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Friday, December 16, 2016
Self-determination, Biafrans, and deluions
A public affairs commentator, wrote from Uruowulu Obosi, Anambra State
~Vanguard Nigeria. Wednesday, December 14, 2016.
AFRICA has a glorious past. Before the advent of white imperialists , Africans had their own systems of government. We had the ancient Benin Kingdom, Oyo Empire, Ghana Empire, the reign of Mansa Musa in Mali, and others. In the pre-colonial lgboland, the cultural practices and norms of the people were embedded in their republicanism, which used to be their system of government. Achebe's anthropological novels documented the historical past of the Igbo people
The white people came to the African continent with Christianity, western education, and representative government. Today, millions of black Africans belong to the Christendom, and democracy is the acceptable form of government in Africa and elsewhere. Even countries with theocracy and monarchy are reforming, and embracing democratic norms.
Nigeria is now a democratic country. We owe ours to colonialism. Nigerians suffered under colonial rule. But the irrefutable truth is this: irrespective of our sufferings and humiliations during the colonial era, the advantages of colonialism far outweigh its flipsides or disadvantages, in my own estimation.
But the imperialists erred gravely in their lumping of disparate ethnic groups together as one country on the African continentwithout consideration for cultural and religious affinities. In Nigeria, even before the attainment of political freedom in 1960, religious conflicts and ethnic hatred are the centrifugal forces tearing the country apart. Nigerians are very conscious of their ethnic origins and heritage; and they place their primordial and ethnic interests above national considerations. So , the Hausa-Fulani people threatened secession in their nine point programme in the early 1950s. And the Ijaw people declared the Niger-Delta republic in 1963, which was shortlived. And the late Col Emeka Ojukwu led the Igbo people of South-east Nigeria to fight a secessionist war between 1967 and 1970.So Nigeria could be liken to a cat with nine lives. Whenever our country got to the precipice, it would be pulled back instead of bowling over and dismembering.
Now, a wave of renewed agitation for the creation of the sovereign state of Biafra has gained momentum and is sweeping across the south-east of Nigeria. The Independent people of Biafra, IPOB, is championing the cause. The arrow-head of the group is the detained and erudite director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. MASSOB, another secessionist group, is in disarray with its leader, Mr. Uwazurike, discredited and thought to be a sell-out. But, IPOB had successfully paralyzed economic activities and curtailed movement of people several times in the past with its stay- at- home order. Sadly, the clampdown as well as violence being visited on the group has led to the detention and deaths of many IPOB members. Members of the group are being killed and hunted down for exerting their right.
Globally, homogenous groups are clamouring for political emancipation. In Britain, the Scottish people want out of the British union. The Basque people in Spain are still agitating for a separate country of their own. The Oromo people in Ethiopia are disaffected as the Ethiopian leadership has been giving them a raw deal. But why are the Igbo people of South-east of Nigeria clamouring for the state of Biafra now? Feelings of marginalisation are the chief incitement and motivation for Igbo people's agitation for a sovereign state. Truly, they are being shortchanged in the scheme of things in the country. But the Igbos are their own worst enemies. In 1999, Dr. Alex Ekwueme stood a good chance of becoming the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential flag bearer and winning the presidential election. But his ethnic compatriots sabotaged his efforts and sold him out. If he had won that election, he would have corrected the imbalances and injustices being meted out to the Igbos. It is obvious that Igbo people are disunited; that is why an Igbo person hasn't led Nigeria in the true sense of the word.
Now, the agitators for the creation of the state of Biafra believe that the South-east would become economically prosperous if the region becomes the state of Biafra. And those idealistic young people, most of whom are lumpen proletariats, believe that they would be entitled to receiving handsome salaries monthly as idlers if the Biafran state is a reality. They believe, and rightly so, that Biafrans in the diaspora are with skills, expertise, and knowledge, which they can deploy to build an economically prosperous and technologically advanced country. Yes, we can reenact the technological feat the Biafran engineers achieved during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War.
But nation - building is an ardous task that requires dedicated, honest, visionary, and competent political leadership. The south-east is a landlocked area, and oil is not produced in large commercial quantities in the region as it is in the Niger-Delta region. So if Biafra became a reality, its leaders would explore the non-oil sector to boost its revenue profile. To achieve the state of Biafra cannot translate to transforming the south-east to a prosperous paradise overnight.
Just has ethnicity and corruption have divided and ruined Nigeria, so would these divide the Biafran State.
so would clannishness, statism and corruption bifurcate and threaten the survival of Biafra. Are Biafrans immune to being corrupt? Are most of the Biafrans' dreams not utopia?
THE IGBO RANT
BIBLICAL TRADITIONS OF NDI IGBO BEFORE THE MISSIONARIES CAME TO AFRICA* IGBO 101.
THE IGBO TRIBE AND ITS FEAR OF EXTINCTION
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.
RT. HON. DR. NNAMDI AZIKIWE TO DR. CHUBA OKADIGBO (1981)
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