Yesterday; I spent roughly three hours with a darling friend as she verbally flaunted her exerting and imposing character. She argued beyond reasonable doubt why Biafra is no longer feasible with the present situation orchestrated by Nnamdi Kanu. Circumstance has begun to take toll and people becoming convinced that Biafra cannot be a reality anymore. From give us guns and bullets, from we will march, give us referendum or no election, I will come with fire, Biafra will come this year or you know Elohim didn’t send me. It was clear the young man championing the struggle doesn’t know where he is going or what he wants or can do. I was not surprised because not only has Nnamdi Kanu disappointed people; he has destroyed and made Biafra unacceptable to liberals. You can’t continue deceiving the people all the time.
I have seen many people choosing restructuring the country over political independence because they simply believe Biafra is no longer within reach. The argument is complicated but for me; I see no reason to reshape my thought hence they agreed there is a problem Biafra can solve but by virtue of circumstance, Biafra is no longer realistic. They confessed their love and desire to see Biafra but realistic permutations supersede wishes.
“Uwazurike cashed out and Nnamdi Kanu has cashed out; tell me the truth, do you want to also cash out on Biafra” she graciously asked me; knowing I would tell her the truth. Above mentioned names promised Biafra but failed woefully and while they flaunt wealth they never had; it is easier to begin to see anyone talking about Biafra as aspiring to cash out.
Personally; I have other legitimate ways or opportunities to cash out in life. I don’t need to do ‘innocent’ business with the lives of millions of people that died for the sake of Biafra. Rather; my reason for working hard, believing and fighting for Biafra is because there is no other way except the hard way.
We lost over 3.5 million lives in 1967-1970 and after surrendering to date; we have lost hundreds of thousands. If we sincerely fight again and lose a further 1.5 million, it is not a bad loss as long as we come out victorious; the most important thing is sincerity of purpose and determination to succeed once more. We have reached a point of no return and neither can we afford to be stagnant. If we stand; we die and if we go back, we die; the only option left is move forward and die to die no more. There is certainly no other way except the hard way; so, when one starts talking about restructuring, constitutional change and other measures, they are possibly going to be ‘hit the rock’ situation. Who are you to demand a change?
After 1970 we surrendered; we automatically became prisoners of war and taken into technical slavery. The country came together and skewed everything; including the constitution against us. For rising in arms against Nigeria; the scar will remain there forever and because of the way Nigeria fought that war without pride by virtue of blockades and war crimes against children and mothers. Knowing that they refused to take prisoners- choosing to murder everything standing in the old eastern region; there can never be trust from them. Suspicions will continue to shape policies and many other things.
The country will be watching over its shoulder; they would always be cautious of revenge and even if they may not say it, the mark of the war is indelible. After the war; they attacked the unity of the region but that was not enough. They stepped up by making sure nation’s political strength of the region is diminished through census. They have used everything they can lay their hands on or imagine to ensure we remain incapacitated.
There is no amount of love shown to the country that you raised arms against that can restore trust. There is no amount of sacrifice made for the country that will stop them from seeing you as a rebel. There is no level of involvement that can alter the status quo- prisoners of war. We will remain conquered people until we conquer our war. The war cannot be fought politically because it did not happen in politics. The war cannot be fought peacefully because peace earned us prisoners’ status. Peace is simply a technical way of admitting the status 1970 bestowed on us.
Many people have tried to cite the governors, senators and house of representative members- arguing that if they are held accountable, our region will be worth living or there won’t be need for Biafra. This is a non-tested option that can easily be buried with superior reasons or proven permutations.
Nigeria runs a presidential system of government that piles up strength in the centre and as such, regions are less effective. The centre controls election of every state and decides what happens in every state. When the same people that conquered you and made you prisoners of war control your political system- they would always dictate to your leaders. In Imo state; a fourth position later became a first position and there is nothing anyone can do. Simply put, the constitution of the country gave the people nothing and corrupt system is the bedrock of our problem and not leaders.
It has become a norm that before any governor can successfully effect the desired change he needs in our region; he must take permission from the centre or be forced out. A senator must also submit to the wish of the centre before he can be brought forth. Even when a senator succeeds with the people’s might; how will he cope with the imbalance voting system in the red chamber? The country that we raised arms against has the greater number to always make whatsoever a senator or house of representative member raised in our favor futile.
A presidential system of government needs to attract the centre to be able to effect the desired changes in any given region. In a situation suspicions live in the centre; desire coming to reality is subject to their decision and when they see a seaport will make regional checks difficult for them, they won’t give the leader you want me to hold responsible the space to carry out such project.
The unproven belief that once our regions political leaders are held to account; our region will be fixed and there won’t be need for Biafra agitation is childish. All these governors can build good roads; lighten up their states and use internally generated revenue to sustain or improve state economy but when it comes to a project that can significantly change a nation like seaports, international airports and many more, the fraudulent constitution of Nigeria did not empower the governors to act. In order words; holding these governors responsible cannot be a solution because they are guided by a corrupt constitution.
Finally; when constitution is mentioned, we talk about the sovereignty of Nigeria and when we talk about sovereignty in negative light, we talk about secession. There is no other option; it is Biafra or Biafra. If constitutional change or restructuring is achieved; suspicions will quickly lead to another burst. It is therefore better we go our separate ways because this marriage has lost everything and the centre cannot hold anymore.
Ifeanyi Chijioke: Independent/Investigative journalist
Writes from Enugu