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Monday, March 14, 2016

Killing Biafra

Written by Obi Nwakanma
~Vanguard, Sunday, March 13, 2016

I confess: the title of my essay today is not original. It was first penned by the now late Agwu Okpanku, Classicist and journalist trained at Ibadan and Cambridge, in his column, "The Third Eye," published in the now defunct, Enugu-based newspaper of the 1970s, Renaissance. Agwu Okpanku was a fierce critic of the post war attempts by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of Yakubu Gowon, to erase all evidence of Biafra from national memory.

When Agwu Okpanku wrote "Killing Biafra," he was simply reminding the triumphalist power of that moment, about the indelicacy as well as the futility, in decreeing oblivion. Biafra was an independent republic. For three years it fought for its sovereignty.
It had symbols; it had documents, and it had a material presence which the Federal Military Government's policy was working rather too hard to erase, in uninformed attempts to force "one Nigeria" down the throat of former Biafrans.

So, for instance, the Uli Airport, which could have been preserved for its historical significance and value was bulldozed; the Bight of Biafra suddenly became "Bight of Bonny;" material evidence that had any hint of Biafra were seized and systematically destroyed, or kept sealed - until Babangida established the National War Museum in Umuahia. It would have been tolerable if the former Biafrans felt a welcoming sense of justice and acceptance to "one Nigeria."

But, no. A lingering sense of alienation remains from Nigeria's mishandling of the policy of the "The Rs" announced at the end of conflicts. In actual fact, at the end of the war in 1970, Sam Ogbemudia as military governor of the Midwest had quickly made contact with the now late T.E.A Salubi and Dr. Nwariaku, one of the great Biafran scientists, and a key figure of the Biafran Research and Production (RAP) department whose innovations in war production gave insight into the capacity of the black mind, and quickly made a case at the Council of States for the Gowon administration to urgently gather these scientists, rehabilitate them, and use RAP as the basis for Nigeria's industrial revolution.

Ogbemudia was strenuously opposed by his colleagues in the council: nothing of such should be done with "the rebels," he was told. Post war federal policy, not surprisingly, was at odds with reason, and it was soon clear to those who had fought for Biafra that the Federal Military Government's policy of "reconciliation and rehabilitation" was no more than a hollow pact calculated to disarm the Biafrans. Since 1970, the mindless and tragic exploitation, and the strategic policy of neglect has left areas of the former Eastern region bitter, frustrated, and alienated.

The Federal government, using its divisive politics and narrative of sectionality have tried to emphasize regional differences between what it has often falsely described as the "Niger Delta" and the South East. The fact that much of Igbo land falls into what is geographically the Niger Delta has been obscured by the convenient geo-political narrative of difference that has long been promoted by the self-interested powers, who have used the ploy to exploit and contain any upsurge of defiance from the East in the last forty years.

But a new generation, many born in the war and after it have seen through it all: how come, many of them now ask, that the areas from which much of Nigeria's oil wealth was exploited have benefited very little from the exploitation of the resources in their region? The direct benefits of what should have been an oil economy went in the enrichment of people outside the region. Not even many Nigerians have benefited from this product, oil, now in its dying phase as an economic factor.

One of the significant aspects of the old East is its contiguity. What happens in any part of the region is quickly telegraphed to the other. Gas flare in Izombe is felt in Port Harcourt. Oil spill in Eleme is quickly felt in Asa and Aba. If an explosion happens in Eket, you will quickly feel its reverberations in Owerrinta, or Ohambele or Bori. It is fifteen minutes from Aba to Ikot-Ekpene on a good road, and to Uyo, less than 45 minutes.

Only a bridge separates Itigidi from Afikpo. Asaba and Onitsha are just like St. Louis and East St. Louis, as with the other, linked by the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi, one in Missouri, and the other in Illinois, yet inexorably linked. From Yenegoa, Degema, through Elele to Owerri is as much distance as from Owerri to Enugu, and it is such contiguity that makes the Eastern areas of Nigeria a powerfully attractive economic belt as well as a disaster waiting to happen. The interconnections and linkages is most probably the factor that is driving the new Biafra and the Niger delta movement into a single defiance movement.

The growth of this single movement quite frankly poses a security threat to this nation that no president should, or can ignore. It requires a strategic and comprehensive response; that much is true. Whatever response to this movement however must begin from the framework that the new Biafra movement is the result of both political and economic frustration and alienation. It did not begin with this administration, but it is growing exponentially, and is compounded by what seems to be the President's tunnel vision; his unwillingness to address this question like a statesman not much rather like a belligerent soldier.

Thus far, the president's response to the Biafran agitations, which is currently at its peaceful stage, is ego-driven, and frankly immature, and does not lend itself to the kind of thoughtfulness and diplomacy required of a president whose duty above all else is to secure peace by all means necessary in a fragile multi-ethnic nation such as Nigeria, in order to achieve common prosperity. The growing Biafra question is looking most certainly to define the Buhari presidency. The president looks all set to entangle Nigeria in a long and unwinnable conflict that threatens to snowball into another civil war if improperly handled.
Last week, the president lost a great opportunity to address it and scale it down. He was confronted with this question in an Al-Jazeera interview, about Biafra and the administration's authorization of the killing of unarmed Biafrans by soldiers. The president refused to see recorded evidence available to Al-Jazeera of the killing of unarmed, peaceful protesters asking for a "Biafran referendum" in Aba.

He snapped at the interviewer who asked if it is not better to meet with them than shoot them. "Why Should I meet them?" the president asked, bristling. This president puts himself in an actionable position in justifying the use of maximum force and the killing of an unarmed civilian population protesting peacefully within their rights. The president's claim that their agitation for Biafra is intolerable, is itself intolerable under democratic rule. What the president is doing is deliberately pushing a currently unarmed movement towards an inevitable armed conflict, and a widening of the field. The images of the shooting of civilians is a great recruitment tool for the Biafrans, as more and more people once indifferent to it are quietly joining from deep anger at these images.

This president, we use this column again to plead with, should not push Nigeria into another civil war, by his actions or inactions, because there is no greater threat to the security of a nation than a deep sense of injustice and alienation felt by a great number of people. President Buhari fought in the last war and must certainly realize that there is no such thing as a "cake-walk" in war. It is important that president Buhari's advisers tell him that it is still early and possible to contain this Biafran movement peacefully, and prevent its next inevitable phase, the armed phase, which will happen if the young leaders of this movement begin to feel that no one is listening to them; and that they have no other option than to defend themselves militarily against the government's use of force. We must never arrive at this moment, Mr. President.

Therefore, it is important that all parties, from the federal authorities to the new Biafrans, show good faith and meet and listen to each other. President Buhari ought to take the initiative to meet because he is the president - the adult in the room. Otherwise, he might just have a great, complex situation unfolding in startling ways before him. It is not possible to "kill Biafra" with threats. We have said this before. It needs repeating.

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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