The images of the Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1970 are still vividly clear before any Igbo who witnessed the war. The horrible scenes from the war are what no one likes remembering.
Fast forward to 2015, a few groups of Igbos have once again resurrected the spirit of Biafra. They are calling for the independence of the Igbo tribe. However, the current Biafra agitators are the greatest hypocrites because more than 70% of them never witness the sad tales from the 3 year war.
During the tenure of the presidency of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, a few number of some disgruntled elements wanted to take over a radio station in Enugu state and announce the state of Biafra. They called themselves Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM). They however failed in their ploy as security men were up to their duty. They were rounded up and thrown behind bars.
The best thing for anybody or any group is to learn from history. It is only an unwise person that will commit the same mistake twice. What every right-thinking and patriotic Igbo and other Nigerians alike should think of always is on how to positively contribute their own quota to the growth and development of Nigeria and forget about the Biafra issues.
In a news story in the Vanguard newspaper of Monday, November 23 captioned, “Always Project Nigeria In Good Light – Ojukwu’s Wife.” The country’s former Ambassador to Spain and wife of the late Biafra warlord, Bianca Ojukwu advised Nigerians on things to do in order to move the country forward. This shows that the wife of one of the actors in the Biafra war is for one united Nigeria.
It seems that a good number of the present Biafra agitators never read anything about the history of the civil war and the regrets of Chukwuemeka Odumegu-Ojukwu after the war. They should find out what happened to the Igbo society after the war. The Biafra warlord himself stayed in exile from 1970 to 1982. It was former president, Shehu Shagari that granted him state pardon after 12 years.
In a recent publication by many media outfit, the foremost Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Indigbo washed off its hands as far as Biafra is concerned. The Vanguard of Saturday, November 21 reported what the Igbo group said as this: “Ohaneze Disowns Biafra Agitators, Says Biafra Died In 1970.”
A few months ago, Nigeria’s second Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Retired) and also a major actor in the civil war talked about the call for Biafra. He said there was nothing like Biafra. He said the issue of Biafra had been settled and closed with the 3 R’s of Rebuilding, Reconstruction and Reconciliation. He concluded that anyone agitating for Biafra would face the full weight of the law.
President Muhammadu Buhari has also spoken about the Biafra issue. He issued a stern warning recently. In a publication in The Sun newspaper of Sunday, November 22, it was stated there that the president warned those behind the agitation for the division of Nigeria through the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to steer clear. In the president’s words, he said:
“I therefore sound a note of serious warning that the corporate existence of Nigeria as a single entity is not a subject of debate and will not be compromised.”
The nation’s number one citizen has spoken and that is the final!
In the real sense of it, majority of the pro-Biafra people are just on the streets. They do not know why they really want independence for the Igbos.
Some of the reasons below show that the Biafra agitators are the greatest hypocrites
1. Between Ralph Uwazurike and Nnamdi Kanu
Both men are Igbos. Uwazurike heads MASSOB. He was born in Okwe in Imo state. He holds 2 degrees namely in Political Science and Law from Punjab and Bombay Universities, both in India.
On the other hand, Kanu was born in Isiama-Afara community in Abia state. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu state. Afterwards, he left for London for more education. Kanu used to be the London Coordinator of MASSOB before he left the group due to differences with Uwazurike to form the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The questions every Igbo should ask himself are, if both men truly believe Igbos have been relegated to the background in the scheme of things in Nigeria, why are both men not living among them and eke out their livelihood in the South East? Can Uwazurike say confidently that he does not have any asset outside Igbo land? Why was there a friction between Uwazurike and Kanu? Why didn’t both men settle their differences and continue to speak with one voice under a single group?
Furthermore, some members of IPOB alleged that MASSOB under Uwazurike has sold out the conscience of the Igbos to the government for a pot of porridge. They claim that the MASSOB leader collects money regularly from some government officials in the name of Biafra.
The Biafra house is already divided. Therefore, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
2. The Igbos want to whistle and chew at the same time
Can anybody attempt to have his cake and eat it? It is totally impossible. This is exactly what the Biafra advocates are trying to do.
On Wednesday, November 11 when President Buhari swore in the new federal ministers, he appointed an Igbo in the person of Geoffrey Onyema from Enugu state into one of the juiciest ministry, Foreign Affairs. The 2 men that head the ministries of Science and Technology as well as Labour and Employment are also Igbos from Ebonyi and Anambra states respectively. Despite all these, some selfish individuals are still calling for Igbo independence.
Going into the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party led federal government, some offices and their occupants show that the Igbos were carried along
i. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Coordinating minister of Economy and Finance minister
ii. Anyim Pius Anyim Secretary to the Government of the Federation
iii. Bright Okogwu Direct General, Budget Office
iv. Emeka Eze Director General, Due Process Office
v. Arouma Oteh Director General, Security and Exchange Commission
vi. Mustapha Chike-Obi Managing Director, Asset Management Company
vii. Oscar Onyema Director General, Nigeria Stock Exchange
viii. Chinelu Onouha Director General, Pension Commission
ix. Godwin Emefiele Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
x. Uche Orji Managing Director, Sovereign Wealth Fund
xi. Sunny Iroha Director General, Housing Fund
xii. Evelyn Oputu Managing Director, Bank of Industry
It should be noted that this list is just among many other appointments and posts the Igbos headed.
3. Agitators are mostly of low socioeconomic status
The Igbos involved in most of the Biafra protests should take their time and study the videos and photos from these protests. They themselves will discover that no single well educated and influential Igbo personality participated. What does this mean? It simply means that the agitation is not welcomed and recognised by the Igbo leaders. It also signifies that it is easier to mislead unemployed and ignorant
4. Igbos’ multi-billion naira business ventures outside the South East
There is no doubt that the Igbos are hardworking. They are very resilient. They take risk in their businesses. These qualities have made the Igbos thrive well outside the South Eastern states. This is one of the major things these agitators should deeply think about. They should ask themselves, what will happen to the billions of naira invested by Igbo traders in Lagos, Oyo, Abuja, Ogun, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna if given Biafra?
The people calling for Biafra should remember about the abandoned Igbo properties that were not returned to the Igbos in places like Port Harcourt after the civil war.
Presently, the picture of Biafra has changed. Now, the whole of South-South are totally against going with Biafra, not to talk of a great number of Igbos who are against Igbo independence. This is a big blow on the agitators which shows that Biafra is nothing but a mirage.
5. Faking ignorance about the civil war
Some agitators, who did not witness the Nigeria-Biafra war, but read about it are still pretending as if it was a happy ending for the Igbos. After the 1967-1970 war ended, Ojukwu who led the secessionists and plunged the Igbos into crises fled the country. It was one of his lieutenants that surrendered to the Nigerian forces. Does this mean that Ojukwu could not even sacrifice his life for his people?
Moreso, the Igbos should learn from the present predicament of the world’s youngest country, South Sudan. South Sudan believed it will prosper if it secedes from Sudan because of its crude oil reserves.
After so much appeal to world leaders, it was allowed to gain independence from Sudan. However, what became the country’s lot? There was nothing but chaos, as there are so many discordant tunes coming from various interest groups in South Sudan. This shows that the crises an independent state of Biafra will bring to the Igbos might be unprecedented.