*Rebuttal of the arguments made by Emeka Onuoha and Barrister Monday Onyekachi Ubani on Issue of Biafra
The question: Do we really want to create Biafra? That was asked at the end of an article: Pro Biafra Rallies by Emeka Onuoha piqued my attention and interest.
It’s quite disturbing to read from some Igbo apologists making a defeatist argument and plea for Ndigbo (SE & SS) to remain in the Nigeria State because of their massive investments, businesses according to Emeka Onuoha and vast area of Nigeria where they can swim and operate according to Barrister Monday Onyekachi Ubani, Chairman of TLC, in his essay entitled: Biafra: Igbos Are Better in a United Nigeria – published by Elombah on Wednesday. Some have even written that Mr. Nnamdi Kanu has no authority to do what he’s doing.
Those are skimpy reasons and subjective arguments. Those reasons and plea reminds me of the story of the Israelites enslavement, captivity and bondage in Egypt. The LORD saw their misery and called a prophet – Moses to go and deliver them from their 400-plus years of enslavement in Egypt. Ironically, they rejected their brother and fellow-countryman accusing him of being an angry man and a murderer. But when God began to use Moses to perform miraculous signs before Pharaoh and before the people, the Israelites hurriedly gathered their belongings, jewelries, gold, camels, and other animals and followed Moses and Aaron out of Egypt.
Three days into the desert journey – a day before their arrival into the Land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, the elderly community began to complain and grumble against Moses and God because circumstances were not the same or ideal as before. There was no meat, fine food and fine wine that were available in Egypt, despite the fact that God was pouring down Manna from heaven –rich and nutritious bread from heaven made of coriander seed, resins and olive oil – according to Exodus 16:2. But the people complained and murmured, we want to go back to Egypt.
In addition to the rich nutrition, the Ark of the Covenant (Presence of God) and the Cloud of the LORD watched over them day and night. No one was sick, hungry or died – a population of 600,000 men besides women and children. It was estimated that 3 million Israelites and their camels, and other animals left Egypt to journey to the Land of Canaan.
And they said to Moses and Aaron: “if only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Off course, The LORD was angry with them and most of them perished in the desert – leaving mostly the children, women and younger generation to enter into the Land of Canaan. A journey that was supposed to take 3 to 4 days, took them 40 years because of rebellion and disobedience against their leaders, Moses, Aaron and God Himself (read Numbers 11 and Exodus 16) – fascinating chapters that deals with burden of leadership.
I wanted to tell this story briefly because it reminds of the same slavery mentality arguments being made today by Igbo apologists who wants to remain in the Nigerian State as third-class citizens despite the oppression, repressive policies and marginalization of a region with vast oil resources and enormous human potential.
Thankfully, the learned and eminent Professor Paul Oranika has rebuffed such shallow reasoning and childish argument.
I like to add few more things by reminding the Igbo apologists for Nigeria to study the putative punitive policies of the Nigerian State against them – aided by her colonial master – Great Britain, who is widely known for their “Divide and Conquer” policies and who primarily sees Igbo people as rebellious people, disobedient and disloyal to their master for refusing Indirect Rule and were the leading nationalists in the struggle for the independence for one united Nigeria.
Despite the satanic conspiracy theory to diminish and destroy black power and the repressive treatment, oppression, marginalization and injustice against the region, Ndigbo find ways to survive in Nigeria and beyond. That Ndigbo are entrepreneurs and very enterprising and energetic people who continues to survive and succeed despite the odds against them and have built business enterprises outside Igboland in other regions of Nigeria should not and cannot be the substantive reason to remain enslaved in Islamic Nigeria.
A few things to ponder:
1. Ndigbo has no longer vast area in the north or west of Nigeria where they can swim. Nigeria’s Islamic Jihadist sect known as “Boko-haram,” which means “Western Education is Evil,” is agitating for an Islamic-Sharia in the 19 States of the north. They are not going to relent in their quest for Caliphate north. They have 12 States already that have adopted Sharia. They are not going to relent until they have the entire19 states in the north. Remember, Boko Haram was and is still being sponsored by key Hausa/Fulani oligarchy to make things hard for ex-presidents – OBJ and Jonathan – and with the support of Britain, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries that are supporting Hausa/Fulani to kill Ndigbo. It was intensified during the time of Jonathan after Buhari lost to him in 2011.
Since 1999, an estimated 50k lives have been massacred, millions displaced besides business and properties worth billions of naira that have been destroyed. Today, Boko-Haram is a mix of Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Mujahedeen and ISIS jihad terrorists desperate to impose fear and enforce Sharia law and caliphate on international scale. In fact, the world is a witness of the ubiquitous global terrorism and agenda by Islamic Jihadists for Caliphate nations. Just today, I read a piece written by an International Jihadist scholar naming Nigeria’s Boko Haram as the world’s deadliest terrorist group – not ISIS. Additionally, Hausa/Fulani herdsmen are now empowered by Buhari/APC government to spread their wings
2. Nigeria Boundary Adjustment and States Creation: The Nigerian boundary adjustment in which families, kith and kin were divided and separated and the continued marginalization of these areas by the Nigerian State that has created enmity between people of same ancestry – SE/SS. Have you asked yourself, what does South-South mean by the way? Why is it that we don’t have West-West, or North-North, or East-East? How can Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers be lumped together as South-South – going around Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Anambra States. Has anyone looked at the map of Nigeria and the States that make up the so-called South-South today?
It is only in Nigeria, we see these kinds of wicked and punitive policies against SE region. South-South is merely a tyrannical satanic and punitive creation by the military dictators – Gowon, OBJ, IBB, Buhari, late Abacha, etc. to further divide and conquer the East because of their courage to secede and fight to defend themselves and their territorial integrity when Gowon declared war against the region. They were also afraid that oil resources will be hijacked by Igbo people and rest of Nigeria/Britain will not be able to exploit it as they freely do today. Today, SS people hate SE – people from same ancestry and SE hate one another as well – because of “divide and conquer” policy.
However, for Biafra or any nation to be created to succeed, SE and SS must unify and work together. That’s really the challenge I see. By the way, the eleven states of SE/SS do have a landmass that surpasses that of Japan and so other many western industrialized nations. So Ndigbo do have an area to swim including neighboring West African nations like Cameroun, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, etc. But there has to be unity among the peoples of SE and SS – otherwise Biafra will not work. Because Biafra nation cannot be created in the East without the six SS states – perhaps Edo can go and join West if they want to – but it would difficult for the others due to geographical boundaries. So, Biafra can be a challenge without SS States.
3. Igbo businesses and investments: What are these businesses and wealth owned by Ndigbo outside Igboland? The North and West are still reputed as the richest in terms of true wealth in Nigeria and assets across Africa. Have you looked into who owns and controls the banks, financial services, insurance, real estate, telecom, import licenses, crude oil, etc.? Today, no Igbo is listed among the billionaires by Forbes’s magazine, yet 6 Nigerians are listed and Dangote is both the richest African and richest black man on the planet. He is a northerner.
Recently, we read that Dangote is building the biggest oil refinery in the world in a massive land in Lagos sold to him by a Yoruba real estate mogul. The biggest refinery for conservation of crude oil was built in Kaduna by IBB. Trusted sources inform that the Kaduna oil refinery holds about 50 years’ worth of crude oil.
Please let’s stop this nonsense of Igbo investments in other regions of Nigeria. What are these investments and where are they? Are you talking about one-man venture, buying and selling, beef-cake businesses or what?
4. Regarding the on-going youth protests and agitation for Biafra due to continued detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the executive director Radio Biafra in London England and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who was arrested by the Nigerian State (DSS and Buhari/APC government) for speaking out against marginalization, oppression and gross injustice against SE region of the country.
First, I want to be on record that I do not totally agree with his vituperations, however, I think his continued detention is outrageous and shows complete ignorance of principles of democratic and presidential system of government that Nigeria is currently engaged in.
Second, Mr. Kanu does not need a title or formal authority to be a leader. He may have an informal authority but he’s clearly exercising leadership and millions are following him. He is a courageous and fearless man. And I admire his courage.
Third, I do not personally subscribe to the division of Nigeria because of my perceived belief for the divine purpose for which God allowed the evil empire to amalgamate us – for the emancipation of the black race in this world – however, I do believe that a group of people meeting the UN requirement for self-determination, do have the fundamental basic human right under the principles of democratic principles and institution in we which we operate currently, to demand for freedom from oppression, repression and enslavement. It is crude, wrong, mischievous and evil for 80-plus million people of SE & SS to continue to share a space where they are treated as second and third class citizens and nobodies in their own land – a region with vast oil resources and enormous human potential.
And so the agitation for Biafra freedom from the Nigerian State is proper and it is mostly due to the unbridled greed of Igbo political leaders, lack of courageous leadership and a quest for authentic leadership in Igboland today. But it is also due to the depth of degradation, wrenching problems and hopelessness in which the region has been subjugated to, purely for punitive reasons. It has been 45 years since the end of the civil-war, when will the Nigerian State integrate Ndigbo in the affairs of the nation? When will there be infrastructure and federal presence in Igboland? When will SE/SS have an international airport, a seaport – an area especially SS surrounded by oceans. When will there be passable federal roads to help people with movement of goods and services? When will someone from SE/SS fly directly to the East without stopping in Lagos with all the hassles and risk traveling through dilapidated road and flying within Nigeria to go to East? When will an Igbo become the president of Nigeria?
The Nigerian State is evil, punitive and vindictive and president Buhari – a Muslim fanatic and ethnic bigot has taken it to another level. It does not make any sense to continue to live in such hopelessness and seeded anguish of oppression and resentment. President Buhari is an autocratic and tyrannical ruler. He hates the Igbos with passion – remember the early 1980’s. I’m very sorry to say that he may be leading Nigeria to disintegration and in essence destroys Nigeria’s fledging and fragile democracy. I hope that is not the case. I remain optimistic.
I believe the best way to combat marginalization, oppression and injustice is through dialogue and debate – even though the vacuum and lack of true leadership in Igboland as well as the callous political culture of Nigeria do not permit genuine dialogue and healthy debate. The report of National Conference conducted by President Jonathan in which billions of Naira was spent has been jettisoned by President Buhari/APC government. How can the nation make progress? The Nigerian State is currently barbarous and frazzled.
The late Ojukwu in his autobiography, “Because I am involved,” wrote: “I have had my belly full of war. I will always fight for the welfare of the Igbo, though this time around on the table of dialogue. As a people who lost a war, we, the Igbo elite, owe the Igbo the responsibility of leading them out of their defeat trauma, out of the siege mentality they have developed over the years. At Aburi, I stated the Igbo case and I will continue to do so wherever necessary.”
So I believe that good constructive, healthy debate and sincere dialogue is the best way to go. The Nigerian State must stop the oppression and marginalization of its people. It must be stopped now. If not, Ndigbo need to put together an emancipation think-tank – sort of a national political movement/party to put pressure on the Nigerian State, to address awful marginalization and oppression of her people and work together to fix the imbalances or seek freedom and independence from Nigeria.
May God help us!
C. K. Ekeke