The assertion by the Anglican bishop of Enugu diocese at the back page of the leader in the Sunday, January 17th 2016 edition, that “Ndigbo don’t need Biafra” is a misnomer. On the contrary, Ndigbo need Biafra by all considerations. The reasons adduced by the revered cleric for the albeit peaceful demonstrations by pro- Biafra groups are amongst others: misguidance, marginalization, unemployment, ineffective representation and neglect by all tiers of government. He also said that Ndigbo have invested so much in Nigeria to exit from it. He left the issue of security.
He either spoke out of ignorance or he deliberately did not want to harp on that point, so as not to appear to be stepping on the toes of the powers that be. But that is the crux of matter. The Ibo say that “Ndu bu isi” meaning that life is preeminent over all other considerations. The issue of security is the root of the agitation for biafran sovereignty. It is an issue that cannot be wished away by rhetoric or political gerrymandering. Any commentator that fails to touch this point does not know the facts, and is therefore adviced to keep quiet, lest he expose his ignorance.
The issue of Biafran independence transcends Ibo ethnic realities. It is not a matter for the Ibo alone. Commentators should not mislead the public especially the younger generation by pinning down the issue of Biafra to the Ibo. All Biafrans and we are indeed of one extraction, are endangered specie in Nigeria. All the genocide occurring everyday in Nigeria perpetrated against Biafrans be they Ibo, Ijaw, Iffik, Ibibio etc. we look alike. We are the same. We are Christians. We share the same aspirations. Together we suffer the same fate. In the eyes of riotous northern Moslems, there is no difference between us. Please read general Effiong’s account of the Biafra war, “My story’.
The bishop talked of investments in Nigeria by Ndigbo. Wealth is not a substitute for life. Life has no duplicate. A dead man cannot own investments. As a matter of fact, the so called investments by Ndigbo have never deterred Nigerians from killing Ndigbo. On the contrary such investments irritate Nigerians and trigger off violent attacks against Biafrans in the Nigerian landscape.
In the same issue of the leader at page 9, is a report on the demolition by the Lagos State government of Oshodi market largely occupied by Biafran traders. This latest victimization is Governor Ambode’s New Year message to Ndigbo, coming as it were, in the first week of the New Year when the poor traders are far away in Biafraland celebrating Christmas and new year. The perpetrators of that order made sure the traders did not retrieve a pin from their shops. What does that show- love or hatred, unity or separation?
There are countless chronicles of brutalities against Ndigbo occurring daily in Nigeria from the north to west, which for want of space cannot be recounted here. Every now and then markets are burnt down and demolished only to suffer the Ibo traders to undertake the onerous task of rebuilding them, and therefore be charged a higher rentage for the shops. Is this social justice? All this is coming at time when governments cannot pay workers’ salaries let alone embark on the reconstruction of markets. I never saw such a scenario in any civilized society. To be continued.
Our Lord Bishop in his address to the press emphasized unity of the country. If I may ask. Unity at whose expense? What is unity? Unity is oneness, integrity, togetherness. Not so? Which group promotes unity – the group spread all over Nigeria, or the group closeted in it’s homeland ? The group that is peaceful or the restive, riotous, belligerent and blood-shedding group?
The Ibo are business oriented. We require peace for our business to flourish. We are not empire builders. We are not aggressive. We live and let others live. We do not discriminate, if ever we do , it is only against indolence. In fact the word Biafra means; Come and join. Our dispersal to other lands makes us easy victim of extermination by hostile host communities. Ndigbo have suffered untold hostilities in Nigeria by day, week, month and year. In the west, it is a subtile attack on our economic base- shops, stores, and markets, while in the North, it is an outright open, violent attacks on the lives of Biafran people living out there.
Nigerias have divided their country. You cannot eat your cake and still have it. You cannot kill Biafrans, bomb them in churches, motor parks, markets and shops, and expect them to stand still like trees and allow you to continue to kill them. The agitation for Biafra is a peaceful, legitimate and natural response by people threatened with extinction. It does not contravene any law, local or international. In fact, it is in tandem with the united nations charter on Human Rights and independence of indigeneous people of the world. Nigeria should come to terms with Biafra.
Any commentator laying the blame for the dismemberment of Nigeria on biafrans is a liar. The Bishop should take note of this. Can he as a christain dare to walk freely in the streets of Maiduguri or elsewhere in the North without fear of being attacked?. Christainity has been extinquished in the modern North. What exist in some parts are just shadows of christainity. For a example, in Sokoto, there is a deliberate policy by moslem leaders to allow a remnant of christainity to exist there. Being the seat of islamic caliphate of Northern Nigeria or is it Nigeria, it would be scandalous to allow religious riot to erupt there. That explains the relative calm prevailing in Sokoto. Bishop Mathew Kukah knows full well that most of his only fity thousand strong bishopric are of biafran extraction.
Indeed there is every need to establish a national sovereign state for biafrans as a guarantee for our collective, and individual security, and as a panacea for incessant genocide, harassment, victimization, intimidation, oppression and subjugation of Biafrans in Nigeria. The truth must be told. History is a true story of how people lived and acted. In the flourish of victory, governments and people easily forget they will some day be judged by history.
The wealth or so called investments by Ndigbo is no hindrance to the coming of Biafra,neither does it obviate the need for Biafra, nor guarantee Biafrans the much desired security. When Biafra comes, any Ibo who want to live in Nigeria for what ever reason can do so. The Jews were confronted with similar dilemma at the end of World War II. Following the extermination of the jews in the Third Reich, the need arose as it does today in Biafra, to establish the state of Isreal to serve as a National sovereign state for the Jews. Some wealthy Jews then in Europe ,just like some wealthy Ibo now in Nigeria, were too reluctant to support the move .But then the British Parliament prodded by God Almighty, made the famous Balfour declaration of 1948 establishing the state of Isreal.This was endorsed by the United Nations, thus enabling the Jews scattered all over the World to return to their Home Land Isreal.
Indeed the Germans told us in the sixties that 49% of all the wealth in Western Germany belongs to the Jews. According to them: “Sie Konnen nicht mit den Juden Konkurrieren” You can not compete with a Jew in any field. Biafrans share the same fate in Nigeria. The much vaunted wealth of Ndigbo in Nigeria, that is of course,a hyperbole, should not deter the actualization of Biafra. Today, the remnants of the Jewish population in Germany, Europe and elsewhere have not been reported to have been expropriated of their wealth in those lands, except here in Nigeria.If anything ,such wealth has increased because today the Jews are at the commanding heights of the American, Russian,German, French and Europian economies. Why should the Nigerian case be otherwise? Is Nigeria a different planet altogether?
The Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese said inter alia “President Buhari should not construe the ongoing demonstrations by pro Biafra groups as rebellion” Peaceful demonstrations are no rebellion. They are a sign of a healthy democracy, done in exercise of fundamental human rights. When government sends out troops to go and fire at unarmed peaceful demonstrators, then it all shows that Government is undemocratic .All over the civilized world people are allowed to march peacefully. Remember that the shooting of demonstrators led to the arrest, toppling, detention, trial and condemnation to death of the Egyptian President Mohammed El- Morse. Mind you, the Egyptian protesters were wild and violent. But the Biafran protesters were calm and peaceful.
Government should not turn into rebels by rebelling against the people. It is a rape of democracy to order soldiers and police to shoot innocent people exercising their fundamental human rights. But who will chastise the government? Tides can turn dramatically in politics as happened in Egypt. Was it not Kwame Nkruma who likened power to an egg?
The habit of pampering Government even when it goes wrong is an unnecessary act of self –condemnation- a kind of lip service aimed at ingratiating one self with the powers that be. That amounts to personalization of Government. The President Swore to be fair to all and sundry, to do good to all manner of people irrespective of creed, tribe and tongue, without fear or favour, malice or ill will. The whole country is and should be his constituency. He should not be inveigled or pampered to bestow favour on any group. If he distributes his largesse fairly, he will be seen to have performed well, otherwise, he will be deemed to have failed. Indeed the running of an exclusive Government sans Biafrans is an open invitation to agitation for Biafra. Action begets reaction. President Jonathan inspite of the obvious weaknesses of his Administration was fair to all. Infact he bestowed more favours on the North than on Biafra land from where he came.
Formerly, the Nigerian Federation stood on a three – legged pot- Ibo, Hausa, Yoruba. Now it stands on only two legs. Can a tripod stand on two legs? Things in nature prefigure events in the physical and spiritual realms. Any unbalanced equation defies solution until it is balanced. The solution to Nigeria’s unbalanced equation is the emergence of Biafra. Some people have sworn not to eat or drink until Ndigbo are made irrelevant in Nigeria. Making Ndigbo irrelevant in Nigeria means the actualization of Biafra. This is an axiom. The more the government represses and kills Biafran agitators, the more it exposes its flanks, thus proving to the outside world the absolute necessity for Biafra.
CHIEF FRANCIS R.O ANUNOBI.