Biafra War: Yoruba, Middle Belt owe Ndigbo apology – Femi Kayode
Four and half decades after the Nigeria Civil War, and wishing that the clock could be rewound, at least one vocal Yoruba politician, thinker, poet and social commentator is making a journey down memory lane and looking back regretfully and admitting that his people made a monumental mistake by not supporting Ndigbo.
Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode said it was wrong for the South and Middle Belt not to have supported Biafra. He said that Ikemba Ojukwu and Ndigbo deserve an apology.
“We owe the late Colonel Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu the erstwhile Head of State of Biafra and his entire Igbo race an apology for leaving them in the lurch and not supporting their cause and quest for self-determination when they needed us the most and when they called on us to do so,” he said.
Fani-Kayode’s disclosures were contained in Part 2 of his article entitled: Araba, Biafra and “your land or your blood”. He suggested that Ndigbo tried to stop what is happening in the country now when they opted for Biafra. Unfortunately, they did not get the desired support and were defeated.
He recalled the massacre of over 100,000 Ndigbo – immediately after the 1966 coup. “Nothing had ever been seen like that before on the African continent. It was brutal, barbaric and horrendous. Innocent civilians, including pregnant women and little babies were hacked to pieces in shops, hospitals, buses, cars, and in their own homes whilst the authorities and indeed the entire world, stood by silently and did nothing to help,” he recalled.
Fani-Kayode said the core north believed and acted as if Nigeria belonged to them alone and condemned the utterances of some core northern Muslims whom he said added insult to injury.
“There is only one fact that bears any relevance when it comes to the history of our nation and that is the fact that the people of the South and the Middle Belt made a monumental mistake by supporting the North and fighting to keep Nigeria one during the civil war,” he said.
He said restructuring Nigeria was too late and would not work. Instead, he suggested a peaceful separation.
Given the fact that so many from the core Muslim north hate us with passion, and see us as nothing more than slaves and animals to be ruled over and butchered at will, I believe that we need to go back to the drawing board and divide this country peacefully before we all end up killing ourselves,” he added.
“I do not believe in restructuring because it is too late for that. I believe in division. I believe that the two zones in the core north should leave Nigeria and go their separate ways whilst the rest of us that constitute the four remaining zones either stay together as one country or break into even smaller units along zonal or ethnic lines.”
He said self determination must be the guiding principle and referendums must be conducted in the various zones to determine precisely what the will of the people is. “That is democracy. That is justice. That is equality. And only that can bring lasting peace to our sad, divided and beleaguered land.”
He said no one should rule out the possibility of secession because the south would not sit back and watch themselves being marginalised, Islamised, conquered, butchered and enslaved.
“We cannot expect to take tyranny, violence, subjugation and gratuitous insults that are meted out to us on a daily basis by core Muslim northerners who believed that they were born to rule. We will resist it and we will oppose it in every lawful manner and with everything that we have got,” he also said.
It should be recalled that Fani- Kayode was special assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on public affairs, and also media director of former President Jonathan’s campaign team. The author of the famous but controversial article “Road to Kigali” has been under fire by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since the Buhari Government was inaugurated.