Biafra is Dead & Buried, Nothing Would Ever Resurrect it – ex Police Commissioner
Considering the security situation in the North-East, where soldiers are still battling insurgency; what is your view on the current agitation for a Republic of Biafra?
Nnamdi Kanu and Ralph Uwazurike, who are now agitating for Biafra, were born in the 1980s. I was a boy of about 15 years during the war. I didn’t go to war, but when federal troops entered Port-Harcourt, I trekked for about 35 kilometres from Port-Harcourt to Igita. We were running like the refugees you now see in the North-East.
They would shell some places and we would take cover. All of us would fall into gutters and other dangerous places. People were abandoning their children. Nobody wants that type of thing again. Uwazurike, Kanu and his sister don’t know anything about Biafra, and they have not read any book written on Biafra. If they had read books on Biafra, they would have known why the agitation failed and whether it can rise again. They would know whether the circumstances prevailing now were the same thing then. They are quite different. If these boys talking of Biafra had read Achuzie’s book, they would ask why Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa), at a particular stage, ran back to Nigeria. It was Zik who took Ojukwu to get the recognition of Tanzania, Ivory Coast and other countries for Biafra. Why did he (Zik) go back to Nigeria and declare to the whole world that there was no genocide in Biafra?
It is instructive that the late Biafran warlord, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu joined the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and told the whole world that his mission was to reintegrate the Igbo into the mainstream of Nigerian politics.
So who is telling Kanu and Uwazurike and the rest of them that there is still something called Biafra? Ojukwu even contested to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This means that before he died, Ojukwu submitted himself to the authorities of the Nigerian government. It means that Biafra is dead and buried.
Now, let us look at why Kanu is talking of Biafra. On one hand, he said he wanted to liberate the oppressed people that are bound genetically and culturally by the same value system. He started mentioning Idoma people, Igbo people, the Efik, Anang, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Igala and so on. The Idoma have nothing to do with the Igbo. These people he is mentioning can never join the South-East to agitate for Biafra. He cannot go to Warri and tell them that they are Igbo. I remember that when the Igbo were making noise during the elections, Edwin Clark told them that Jonathan did not need their votes to win presidential election. And he will be disappointed to believe what Asari Dokubo is saying. Dokubo should be talking about resource control, not Biafra. Recall that the people of South-South respect the late freedom fighter, Isaac Adaka Boro, a lot because he never wanted to have anything to do with the Igbo.
Unfortunately, I don’t know why the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) is breeding all these militants. Isaac Adaka Boro dropped out from the UNN, Kanu is also a UNN dropout. I heard that Kanu went to London because of strike in Nigeria. He is a university dropout.
Kanu agreed that the Igbo have shops all over Nigeria, and they are making profits and are wealthy; so how can he say they are oppressed? As far as I am concerned it is the Igbo that are oppressing other people all over Nigeria. They are everywhere trading, including Maiduguri.
You see, the Igbo are no longer what they were before the 1966 coup. They were humble, meek and mild, but had the courage of a lion. The claim that the Igbo are being oppressed is not true. I served in the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years and nobody oppressed me. My wife is doing business in Makurdi and nobody is oppressing her. Igbo people are buying plots of land all over the country. If you go to Enugu today, no Hausa or Yoruba man has been allocated any plot of land. It is the same in Anambra and other eastern states. But in the North, lands are allocated to the Igbo. So no Igbo man should be talking of oppression. They should be humble wherever they are. They should be meek and mild but have the courage of a lion so that one day, the Igbo man will contest election in Sokoto, Maiduguri and so and win. That is what we want.
Mr. Ibezimako Aghanya is a retired commissioner of police. He served in Kogi, Benue and Ekiti states respectively.