If you are not a Biafran , Dont read please

Taking Igbo out of Nigerian bondage

By Osita Ebiem
What Igbo people want is to leave Nigeria

On the 29th of May 1966 the Igbo irreversibly renounced their colonially imposed Nigerian citizenship. That date marks the official beginning of the 1966 Pogrom of Igbo people in Nigeria. So, it goes without saying that what the Igbo want is to cut clear and exist sovereignly, politically and territorialy independent of the Nigerian state.

There has never been any ambiguity about this Igbo national aspiration and unflagging resolve to attain an unassailable liberty, untrammeled independence and inalienable right to live their lives and conduct their businesses on their terms. This Igbo resolve to be free and to determine their selves does not have to and is not conditioned on any other thing other than, it is the people’s choice. The Igbo as a collective believes that their individuals’ dreams and their collective national aspirations and destiny cannot be fulfilled within the context of a united Nigerian state.

After all this while, no one can still be in doubt since it has been stated over and over again that the ultimate goal of all Igbo social and political engagements is and should be to free the Igbo as a people and as a territory from the debilitating burden of a united Nigerian state. It needs to be emphasized that this collective Igbo resolve to ultimately achieve a total separation from Nigeria was not arrived at in a hurry. It is a well-considered decision that was reached after putting all things into consideration and agreeing on those things that are in the utmost best interests of the present Igbo and their unborn generations.

For practical reasons, as days continue to roll into years, the wisdom in Igbo’s unflinching resolve to leave Nigeria is continually vindicated. The institutionalized outrageous injustices against the Igbo and other horrendous events of the last fifty years which are stage-managed to dehumanize and reduce Igbo prestige and self-esteem have continued to not only reinforce the wisdom of this Igbo decision but have also made the necessity of Igbo freedom from Nigeria urgent. Given the prevailing institutionalized acts of violence, discrimination and other forms of undignified mistreatments of the Igbo by the Nigerian state and by other members of the Nigerian citizenry, the need for Igbo’s territorial and political independence from Nigeria has not been more urgent at any other time than it is now.
Igbo journey out of Nigeria can only be led by the best that Igbo have to offer

We are confident that it is a few focused and incorruptible Igbo who through team spirit (njiko,) aka idi ocha (sterling character) and amamife (wisdom) will eventually, without guns and bombs free the Igbo from Nigeria. These Igbo-centric politicians will need to work in partnership with their Igbo brothers and sisters both at home and abroad to free their people and territory from Nigeria. They will have to depend on the veracity of the Igbo wisdom which says that; ire oma (ofor) ka idide ji aga n’ogu (awa ani:) Truth or belief in the justness of its cause (survival) the crawling worm crawls over thorns and breaks and through earth successfully without hurting itself and without the use of any apparent tools: Relying on one’s innate abilities to win. This truth reassures the few faithful Igbo; that seemingly impossible feats can still be achieved by a puny and inconsequential people if they applied humility, amamife and honesty in their pursuit of a just cause. In pursuing this goal the Biafranists will be required to continually apply ako n’uche; guileless smart thinking. Therefore, dishonest persons should not have any place in this movement or effort to free the Igbo nation and its people.

Backing up the demand for humility, amamife and honesty in Igbo affairs we make reference to the Igbo institution of ofor n’ogu. Traditionally, ofor the physical symbol of ogu (justice) is only held by the elders whose moral values and ethical probity have been proven on several occasions. Igbo definition of the elder does not always consist in the age of the individual. Relatively, young honest achievers of greatness who are endowed with amamife and who apply such wisdom for the advancement of justice are also considered elders who their strength of character has earned them their place in the elders’ council. These kind of wise young-elders are very unlike their other young counterparts who are smart and may have also achieved success but engage in trickery and the use of their cleverness to twist facts and realities. No, the young-elders honestly, sincerely and truthfully discern public and private matters. They wield ofor Igbo without blemish. This assertion can further be explained in the saying that nwata kwo o aka osoro okenye rie ife: If a child can wash clean its hands it can also eat from the same dish as the elders. (In the same vein the reader can still be reminded that one of the major ceremonial rites which those that sit in the elders’ council perform is isa ire; “tongue washing.”)

With this understanding, we are calling out Igbo “elders” who have passed through the rite of “tongue washing;” who understand that they can no longer tell lies or deceive the people. If such “elders” are endued with honesty, amamife and are of proven integrity, let them step forward and assume the responsibility of raising high the ofor Igbo as they work as teams, leading the way to free Igbo nation from Nigerian entanglement and bondage. We have had enough of leaving the most serious of Igbo businesses in the hands of men and women of shady character and of dubious credentials. In this journey to freedom, the Igbo must be led by the best they have got.
Eat with the devil but with long spoon

If we should equate Igbo’s existence in Nigeria as being in hell then it is inevitable that the Igbo must eat or interact with the devil – the lord of Hell. Though the ultimate goal of the Igbo is to exit Nigeria, but to be able to do that, the Igbo must first engage the Nigerian state politically, diplomatically and in other ways. In engaging Nigeria the Igbo must be creative, firm and determined. While partaking in the Nigerian corrupt meal (politics) and other businesses the Igbo must, for obvious reasons, use a long spoon, as the saying goes. The importance of the long spoon is to enable the Igbo to disengage and escape even in the middle of a seemingly great delicious feast (prosperity) and “peace.”

In resolving to free their selves from Nigeria, the Igbo should be pragmatic enough to understand that they have to anticipate and face challenges, even obstacles. They will deal with these challenges not by avoiding them but by facing them and proving their strength of character by resisting manfully every form of temptation to distract them from their original intention. Among the many challenges which the Igbo must face is the fact that the Nigerian state and its allies will want to resist attempts by the Igbo to free themselves from Nigeria. This is so because within Igbo land there is oil and other natural resources which Nigeria depends on for its sustenance. The foreign allies of Nigeria have always falsely believed that they can only get better deals if the one-Nigerian status quo remained intact.
Peaceful non-violent solution is another name for political solution

It is also expected that this Igbo resistance against oppression might at some point become too hot and boil over into actual war of guns and bombs. Igbo people do not want that. They had fought an earlier one – the Biafra-Nigeria War. They would rather prefer a peaceful non-violent solution to the problem. But they are not na├»ve to overlook the possibility of another war. However, the people believe that should there be another war that the Igbo should fight to win this time around.

On the other hand, if the Igbo had adopted non-violence instead of violent means to free their people and land from Nigeria, then it needs to be clearly understood that the best known way to achieve that freedom is to engage the Nigerian state politically. But at the same time, while the Igbo are involved in all aspects of Nigerian political processes they cannot afford to take their eyes off the mark – Igbo freedom from Nigeria.

Hitherto there has been a minimal involvement of Biafran activists in the various aspects of Nigerian politics. This non-participation of genuine Biafran activists in Nigerian politics has to be reviewed. Let those who believe in freeing the Igbo from the Nigerian entanglement get involved in Nigerian politics. Starting from the forthcoming Anambra gubernatorial election, let genuine Igbo-centrists take over the statehouse in Awka. From Anambra the revolution must spread until the required critical mass has been mobilized throughout the entire Igbo land. And Igbo people will be free.

Perhaps some people may have some reservations about this strategy. Such people will be concerned about the corruptive influences of “demonic” Nigerian politics. However we will need to allay the fears of such ones. We are not pretending to believe that there will not be some who will ride on the crest of Biafran or Igbo freedom to gain power and thereafter abandon the original wholesome intention. Because some people will sell out or fall on the battlefield cannot prevent the people from fighting a just war: Anaghi eji ngbagbu hara ogwu. The reality is that in the end not everyone will eventually fall for such fleeting filthy lucre. There will always be the few who can neither be bought nor be intimidated to derail or lose focus.
Igbo want to take control of Igbo business

The resolve by the Igbo to regain its sovereignty, political, social and territorial independence remains an enduring national pursuit. This explains why the goal of most political moves of the Igbo in the last few decades have been geared toward placing the Igbo nation; its ethnical and physical geography, in a position where the people have the total control of the will and power to determine and define for the rest of the world who they are and how they should be related with as individuals, as a collective and as a free and independent territory.

By this decision the Igbo are anxious to assume the ultimate responsibility of their security, social, economic and political well-being without deference to or interference from any other groups. The Igbo want to be the only ones who make the first and the final decisions on how they pursue their collective dreams and the kind of future and destiny they work to attain for themselves and their children. On this journey the Igbo have chosen to neither encumber nor endure the encumbrances of the company of any of their neighbors – the other ethnic groups. This pursuit for liberty, freedom and independence is an exclusive Igbo agenda and this should suffice to allay the concerns of others who may feel threatened or uncomfortable in any way – afraid that the Igbo may want to co-opt them into an exclusive Igbo business. At this point in time, the Igbo should be able to take care of their own business by their selves without involving or inconveniencing their neighbors.
Deconstructing the false image of the Igbo as the posterchild liberators of their neighbors

Over the last few decades it does not speak well of the rationality of some of those involved in the Biafran or Igbo liberation movement that they base some of their actions and statements on mere assumptions. As a result some of these Biafran activists have created in the minds of some observers a false impression of what the overall goal of the Igbo is. This false image imposed on the Igbo is unwarranted and cannot be sustained. The false image makers have come to make some people believe that freeing the Igbo nation from the unfortunate Nigerian entanglement must involve the other neighboring ethnic nations.

First of all, we acknowledge that this comes from the figment of the imagination of those who have their mind frozen in time. For such people, life and events that shape it are meant to be static rather than dynamic. Such individuals are finding it difficult to appreciate the fact that there is a time gap of more than half a century between the old concept of the former Biafra and the envisaged Biafra of the now. After fifty something years, no reasonable person should expect that the conditions that produced the first Biafra will remain exactly the same. If the unfortunate conditions are not the same why insist on applying the same old static tool in solving a constantly evolving problem.

For this and more reasons it has become necessary to remind these people who are obviously mistaken that there is need for them to bring their minds and analysis up to date. The contemporary truth and reality is that the circumstances of the Biafra of 1967 to 1970 are not the same with those of the presently envisioned Biafra of the now – 2017.
Like Nigeria, old Eastern Region was created by foreign colonialists

The former Eastern Region as created by the foreign colonialists excluded an important Igbo territory on the west side of the Niger. As it has always been emphasized, the declaration of independence of the state of Biafra which lasted from 1967 to 1970 was necessitated by the 1966 Pogrom. The killings during the pogrom involved non-Igbo easterners as well as the Igbo. (Though, as the crisis progressed the Nigerian state revised the scope of the victims and persuaded the other non-Igbo easterners to believe that the original pogrom-targets were intended to be only Igbo people.) Secondly, the former Eastern Region as originally created by the European colonial masters was under one administration at the time when the 1966 crisis began. In reality, it is inconceivable that a sovereign independent Igbo state will exist without the unification of the Igbo populations on the two sides of the river.

As already stated, Biafra’s secession from Nigeria resulted from the 1966 Pogrom whose victims included the Igbo and other non-Igbo easterners. So the main purpose of the secession was to protect and preserve the lives and properties of the pogrom victims. It is natural that since there was a central administrator (Emeka Ojukwu, the then governor of Eastern Region) who was in charge of the embattled territory from where the victims came, that his protective actions should embrace the totality of the victims who were indigenous to the area that he governed. That is exactly what was done. Therefore, the Biafra of the 1960s was the Biafra of all the easterners who under one central government of the Eastern Region were the victims of the 1966 Pogrom.
Now it is Igbo secession

Today, 2017 that 1966 narrative has changed. The people who are campaigning for secession, independence, separation or freedom from Nigeria are the Igbo as a people and the Igbo as a territorial geographical space. There is no doubt in the mind of any honest and sincere observer that the perennial victims of the Nigerian state and its other citizens are the Igbo and the areas of land that Igbo people traditionally occupy. It is therefore the Igbo who are and should be fighting to liberate their selves from the Nigerian oppression. As such they do not and should not shift their responsibility and problems to involve their neighbors who have not expressed any wish to leave the Nigerian union.

Even if these other South Southerners had expressed their desire to secede from Nigeria, the Igbo have a saying about a new born child and its mother. The Igbo believe that the child after birth will now have a separate chi from that of its mother. Hence it is expected that the child’s chi will from henceforth, after its birth, take over from the mother’s chi to protect and guide the child. So, the Igbo in 1970 at the end of the war concluded that from henceforth let Chi Igbo take care of the Igbo while the Chi of their neighboring ethnic nationalities take over and care for these Igbo neighbors.
“United States of Biafra” an unnecessary ethnic entanglement

Interestingly, some of these Biafran activists who are finding it difficult to accept the reality of the now have even manufactured some fantastical, infantile phrases such as the “United State of Biafra” as their proposed new name for the free Igbo state. But one reality which these infantile phrase mongers will have to face is the fact that taking into consideration the present level of the local peoples’ social and political evolution, that many of the idealistic dreams and promises being brandished about the place are merely utopian which have no basis in reality. It is an indispensable condition that where other human beings will be affected in any decision that non-coaxed consent of all the parties must be obtained through transparent and non-dubious methods. In the end, it is the mutual agreement and understanding of all parties to any project (including the Biafran Project) that is the key to its success.

I think it is important at this early stage, to put the feet of some of these Biafran independence advocates on the ground. There may be nothing wrong in having their head in the clouds but there is everything wrong when the dreams they dream are not based on reality. Among the first realities they will need to recognize and internalize is the fact that founding and building on the foundations of a new country will take a lot of hard work and sacrifices on the side of those who champion the movement. But the greatest of all that is required of all Biafran advocates is humility and the willingness to let others (the right others) shine while working from the behind.
What the new free Igbo country will look like

So, from the onset it needs to be understood that a country where it is all done on Earth as it is in Heaven, remains what it is – a heavenly dream with no basis on Earth. The new free Igbo state as envisioned will definitely be progressive; a civilized society where people will be free to dream and achieve as far as their minds can think. But let no one mistake the free Igbo state for “the ideal perfect state.” There will be many challenges and obstacles which are expected to be faced and surmounted by pragmatic thinkers among the people through the sheer exercise of reason and hard work. The free Igbo state will succeed if the people resolved to play by the rules as based on reason grounded on the principles of up to date human knowledge and empirical truths, and not on unreason and emotional wishful sentiments.

 Among the best ways to show modernity and cosmopolitanism is to build a society where there is law and order. Lives and properties of every inhabitant of the state is secured and protected by the might and will of the state. Within the boundaries of the new Biafra or Igbo state let justice and order (usoro) flow in all streets and alleys with excellence as the people’s standard. In Igbo-Biafra let no one be discriminated against and let all inhabitants’ rights and opportunities be protected and enhanced by state power and by fellow citizens. Let people of all shades of physical and intellectual sizes and power move, congregate and engage in all manner of intellectual exercises that encourage the greatest amount of freedom of thought and opinion. Let the weirdest of dreams not only be allowed in the new Igbo state but they should be supported and sponsored and made to flourish both by state and private citizens. Whether by night or day, let no one’s freedom in Igbo land be molested or curtailed by hoodlums or agents of the state.
Like the Igbo, all other ethnic groups in Nigeria have their own chi

Every other ethnic group has its own chi and with their chi they can do well on their own without any input from the Igbo. The Igbo cannot pretend to assume the unenviable role and pride of being the messiahs or saviors of any other ethnic nationalities.

The truth is that the Igbo presently and in a long time to come have their plate full. They therefore cannot pretend to be the ones who have all the answers on how to redeem their neighbors. It is wiser to redeem their selves first before dreaming of saving others. (Onye akwo n’azu adighi akwo onye ozo; this means that an incapacitated warrior who is being backed away to safety cannot elect to back another.)

Igbo circumstances and conditions in Nigeria are not the same as those of any other groups that make up the Nigerian union. Of all the ethnic nations in Nigeria, the Igbo remain the only ones who are rejected by the Nigerian state and by the other ethnic groups in the union. The Igbo are feared and hated at the same time by all the other partners in the Nigerian union. It is therefore, of no use for anyone to pretend that Igbo people will somehow go into any viable political, social and territorial alliances with their other neighbors all because some reckless Biafran enthusiasts want to be heroes at the detriment of future generations. They want to look good and appear as the ideal cosmopolitans and altruistic saviors who unfortunately are yet to save their selves but are bent on saving the other ethnic nations.

Do we really need to remind these self-appointed “heroes” that these other nations would rather work out their own salvation without the undue and unsolicited influence and meddling of any Igbo “saviors?” The Igbo must successfully save their own selves first before offering to save others. (For those who recall history well, the foolishness of wanting to save and yoke others into what is supposedly an exclusive Igbo agenda compares very well with the Ore incursion debacle at the onset of the Biafran War. No reasonable person who is genuinely concerned about winning should recklessly repeat one mistake twice.)

Successful relationships; social contracts, political alliances, commercial agreements, including personal relationships begin and end in mutual trusts of all parties to the contract. Such level of mutual trust is completely lacking between the Igbo and all their neighbors. Every campaigner today for Igbo or Biafra freedom must come to accept this reality which is that in Nigeria, the Igbo have had enough of the unnecessary and senseless forced yoking together of peoples with different cultures, unreconciled worldviews and divergent national aspirations. Let the Igbo go into this journey of founding a modern state in partnership with only Chi Igbo and her Igbo human partners. Then, the Igbo would have finally accepted to become the sole architects of their individuals’ and collective’s fortune or destiny.
The Igbo want to do something for themselves – create a country for and by their selves

Igbo as an ethnic nation has a population of 50 million. Though the people are dispersed across the globe but they all have their root in a definitive physical geographical space which is often referred to as Igbo Land. All Igbo everywhere call this piece of real estate to which they are indigenous: Homeland. Present Igbo people inherited this piece of ground from their forebears who had inhabited it for almost as long as human beings have existed on the planet Earth. However, between 1967 and 1970 the Fulani, Hausa, Yoruba, among other ethnic nationalities under the institution of the Nigerian state unsuccessfully attempted to dispossess the Igbo of this their ancestral heritage and to completely exterminate Igbo people from the land.

In this 21st century, it is expected that Igbo people have come of age and should know what is good for them and their children. It is only children that grownups decide for what should be good for them. Matured people make their choices for themselves and they live with the outcome of their choices. Taking it even further, it is not circumstances and events that should determine for a people how they should choose. Igbo should deliberately choose and create the kind of country they want and not that which is chosen for them by events and circumstances or by European colonialists: (Old Eastern Region.) Adults take full responsibilities for the consequences of their actions. Therefore, at this point in their existence, the Igbo do not need to seek for approval from their neighbors or from any other, in order to be who they want to be. In the same vein the Igbo cannot decide for their neighbors when and how they want to free themselves from Nigeria.

The colonial Europeans created the former Eastern Region. Let the Igbo therefore create for and by themselves, based on their prevailing experiences; a radically different and rational country that will work. The logic is that if the Igbo were leaving Nigeria mostly because the same Europeans created the unjust Nigerian union then the same Igbo should be ready to make all things new by creating a new country which is void of all input from the colonial foreigners who did not understand the cultural topography of the local people and could care less about the devastating implications of yoking these diverse peoples together in an incompatible national union. 
Madu ka and ndu ka

Before the encroachment of the British colonialists, Igbo people existed independently, always relying on their innate abilities in meeting and dealing with their environmental, social and political challenges. The methods and standards the Igbo applied to their situations were based on their original native cultural values and established customs and traditions. And it worked for them. This uncompromising self-reliance throughout Igbo history until the interference of colonialism helped to shape Igbo values and worldviews; cultural gamut, politics and social practices.

As a result of their well-established way of life, the Igbo do not limit their values and the extent of their achievements to the finite extent of their physical geography and material resources. The greatest and most valuable of Igbo investments and values are vested in human beings. For this reason they work to preserve and maintain a high quality of human life. Hence madu ka and ndu ka are two important ideas in Igbo cosmology. What those mean is that human beings (madu) and life (ndu) are supreme (ka.) That is to say that as long as human beings can live their lives free then they can overcome all limitations and achieve any goals they set for themselves. In this sense, the Igbo do not have to depend on any physical geography to reach their potentials. All they need and crave for is freedom (life or ndu) to be and to dream. (The Igbo equates life ndu with freedom.)
Izu ka nma na nneji (siblings are the best confidants)

As a people the Igbo have all the prerequisites to exist and thrive as a self-governing independent modern state. The Igbo do not need to append themselves to any other ethnic national groups in order to prove anything. To exist and demonstrate relevance as positive creative contributors to humanity’s commonwealth; the Igbo can do that without assuming the impractical image of the “perfect cosmopolitan.” The Igbo by themselves alone can still participate effectively in civilized humanity’s commitment to continually push against the limits of progressive enlightenment and humane civilization. The Igbo can exist independently and still be accepted as an important part of the common humanity while they contribute their shares, working and dreaming as a free people.

The Igbo national group is just as entitled to its uniqueness and Igbo identity as any other inhabitants of this Earth. There is nothing to be ashamed of as Igbo. Or to think that the Igbo will be complete only when they have appended themselves to other neighboring nationalities. Existing as a monochromic Igbo state does not in any way diminish the well-established cosmopolitan Igbo image. Nor does it make such Igbo state closeted, parochial, or any less modern than any other civilized and progressive society anywhere else. Instead, by founding an Igbo-centric state, the Igbo would have finally accepted themselves for who they are and at last become comfortable in their own skin. A new and more confident Igbo will then be born.

For a group of people who are violated, looted, persecuted and killed by fellow citizens and the government agents of their country as Igbo people are in Nigeria, the best thing they can do to their selves is to stick together and effectively control all instruments that enhance their security while ensuring their unrestricted access to liberty and independence.


If you are not a Biafran , Dont read please If you are not a Biafran , Dont read please Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Rating: 5

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