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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Offodile's new book x-rays the politics of Biafra

Written by Luke Onyekakeyah
~TheGuardian Nigeria. Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
Chudi Offodile

American athlete, Shaun Alexander says "time heals all wounds, unless you pick at them". Alexander must have spoken from practical experience as an athlete, who is prone to sustaining injuries. Athletes sustain injuries on different parts of their bodies. Shaun's consolation is that no matter the kind of injury sustained and where, it is bound to heal over time on one condition that it is not picked at. Just give the injury the needed treatment and allow it to heal. Those who have wounds are advised to keep off anything that could hit or come in contact with the wound accidentally. In medical parlance, a wound that refuses to heal is called chronic wound. Chronic wounds may never heal or may take years to heal. The wounds cause severe emotional and physical stress in addition to creating considerable financial burden on the patient.

Against this backdrop, Chudi Offodile's new book, The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria, makes profound reading and I recommend it to everyone who wants to have a fresh perspective on the Biafra question vis-Ã-vis the Nigerian conundrum. The book has come at a most auspicious time when agitation for self determination is raging in the defunct Biafra with massive street protests across all the states in the South-East and part of South-South and stone resistance from the Federal Government.

The name Biafra evokes a deep wound that was inflicted on a section of the Nigerian people living in the defunct Eastern Region of the country from May 1967 to January 1970, with the Igbo at the centre. The ugly events of those years, which history now records as the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, culminated in the loss of over a million lives mostly on the Biafra side and the destruction of infrastructure and economy of the once vibrant and fast-moving region. The survivors of the pogrom and the resultant civil war in the defunct Biafra Republic were devastated and impoverished and had to start life afresh. Nearly 50 years after the Biafra debacle, the wounds have refused to heal, meaning that someone is pricking at it. As a matter of fact, the wounds have become chronic with tense psychological trauma on the Igbo.

The question to ask is, why is it that decades after the end of the Biafra War, the wounds have not yet healed? Five decades are enough time to heal the wound if it had been treated adequately. Why is the wound not healing? Who is pricking on the wound? These are some of the critical issues that Offodile addressed in the most informative book that has added to the Biafra discourse. The book goes further to look into Nigeria future vis-Ã-vis the depressing state of political leadership, economic mismanagement and crass underdevelopment syndrome. What future is there for Nigeria under the weight of insensitive leadership and lopsided political framework with no enduring vision for a united country?

That the Biafra War had great negative impact on the Igbo, in particular, and the entire Eastern Region in general is not in doubt. But what is disturbing is that the new Biafra agitation is being championed by mostly post-war generation of the Igbo who feel alienated and frustrated with the utter neglect of a region that some perceive as conquered. Over the weekend, I learned that the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway is now totally impassable and has been abandoned. Travellers are forced to use the old road with hellish experience. To what extent did the reconstruction promised by the war-time leader, General Yakubu Gowon, effected? The Igbo have a saying that the thing that killed the mother rat doesn't allow the pups to open their eyes. Could it be that the same forces that killed what would have been Igbo fathers and mothers some 46 years ago are still working, which is the root of the agitation? I don't believe that there would be any justifiable reason for agitation if the South-East was properly integrated into Nigeria after the war. The agitation is a natural reaction to the neglect and share marginalisation of the Igbo geographical enclave. Some may argue that the entire country virtually portrays the same ugly scenario. That is true, but what of what seems to be an unwritten law that no Igbo man would be president of Nigeria? Where are equity, justice and fairness?

Offodile set out to re-examine the war - the post independence principal players, the ethnic politics that pervaded the First Republic and the uncompromising attitude of some of those politicians. The crisis that erupted in the Western Region was a result of selfish political disposition. Whatever led Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and co to stage a bloody coup in which the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and many prominent politicians were killed remains the evil hand that derailed Nigeria from the path of progress and prosperity. Surprisingly, no Igbo political leader was a victim of that coup and it angered the North.

The Nzeogwu coup, more or less, served as a justifiable basis for a counter coup in which the first military head of state, Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo, and his host, Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi were gruesomely murdered in Ibadan. Those ugly events ushered the military into political leadership that set Nigeria on a ruinous path. The pogrom that preceded the war was made possible because the Igbo were migratory and were scattered all over Nigeria doing business. The role played by Nigeria's first Governor-General, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Michael Okpara and Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, all on the Biafra side, were well captured in the book. Offodile is sad that between December 31, 1983 and May 29, 1999, there was virtually no development in

Nigeria. Different military dictators presided over the affairs of Nigeria and underdeveloped it.

Nigeria needs redemption. The hope that the new democratic dispensation from May 1999 would bring succour to Nigeria has so far failed. The new crop of political actors is more like vampires sucking Nigeria's blood with impunity. Rather than effect development, what Nigerians have been confronted with are abrasive corruption, monumental looting of the treasury at all levels and egocentric mindset. For Offodile, there is need to ponder the dysfunctional structure of our federation and agree to re-engineer it.

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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