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Monday, November 16, 2015

Why Igbo elite are scared to back Biafra struggle - Col. Joe Achuzia

~The SUN, Nigeria. 

Col. Joe Achuzia
Col. J.O.G. Achuzia (rtd) is a former officer of the Biafran Army. Now an elder statesman, he told PAUL OSUYI, in this interview in Asaba that it is time the Federal Government recognised that there was once a nation called Biafra. 


Looking back, what do you think has changed between the time you along with others fought the civil war and now?

I am formerly of the Biafran Army and like all those that participated in the struggle, after the pogrom that took place in Nigeria in the late sixties, we thank God that that grueling war was over, and today we are trying to fashion a new Nigeria which unfortunately does not seem to click. And I believe that the problem is not a problem of knowledge of how to package the country but greed which is the common human disease that has infested the totality of Nigerian government, that is the problem we are facing at the moment.

You were on the side of Biafra during the civil war, what was the agitation like at the time?

In my days, there were no agitations, events were just happening. First, the issue was not that of the civilian public, it was merely a military problem. The politicians were busy politicking, out of the civilian politicking, the problem of the Western House started which led to a lot of blood letting by civilians in the West, that was around 1963/64. We considered the matter a Western regional political issue as at then. Before that could end, the military who had been to abroad for operation in the Congo came back and before you could say Jack Robinson, a coup took place. The mis-interpretation of the coup because of the Nigerian attitude which continues to persist till today, that Nigerian attitude is ethnicity. It is because of the ethnicity that has always been at the background that made our Northern brothers to ascribe the coup as an Igbo coup. Mis-management on the part of the military because of inexperience led to another counter-coup that cost the life of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces who in his zeal brought about the end of the coup, and those young officers that carried out the coup were quickly gathered up and incarcerated. All these were the background of events in my days when I was just in my early thirties, in fact, I was just stepping into my thirties.

Can you compare what is happening today, with respect to the agitation, to what happened in your days?

I will say there is a vast difference. Take for instance what happened a few days ago throughout the whole of the South-Eastern region. When I say South-Eastern region, it affected all the states in the South-East, all the states in the South-South. So, it is not a question of Biafra being a South-East problem or a South-South problem. It is the South-Eastern region of Nigeria because Nigeria was originally on a tripod of South-East region, South-West region and the Northern region. So, you can see that what took place, took us back to what Nigeria was during the first republic. It also has a different coloration because in the lower part of Benue and Adamawa, the areas in the north bordering the South participated, but this has a different coloration. Why I say that it has different coloration is that those who carried out the demonstration which was of course their right because the Constitution says so that every Nigerian has the right to freedom, of association and freedom to demonstrate so long as the demonstration is orderly are Nigerians. The people who demonstrated were from the ages of 40 downwards. The war ended over 40 years ago, that gives you, without much thinking the type of people we are talking about. 

These were children, half of them were born in Biafra at the time, and their birth certificates say they were Biafran citizens. When the war ended, Nigeria did not address this issue, reasons being that our counterparts who took it upon themselves to manage the affairs of reconstruction, rehabilitation and so on, made a terrible mistake. That mistake was that they did not look into the situation that existed because most of those born during the three and half years the war was going on were babies with Biafran birth certificates and exited the country as Biafrans. Now they are adults, and as far as they are concerned, where is Biafra? The Eastern region of the territory called Nigeria. They visited, saw the hostility and things not going right. Based on their perceived knowledge and intelligence, they felt the best thing is to reclaim our territory, maybe we will make it a model for the rest of Nigeria to follow, hence the agitation.

From your analysis, is the agitation or protest justified?

The justification of a situation depends on perception, one's perception. Why I say one's perception, I have just given you, told you who are the Biafrans and who are the people demonstrating. You will not see me or people that fought in the war of Biafra parading the streets in an attempt to bring back the hand of the clock, no. I repeat these are children whose identity, background and what makes a human being is your name, where you were born, the citizenship that you belong, that you were born in, that is what makes a human identity. So, are we trying to say that they are no more human beings or that they, all of a sudden, if they come back to Nigeria as they have come down now, for them to get that identity changed makes them virtually alien.

You said the Western House crisis of the sixties was a regional issue, there is the Boko Haram ravaging the North-East at the moment, and now how do you classify the pro-Biafra agitators?

It is a regional issue.

What should government do about it?

Without having to be repetitive in my recounting of events, I have said time and time again that there should be a round table conference where all cards from all the regions should be placed on the table with no question of no-go area. You see, the issue of 'no go area' is because of the dishonesty within the armed forces who crafted a Constitution within the military system. And when they came into government and perceived the lucre that exists within the civil governance, now translated from military to civil, it is almost like Myanmar, the country near India where we call Burma during the First World War and the Second World War. Myanma got independence through the military but the military made sure that any election, they say we give you right of election but after each election, they have a right to nominate 25 persons into the government whereby they choose which side they will support and give that 25 per cent to make it a majority party. That is what Nigeria has been suffering, Nigeria since 1966, after the coup had been subjected to the pressure of military Constitution. The military said they have suspended the Constitution, mark the word 'suspension' not abrogated. When you suspend something, it means that in the future, you will resuscitate it but the military exited without resuscitating the Constitution. 

My country men, the civil populace rushed into governance using the same military Constitution. The answer is very simple, the Constitution we are using till date is a military prepared Constitution. The civilians were so naive that instead on being told that the military has exited and they are now ready for civilian rule, the first thing they should do is suspend or abrogate the military Constitution, resuscitate the civil Constitution which was suspended. Constitution goes in succession, so the first thing is to abrogate the present military Constitution, no matter what favours who and what did not favour who. Resuscitate the original Constitution that we had, examine it, know how to amend it so that we know where we went wrong in the first place and stop tinkering with military Constitution which will take us nowhere.

The renewed agitation by the pro-Biafra groups came up after Buhari was sworn in as president, could it be a fall out of the March 28 Presidential Election which Goodluck Jonathan lost?

No! It is easy to attribute it to that but it is not. The agitation was going on while Jonathan was on seat, the agitation was going on while Yar'Adua was on seat. In fact, at one time, it was said that it was the MASSOB who were supporting the Ijaw militants. Like I said, the agitation is that there are certain people in the South-East and South-South who were born during the three and half year war, who did not know Nigeria, it is Biafra that they know. And it is difficult to wipe it off their psyche, these are the leaders of the demonstrations.

What is the place of Nnamdi Kanu in the Biafra configuration?

Nnamdi Kanu is one of these young men that I talked about, I doubt if he saw his father carry gun during the civil war but he has heard of it just as you have heard of it. Having heard that your father carried gun in defense of his territory called Biafra that belongs to them, are you going to exclude yourself? No!

The protest appears to be peaceful at the moment but where will it lead to, will it end up in arms struggle?

Nobody prays for arms struggle, it is only somebody who has never seen a war that clamours for war. And usually, it is only cowards that die many times before their death. Having participated in a grueling civil war, I would not wish it for anybody neither do I wish it for my children. Like I tell my children, the answer is not agitation but I will not ask you not to participate, to demonstrate, to show or to orchestrate your inner frustration. 

Frustration bottled up when it explodes, it is catastrophic. For that, even in civilized world, all over the world today, you find demonstrations going on, it is people who could not be pro-active to manage the demonstration that you find where problem arises – killings, fighting, destruction takes place. But I am glad and I will say kudos to the Nigerian Police this time. You see, I like people who keep their words and I believe the present crop of police officers, commissioners who are at the helm of affairs are more educated, better oriented and understands what it is all about. But most importantly there are children that were born immediately before the civil strife, and some born within the civil strife, who are Nigerians or Biafrans within the civil strife, and those born immediately after the civil war. 

So, they understand one another. I have the pleasure and opportunity of having interactions with some of these commissioners, my request is simple, it is the inalienable right of every citizen to demonstrate when they want as long as that demonstration does not lead to civil strife, the demonstration does not lead to destruction of public property. Once it is a peaceful demonstration, sheathe your sword, let your men be on the outside and watch events, if anything is destroyed, those demonstrating will pick the culprits and hand over to you. We are a civilized country, don't let us behave as if we are in Dafur. 

This time, they obeyed the instructions, and do you know what I was hearing, people were calling me saying that they do not understand, so much crowd out for demonstration with the police walking side by side and nothing happening. You see, people thought that there would be explosion and killings, no! All they were asking the Federal Government was for the government to release our compatriot that you detained, have dialogue with our elders, our fathers are still alive, have dialogue with them and let us re-package Nigeria to accommodate everybody. If we do not get Biafra as an independent country, we can answer Biafra by name instead of being called South-Easterners.

How do you answer Biafra by name?

Is Arewa not northern-based? But they answer Arewa. All we ask is that the ancient name by which our forefathers were known when the Portuguese arrived within the 13/14th century that the people they met were Biafrans, hence the bight of Biafra. That name should not be lost because it is our heritage, we are not asking to exit Nigeria, of course not, we have a lot at stake in Nigeria. It is up to the government whether they change the name Nigeria to what it should be or what it should not be. But being called North-East, North-West, South-East is un-African.

What should the present Federal Government do to leave its footprints in the hearts of the people of Biafra?

What the Federal Government should do for us, we are not asking him to make all Igbos ministers, giving us ministerial appointment means nothing, that is individual acknowledgement, it does not reach the hearts of the people. First, we repeat, restructuring of Nigeria, Nigeria should be restructured and when we say restructuring, we mean exactly restructuring. At the moment, we have a lot of problems going on, initially, since the Boko Haramissue, things have been going wrong. The past government did not want to address it, it seems as if there are people who want strife to be going on this country. Suggestions have been made and I believe as I am speaking now, that there are people being killed in Berom and all those places in the Middle Belt by Fulani herdsmen. One soul lost either in the North, west or east is one soul lost in Nigeria. Any government or any leader that is insensitive to that is not a proper leader. What we need is a leader who is sensitive to our problem, our problem is not really what they say, corruption was inherited from the people who packaged Nigeria. They made it so, hence the introduction of 'dash' into our lexicon. When you do something for somebody, he gives you something and you say he dashed me, you partake in the proceeds of corruption under the guise of dash. 

If you imprison all the people that they say they cornered all the millions and billions, how do you get the money back? The countries where these monies were deposited can only promise that they will help you to collect the money. Reasons, those countries were unable to get their hands on those monies but through the efforts of the home government who tries to clean up corruption, it is the home government that tells the government outside that X person deposited so much money in your bank but banking procedure forbids even that country from tampering with the money. What they are waiting is for the home country to force their man to release the key that opens the treasure that had been lying in their vault. Once, that is there, it is a question of negotiation, we will take some and give you some. 

To us, that is not good enough, first of all let us try to put our country in order. It is only in Nigeria that we do not know the number of Nigerian citizens because no census exercise has been carried out that is reflective of the population. And each successive government tries to shield the corruption that existed in that enumeration. So, corruption is not cash only, corruption is in the approach of governance. Our civil service is extremely corrupt because they corrupted the civilian politicians.

In other words, the Federal Government should tackle corruption to leave an indelible mark in the hearts of Biafrans?

Yes, because for a Biafran, a child of 40 years old, government says no matter what is your qualification, for you to get to certain employment, your must state name, age, sex, citizenship, local government, place of birth and so on. Having filled those forms, on interview, you are asked to bring your certificate of birth, and you produce it that you were born in Biafra, automatically you are rejected. Hence I said that the government must accept that Biafra existed, qualify it, give it a place within the ethos of Nigeria just like the Western region is asking for Oduduwa. Once this is done, we are all Nigerians but my territory where I come from, where I was born is Biafra. For a westerner, where he was born is known as Oduduwa. In the North- West, I am a Nupe man and so on. 

Why are we ashamed of answering the ancient names of our forefathers? Nigeria is a British concocted name, it does not reflect what and who we are, and as long as it does not reflect what and who we are, all hands can never be on deck to move it forward.

As the protest continued to be sustained, what is your advice for the young men and women involved?

My advice has always been same thing, I can't tell them to stop protesting but most importantly, my advice will go to the government. For those you hold in detention, free them, let them go, let them emulate the way their compatriots who demonstrated on their behalf did this last weekend because if they are freed there will be no need for demonstration. That did not say that they will not demonstrate until they have their rights to call themselves Biafrans within Nigeria. We don't like the word South-Easterners, we don't like the word Eastern region, and we don't like the word South-South zone. A people must have a proper identity. Why don't they call Adamawa North-Eastern zone, it answers Adamawa, others answer Taraba and so on. Let us answer Biafra and we will hail the leadership to high heavens for just doing that, it is better than giving us millions, billions and trillions.

No comments:


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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