BURNING ISSUES WHO ARE THE BIAFRANS?

 

History is an oracle that must be consulted from time to time in order to
put things in proper perspective. So, first and foremost let us take a trip
down memory lane to pick one or two things from history to straighten the
records. In the beginning Nigeria was made up of three regions: Eastern
Region, Northern Region and Western Region. In 1963, Mid-Western Region was
carved out of the Western Region.

The regions were administered by premiers
but after the 1966 coup the regions were governed by Military governors.
Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegu Ojukwu happened to be the military governor of
Easter Region. For inexplicable reasons or reasons best known to him he
declared the EASTERN REGION Republic of Biafra. That is the original
Biafra. That is the Biafra Ojukwu declared. That is the Biafra I know. He
did not go beyond his jurisdiction, so if Republic of Biafra did not fall
what is supposed to be a Biafra as a country would have been the old Easter
Region, that is the present South-East geo-political zone and four states
from the South-South: AKwa Ibom, Balyesa, Cross-River and Rivers.
But in 1967 the then Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon dismantled the regions
and replaced them with twelve states. The Eastern Region was split into
three: East Central, South-East and Rivers States. This arrangement
tactfully separated the Eastern Region minority tribes from the Igbo
majority, this contributed in no small way to the fall of Biafra because as
time went on the non-Igbo were only in Biafra in body but not in spirit.


They (the minority in Biafra) started seeing the indices of marginalization
from the Igbo majority and they felt it would be better to be marginalized
in a larger Nigeria than to be marginalized in a small enclave and that
became one of the factors that led to the collapse of Biafra.


From the foregoing, it is very apparent that the minority (Akwa Ibom,
Balyesa, Cross-River and Rivers) who had started developing lethargy
towards Biafra before the end of the war have not changed their mind over
the years. They are no longer interested in Biafra and the Igbo should know
that. If the minorities in the old Eastern Region are no longer interested
in Biafra, then who are the Biafrans of today? Some people feel that Biafra
has become Igbo affairs and that since they are Igbos in Delta and they are
Igbos in Rivers, they feel that Delta or at least part of it and Rivers or
at least part of it are Biafra. This school of thought never realizes that
the so-called Rivers Ibo and the so-called Delta Ibo never agree that they
are Ibo let alone Biafra.


Now who are the Biafrans? Biafrans are found in the South-East
geo-political zone where the Igbo are domiciled. If the Igbo or the Biafra
agitators think that Biafra goes beyond South-East they are deceiving
themselves and their supporters. If your want to tell the Igbo this naked
truth, they will be so obtrusive and obtruding, they will put up a
convoluted and tenuous argument, they never know that argument never change
facts.


They will go as far as telling you about the map of Biafra that includes
the whole of the South-South geo-political zone. That map is complete
bunkum. Anybody can sit down in his house and draw any map. Nigeria can
draw a map and put Cameroon there that does not make Cameroun Nigeria.
Nigeria can sit down here and draw a map and put Ghana there that does not
make Ghana Nigeria. That map is utter rubbish.


The map that did not seek the consent of the people. The map that the
people did not make any contribution. The map that the people concerned did
not make any input whatsoever and you call it map of Biafra and you feel
that those people are part of you. You are doing nothing but day-dreaming.


Ojukwu declared Eastern Region Biafra, he did not declare Mid-Western
Region or any part of it because Mid-Western Region was not part of his
jurisdiction, Mid-Western Region had its own military governor.
Mid-Western Region had never been Biafra, is not Biafra and can never be
Biafra. The Delta State government is vocal enough and has made its
position unequivocally known to the world, that Delta State has nothing to
do with Biafra. Many groups in the South-South Region have come up to
disassociate themselves from Biafra agitation. Many ethnic nationalities –
Urhobo, Etsekiri, Ijaw, Igala, Idoma, Efik etc – have stated without any
jot of ambiguity that they are not Biafra. And on behalf of my

Ukwuani
people I stand here and solemnly and vehemently declare that Ukwuani has
nothing to do with Biafra.
Even those that have not made official statement, you can see from their
actions that they have nothing to do with Biafra. Let us just apply simple
logic, how many Urhobo men, how many Isoko men, how many Ukwuani men, how
many Itsekiri men are members of MASSOB? How many Ijaw men, how many Ogoja
men , how many Calabar men are members of IPOB? None. What does that tell
you? That tells you that Biafra is Igbo affairs, the South-South people are
not least interested in Biafra. The minorities in Biafra during the civil
war were a victim of circumstance because from the outset Biafra has been
an Igbo affair. The Igbo should not behave like Satan who wanted to leave
heaven but did not want to leave alone; he made sure that he left with many
angels, that is why we are having fallen angels today. If the Igbo want to
leave Nigeria, so be it, they should not include the South-South Zone.
For the Biafra agitators to arbitrarily include the numerous ethnic
nationalities in the South-South Zone in the Biafran map without prior
consultation with the people is most unfortunate and it is usurping the
self-determination right of the South-South people, it is rubbish and an
aberration of the highest magnitude. It is disrespectful, insulting and
unacceptable. It is playing on the collective intelligence of the ethnic
nationalities of the zone and their leaders.


Yes, you cannot stop a bird from flying over your head but you can stop it
from building a nest on top of it. The South-South cannot stop the Igbo
from agitating for Biafra, they have the right to self-determination, but
we have the right to stop them from including us in Biafra because that is
encroaching, trampling and infringing on our own right to
self-determination.


The Biafra

agitators should be circumspect enough to identity those that
are Biafrans and those that are not so that they should not carry mixed
multitude. That was the terrible mistakes the children of Israel made in
the Bible when they were leaving Egypt. They carried mixed multitude, mixed
multitude that did not share their vision, mixed multitude that did not
share their aspiration, mixed multitude that never knew the God of Israel
and His commandments.


The Igbo should avoid such terrible mistake by not carrying those that are
not Biafra, those who don’t share the dream, the aspiration and the vision
of Biafra. One of the blunders the colonial master committed, that is still
haunting us till today is bringing different ethnic nations with diverse
backgrounds, diverse cultures, diverse beliefs and of course diverse
idiosyncrasies without their consent and input and lump them together as a
nation. The Igbo should not carry that baggage to Biafra. The agitators of
Biafra should not be running away from a particular problem and use their
own hand to create the same problem. They should not be fighting for their
own emancipation but at the same time leading others to bondage and
thralldom.


Let me point out one of the implications of carrying non-Biafra to Biafra.
If you subject it to referendum they will vote against Biafra. Mind you not
every Igbo man is going to vote in favour of Biafra. Many prominent Igbo
leaders want the restructured and egalitarian Nigeria where justice,
equity, equality and justice reign supreme, not Biafra. The Igbo man with
his business empire in Alaba International Market, Lagos, the Igbo man with
his business empire in Auto Parts, Lagos and the Igbo man that his business
empire dotted the landscape of Nigeria may not vote in favour of Biafra
because he knows the implication upon his business. With votes of this
class of people coupled with the votes of other Nigerians the chances
Biafra will be very slim. But if the agitator will limit themselves to the
South-East if it is subjected to a referendum the chances of Biafra scaling
through will be a bit high.
Strictly speaking, I am not against Biafra, neither am I against the
agitators, it is their inalienable right, what I am totally against is
their inclusion of those that are not Biafra into Biafra by almost
coercion. God created man and made man a free moral agent that means man
has the freedom to choose whatever he wants, including evil. Based on that
concept the UN Charter gives people the right to self-determination, which
means you can decide what you want.


The UN Charter gives the Igbo the right to decide whether to remain in
Nigeria or to pull out. They say where your right stops, is where mine
starts. The way the Igbo have the right to self-determination is the same
way the Benin, the Urhobo, the Isoko, the Ukwuani have the right to decide
either to be in Biafra or to remain in Nigeria. It is the same way the
defunct Bendel, (Edo/Delta) has the right to decide whether to go with
Biafra, remain in Nigeria or agitate for a country of her own. Edo/Delta
(the old Bendel) would prefer a country of her own to going with Biafra.


After all, in the first republic it stood firmly, did compete favourably
with the other three bigger regions and it excelled.
The way the Igbo have the right to self-determination, the same way the
Ogoja, the Calabar, the Ijaw have the right to decide whether to go with
Biafra or to remain in Nigeria. The Igbo will tell the South-South people,
oh, you too are marginalized. Yes, we know that we are marginalized in
Nigeria but our salvation does not lie in Biafra. And how are we sure that
you too are not going to marginalize us in Biafra? How are we sure you are
not looking for us for selfish reasons? The way the Igbo have the
inalienable right to self-determination is the same way the South-South
people have the inalienable right to decide whether to go with Biafra,
remain in Nigeria or have a country of her own which is even better.
Another thing I am against is the way and manner the Biafra agitators are
going about it. They are becoming too confrontational. They are daring the
federal might and the federal government will see itself as a weakling if
it does not react accordingly. That is why Biafra is recording many
casualties. As of today Biafra is not a legal entity, there is no country
in the world called Biafra, what we are having is Nigeria whether we like
it or not.


Now, why should Biafra agitators be hoisting Biafran flag in Nigerian soil?
Why should Biafra agitators be issuing Biafran currency inside another
sovereignty? Why should Biafra agitators be issuing international passport
to people within Nigeria? Why should Biafra agitators be issuing a
sit-at-home order? thereby infringing on the rights of the people. Why
should they be celebrating Independence Day of Biafra in Nigeria? As long
as they are doing all these, they will continue to clash with security
operatives and they will be recording casualties. They should drop all the
braggadocio and confrontational attitudes. There are more civilized ways
the agitations of Biafra can go about it without a drop of blood. They have
lawyers in their midst who can give them legal advice on how to go about
the whole thing.


Having said that, I must say that two wrongs don’t make a right. I must say
that the attitude of the government especially this present administration
towards the issue of Biafra is totally condemnable.
It is also very lucid that PMB’s style of governance is creating and
resurrecting agitations all over the country. PMB has polarized Nigeria
along ethno-religious line more than any leader in the past. We have never
had it so bad like this in the past. Why is government using a sledge
hammer to kill a fly but uses a stick of broom to hunt a lion. Why should
government be fighting hapless, helpless, defenceless and armless Biafra
agitations with assault rifled but chasing real criminals with baton?
Why should government armed to the teeth to crush Biafra agitators who have
not killed anybody but adores Fulani-herdsmen who are killing people in all
the nooks and crannies of the country a free rein? Why should
Fulani-herdsmen be the only an un-authorized body that is allowed to carry
arms unchallenged? Why is it that a man that kills a cow of Fulani-herdsmen
is brought to justice but a Fulani-herdsman that kills a man is giving a
patt on the back?


Why is government paying for Fulani-herdsmen’s cow killed by farmers but
never pays for the crops of the farmers destroyed by the Fulani-herdsmen’s
cow nor compensate the family of the farmer killed by Fulani-herdsmen? Too
many questions without answers! These are the injustice, inequality and
inequity that are the hallmark of this administration. That is why there
are agitations everywhere. One option for all the problems, restructure the
country and let us have fiscal federalism and all agitations will naturally
dissipate within a short time.
OBJ failed because he failed to restructure Nigeria, GEJ failed because he
failed to restructure Nigeria. PMB will fail, and he has already started
failing, if he fails to restructure Nigeria. If he is fighting corruption
in the system that breeds corruption, he will make no headway – he will be
sitting in a rocking chair. If he is using the corrupt system to fight the
corrupt system it is like standing in the midst of the soldier ants to be
removing the one’s that are biting you, you will end up getting more bites
even as far as in your private part.
PMB should also know that corruption is not only limited to embezzlement;
misappropriation of funds and stealing of money; nepotism and favouritism,
the twin evils that have brought PMB under serious opprobrium are also in
the family of corruption, more than that, if PMB continues to bluntly
refuse to fight Fulani-Herdsmen that are maiming, raping and killing
Nigerians all over the place and adamantly continues to refuse to bring
their sponsors to justice, that is the worst corruption any leader can
perpetrate.

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