2 weeks ago
Monday, June 26, 2017
Between Ojukwu And Nnamdi Kanu By Onyebuchi Ememanka
On May 30, 1967, following a chain of events in Nigeria, and following weeks of serious consultations between Ojukwu who was the Military Governor of the then Eastern Region and a cross section of the people, Ojukwu made that historic announcement which proclaimed the sovereign state of Biafra. The day he made that proclamation, the hall at Enugu was filled to capacity. The finest brains from this part of the country were there. Leaders of thought, Traditional Rulers, soldiers, members of the academia, etc. In his opening speech that day, Ojukwu said… “YOU, THE PEOPLE OF EASTERN NIGERIA… After outlining several powerful preambles, he said… HAVING MANDATED ME TO PROCLAIM ON YOUR BEHALF AND IN YOUR NAME THE EASTERN NIGERIA TO BE A SOVEREIGN STATE, NOW THEREFORE, I LT. COL CHUKWUEMEKA ODUMEGWU OJUKWU, MILITARY GOVERNOR OF EASTERN NIGERIA, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY AND ABOVE RECITALS DO HEREBY SOLEMNLY PROCLAIM….
Ojukwu was a wise man. He studied history at Oxford. He understood the psychology of the Igbos and our neighbors. He knew he couldn’t act alone. He knew he needed the support of the people. When that announcement was made, there was an explosion of joy across the entire Eastern Nigeria. Our finest brains were fully with him. Sir Louis Mbanefo, the first Igbo lawyer accepted to serve as Chief Justice of Biafra. Others like Achebe, Okigbo, etc were there. Ojukwu understood that Biafra wasn’t an Igbo thing. It was never. He brought in an Efik man as his Second in Command. His name was General Philip Effiong. The Secretary to the Government of Biafra was also Efik. It was an Eastern Nigerian agenda. Even a Yoruba officer, Tunji Banjo abandoned his own people and fought for Biafra. That is the power of ideas supported by popular acclaim. Our people were happy. We were enthusiastic. The people had spoken through their leader. In January 1970 when the war ended, Ojukwu had fled to the Ivory Coast. He handed over to Effiong.
When there was more sense continuing with the war, Effiong didn’t just make an announcement on his own. He consulted our people. Even in the heat of an excruciating war, Effiong never acted alone. In his last speech to the Biafran people, Effiong said… FELLOW COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN, AS YOU ALL KNOW, I WAS ASKED TO BE THE OFFICER ADMINISTERING THIS REPUBLIC ON JANUARY 10,1970… I HAVE HAD EXTENSIVE CONSULTATIONS WITH THE LEADERS OF OUR COMMUNITIES BOTH MILITARY AND CIVIL, AND I AM NOW ENCOURAGED AND HASTEN TO MAKE THIS STATEMENT TO YOU…BY THE MANDATE OF THE ARMED FORCES AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. He spoke and spoke. Commending our people for the resilience during the war but stated that it was time to end it. He set up a committee to negotiate with the Nigerian government. That committee was to be led by Chief Justice Mbanefo, Prof Eni Njoku, Chief Bassey and Chief Aguma . Bassey was from Cross River and Aguma, from Rivers. He then set up a committee of eminent persons to ADVISE HIM on the issues that will arise. That committee had people from across the entire Eastern Nigeria, from the military and outside. There were Igbos, Efiks, Ijaws, etc. They were men of honor and substance. I have taken the pains to present this preamble so that our people can compare and contrast between the scenarios we had and what we have now. All we hear and see today are unilateral proclamations. No consultation with anybody.
This young man simply wakes up and makes far reaching proclamations. In doing this, he is urged on mainly by a coterie of street urchins and a mob followership, most of whom were not born when we fought the first war. The latest in this madness is the proclamation that Igbos will not vote in the 2019 elections, starting with Anambra this November. He didn’t ask the people of Anambra what they wanted. He just woke up and made an order and expects that Igbos are zombies. We shall see.
Education is very important. If this guy had the benefit a proper education, he would have known why indirect rule failed in Igboland but succeeded in other parts of the country. When indirect rule failed, the colonial leaders introduced the Warrant Chiefs who were Lords. The entire arrangement ended in a fiasco. Igbos are by their nature, republicans and act after detailed analysis and wide spread consultations. No one can order the Igbo people around according to his own whims and caprices. Even if what you ask of them is right, the mere fact that you woke up to say it without asking them will make them resist it. Igbos don’t have powerful kings and rulers. Igbos don’t by tradition prostrate before anybody. We act by a unity of purpose. Tell me one decent and notable Igboman who is with this guy in this his movement. Will he fight the war alone? What does he think secession is? A cartoon film? The original Biafra was not an Igbo thing entirely. While Igbos were in the majority, there were others too. Today, what we have is a purely designed Igbo agitation. This is not the Biafra that Ojukwu had in mind. The other people feel uncomfortable with it and have said no.
Finally, let me ask Kanu one question. If by his imperial order, Igbos refuse to vote in 2019, what of those Igbos who were elected in a state like Lagos? Two Igbos are in the House of Reps representing two constituencies in Lagos State. One Igbo guy is in the Lagos State House of Assembly. What becomes of them? Those that know him should tell him to go and sleep over this his thing. He is a young man and should ask questions and consult his people before coming out to speak. All through history, no single individual has spoken for the Igbos except the people ask him to, or he will be alone in the market place.
Finally, I will advise Kanu to go and read ACHEBE’s books, THINGS FALL APART AND ARROW OF GOD. They were written by Chinua Achebe, one of the finest Igbo brains who took active part in the war. In those two books, the republican nature of the Igbo man were in full display. The emphasis we place on unity and consultation. All decisions must be collectively reached for it to have efficacy. In THINGS FALL APART, when Okonkwo got too powerful and decided to run a one man show, he ended up committing suicide and his body was buried by strangers in the evil forest. The people abandoned him. It didn’t matter that he was the most popular and most powerful man in the land who had brought them honor severally. Obierika, Okonkwo’s best friend who was a more deeper man said to the white man…THIS WAS THE GREATEST MAN IN UMUOFIA, YOU DROVE HIM TO KILL HIMSELF AND NOW, HE WILL BE BURIED LIKE A DOG. IN ARROW OF GOD, Ezeulu misunderstood that the allegiance the people gave to him was by virtue of his office as the Priest of Ulu, their deity. When he became too powerful and started toying with the people, the people arose against both him and the deity. The rest was history. Even while he reigned as Ezeulu, he was constantly questioned and harassed by some men like the rambunctious Nwaka.
Please tell Nnamdi Kanu to cultivate the habit of reading. Ururuaja writes from Umule, with one hand and his snuff box in the other.”
Read more at: http://aledeh.com/between-ojukwu-and-nnamdi-kanu-by-onyebuchi-ememanka/
Saturday, June 24, 2017
By Charles Ogbu.
Brethren from the North,
I bring you greetings from the Southern part of Nigeria.
On behalf of the peace-loving people of the south in general and millions of Igbo youths in particular, I start this letter by commending you for your recent open letter to the acting president, professor Yemi Osinbajo, where you called on the pastor-turned politician to organise a Referendum for the Igbos to enable them determine their future in line with international law on self determination.
By that letter, you proved to be better versed and more sophisticated in legal matters and ways of international laws with regards to the right of Indigenous People on Self Determination than the acting President who ironically is a law professor but who happen to think that quest for self determination is a crime simply because the fraudulent document known as the 1999 constitution imposed on us by military thugs did not recognise it.
Having said these, let me come to the main reason why I'm here. In your letter to the Ag. President, I noticed what I've been trying to figure out whether to classify as an innocent amnesia-induced oversight or a calculated attempt to re-write history on your part.
You cited the January 15th coup which you mischievously tagged Igbo coup and claimed was the Igbos manifestating their hatred for Nigeria. Quite frankly, when I read that part, I was left wondering whether to pause and die laughing or die crying.
You and your kind invented the word "hatred" and even went further to prove that indeed, it is not just a word. You started manifesting hatred for other Nigerians as far back as 1945 when your kind butchered hundreds of innocent southerners mostly Igbos in North central Nigerian city of Jos in an anti-Igbo pogrom, 15 years before Nigeria even got her independence from Britain. And of course, your Vampiric spirit would later rise again in search of more Igbo blood in 1953 when your people carried out another anti-Igbo pogrom in Kano which resulted in another hundreds of Igbo lives being wasted once again. This time, all you needed to start doing what you know how best to do was a minor legislative disagreement at the Lagos parliament where your lawmakers were booed for trying to delay a motion for Nigeria's independence by claiming the North wasn't yet ready for self rule.
Isn't it a classic definition of irony that a people who started doing exceptionally well in the business of killing and maiming their fellow Nigerians as far back as 1945 when Nigeria had not even dreamt of gaining independence would now open their mouth and accuse others of manifesting "hatred for Nigeria unity"? If you ever believed in the so called Nigeria's unity, why kill and maim your fellow Nigerians for the flimsiest of excuses??
Secondly, the January 1966 coup was not an Igbo coup. It was a coup carried out by mostly junior army officers led by Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu and it had soldiers from Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa/fulani, Tiv, Esan, Ijaw, Urhobo, Bali etc on board. Hassan Usman Katsina, an hausa/fulani, who was later made military governor of Northern region, was Nzeogwu's right hand man and a major participant all through the period of the coup. Major Adewale Ademoyega, the author of "Why We Struck" was of the same rank as Nzeogwu. He was an active participant in the coup. There were major Ifeajuna, Lt. Fola Oyewole of "The Reluctant Rebel", Lt. Tijani Katsina and Saleh Dambo who were both hausa/fulani, there was Lt. Hope Harris Egheagha among other Igbos.
And that same coup was foiled by two brave Igbo men, Aguyi Ironsi in Lagos (West) and Ojukwu in Kano (North).
Now, assuming WITHOUT CONCEDING that the January 15th coup was organized and executed by only Igbo army officers, does it not still amount to conscientious idiocy for you guys to blame the whole Igbo nation for a coup carried out by few military men from the region?? How can anyone seek to justify the savagery visited on defenceless Igbo men, women and children residing in the North in the aftermath of that coup?? Did Nzeogwu who was from Delta state consult the indigens of the state before leading that coup?
How come we don't blame Dimka's coup on his ethnic group neither do we blame IBB and Buhari's coup on the whole hausa/Fulanis?
Let me quickly remind you that in the evening of the January 15th coup, a Boeing 707 belonging to the Nigerian Airways arrived Kano with almost the whole Northern establishment back from Lagos where they had gone to attend Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference. Ojukwu, it was, who received them at the airport and even when orders from the coup plotters were to shot all Politicians, Ojukwu gifted them with protection. I don't suppose you would like this kind of history, seeing as it seem to contradict the adulterated version you were groomed with.
In the said letter, you correctly stated that Ojukwu refused to recognize Gowon but you mischievously failed to state that Ojukwu's refusal to recognise Gowon was in protest over the refusal of the hausa/fulani military officers who killed the head of state, Aguyi Ironsi, to allow Brigadier Ogundipe to take over as the next in rank according to military tradition.
Still in that same letter, you stated that Ojukwu declared Biafra but you conveniently failed to tell the public that Ojukwu didn't just wake up in the morning, smoke his Benson cigarette and rushed to declare Biafra. He (Ojukwu) did his best to de-escalate tension and even succeeded in reaching a landmark accord with Gowon in Aburi, Ghana, which if implemented, would have put an end to the Igbo genocide going on in the North and averted the moral tragedy that was the Biafra war. But, Gowon, unilaterally chose to defy the terms of this last minute Aburi Accord, leaving the Oxford product, Ojukwu, with no choice but to pull his people out of a country that was and still is, deaf, dumb and blind to the sanctity of the lives of the same people it exists mainly to protect.
Let me quickly say this not just to you, The Arewa Youths but to all Nigerians and foreigners alike:
This current Biafra agitation IS NOT a bait for Igbo presidency, Restructuring or appointments. Any Igbo man thinking it is should simply go for a DNA test to ascertain not just his paternity but his ancestry, too. My generation is simply sick and tired of sharing the same country with people who derive enormous pleasure from killing their fellow human beings over the flimsiest of excuses like the burning of the Koran in a far away Afghanistan, the shooting of a Palestinian boy by a murderous Israeli soldier in Gaza, the drawing of the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad in far away Denmark by a cartoonist who is neither Igbo nor Nigerian.
Igbo youths are not aggrieved with Nigeria solely because their parents were massacred in the Biafra war. We are aggrieved because almost 50 years after the war, the same people who killed our parents are still killing us even in our homes using fulani herdsmen, in our churches and cities using hausa/fulani soldiers who kill us and bath us with acid, and our places of business using almajiris who slaughter us and burn our shops with state-sponsored impunity for no just cause other than the insatiable urge to spill blood.
My fellow youths, we have lied to ourselves for far too long. How about a little honesty here? All these killings points to one thing which is that our world views are world apart. While you delight in resorting to violence as solution to almost every disagreement, we, the Igbos and indeed, all southerners have serious aversion to bloodshed. It is our belief that our God fight for us, not the other way round.
I love the concluding part of your letter where you rightly asserted that the Biafra agitation is not an issue over which a single drop of blood should be shed. We agree completely. We have all advanced beyond the primitive era of war. We are not asking for war. We are only asking for a YES or NO vote known as Referendum. Now, my dear brethren, add a little work to your faith by prevailing on your leaders who control every facet of the Nigerian govt to allow for a Plebiscite for the Igbos. After they have voted and the YES vote carries the day, you can then give Igbos living in your region whatever condition under which you want them to live.
Dishing out quit notice to Igbos residing in your region when they are yet to be officially granted their referendum and Biafra is only tantamount to putting the cart before the horse. Until the Igbos officially get their Biafra, they remain Nigerians with all the right and privileges of Nigerian citizens including the right of living and doing business anywhere in Nigeria.
Lastly, let me conclude by reminding you that even in the event of a successful referendum for Biafra, all property legally acquired by the Igbos anywhere in Nigeria remain theirs and are protected by international law. Nigerians did not loose their property in Britain when the latter granted her independence in 1960, did they?? The world has progressed considerably. I would remind you that the 'abandoned property' era is over but I'm sure you know that, don't you??
Instead of killing ourselves and creating IDPs everywhere, let us peacefully do "To Your Tent, Oh, Israel!". That way, we will still do things together but as good neighbours under a mutually agreed terms.
Love From A Biafran,
(culled from facebook)
Thursday, June 15, 2017
When you see Biafrans disparaging the struggle, please send them this article
THE BIAFRAN LOYALTY
By M.M. Mbanaja
You don't need to wait till you are hit by my case before you identify positively with your root. I was born in Ebute Meta area of Lagos before the war, I started my schooling and life in Lagos and as soon as the war broke out, we were bundled back to the east, then I was about ten years old.
My parents feel very much at home in Lagos and were loved so much by the Yaba/Ebute Meta community that as we came back to Lagos by 1970 to start life afresh after the civil war, my father's hotel, then at Alagomeji, Yaba called New Nigerian hotel was protected and managed by my father's Yoruba friends. This made us fall in love with the Yorubas and as I was going through my education I mingled with my Yoruba friends as if I was a Yoruba myself since I write and speak the Yoruba language fluently. I was a perceived stakeholder or what we used to call omo oluwabi, son of the soil. At this time I joined my Yoruba friends to make a caricature of Ndigbo whom we referred to as" aje okwute ma mu omi", Igbo man that eats stone without drinking water.
With that confidence, on my return from Europe, I joined politics in my area of residence at Okota and was a state officer of CNC and later contested and won an election as the councilor of ward F3, Okota, under the Babangida's zero party. At the end of the celebration, the SS officers came to my house with a letter informing me that I cannot be sworn in as the councillor for security reasons, before I knew what was going on, I was bundled to Shangisha the SS office where I was detained till after a Yoruba shoe maker, Taiwo living in my street was sworn in as the councillor instead of myself, the winner.
Before the arrival of my lawyer and notable Igbo leaders from Okota, to my rescue with copies of my earlier security clearance at the same office , Alhaji Sabiu Okolanwo who is the current population commissioner of Lagos state and my supposed political mentor came in with chief Wilson, now late to appeal to me to accept the illegal verdict in good faith because the family took the decision and that there is no way the Ejigbo family can allow a non-indigene to rule them in their soil and that there is a compensational position awaiting for me as a board member of NTA, then with head office at V.I., Lagos. Engr. Maduka was the then DG and a brother Charles Nwachukwu was his secretary.
It was Chief Dapo Saromi, the then minister of communication that gave me a letter to be appointed as a board member. But, overnight, the same group that gave me the appointment over turned it via phone calls saying that if I take that position, what will their people say hence I was referred to my state for any appointment. From there, I became a born again Igboman. It donned on me that no amount of force or Yoruba I speak can make me a Yoruba man and, north, south, east and west, no place like home. Since then, I never looked back in tracing my root and saying nice things about the only people I have, the Igboman.
This is why, whenever I hear an Igbo man criticizing an Igboman, or the burden of self-imposed marginalization by an Igboman to Igboman, I feel very sad, I see it as total ignorance and total submission to our foes.
The most common comment you often hear is this: “Biafra (permit me to use Biafra in this contest because it represents the only unity of Ndigbo) will be nice but you know our people, they can’t govern themselves; they are always arguing among themselves and love money more than themselves.” Horrible! This is what Nigeria has done to the Igbo and indeed other Easterners. Nigeria has made the Igbo lose faith, and trust in themselves, their relatives, community and Igbo land itself. Nigeria has made the Igbo lose faith in their talent, ingenuity, creativity, competence and abilities. It is shocking, but it is true. Fear and doubt are now our bedfellows and our greatest enemies. Our people have been programmed to believe that they cannot govern themselves successfully and effectively; in fact that they cannot live together peacefully. Our people have been programmed to hate themselves, their children, their extended families and their communities. This poison has been fed not only to the Igbo but also to other ethnic groups in the Eastern Region. In many of our communities, especially in Cross River State people are torturing, and killing their children, calling them witches. False prophets are making money branding innocent children witches and programming parents to believe that these children are responsible for their poverty, hardships, and illnesses. Thousands and thousands of Igbo people troop to Lagos and Ogun State to hand over millions of hard earned dollars given to them by their relatives to charlatans and con men who claim to be prophets and evangelists. The con men then “prophesy” to them that it is members of their families and their best friends who as witches are the cause of their poverty, joblessness, suffering, failure to have a husband, failure to have a baby, illness and other misfortune. Then they go back home and literally set their families ablaze. We have become a society that is cannibalizing itself. The elders are selling our youth up North for money. The youths are kidnapping the elders and demanding huge ransom money. This is the tragedy that has befallen Igbo society. It breaks my heart to watch magnificent Igbo Nation become degenerate in just one generation. Nigeria has almost destroyed the Igbo and her sister Nations in Eastern Region.
Our people have lost contact with the reality of their history as they are continually fed garbage by Nigeria. In 1965 and just before the first coup, there were four regional governments and the federal government of Nigeria. Of these five governments, the government of the Eastern Region was the most stable, politically and fiscally. The next was the government of Midwestern Region. Don’t take my word, check the records for yourself. Who said that our people cannot govern themselves? Ask your elders about Igbo Union and Ibibio Union Organizations dispersed all over West Africa. These Unions organized our people wherever they lived all over Africa, channeled resources home and became one of the engines of development throughout the Eastern Region. Most of our political leaders Michael Okpara, Akanu Ibiam, Mbonu Ojike, E.O. Eyo, Dennis Osadebay, H.U. Akpabio, Eyo Ita, Jaja Wachuku, Alvan Ikoku, Nwafor Orizu, M. C. K. Ajuluchukwu, Nyong Essien, Margaret Ekpo, Oyibo Odinammadu, Mokwugo Okoye and so many others were men and women of vision and transparent honesty who transformed Eastern Region into an enviable model of political stability and economic empowerment.
It is, therefore, time for Ndigbo to stop digging their own graves through self-condemnation and unwarranted criticisms that have served only the purpose of our foes.
It is my view that unless all Igbo, Efik, Ibibio and Anang tribes see BIAFRA as their avatar through an unalloyed loyalty using the old Eastern Nigeria unity that gave Biafra the leadership, courage and vision to withstand the barrage of land, air and sea attack on the heavily armed federal Nigerian troops, Russian MIG fighters British and European support for 30 gruesome months, our people will continue to play the second fiddle under her foe, Nigeria.
The most salient political wisdom today is for our political class, organized labor, students union, market women, captains of industry, the intellectuals, the clergy and the pro-Biafran groups to understand that everything positive demand we want from Nigeria is inside closing ranks, uniting and showing loyalty to well organized non-violent Biafran struggle. There is a full package inside a united Biafran struggle and that includes Igbo presidency, political, infrastructural and economic development of the Eastern region, Biafra in and outside Nigeria and above all, the pride and love of a nation in unity as partners in progress
This clarion call for healing, peace and reconciliation amongst Ndigbo through a common front, Biafra, is more germane today than ever before where our ancestors will invoke the spirit of 'onye aghala nwanne ya' which is an Igbo philosophical thrust of our 'Igbo bu ike' that made Ndigbo an inseparable bunch in the Igbo Union days before the civil war of survival.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Northern House Of Assembly Proceedings, February - March 1964
Below is an extract from the proceedings of the Northern Region House of Assembly between February and March 1964, less than four years after Nigeria’s independence from the British.
I have nothing to add. Read and judge for yourself:
Mallam Muhammadu Mustapha Mande Gyan:On the allocation of plots to Ibos or allocation of stalls, I would like to advise the Minister that these people know how to make money, and we do not know the way and manner of getting about this business. We do not want Ibos to be allocated with plots. I do not want them to be given plots…
Mallam Bashari Umaru:
I would like (you), as a Minister of Land and Survey, to revoke forthwith all Certificates of Occupancy from the hands of the Ibos resident in the Region… (Applause)
Mr. A. A. Agogede:I’m very glad that we are in a Moslem country, and the government of Northern Nigeria allowed some few Christians in the region to enjoy themselves according to the belief of their religion, but building of hotels should be taken away from the Igbos, and even if we find some Christians who are interested in building hotels and do not have money to do so, the government should aid them, instead of allowing Ibos to continue with their hotels.
Dr. Iya Abubakar (Special Member, Lecturer, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria):
I am one of the strong believers in Nigerian unity, and I have hoped for our having a united Nigeria, but certainly if the present state of affairs continues, I hope the government will investigate first the desirability and secondly the possibility of extending Northernisation policy to the petty traders. (Applause)
Mallam Mukhtar Bello:
I would like to say something very important, that the Minister should take my appeal to the Federal Government about the Igbos in the post office. I wish the numbers of these Igbos be reduced…. There are too many of them in the North. They are like sardines and 1 think they are just too dangerous to the Region.
Mallam Ibrahim Musa:Mr. Chairman, Sir. Well first and foremost, what I have to say before this Hon. House is that we should send a delegation to meet our Hon. Premier to move a motion in this very Budget Session that all the Ibos working in the Civil Service of Northern Nigeria, including the native authorities, whether they are contractors or not, should be repatriated at once…
Mallam Bashari Umaru:
There should be no contracts either from the government, native authorities, or private enterprises given to Ibo contractors (Government Bench: Good talk and shouts of “Fire the Southerners”). Again, Mr. Chairman, the foreign firms too should be given time limit to replace all Ibo in their firms by some other people.
The Premier (Alhaji the Hon. Sir Ahmadu Bello, K.B.E., Sardauna of Sokoto):It is my most earnest desire that every post in the region, however small it is, be filled by a Northerner (Applause)
Alhaji Usman Liman:
What brought the Ibos into this region? They were here since the colonial days. Had it not been for the colonial rule, there would hardly have been any Ibo in this region. Now that there is no colonial rule, the Ibos should go back to their region. There should be no hesitation about the matter. Mr. Chairman, North is for Northerners, East for Easterners, West for Westerners, and the Federation is for us all. (Applause)
The Minister of Land and Survey (Alhaji the Hon. Ibrahim Musa Cashash, O.B.E.):Mr. Chairman. Sir, I do not like to take up much of the time of this House in making explanations, but I would like to assure members that having heard their demands about Ibos holding land in Northern Nigeria, my ministry will do all it can to see that the demands of members are met. How to do this, when to do it, al1 these should not be disclosed. In due course, you will all see what will happen. (Applause)
Monday, May 29, 2017
Nigeria on Tuesday marks 50 years since the declaration of an independent Republic of Biafra plunged the country into a civil war, amid renewed tensions and fresh calls for a separate state.