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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lessons from Spain's Catalonia, Iraq's Kurdistan and Nigeria's Biafra

By Mazi Ohuabunwa, OFR.
~TheGuardian Nigeria. Monday, November 6, 2017

People holding Esteladas (Pro-independence Catalan flag) gather outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on October 27, 2017, during a plenary session to debate a motion on declaring independence from Spain.
The Catalan parliament will vote on how to respond to the central government’s planned takeover of Catalan political powers following an outlawed independence referendum.
The word of God says there are seasons and times and everything comes to be at the appointed time. From historical times, man has sought independence from oppression and injustice. Man has sought equity and fair play. There was a time slaves fought for independence. Slavery was abolished 1833 in the UK and in 1865 in the USA following many years of struggle including civil wars. After independence was won, they began to fight for equality and fair play. The last vestiges of segregation based on race were dismantled in the United States of America in 1964 through the civil rights act and in South Africa in 1994 when ANC took over political leadership.

Battle for national independence from colonial rule started in the mid 20th Century with India and Pakistan obtaining Independence from Britain in 1945 and by 1971 all the nations that were under colonial rule – British, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, etc had become independent.

Then the movement to seek self determination or secession to establish independent sovereign rule by regions or parts of existing independent nations started, several centuries ago. In 1830, Belgium seceded from the Netherlands; in 1838, Nicaragua seceded from the Republic of Central America; Ireland seceded from the UK in 1916; in 1945, Austria broke away from Nazi Germany; in 1965, Singapore was excised from Malaysia and very recently, South Sudan separated from Sudan. The Republic of Yugoslavia, after the secession of Croatia and Slovenia in 1991, dissolved into Bosnia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro and all the new states are doing very well, much better than Yugoslavia ever did.

The people of Catalonia, an autonomous community which is part of the independent State of Spain began their quest for full independence from Spain in the 17th Century (1640) when it first revolted against Spain. Since then it has been in the struggle, proclaiming a Catalan Republic in 1931 but this was reversed in 1932 and returned to an autonomous state, which it lost again in1939 after the civil war (1936-1939). In 1977 it was granted limited autonomy and in 1979 it received full autonomy. But in 2013, the Catalonian Parliament passed a resolution calling for referendum for total independence from Spain. This referendum after several twists and turns was held on 1st October 2017 and since then the struggle has come to acantankerous impasse as the Federal Spanish Government sackedMr. Carles Puigdemont, the President of the autonomous region of Catalonia with Headquarters in Barcelona. The Parliament was also dissolved bringing the hitherto autonomous region into direct rule from Madrid. The reasons they want full independence are well documented and they believe that they had followed the constitutional route to achieving their independence. They conducted a referendum which showed that 80 per cent of Catalonians supported the independence bid and the parliament eventually approved the declarationof Independence overwhelmingly. But the Spanish government called it a rebellion and as I write a court order is being sought to arrest Puigdemont, following the earlier arrest and detention of some of his lieutenants. What a long and tortuous road to freedom!

About the same time as the people of Catalonia were going through referendum in pursuit of their independence from Spain, the Kurdish people were also going through a referendum in a bid to gain independence from Iraq and establish their own Kurdistan Republic. Again, the referendum held on the 25th of September 2017 succeeded and before they could declare the Kurdistan Republic, Iraq armed forces invaded the Kurdish territory, temporarily halting the movement to independence because the Federal Government of Iraq rejected the referendum.In Nigeria we have seen the resurgence of the struggle for the independent State of Biafra. The first attempt made in 1967, collapsed in 1970 following a war declared by the Federal Government to force Biafra back to Nigeria.

Many people, especially people like General Yakubu Gowon, General Olusegun Obasanjo and General Muhammadu Buhari thought that was the end of Biafra. Then Chief Uwazurike came up with his movement for the Survival of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the late nineties. General Olusegun Obasanjo battled him and his group till they concluded that MASSOB did not represent any serious threat and everybody relaxed. In 2014, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) came strongly on the scene. Nnamdi Kanu launched a virile verbal attack on Nigeria which led to his arrest and then an escalation of the demand for the sovereign state of Biafra. When it looked like the effort was gathering steam with talks of arranging a referendum, the Nigerian Federal Government attacked Nnamdi Kanu and his young followers using soldiers on operation Python dance, then described IPOB as a terrorist organisation and with the agreement of the governors of the South East states, proscribed IPOB, with a case of treasonable felony hanging on the neck of Nnamdi Kanu whose whereabout is unknown since the attack in September 12, 2017.

Is it a coincidence that these three independence struggles are going on virtually at the same time? Is it also a coincidence that the struggles have been aborted by the central governments using apparently the same methods – force & quasi legality? Can we say that we have heard the last of these independence struggles? What lessons can we draw from these?

First, the demand for self-rule, self-determination and independence as an inalienable right of man will never cease as long as the Earth remaineth. Second, because nation states especially those that emerged from colonial rule are mostly artificial creations, demand for independence or secession will continue. In my view, God created nations and gave each nation a common language. That was how God created national boundaries. What Lord Lugard and the British he represented did was to amalgamate several nations into one country for their administrative convenience. However, they left an autonomous regional political structure that would allow dominant language groups to manage their affairs while contributing to maintaining a central government. But the military changed the structure to suite their own administrative convenience and subsequent perpetuation of this perverted structure in a civil democracy has continued to stoke centrifugalforces worsened by unenlightened and parochial leadership.

Thirdly, use of force as we have seen in Nigeria and Iraq and to some extent in Spain will never bring permanent solution to the quest for self-rule or independence. Catalonia's struggle has been ongoing for many years, the Biafra struggle resurfaced after nearly 50 years. I think countries like Spain, Iraq and Nigeria need to learn from other multi-ethnic and multi-religious federations that are living in apparent peace. Luckily, it seems that most Nigerians still prefer to live together if only the country can be restructured to remove the manifest contradictions, enthrone justice, equity and fair play.

Fourthly and lastly, history has shown that those who make peaceful change difficult or impossible only help to precipitate violent change sooner or later. My hope is that the Spanish government will not push Catalonia into violence with the strong-arm tactics it seems to have adopted. Iraq and the Kurds seem to be adopting dialogue and negotiation to resolve the problem, at least for now. Nigeria's triumphant victory attitude over IPOB and the Biafra issues leaves much to be desired. It may be instructive to close with a quote from the State of the Union address of the USA President James Buchanan on December 3, 1860: "The fact is that our union rests on public opinion and can never be cemented by the blood of its citizens in civil war. If it cannot live on the affections of the people, it may one day perish. Congress possesses many means of preserving it by CONCILIATION, but the sword was not placed in their hands to preserve it by force."

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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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