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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Biafra Perspective - Root causes of the Biafra struggle.

  • Root causes of the Biafra struggle.
  • A night of darkness and the law of karma
  • January 15 1966: A Night Of Blood and Slaughter

Root causes of the Biafra struggle.

Written by DURUEBUBE

In the eight years of Obasanjo’s presidency, there was no headline-grabbing demand for Biafra. Ditto for the eight years of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan presidency. However, within months of Buhari’s presidency, the Igbo demand for Biafra has become deafening.
Without a doubt, the blame for this new impetus must be laid firmly at the doorstep of President Buhari. Moreover, rather than attenuate it, the president and the APC have exacerbated separatist tendencies in the country.
This was part of the reason why people like me did not support Buhari’s election as president of Nigeria. I have written severally in Vanguard that Nigeria must remain a united nation. In my column of 4th March, 2014 entitled: “Re-inventing Igbo Politics in Nigeria,” I maintained that: “Nigeria cannot survive without the Igbo.” The following week on 11th March 2014, I wrote another article entitled: “Nigeria Cannot Do without the North.”
I remain persuaded by both positions. But if Nigeria is indeed to remain united, there are certain things that must be said and done. The problem with the Buhari administration is that it seems totally impervious to these imperatives.
Second-class treatment
There is no question that, as one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have been hard done by. Since the civil war 45 years ago, they have been treated as if they were a minority ethnic group in Nigeria when in fact they are one of the majorities. No Igbo has been considered worthy of being head-of-state. The South East of Ndigbo is the only one of the six geopolitical zones of the country with five states. All other zones have six or more. Indeed, the number of local governments in the North-East is virtually double that of the South-East. As a result, the Ndigbo receive the smallest amount of revenue allocation among all the zones, in spite of the fact that some of the South-eastern states are among the oil-producing states.
The roads in the South-east are notoriously bad. Government after government have simply ignored them. Inconsequential ministerial positions are usually zoned to Ndigbo. Time was when it seemed the lackluster Ministry of Information was their menial preserve. It is also a known fact that every so often the Igbo are slaughtered in the North under one guise or the other. Many are forced to abandon their homes and businesses and run for dear life. The people who perpetrate these acts never seem to be arrested or prosecuted.
When a major tribe is treated procedurally as second-class in their own country, there will be a demand for self-determination sooner rather than later. When a group of people feel unsafe in their own country, they cannot but be expected to decide to opt out. It is not the responsibility of the government to imprison the Igbo in Nigeria. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure and guarantee that they feel safe and are treated with respect.
Discrimination against the South: While these issues have been brewing under the surface for some time, the lop-sided tendencies of President Buhari have brought them all out to boiling-point. In his first-coming as head-of-state in 1984, Buhari antagonised Ndigbo by locking up Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, an Igbo man, in jail in Kirikiri; while President Shehu Shagari, a Fulani man was only placed under house arrest. In addition, Buhari arrested and jailed Ojukwu, another Igbo icon for no just cause.
As Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, Buhari discriminated blatantly against the South and especially the South-east. For example, his PTF built only 4,440 kilometres of roads in Southern Nigeria representing a paltry 24%; while 13,870 kilometres were built in the North representing 76%. Of these figures, the Southeast and South-south combined only received 13.5%.
Under the PTF’s National Health and Rehabilitation Programme, NHERP, the entire South got 0% allocation, while the North got 100% in the tertiary programme. In the vocational programme, the entire South had only 3% while the North had 97%. The same was for the primary side where the South had only 12% but the North was allocated 88%. The secondary area was no different. While the North had 86% percent, the South had just 14%.
Disenfranchisement of Ndigbo
These anomalies have been duplicated to date in the seven months of Buhari’s presidency. In the first place, Buhari won virtually without Igbo votes. In order to diminish Jonathan’s votes, a major assault was made against them; recognising that they are some of the staunchest Jonathan supporters. INEC ensured that, far more disproportionately relative to other geopolitical zones, millions of South-East voters disappeared between 2011 and 2015.
Only 7.6 million voters were registered for the 2015 election in the South-east, and only 5.6 million PVCs collected. Compare this with Buhari’s North-west, there were 17.6 million registrations and 15.1 million collections. While in the South-west, there were 4.2 million votes in 2015, relative to 4.6 million in 2011: in the South-east, there were only 2.6 million votes in 2015, relative to 5 million in 2011; a drastic drop of 2.4 million.
While Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa and Bauchi posted their traditional humongous figures; Imo, Anambra and Abia posted relatively disappointing figures. While the internally displaced Northerners in the North-East could vote; internally displaced Igbos from the North could not. While the card-readers failed in many parts of the South-east, suggestive they were programmed to fail; they worked in most parts of the North. In places like Lagos and Kano, many non-indigenes, including the Igbo, were not even given their PVCs.
Making of a hero: President Buhari then added insult to injury by stating on his visit to the United States that he could not be expected to treat those who voted for him in the same way as those who did not.
He said: “(Going by election results), constituencies that gave me 97% cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me 5%. I think these are political realities. While, certainly there will be justice for everybody but the people who voted, and made their votes count, they must feel the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place.”
While his media assistants later tried to water down this disturbing statement, the reality was that, apart from the constitutionally-stipulated requirement that every state must be represented in the presidential Cabinet, Buhari has virtually ignored the Igbo in his appointments.
Two moves showed the level of insensitivity of the Buhari administration to these anomalies. The first was the decision to move Boko Haram prisoners down from the North to the South-east; a move firmly resisted by the Igbo as it would have made them a target of suicide-bombers. The other was the blunder of placing Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, under arrest; charging him with treason and terrorism.
All the government has achieved by this is inflame passions in the South-east. It has also made a hero out of Kanu. Those who did not know about Kanu before now know him. Those who were not disposed to Biafra before are now shouting Biafra. For weeks on end, Biafra has become the biggest news item nationwide, with agitations, demonstrations, threats and arrests.
Agenda for action: The government needs to apply more wisdom here. At the moment, it has become the biggest promoter of Biafra by the way it has gone about things. The idea of Biafra cannot be killed with a sledge hammer, if at all. What is required is to address the root causes that impelled Biafra. Unfortunately, it would appear the Buhari administration is unwilling to do this.
As a matter of urgency, Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally. If the government persists in labeling him a terrorist, his supporters might decide to become terrorists. Nigeria already has enough problem of Boko Haram conflagration in the North-east. We cannot afford to light another fire in the South-east.
Kanu was living in England. If he were a terrorist, he would have been arrested there. The fact that he lived there without constraints or restraints shows he was not considered a threat, either to Britain or to Nigeria.
It is not a crime to fight for self-determination; it is a right. The government must not give the impression that Nigeria is a prison where we must all live, irrespective of the living conditions. The government needs to address the grievances of the Igbo. Their roads and bridges must be built. Their waterways must be opened up to the Atlantic Ocean.
Eastern sea-ports must be developed. Railways must link their mercantile cities to the North. Their coal resources must be profitably exploited for the benefit of their unemployed youth and citizenry. An additional state must be created in the South-east to bring it up to par with other geopolitical zones.
National question
Moreover, we need to revisit again a critical issue addressed during the truncated National Conference: the issue of resource allocation. This is a major gripe of the Igbo and it is a legitimate gripe. It is not in the interest of Nigeria to continue in this age-old practice where all the states gather every month in Abuja for handouts, whether they are productive or not. This gives the wrong impression that some states are insisting on being piggy-backed by others. We need to develop a system that rewards and encourages productivity.
Those who produce should be allowed to keep disproportionately what they produce, instead of the current situation where they are required to share it disproportionately with those relatively less productive. The truth of the matter is that every part of Nigeria is resource rich. Every part of Nigeria has the requisite manpower. Unfortunately, our current over-concentration on oil militates against the development of other indigenous resources.
A situation where national resources are distributed according to the number of local government councils, and where there is now supposedly only 96 local government councils in the South-East, relative to 186 in the North-west does not suggest equity and justice.
The disgruntlement in the South-east about the Nigeria project will not disappear by ignoring it. It will not disappear by arresting Kanu. It will not disappear by issuing threats. Neither will it disappear by denying the youth of the South-east their freedom of speech and assembly.

Today, the demand for Biafra remains the demand of a minority of the Igbo. If the root causes of their anger are not addressed, the minority will soon become the majority. If that happens, Nigeria might unravel. I repeat what I have stated before: the Nigeria of our manifest destiny cannot be realised without the Igbo.
By Femi Aribisala.

A night of darkness and the law of karma

By Fani-Kayode - The SUN. Nigeria
A former Aviation Minister

Given the fact that we are still commemorating the 50th year anniversary of the January 15, 1966 coup, I have decided to write a follow-up essay to my last offering. It is interesting to note the fact that virtually every single one of those that actually carried out the killings and pulled the triggers during the course of that horrendous night of slaughter met a terrible end themselves. This is a fulfillment of the scripture that says, "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword" and we must all learn from it. Shedding innocent blood is an expensive business and drawing the first blood in any conflict always comes with a very heavy price. In secular circles, this is known as the "law of karma" but in spiritual ones it is called "the law of reaping and sowing."

Nothing reflects this principle better than what happened to those that actually murdered others (as opposed to those that simply participated) during the course of Nigeria's first military coup on the night of January 15, 1966. The facts are as follows: Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, who was the leader of the coup, went to the home of Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari (who was the Commanding Officer of the Second Brigade) and personally shot him. This was despite the fact that he was one of his most trusted officers and confidantes and despite the fact that earlier that evening he had attended a cocktail party in his house. After killing Maimalari, Ifeajuna went to Ikoyi Hotel, where Lt. Col. Abogo Largema, who was the Commander of the 4th Battalion in Ibadan, was staying and he personally shot and killed him too.

After that, both he and Major Donatus Okafor, another of the mutineers, abducted Sir Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, from his home and took him to the Officers Mess at Dodan Barracks. Once it was clear to them that the coup was unraveling, they fled from Dodan Barracks, drove to the Lagos Abeokuta road, shot the Prime Minister and then dumped his body in a bush. The Special Branch reports show that both Ifeajuna and Major Okafor shot Tafawa Balewa at point blank range in the head and body.

Yet their end was no better. Ifeajuna, after fleeing to Ghana, after the failure of the coup, returned back to Nigeria the following year to fight for Biafra during the civil war. He was later accused of plotting a coup to remove Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu as Head of State of Biafra and he was executed on Ojukwu's orders after being court martialled. Major Okafor's end was even worse. He was locked up in Abeokuta Prison after the coup failed because he was unable to escape. Six months later, on July 29, 1966 during the northern revenge coup, he was dragged out of his cell and buried alive by northern soldiers.
Major Anufuro, who, in my view, was the most bloodthirsty and brutal of all the mutineers, personally shot and killed four people in Lagos on the night of January 15, 1966. He went to the homes of Colonel Kur Mohammed, the Chief of Army Staff, and Lt. Col. Arthur Unegbe, the Army Quarter-Master General, both of whom lived in Apapa GRA and shot them both to death in front of their families. After that, he went to Dodan Barracks, where some of the other mutineers, led by Major Humphrey Chukwuka, had forcefully taken Lt. Col. James Pam, the Adjutant General of the Nigerian Army, and Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, the Minister of Finance.

As the coup started unraveling, Anufuro fled Dodan Barracks and took Lt. Col. Pam and Chief Okotie-Eboh with him. As he drove further into Ikoyi, he stopped the convoy of vehicles, parked his car and told Pam and Okotie-Eboh to step down. As they did so, he shot them both at close range, put their bodies in the same Bedford truck that the bodies of Col. Kur Mohammed and Lt. Col. Arthur Unegbe had earlier been dumped and drove to the meeting point at the Lagos-Abeokuta road. On arrival at the meeting point, Anufuro and his men proceeded to remove the four bodies from the Bedford truck and as they did so, they discovered that Okotie-Eboh was still alive, though badly wounded. Anufuro asked the minister to walk into the bush and as he did so, he shot him in the back of the head. After that, the four bodies were dumped into a shallow grave and the mutineers fled.

Major Anuforo's end was as bad as the end of those he murdered, if not worse. After the failure of the coup he was captured and locked up in Benin Prison. One year later, after the civil war began, federal troops discovered that he was locked up in Benin. They promptly stormed the prison, found him in his cell, dragged him out and beheaded him. Given the fact that Anufuro had been so heartless on the night of January 15, I am not surprised by the brutality of the federal troops.

Major Timothy Onwuatuegwu was one of those that led the Kaduna operation of the mutiny. He went to the home of Colonel Ralph Shodeinde, the Deputy Commandant of the Nigerian Military Training College, and he personally shot him to death. He also wounded his wife. After that, he went to the home of Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, the Commandant of the 1st Brigade, burst into his bedroom and personally shot him and his eight-month pregnant wife to death with a machine gun. Onwuatuegwu's end was no better than that of those that he murdered on the night of January 15, 1966. He was captured and locked up after the failure of the coup. During the civil war, which started one year later, he fought on the Biafran side.
A few days after the end of the war, he was lured into a hotel room in the east by a group of men and women for a meeting where he was murdered in the most gruesome manner. I will not give details of how he was killed here because they are far too gruesome for publication. Little did Onwuatuegwu know that the men and women that had invited him into the hotel room were working for the Nigerian secret service and that they were in the company of federal troops. What an irony! He had killed others in the presence of their wives whilst he himself was killed in the presence of strange women.

Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, the leader of the mutiny in the northern part of the country, stormed the home of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and the Premier of the North, in Kaduna on the night of the coup.

January 15 1966: A Night Of Blood and Slaughter
By Fani-Kayode - Nigerian Tribune.
A former Aviation Minister

On the night of January 15th 1966 a coup d'etat took place in Nigeria which resulted in the murder of a number of leading political figures and senior army officers in Lagos, Kaduna and Ibadan. This was the first coup in the history of our country and 98 per cent of the officers that planned and led it were Igbo. From the political class those that were killed included the following: Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, who was abducted from his home, murdered and whose body was dumped somewhere along the Lagos-Abeokuta road.

Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the old Northern Region, who was killed in the sanctity of his own home together with his wife and his security assistant. Chief S.L. Akintola, the Premier of the old Western Region, who was gunned down in the presence of his family and Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, the Minister of Finance, who was abducted from his home, brutalised, murdered and dumped in a bush.

From the ranks of the military those that were murdered included Brigadier Zakari Maimalari, who had held a cocktail party in his home a few hours earlier that evening which was attended by most of the young officers that participated in the coup. Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun who was shot to death in his matrimonial bed along with his eight-month pregnant wife. Others included Col. Ralph Shodeinde, Col. Kur Muhammed, Lt. Col. James Pam, Lt. Col. Abogi Largema, Lt. Col. Arthur Unegbe, PC Yohanna Garkawa, PC Haga Lai, Lance Corporal Musa Nimzo, Sgt. Daramola Oyegoke, PC Akpan Anduka and Ahmed Ben Musa.

Sadly the mutineers came to our home in Ibadan that night as well and they brutalized and abducted my father, Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode, the Deputy Premier of the old Western Region. What I witnessed that night was traumatic and devastating for me and my family and, of course, what the nation witnessed that night was horrific. It was a night of carnage, barbarity and terror. The events of that night set in motion a series of events which changed our history. The consequences of the events of that night are still with us till this day. It was a sad and terrible night: one of blood and slaughter.

What I witnessed was as follows. In the middle of the night, my mother came into the room which I shared with my older brother, Rotimi and my younger sister Toyin. I was six years old at the time. The lights had been cut so initially we were in darkness and all we could see were lights from three large vehicles. The official residence had a very long drive so it took the vehicles a while to reach us.

We saw three sets of headlights and heard the engines of three lorries drive up the drive-way. The occupants of the lorries, who were uniformed men and who carried torches, positioned themselves and prepared to storm our home whilst calling my fathers name and ordering him to come out. My father went out to meet them after he had gathered us together, prayed for us and explained to us that since it was him they wanted he must go out there. He explained that he would rather go out to meet them than let them come into the house to shoot or harm us.

The minute he stepped out they brutalised him. I witnessed this. They tied him up and threw him into one of the the lorries. Interestingly, the first thing they said to him was "where are your thugs now?" My father's response was "I don't have thugs, only gentlemen." I think this made them brutalise him even more. They tied him up, threw him in the back of the lorry and then stormed the house.

When they got into the house they ransacked every nook and cranny, shooting into the ceiling and wardrobes. They were very brutal and frightful and we were terrified. My mother, Chief Mrs. Adia Adunni Fani-Kayode, was screaming and crying from the balcony because all she could do was focus on her husband who was downstairs.
"Don't kill him, don't kill him!!" she kept screaming at them. I can still visualise this and hear her voice pleading, screaming and crying. I didn't know where my brother or sister was at this point because the house was in total chaos. I was just six years old and I was standing there in the middle of the house, surrounded by uniformed men who were ransacking the whole place and terrorising my family.

Then out of the blue something extraordinary happened. One of the soldiers came up to me, put his hand on my head and said: "don't worry, we won't kill your father, stop crying." He said this thrice. After he said it the third time I stopped crying. This was because he gave me hope and he spoke with compassion. With new-found confidence I went rushing to my mother who was still screaming on the balcony and told her to stop crying because the soldier had promised that they would not kill my father and that everything would be okay.
I held on to the words of that soldier and that night, despite all that was going on around me, I never cried again. They took my father away and as the lorry drove off my mother kept on wailing and crying and so was everyone else in the house except for me.

From there they went to the home of Chief S.L. Akintola, the Premier of the Western Region, a great statesman and nationalist and a very dear uncle of mine. My mother had phoned Akintola to inform him of what had happened in our home. She was screaming down the phone asking where her husband had been taken and by this time she was quite hysterical. Chief Akintola tried to calm her down assuring her that all would be well.

When they got to Akintola's house he already knew that they were coming and he was well prepared for them. Instead of coming out to meet them he had stationed some of his policemen and they started shooting. A gun battle ensued and consequently the mutineers were delayed by at least one hour. According to the Special Branch reports and the official statements of the mutineers that survived that night and that were involved in the Ibadan operation their plan had been to pick up my father and Chief Akintola from their homes, take them to Lagos, gather them all together at Dodan Barracks with the other political leaders that had been abducted and then execute them all together.

The difficulty they had was that Akintola resisted them and he and his policemen ended up wounding two of the soldiers that came to his home. One of the soldiers, whose name was apparently James, had his fingers blown off and the other, whose name was not recorded, had his ear blown off. After some time Chief Akintola's ammunition ran out and the shooting stopped. His policemen stood down and they surrendered. He came out waving a white handkerchief and the minute he stepped out they just shot him to pieces and slaughtered him.

My father witnessed Akintola's cold-blooded murder in utter shock and horror because he was tied up in the back of the lorry from where he could see everything that transpired. The soldiers were apparently enraged by the fact that two of their men had been wounded and that Akintola resisted and delayed them. After they killed him they moved on to Lagos with my father. When they got there they took him to the Officer's Mess at Dodan Barracks. He was rescued, after a dramatic gun battle, by loyalist troops led by Capt. S.G. Tokida who were under the command of Lt. Col. Jack Yakubu Gowon.

When the mutineers took my dad away everyone in our home, except for me, thought he had been killed. The next morning a handful of policemen came and took us to the house of my mother's first cousin, Justice Atanda Fatai Williams, who was a judge of the Western Region at the time. He later became the Chief Justice of Nigeria. From there we were taken to the home of Justice Adenekan Ademola, another High Court judge of the Western Region at the time, who was a very close friend of my father and who later became a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

At this point the whole country had been thrown into confusion and no one knew what was going on. We heard lots of stories and did not know what to make of what anymore. There was chaos and confusion and the entire nation was gripped by fear.
Two days later my father finally called us on the telephone and he told us that he was fine. When we heard his voice, I kept telling my mother "I told you, I told you." Justice Ademola and his dear wife, Auntie Frances, were weeping, my mother was weeping, my brother and sister were weeping and I was just rejoicing because I knew that he would not be killed and I had told them.

I never got to know who that soldier was (that promised me that my father would not be killed) but I believe that God spoke through him that night. I also believe that he may well have been an officer because he spoke with confidence and authority.

These individuals who carried out this coup were not alone: they had the backing from certain elements in the political class who identified with their cause. Some have said that it was an Igbo coup whilst others have said that it was an UPGA (referring to the political alliance between the Action Group and the NCNC) coup but that is a story for another day.
Whatever anyone calls it or believes, two things are clear: the consequences of the action that those young officers took that night were far-reaching and the way and manner in which they killed their victims was deplorable and barbaric. Such savagery had never been witnessed in our shores. There has never been another night like that and the results of the events of that night were devastating and profound.

In my view not enough Nigerians appreciate this fact. Some in our country cannot forgive those who participated in the mutiny and, though I do not share that sentiment or disposition, this is understandable. Others believe that those young men (they were all in their 20's) did the right thing and they say that those killings were necessary and heroic. This is a sentiment which I not only despise but which I also find unacceptable and appalling. There is nothing heroic about rebellion and the murder and carnage of innocent and defenseless men and women. .

The coup affected the country in a profound manner because the events of that night led to a counter-coup six months later. This counter-coup, which is commonly reffered to as the "revenge coup", was a devastating and disproportionate response. Yet it did not stop there. Sadly after that came the horrendous pogroms and slaughter of no less than 30,000 Igbo civilians in the north. This led to the civil war in which millions of people died, including innocent children. This was also horrendous and deplorable.

Yet the bitter truth is that if the new Head of State, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, had done the right thing and actually prosecuted the ringleaders of the coup, who were Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, Major Anufuro, Major Ademoyega, Major Timothy Onwuatuegwu, Captain Emmanuel Nwobosi, Captain Okafor, Captain Ben Gbulie and all the other young officers that planned and executed the coup of January 15th after it was crushed, there would have been no northern revenge coup six months later.

I have not added Major Emmanuel Ifejuana (who was actually the leader of the coup) to the list because he could not have been locked up or prosecuted by General Aguiy-Ironsi simply because he ran away to Ghana immediately after the mutiny in Lagos failed and after he and his co-mutineers were routed by Lt. Col. Yakubu Jack Gowon.

For some curious reason after the coup was successfully crushed, General Aguiyi-Ironsi just locked these young mutineers up and he refused to prosecute them. This bred suspicion from the ranks of the northern officers given the fact that Aguiyi-Ironsi himself was an Igbo. The suspicion was that he had some level of sympathy for the mutineers and the fact that they did not execute him during the course of the mutiny only fuelled that suspicion.
The northern officers also felt deeply aggrieved about the wholesale slaughter of their military colleagues and key political figures that night. In my view that, together with Aguiyi-Ironsi's insistence on promulgating the Unification Decree which abolished the federal system of government and sought to turn Nigeria into a unitary state, made the revenge coup of July 29th 1966 inevitable.

The revenge coup was planned and led by Major Murtala Mohammed (as he then was) and it was supported and executed by other young northern officers like Major T.Y. Danjuma (as he then was), Major Martins Adamu and many others. This is the coup that was to put Lt. Col. Yakubu Jack Gowon (as he then was) in power and when they struck it was a very bloody and brutal affair.

The response of the northern officers to the mutiny and terrible killings that took place on the night of January 15th 1966 and to General Aguiyi-Ironsi's apparent procrastination and reluctance to ensure that justice was served to the mutineers was not only devastating but also frightful. Hundreds of army officers of mainly Igbo extraction who were perceived to be sympathetic to the January 15th mutineers were killed that night including the Head of State General Aguiyi-Ironsi and the Military Governor of the old Western Region who was hosting him, the courageous Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi. This was very sad and unfortunate.

What happened on the night of January 15th 1966 was unacceptable and uncalled for. I completely disagree with those who think that there was anything good about that coup, the counter-coup of July 29th 1966 or indeed any other coup which took place in the history of our country. This is because blood calls for blood: when you shed blood other people want to shed your blood too. The minute that the shedding of blood in the quest to get power becomes the norm we are all diminished and dehumanised: and this applies to both the perpetrators and the victims.

The January 15th coup set off a cycle of events which had cataclysmic consequences for our country and which we are still feeling till today. Coups may have occured in other countries in Africa but that did not mean that any had to happen here. In any case the amount of blood that was shed that night and the number of innocent people that were killed was unacceptable. It arrested our development as a people and our political evolution as a country. Had it not happened our history would have been very different. May we never see such a thing again.

Yet regardless of the pain of the past I believe that we should do all we can to put these matters behind us. We must not allow ourselves to become prisoners of history. Rather than being propelled by pain and bitterness and becoming victims of history we must learn from it and be guided by it. We must move on. We must learn to forgive even if we do not forget and, equally importantly, we must establish and accept the truth about those ugly events and understand what actually transpired.

What happened that night traumatized the nation. None of us has been the same since. I identify with that because I was a part of it, I witnessed it and I was a victim of it. Yet by God's grace and divine providence my father's life was spared: not because he was special but simply by the grace of God. Every day I think about those that were killed that night and I remember their families. We share a common bond and we are all partakers of an ugly and frightful history. I tell myself: "were it not for divine providence my father would have also died and I would not have been what I am today because he was the one who educated me and did everything for me." If nothing else I know there was a purpose for that.

We must resolve among ourselves that never again will people be attacked in their homes, dragged out, abducted and shot like dogs in the middle of the night. Never again will women, wives and children be slaughtered and terrorised in this way. Never again shall we witness such barbarity and wickedness in our quest for power. Never again must any Nigerian suffer such indignity, brutality and callousness. May the souls of all those that were murdered on January 16th 1966 continue to rest in peace.

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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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