Image: General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu
“Onye obula ji ofo, ma ofo mara onye ji ya – All claim commitment to truth and justice, but only truth and justice know who is committed to them” – Maazi Chidi G. Osuagwu (PhD)
The current proliferation of so-called Biafran and/or Igbo leaders, clueless brethren who have refused to learn from credible researches which for the first time take into account Igbo governance based on the oldest form of democracy – Ohacracy (the collective servant leadership form of democracy), on the way forward; the blind leading the blind; and self-styled Messiahs who are a law onto themselves, who in the mold of Ojukwu continue to run roughshod over the Igbo and her values and way of life; demand that we once more return to the topic of Ojukwu’s mega mismanagement (a topic that remained taboo during the Biafra/Nigeria war and even to the present) of the Biafran project.
“In fact what Biafra needed most but never had was collective leadership.” – Maazi Alexander A. Madiebo (Gen.)
Ohacracy does not make provision for ‘a Messiah’, which is not a true Igbo concept, but it makes provision for a ‘Collective Messiah”, the image that each individual sees when he/she looks in the mirror – collective responsibility with each individual stepping up to the plate to contribute his/her quota, no matter how large or small.
These brethren who have turned their backs on their spiritual and cultural heritage have one thing in common; the embrace of all things British (Western), which thanks to a recent forwarded e-mail from Maazi Osuagwu, see below, explains their follies and endemic confusion as they continue to try to impose themselves and their views on the Igbo.
“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this very nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their selfesteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”. – Lord Macaulay’s Address to the British Parliament on 2nd Feb 1835
What then is this spiritual and cultural heritage we keep harping on?
“The critical study of the philosophies of our Igbo heritage we believe is a sure path that would lead us to solutions of our problems no matter how complex they would appear. It is known that even the study of our history has even become warped. We have suffered enormously from alienating ourselves from the roots and foundations of our noble heritage and embraced in entirety Greek and Roman history and philosophy even with its obvious shortcomings and limitations. By doing this we saw the history of Europe as the only worthwhile portion of interest for emulation.
This work is just a tip of the iceberg of what holds in the rich heritage left us by our ancestors. It is timely that we reconsider our models after trying without success the European model. A model that only has been in existence for merely 400 years, whose cracks and failures are obvious and costly. The futility is obvious in the adept materialistic nature of this culture evidenced by the unrestrictive nature for the quest for riches. The gross inhumanity and instability left behind most of the economic exploits of this culture is shocking and without comparison. At times like this, one is at a loss as to why the intellectuals of our time compromised the central nature of our heritage, which is the care and welfare of MANKIND and clamored for these systems that are really laden with inhumanity, deep on corruption and above all a perverted justice system. It is for these obvious reasons we decided to join with those who believe strongly that most of our problems have solutions within the ways and philosophies of our ancients.” – Leadership Series by Ekwe Nche Organization
This is an attempt to finally lay to rest the continuing greatest 419 ever perpetrated on a grieving, brutalized, debased and unsuspecting people by their very own sons and daughters which in effect has condemned them to the life of the living dead; ostracized, dehumanized and relegated to the status of a slave nation – O di ndu onwu ka mma!
Books of Note and References:
‘The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War’ by Alexander A. Madiebo;
‘Nigeria and Biafra: My Story’ by Philip Efiong;
‘Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War, Facing the Future’ by Raph Uwechue
There is no better collection of authorities on this most important topic than Maazi Madiebo (Gen.) – “During the Nigeria/Biafra War, he first commanded Biafra’s 51 Brigade for two months before assuming full command of the Biafran Army with the rank of Major General from September, 1967 to the end of the war.”; Maazi Efiong (The people’s Gen.) – “As a Biafran officer from 1967 to 1970, Obong Philip Efiong served in various capacities as Chief of Logistics, Chief of Staff, Commandant of the Militia, and Chief of General Staff.”
Finally, Maazi Uwechue, a former Diplomat and President-General of Ohanaeze deserves special mention, who until death actively participated in the service of Igbo. In the write-up, ‘Ohacracy or Ojukwu’s Leadership Style: Igbo must choose!’ mention is made about this unique and brilliant Igbo son who helped expose the underbelly of the born-to-rule.
“There is no better authority on Ohacracy than Maazi Uwechue under whose leadership Ohanaeze embraced Ohacracy and as the President-General of Ohanaeze, a template using Ohacracy (the collective servant leadership form of governance) for the creation of a progressive coalition of equals (SS, SW, SE, MB and so-called minorities in the core-North) was put in place.
Thanks to this coalition, the born-to-rule mystic was debunked; the Fulani finally exposed as one of the smallest minorities and for the first time since the so-called independence of the ‘British Birthed Abomination’ Nigeria power was wrested out of the hands of the born-to-rule even as their partner, the British government stood by helplessly – the template is still available. The paper tigers, the born-to-rule and its regressive coalition were brought to their knees without a single death, the doing of Chi Ukwu Abia Ama (The God with ALL answers)!
The leadership of Ohanaeze under Uwechue will in due time be known as the golden era of the now struggling organization. Uwechue was an ancient Igbo strategist. He understood that there are no Igbo Messiah but Messiahs (collective leadership or the image we see when each of us looks in the mirror; each individual stepping up to the plate to contribute his/her quota, no matter how big or small). He understood that Igbo owe us nothing but we owe Igbo everything.
There are very few true Igbo elders who were/are ready to stand on the truth about the treachery of Ojukwu, an individual who single handedly led Igbo and brethren back to Egypt and in the process converted these ethnic nationalities to slaves in their so-called country;”
We now have three unique and extraordinary examples of true and credible elders with impeccable credentials who were in the front row as they helplessly witnessed the treacherous actions of Ojukwu as he deliberately and selfishly destroyed what could have been an African miracle and, they all, bar none, reached the same conclusion.
“In my opinion the most important reason why we lost the war, apart from the question of foreign support for Nigeria, was the existence of a crisis of confidence in Biafra throughout the war. This crisis existed within the army, between the army and civilians, between the army and the government and, indeed, between the Biafran government and some of the foreign supporters. The initial detention of Dr. M. I. Okpara, former Premier of Eastern Nigeria soon after Ojukwu became Governor, the wartime unexplained mass detention of top ranking Biafran Army Officers and civilians, and the appointment of Colonel Banjo, a Yoruba, to lead the invasion of Midwestern Nigeria in 1967, were the most blatant manifestations of this lack of confidence. It was because of lack of mutual trust by people pursuing the same aim that Ojukwu dispensed with the inner confidence of military experts and highly experienced political leaders who could have perhaps helped him save our people from the greatest calamity that ever befell them. Even our foreign friends were not given sufficient information to enable them to plan and render a more meaningful military and diplomatic assistance to Biafra. Thus, within and without Biafra, ignorance of the true situation was universal with the disastrous consequences this had for the people of Biafra.
It is my view that Biafra never had a government but merely operated under a leader, and that Biafra lost the true aims of the revolution soon after it started. Thus, on the civil side, we had a Consultative Assembly and a Cabinet which existed to listen to glorious speeches of “achievements” and impressive future plans and intentions. The most important function of those bodies still remained that of giving fresh “mandates” to the Head of State whenever he required them. On the armed forces side, we had the Joint Planning Committee, which came into being rather too late, merely to satisfy the long outstanding demand of the people for an organized and collective planning of the war. The Committee worked without necessary facts and achieved absolutely nothing. In fact what Biafra needed most but never had was collective leadership. Over concentration of powers into one hand is bad enough in peace time, and should never be allowed in time of war when mental strain affects good judgment. As Ojukwu once said to Efiong, Biafra’s effective policy-making body consisted of Chukwuemeka, Odumegwu and Ojukwu – in short, himself alone.”
The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War
Alexander A. Madiebo (1980)
“One school of thought maintains that when a single person, for whatever reason, is entrusted with the execution of the laws, management of the revenues, and command of the army within a state, that state ultimately emerges as a monarchy. However, the authority of so formidable a leader – or magistrate – will soon degenerate into despotism, except public liberty within this setting is protected by intrepid and vigilant guardians. It has been said that a people do not lose a war of liberation. But Biafra did and these are some of the more crucial reasons:
The external and internal failures of Biafra were due entirely to Ojukwu’s policies, utterances and lack of positive directives to his provincial Administrators, the Igbo Leadership and military commanders in the field.”
Nigeria and Biafra: My Story
By Philip Efiong
Yet, for an individual who brought so much pain and suffering to the ethnic nationalities that made up Biafra even as he converted them to slave nations, parading his corpse in many cities in Igbo land is nothing but an abomination – TUFIAKWA!!!! It is understandable that Ojukwu’s corpse be paraded in Northern and Western cities; after all, he made victory over Biafra possible for them, but the East? God have mercy!
Those who still insist that the discuss of Ojukwu’s mismanagement of the Biafran project should remain taboo while being swept under the rug only have to look as the self-styled pretenders who call themselves Biafran or Igbo leaders who now populate the leadership scene to come to the realization and full acceptance of one the adages of our fore-parents, the greatest philosophical equation of life, Eziokwu bu ndu (Truth = Life); which leads us to the unshakable stance on truth.
“The Igbo believe that a nation abandoned to evil men becomes an evil nation… “A HAPURU NDI ARU OBODO YA AGHO OBODO NDI ARU” They would not want to be part of an evil nation. A righteous nation must emerge to accommodate their just aspiration to achieve freedom in truth, and the welfare of all.”
World struggle for a Just World
Maazi Chidi G. Osuagwu (PhD)
What then is the distinction between this new abominable feudal construct or “Rulers” – Ojukwu, Orji Nta Nta Nta Kalu, Owazuruike, Mallam Okorocha, Umeh, …, Kanu; and the Igbo true form of leadership based on Ohacracy or “Collective Leadership” – Mbonu, Okpara, Ibiam, Uwechue, Ozobu, …, Chinweizu?
“To begin, we want to draw a clear distinction between “RULERS” and “LEADERS”. We believe that Rulers are those people who just give orders and directives and insist that they be carried out willy-nilly. Their authority and power cannot be challenged or questioned. They are not elected by ordinary men and women like you and us. They are appointed by some authority somewhere over whom ordinary men and women do not have any control. They are not accountable to those ordinary men and women like you and us. The people they are ruling cannot disagree, challenge, discipline or remove them from office. Therefore, they can drive them like goats down a bottomless pit and no questions will be asked. Leaders on the other hand are elected by their people to guide them towards a defined and agreed goal. They derive their power and authority from the people they are leading. The ordinary people reserve the right to question any and all their decisions and actually do so often. They are accountable to the ordinary people like you and us. Whenever the ordinary people feel that the leaders are no longer leading them towards the desired goal, they disagree, challenge, discipline or even remove the leaders and elect others to replace them. As a result, their leaders cannot lead them like goats down a bottomless pit.”
It is undeniable that Ojukwu led the nations that made up Biafra down the path of perdition.
Writing from the civil and political point of view, Maazi Uwechue submitted a damning report which again laid all the blame for the unraveling of an emerging African miracle at the feet of Ojukwu.
• The making of sensational civil war revelation
Elder statesman and President-General of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Chief Raph Uwechue, has sensationally revealed, in a book, how ego and quest for absolute control by Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu ruined Biafra.
He said, in the book, Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War – Facing the Future, that Ojukwu adopted a maximum ruler posture, shunned advice as well as believed in his own judgment, factor, which he said, caused the failure of the break away of the Eastern Nigeria.
He said: “By keeping Ojukwu constantly enveloped in an atmosphere of superiority, it made him, as a matter of habit, distrustful and disdainful of other people’s judgment, impatient with their opinions and finally simply authoritarian.”
Uwechue had visited the corporate headquarters of The Sun sometime ago and while fielding questions from a team of senior editors, he spoke about pre-independence Nigeria, the politics after independence, civil war and the country after the war. He had promised to send to The Sun copies of his book: Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War – Facing the Future, a revised and expanded edition of his previous book, Reflection on the Nigerian Civil War – A Call for Realism. The book was reprinted in 2004. True to his promise, the elder statesman sent copies of the book, which turned out to be expository.
Indeed, the 199-page book told the story of the first military coup in the country, the second military coup, the crisis after the second coup, the meetings to forestall a war, the secession of the eastern part of the country and the efforts to end the war. The book also has two epilogues, where the author analysed the fall of Biafra, in the topic: The Genesis of Failure and also there is the examination of government structure, in the topic: An Elastic Federal Union.
Reading Chief Uwechue’s book, we found The Genesis of Failure very interesting and, therefore, decided to reproduce it. The chapter talked about the things, in the author’s opinion, caused the failure of the Biafra Republic. He pointedly laid the blamed on Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who led Biafra. He said that Ojukwu lacked tact, never took advice, suffered what could pass for inferiority complex and was power drunk. In the opening paragraph of that chapter, Uwechue said: “It is a sad but instructive irony that Lt. Col Odumegwu Ojukwu, one of Africa’s one-time most brilliant political promises, was the man that led his own people with such a lack of ingenuity into what was clearly a foreseeable disaster.” He said that the personality of Ojukwu robbed off negatively on Biafra, adding: “It can be said for the Nigerian Civil War that the personality of Odumegwu Ojukwu more than any other single factor determined much of the course and certainly the character of the end of the Biafran adventure.”
The elder statesman said, in the book, that Ojukwu was ambitious and, therefore, paid attention only to the “politics of the war” instead of the security of the people he led. He said that owing to Ojukwu’s interest, two wars were fought with the territory of Biafra then: “The first was for the survival of the Ibos as a race. The second was for the survival of Ojukwu’s leadership.” He said that Ojukwu was more interested in the survival of his leadership at that time, which, he said: “Proved fatal for the Ibos” during the war.
The Ohanaeze chieftain said that if Ojukwu were smart enough to understand the politics of alliances in the country, Biafra could have survived. According to him, there was an opportunity for Ojukwu to align with the Western Region then, but he did not see the necessity for that. He said that this opportunity came when the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was released from prison by General Yakubu Gowon and he declared: If “the Eastern Region was pushed out of the federation, Western Nigeria would quit the federation as well.” According to him, Ojukwu should have taken that declaration as a cue and wooed the Western Region.
Uwechue said that another opportunity also came the way of Ojukwu to forge an East-West alliance when Awolowo visited Enugu, as Gowon’s emissary. According to him, what Ojukwu needed was to bring Awolowo to his side, but he did not utilize the opportunity and ended up describing the meeting as “ill-conceived child.”
He had revealed: “When on 7th May 1967 the Yoruba leader (Awolowo) came to Enugu at the head of a reconciliation committee, Ojukwu had a handsome opportunity to play his card. He missed. Dr. Michael Okpara, who still enjoyed popular support in Eastern Nigeria and whose friendship with Chief Awolowo had sustained the UPGA alliances, was not even invited to meet Chief Awolowo. After a hurried reception, Chief Awolowo’s delegation left Eastern Nigeria.”
He said that Gowon, understanding the way alliances worked in the country, had wooed Western Nigeria, first by releasing Awolowo from prison and second, by not only offering him an appointment, but also making him the highest civilian in the government as the vice president of the Federal Executive Council. According to him, by this appointment, there was an “unspoken understanding that Nigeria was his (Awolowo’s) as soon as the war was over and the army withdrew.” He said that this cemented the relation between the Northern Region and Western Region and, therefore, left the east in the lurch.
Uwechue said that within Biafra, Ojukwu alienated talented Igbo, using iron hand to establish his authority. Towards this end, he said that Dr. Okpara, former premier of Eastern Nigeria, was jailed as well as others. “These political figures were to remain out of favour and far from the corridor of power, except for their occasional utility as window dressing, such as posing for photographs with General Ojukwu or flanking him on ceremonial occasions,” he wrote.
He said that the same thing happened in the army, as Ojukwu suppressed officers and, therefore, had a “timid army tamed to unquestionable obedience.”
The elder statesman said that Ojukwu had the opportunity of using the diplomatic front to sell Biafra, but that instead of doing this he shunned advice, especially on the need for compromise. He said that when the war dragged, many eminent Igbo advised Ojukwu to asked for a confederal nation, which would keep Biafra within Nigeria and also give it adequate local autonomy, but this was not only rejected but also those who suggested it were witch-hunted.
He said: “The climax came on 7th of September 1968, just before the OAU summit meeting in Algiers. A number of anxious Ibos, including Dr. Azikiwe, former president of Nigeria, Dr. Michael Okpara, former premier of Eastern Nigeria (Biafra), Dr. K. O. Dike, former rector of Ibadan University and myself made a formal recommendation in which we told General Ojukwu that as Africa was sympathetic to the Ibo cause, but at the same time opposed to secession, he should use the opportunity of the Algiers meeting to seek OAU guarantee for a confederal arrangement, such as was agreed at Aburi (Ghana). General Ojukwu not only rejected this advice outright but also asked some of us to recant or resign. Dr. Azikiwe left Paris in disgust and went to London in voluntary exile. I myself chose to resign.”
Uwechue said that Ojukwu saw himself as a supremo during the war and only trusted his own judgment. In trying to explain why this could have been so, he said: “To this special development of his ego and the feeling of self-sufficiency was added the confidence acquired from an Oxford University milieu and from the fact of his father’s great wealth. Back to Nigeria, Ojukwu soon joined the army, where, as an officer, he got more accustomed to giving orders and receiving prompt obedience than meeting opposition and arguments.” He said that Ojukwu found himself always at the “giving end” rather than at the “receiving end,” adding: “By keeping Ojukwu constantly enveloped in an atmosphere of superiority, it made him, as a matter of habit, distrustful and disdainful of other people’s judgment, impatient with their opinions and finally simply authoritarian.”
The elder statesman concluded that owing to Ojukwu’s attitude, Biafra failed. He said that the failure was mainly a “political one,” which, according to him, “was, in turn, the failure of the leadership, which firstly, made a wrong tactical choice – outright secession – instead of maneouvring appropriately for vital political alliances within Nigeria and exploiting in that context the numerous weaknesses of its opponents.” He said that by breaking out of the country, “the Biafran leadership abandoned the Nigerian field to those who had then only recently wrenched federal control from the Ironsi government, thus uniting various shades of political opinions in the country behind the new federal authorities, as had never been the case before in Nigeria’s political history, in defence of Nigerian unity.”
If all this information about Ojukwu is in the public domain, why the silence; where are ALL Igbo elders in the know? Why are we surprised that Chi Ukwu Abia Ama, the ALL KNOWING has turned his/her face from Igbo? Can God be found in Abomination? When Ojukwu is held up as example what message are we sending to those who aspire to serve? Why are we surprised that the culture and tradition of Igbo has been turned upside down even as traitors now hold sway over a once proud people.
No nation can survive nor deserves to survive with traitors as examples of leadership. Those who continue to embrace the traitor, Ojukwu, are no better than him – TUFIAKWA!!!!
Maazi Nnaemeka M Onumonu-Uzoaru, Oha Ka (The People are SUPREME); Member: IgboZaraIgbo