the union better and stronger. It was our unwillingness to jaw-jaw that led to the Civil War in the first place. Anyone who is advocating war as the only solution to the problems of the Republic should be treated as an enemy of the state. Whatever the future holds for the Nigerian Commonwealth, we should always ensure it is a future without war.

The agitation for Biafra
~TheGuardian, Nigeria. 

A FACT of Nigeria's democratic experience in the last 16 years is that every new political administration springs forth a new uprising from disenchanted interest groups. Such seems to be the case of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and the recent series of protests by youths of South eastern extraction seeking secession from Nigeria and demanding the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kalu, the detained director of the pirate Radio Biafra.

But contrary to the position of some informed commentaries denouncing the ongoing agitation for secession or self-determination as a rally of miscreants, the obviously expanding Biafran factions are gradually crystallising into a global clamour for the actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra. Whatever the motives of this agitation, it must not be taken lightly.

Whilst, at face value, the wave of protests dotting south eastern cities and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, may be construed as another activity of unscrupulous, business-minded men exploiting gullible youths, the motivations for such uprising rest on the skewed nature of the Nigerian society.

For many years, successive administrations have maintained a portentous imbalance and inequitable structure that disfavours meritocracy. They have glossed over the continuous capitulation of the political class in a progressive fashion to a point of disaffection. And by so doing they have fostered a forced unanimity.

With this groundswell of protests, the unity of Nigeria, for want of a suitable metaphor, seems to be held at gunpoint. Perhaps, this agitation points to issues that have not been resolved. It is noteworthy that while these protests persist, a section of the Igbo elite have either only dismissed the agitation in the fashion of President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, or continually recycled the narratives of Nigeria's skewed political economic structuring. What they should do instead is that, they, with well-meaning Nigerians, should find a midway and a basis for which the nation's diversity can be respected, and a sense of belonging maintained. Standards have to be respected and established constitutional rights must be protected without making others feel any loss of their identities.

While the unity of Nigeria should be discussed, the agitators must be strongly cautioned to channel their grievances without perpetrating acts that could be interpreted as an attempt to enthrone instability and dismember the country.

Concerning the substance of the agitation, the veracity of a unified Biafran agenda is already being called to question by the absence of a clear-cut philosophy or any articulated strategy of effective social mobilisation; the result of which is the emergence of various factions in the Biafra cause. Following allegations of sabotage, intimidation, pecuniary conflicts, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is said to have broken into Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM), led by one Benjamin Onwuka, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by Nnamdi Kanu, and the United Eastern Congress led by Sam Ike, all of which work at cross-purposes.

The disorganised manner of this agitation, the indecorous, offensive, and irreverent verbiage coming from their spokespersons make a mockery of any claim they may lay to a legitimate cause. It should be borne in mind also that every part of the country has one thing or another to agitate for. If every aggrieved company were to carry on the way these aspiring Biafrans are going, the chaos the nation would face can only be imagined. This is a bad signal to the dissatisfied others. It is for this reason the secessionist tendencies of the leader of MASSOB, Ralph Uwazuruike, who is set to present an alleged 2016 budget "to actualise Biafra and liberate the people of former Eastern region," is condemnable.

Those in the streets, whose only political education comes from misguided verbiage of clannish role models, should be cautious not to become cannon fodders for mischief-making. Whilst it is part of democracy that people should air their views, however jaundiced, they should, all the same, not translate grievances into violence and bloodshed.
Just as it is true for the agitating pro-Biafra demonstrators, the army should not be provoked into violence-inciting utterances as the response of the Deputy-Director, Army Public Realtions, 82 Division, Enugu, Col. Hamza Gambo, portrayed the other day. It is not the business of the army to tell Nigerians what to say or what not to say in a democracy. The role of advising the presidency on when to use force in its reaction to the Biafran protests rests on the National Assembly.

Notwithstanding, it is simplistic to view the agitation for Biafra as an event orchestrated by disgruntled elements reliving a frightful reverie from the Civil War, or some business experiment. Although it may seem like exuberant Igbo youths excitedly seeking avenues to vent, the deeper import of the Biafra agitation transcends its narrow-minded Igbo agenda. It is as one commentator suggested, a living philosophy of justice that appears wherever and whenever oppression, impunity, injustice and structural violence rear their heads. What is going on is symbolic of the discontent experienced by many ethno-political interests for whom the Nigeria question remains unanswered. Nigeria tends to be living a lie. It wants to be a prosperous and politically stable country, yet it is holding down this potential for prosperity and stability by maintaining a supercilious unitary government, whilst paying lip service to federalism.

In the event, any government carrying on this way should not feel that all is well with the national political configuration. For too long, successive governments have undermined the essential differences in the various interests of the Nigerian people; and so unresolved matters about the aspirations of Nigeria's heterogeneous interests have become an ongoing concern. To assume that these do not exist, or to gloss over them even when we are aware of them, is to play the ostrich.

So, rather than shout down at agitators and wish them away with a wave of the hand, this government should find answers to the thorny issues that created this monstrosity in the first place. Fortunately, the answers to many of these problems are contained in the report of the National Conference. It was with patient expectation of good fortunes that Nigerians committed themselves to the National Conference convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan. True to Nigerians' expectations, the report of the Conference made recommendations that should augur well for this country's future.

The Muhammadu Buhari government should look into the report if it is to make any headway in addressing the renewed agitations across the nation. Nigerians must press for the implementation of the National Conference Report as an answer to the renewed agitation for Biafra.

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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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