Remembering Biafra’s fallen heroes and heroines, By Nnamdi Obodoechi

Posted by News Express | 23 August 2015 | 8,239 times

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Fellow Biafrans and the friends of Biafra

Inasmuch as there was a civil war in Nigeria, there was also a country called Biafra. This is history, and it is a real fact. On May 30, 1967, the Republic of Biafra was declared by Lt Col Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (then Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria}, to settle the issues which emanated from the pogrom, widespread massacre of the Igbo/Easterners (Biafrans) in Northern Nigeria (and parts of Western Region). The nomenclature came from the Bight of Biafra which is a part of the Atlantic Bay on the Southern part of Nigeria. The name Biafra and its people were in existence 5,000 years ago. But the Republic of Biafra lived from May 30, 1967- January 15, 1970 (at the end of hostilities) after which the people were reintegrated into Nigeria.
Biafra consisted mainly of the (South) Eastern Region and some Idoma from the lower Benue in Nigeria. Biafra was predominantly inhabited by the Igbo and other tribes, which are as follows: Ijaw, Ekik/Ibibio, Annang, Ishan, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Ogoja/Ekoi, Ika, including Igbanke, etc.

 The event that led to the declaration of Biafra by Emeka-Ojukwu, who was a lieutenant colonel in the Nigerian Army, was caused by Lt Col Yakubu Gowon, (who became head of state after the assassination at Ibadan, of Gen Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and his host, Lt Col Adenkunle Fajuiyi, then Military Governor of Western Region). Col Gowon outrightly rejected the Aburi Accord (hosted and) presided over by Gen Thomas Ankrah of Ghana. He rejected the Aburi Accord because of the evil advice of the British government headed by Prime Minister Harold Wilson (and top Nigerian public servants), not to accept such formal peace agreement.
One of the greatest enduring myths in Nigeria is the lie that Gowon fought the Nigeria-Biafra war to keep Nigeria united. In reality not only did Gowon, whose Northern Region had originally intended to secede (araba) after the July 1966 counter coup, cause an unnecessary war through his failure of leadership, his aim for fighting the war after he bridged the Aburi Accord, was never in the least a genuine desire to keep Nigeria united, but purely because of Northern economic interests.
The economic interests of the hitherto secessionist North became the principal reason for the volte face from secession to ‘One Nigeria’, after British government advised the Northern leadership of economic disadvantages of secession.
The great mistake: The British colonialist, Sir Fredrick (Lord) Lugard with the British government amalgamated the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1914 into colony, for economic reasons. The essence chiefly was to support the North to survive economic hardships with the natural endowments of the southern protectorate. It was an economic association, but the people maintained religious, societal and cultural differences.
The unity did not work because the three major tribes: Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba did not accept themselves as one. The reason Lord Luggard mixed oil and water together, as he was quoted to have stated that, ‘South and North is like oil and water mixed together.’ In my opinion, the  question is: How can wild animals and domestic animals live together in the same den without harming themselves? For this reason, the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, ought to have  expired on December 31, 2013. The amalgamation was called the great mistake of 1914 by Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto) Premier of the defunct Northern Nigeria. But, nobody ever asked him why he called it the great mistake of 1914, even as the same mistakes are still occurring till date. All these great mistakes made thestatus quo to remain like that throughout the nationalist era to independence on October 1, 1960.
Among other factors that brought problems in Nigeria at independence was representation in the federal civil service, because the Igbo occupied most of the civil service positions in the North because they were highly skilled and educated. Secondly the Hausa/Fulani had not acquired the requisite skills to occupy such civil service offices. The North felt aggrieved that their people were not represented in the civil service, as we saw in the interview a White journalist granted North’s venerated leader, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, who had initially called the 1914 amalgamation  ‘the great Mistake of 1914.’ He had reportedly stated: “Well, the Igbo are more less the type of people who was designed mainly to dominate everybody. If they go to village / town, they will like to monopolise everything in that area. If you put them in a farm as labourers, they will try to emerge as the head men in that farm, and so on.
Well in the past, our people were not aligned in their responsibility because as you can see from modernisation policy, and in 1952 when I came here, there wasn’t northerners in civil service here. Then, I fight to organise them now. All the important posts are being held by the northerners.” He added that instead of giving the Igbo, he preferred to give it to a hired person from another country.
The marginalisation of the Igbo and other easterners in Nigeria continued unchecked, coupled with their serial massacre in the North in the guise of ethnic and religious riots. All these problems brought the attention of the defunct Organisation of African Unity (now African Union) to summon series of peace talks. But all were abortive due to the recalcitrance of the Gowon administration at the centre. The last of such meetings was rescheduled, as the crisis grown in intensity, as easterners were no longer safe in the Northern and Western regions of the federation. That led to the acceptance of Aburi, Ghana as safe and neutral venue by both the Federal Government and Eastern Nigeria government led by Col Ojukwu. The meeting was scheduled for January 1967. The essence of the meeting was to restructure the federal civil service and to restore the confidence of easterners in the young and diverse nation called Nigeria – the name which a colonial journalist gave the country. It means ‘Niger area.’ Among reasons why the Aburi Accord failed was because the federal government led by Col Yakubu did not fulfill its own parts of the agreement. 
Frustrated by Gowon’s recalcitrance and growing hostility in Nigeria, Col Ojukwu was compelled to summon a Consultative Assembly of elders and Eastern elders of thought on May 26, 1967 for advice and best way to resolve the impasse. Naturally, the convocation unanimously voted to stay away from Nigeria and have an independent state where their security could be guaranteed. Consequently, on May 30, Lt Col Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, as the People’s General, declared Eastern Region Independent Republic of Biafra, to free easterners from constant threat to their lives by northerners, with the active connivance of the Col Gowon-led federal military government.
It’s important to recall that the Republic of Biafra was recognised by Cote d’ Voire, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia and Haiti. The civil war began in Nigeria on July 6, 1967, when the federal military government led by Col Gowon decided to adopt a ‘Police Action’ to crush the 37-day-old Biafra and annex the Eastern Region under  Col Ojukwu’s watch . The two sides waged the war till January 15, 1970, when the federal military government of Nigeria announced cessation of hostilities with the hypocritical phrase, ‘No victor, No vanquished.’ Oh! this reminds me of the meaning of BRITISH, which I tagged: Bundle of Ridiculous people Instigating Trouble In Some people’s Homes. 
No wonder, Gen Odumegwu-Ojukwu is quoted to have said: “Nigeria is a stooge of Europe. Her independence was and is a lie. Nigeria committed many crimes against her nationals which in the end made complete nonsense of her claim to unity. Nigeria persecuted and slaughtered her minorities. Nigerian justice was a farce; her elections, her census, her politics - her everything - was corrupt. Qualification, merit and experience were discounted in public service. In one area of Nigeria, for instance, they preferred to turn a nurse who had worked for five years into a doctor rather than employ a qualified doctor from another part of Nigeria; barely literate clerks were made permanent secretaries; a university vice-chancellor was sacked because he belonged to the wrong tribe.” 

The Nigeria civil war was a deliberate action to starve Biafrans to death. And this claimed the lives of 6 million Biafrans and properties worth billions of pounds sterling were destroyed.
The Eastern Region (the home to the state of Biafra) quickly rose to a maximum capitalist financial height few years after the war, despite the decision by Chief Obafemi Awolowo to give every Biafran 20 pounds, no matter how much the person had in his bank account. It was also Chief Awolowo who starved the children of Biafra to death, because he initiated the idea of economic barricade against Biafra. This same Yoruba man also betrayed Ojukwu who freed him where he was jailed in Calabar Prison for treasonable felony. The agreement he had with Ojukwu was: “Go to Lagos and declare Oduduwa Republic, while I will declare the Republic of Biafra.’’ When Awolowo got to Lagos, he accepted the offer Commissioner for Finance from the federal military government of Nigeria.   
Given the foregoing background, we the IPOB in Greece humbly seek the world’s assistance, particularly the KEERFA Movement United against racism and the fascism threat, and the Greek government, to help Biafra in her quest for freedom from the oppressive government of Nigeria. Biafrans have suffered many atrocities, mayhem and cold blooded killing of our beloved brothers, sisters, even our children are being raped by the Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri inspired Boko Haram.
To highlight the seriousness of the Biafran cause, I will like to mention the sad experience of a Biafran activist, Bruce Mayrock, a White man, who was 20 years old when he set himself ablaze in front of the United Nations Building, while demonstrating against the injustice meted out to Biafrans by Nigeria and Britain. A young student of Columbia University, New York, at the time. Unfortunately, he died the same day as a result of the injuries he sustained. May your soul eternally reign with our Lord in Paradise, where no political, racial, tribal, religious or economic domination will ever be tolerated. Amen! Together we remember a host of others that fought so

that we shall live. And here we are today honoring them for their gallantry; and may the same  virtue continue where they stopped. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace. Biafra ga-adi, Iseeee!

 It is a compulsory duty of everybody in the land of Biafra to hail Biafra. All must hail Biafra.  Whoever that hates to hail Biafra is our enemy! Try to figure them out wherever they are.
Freedom for all, no matter who you are, no matter your race, no matter your colour, you are welcome in Biafran Rally today. Thanks and God bless all who join this awesome remembrance of Biafra’s fallen heroes.
We say freedom for all! Ndewo-nu!!

•Being text of a speech delivered by Comrade Nnamdi Obodoechi (Ojukwu Igbo nile) during a recent ceremony in Greece in remembrance of Biafra’s heroes/heroines who died in the 30-month Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967-70. Photo shows Comrade Obodoechi.

Source: News Express

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