Ikpa oke ani, that is mapping out the boundaries and ownership of lands, is an important function in Igbo society.
In the process of doing this, a lot of factors are taken into consideration.
Integrities and reputations of elders who are usually the judges and deciders are established or destroyed in land matters depending on how they handled land issues.
Most other social functions are suspended on the days when lands are divided or contested land boundaries are scheduled to be settled and trees planted to permanently mark the extent of each contestant’s reaches and control.
So, in Igbo society the people take geographical maps seriously.
And if we are talking of Biafra where the Igbo are involved, (the Biafra in question is a supposedly geographical and political independent or self-governing sovereign state) then we must make every effort to define the extent and boundaries of this sovereignty right from the start.
Most of us are familiar with the Biafra map of between May 30, 1967 and January 15, 1970 (the old Biafra.)
But I wonder how many of us have contemplated what the map of the new Biafra will look like.
In the old map many natural Biafran geographies were excluded such as Biafra lands on the west bank of the Niger. But we know the reason why.
However, as most of us will recall, many of the best and greatest Biafran war generals and heroes were from the west bank.
As we all know, the old Biafra and the Biafrans of old; the people who defined the first Biafra, did not have the luxury of time and knowledge which the new definers are privileged to have.
The old Biafra was a child of circumstance which was thrust on the people by the exigencies of events and emergencies of their time.
But we must acknowledge that these people performed so creditably well that some of us today have always wondered how they were able to do what they did with the little that they had.
These people faced almost an entire hostile and unsmiling world, looked at it in the eyes, and did not blink.
The reason is because they wanted to survive.
The old Biafra in the face of all odds, became a modern model of self-defense and the best illustration of the principles of Self Determination.
The old Biafra was the only option and the best option available to the people. To them Biafra was the only right thing to do.
The old Biafra remains a study in excellence and an insight into how to translate dreams and impossibilities into realities because the best and the brightest of Biafrans rallied to make that Biafra possible.
The best thinkers, the best technocrats, the best diplomats, the best scientists, the best engineers, the best craftsmen, the best artisans, the best military tacticians gave to the old Biafra everything they got and turned it into the best Black African’s can-do model enterprise.
In tragedy, because the best of the people came together to work for the common good and for the honor of Fatherland, Biafra became a success and a pride that today fifty years after, continues to elicit memorable and nostalgic feelings.
But the truth is that we cannot dwell in the past and reminisce for eternity the exploits and accomplishments of generations past.
At the same time, we must never discard or treat lightly the great achievements of our fathers and mothers.
We must always stand on their shoulders and start from where they stopped.
But each generation must fight their own battles and win their own victories.
This generation cannot shy away from the noise of battles or shirk from the sight of blood and expect to win accolades and laudable historical memories from coming generations.
And the truth is that this generation cannot expect to win and do great things if the best and the brightest of the people continue to shy away from this task of securing freedom and a homeland for the Igbo (an endangered ethnic and religious people) in Nigeria.
So long as the best and the most honorable of us continue to abandon this duty to the less gifted and the not so honorable characters among us, then the battle will be stretched and Igbo honor and prestige will be diminished.
In the end, if a geographical space and sovereignty is achieved, it would have become a pyric victory and the inadvertent creation of another Nigeria with a different name.
Arapuru obodo ndi aru, obodo awo nke ndi aru. [If we leave this task to the mediocre and the frustrated and uninformed, uncouth and undiplomatic activists and freedom fighters from among us, the ideals and lofty dreams of the new Biafra will become the playing field for the frustrated and the home of abhorrent mediocrity]
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