BIAFRA: Why The Igbos Must Live To Forget The Past And Work To Build Their Present
Today by means of remembrance all our Eastern brothers, reminisce the period of Biafra war which caused destruction to our nation.
I think it’s over 50 years back that the war rested on an accord of peace by all the people of Nigeria, and I believe we have agreed to live in peace and harmony because remembering the period brings us turpitude and overwhelming thoughtfulness.
There is no how we talk about the war that we won’t feel somehow worried about our people who lost their souls.
There is some connection between the particular distress of war, the particular tension of war, and the kind of literary response it inspires.
According to my father, he uses to tell me that we should never pray for war, that war is not a mere child’s play it meant destruction, wasting of human lives and the ravaging of properties in mass.
I remember what Chinua Achebe said in his book titled “There was a country”
He wrote thus” Most members of my generation, who were born before Nigeria’s independence, remember a time things were very different. Nigeria was once a land of hope and progress, a nation with immense resources at its disposal-natural resources, yes, but even more so, human resources. But the Biafran war changed the course of Nigeria.
In my view, it was a cataclysmic experience that changed the history of Africa”.
Today the effect of the war has not abdicated our lifestyle we are still obsessed with it, apart from its obsession, it is still affecting our daily activities.
The war itself emerged from the conspiracy, outright rivalry and subjective criticism of one ethnic group to another.
The truth then was that our forebears fail to accept their differences they laugh when they are in the comity of other tribes but their ethnic bigotry lies within them.
I will not want we their offerings who are just a peculiar breed to imbibe in the stupendous blunders that they have made by propagating it any more, we should look for ways to move Nigeria forward for the betterment of our generation and those coming behind.
Is what we’ve experienced and what we are still seeing not war enough?
Presently, we are faced with a global pandemic, banditry and terrorism are still bedevilling our nation, natural disasters and cultism and other problems, and yet we are here remembering Biafra war.
The fact is that the past as nothing to do with our progress what we would be today and something to show for tomorrow is what matters.
Why we need to forget the past
Biafran children during the war
I we have to enlighten my Eastern brothers to forget what as happen in the past and let embrace present so that our future can be more secured through unity.
If we have not heard how the war happens I will briefly narrate it here, so that we can know the truth and why we must digress totally from disunity.
After Nigeria independence in 1960, the political elites that were ruling the country are seen as an agent of destructions, who will pull the glory of the nation down if care was not taken according to the army creeds.
As a result, a coup was staged by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeugo and his military cohorts who were: Emanuel Ifeajuna, Adewale Ademoyega, Chris Anoforo, and Timothy onwantuego.
Major Chukwuma Kaduna
Their belief was to topple the civilian government administration that was filled with corrupt practices so that a government that will restore transparency can be achieved.
After then news began to seep through. There was a rumour that the prime minister was missing. Then came news from Kaduna that Sardauna, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the most powerful man of the premiers, had been killed. Later, came the news that Samuel Akintola, the premier of Western Nigeria, had also been killed.
Sardauna of Sokoto
It was Chief Olusegun Osoba the former governor of Ogun state (then a journalist), who gave clues about where Tafawa Balewa corpse was found.
But despite the endeavour of the coup plotters, they end up in failures because another set of soldiers led by Agunyi Ironsi outsmarted them.
The aftermath of the cou
The aftermath of the coup was what gave birth to ethnic bigotry, and long term hostilities that later ensued amidst our people.
Throughout this time there was a sense of great unease and tension across the country, and multiple rumours of military insurrection in the offing.
The northern youths were highly infuriated as the prime minister was murdered, together with the Sadauna of Sokoto. These led to spontaneous riots the marauding northern youths armed with machetes, knives, and other instruments of death attacked unsuspecting civilians mostly Igbos.
Many were maimed, brutalized and sexually violated; this was the beginning of the hostilities.
After all these, the then head of (Agunyi Ironsi) state restore normalcy in the land but unbeknownst to him that the Northern leaders have been meeting without his now knowledge.
Thus he resolved to embark on a nationwide tour, he believed that as a head of state, he could appease and soothe concerns if he met with the leaders of the regions.
He stopped over in Ibadan as the guest of the military governor of Western Nigeria, Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi. A close friend and confidant, Fajuyi made Ironsi aware of the pending mutiny in the army.
What happened next was pathetic, little did Fajuyi and Ironsi know that the Northern soldiers had organized a retaliatory coup to avenge the death of the prime minister and Sardauna of Sokoto.
They had been informed that the head of state was in Fajuyi’s residence at Ibadan, Ironsi was arrested alongside Fajuyi by Nigeria Army captain Theophilus Y. Danjuma, a Northerner who wanted to know if Ironsi was linked to the death of Sardauna.
There are divergent accounts of what happened next.
What is well know is that in a matter of hours the bullet-ridden bodies of Ironsi and Fajuyi were discovered in the bush.
What later follows?
If it had ended there, the matter might have been seen as a tragic interlude in nation-building, a horrendous tit for tat.
But the Northerner turns on Non- Northerners mostly Igbos civilians and unleashed waves of brutal massacres on them. Thirty thousand civilian men, women, and children were slaughtered, hundreds of thousands were wounded, maimed and violated, their homes and property looted and burned. These were what the white men who visited Northern Nigeria called pogroms then.
What do we gain from all the hostilities?
After all the scuffles we’ve gained nothing, all our people went apart, all our businesses were vanquished and we went to start rebuilding our nation again.
The war turned many people to cannibals because when there is no more food people began to feed on the carcass of human and I think that is the origin of the rumoured cannibalism of the Eastern part of Nigeria.
What is the next procedure?
We should all know that going to the past and acting on it won’t do anything go for us, it will only inculcate our mind to start another long term hostility.
We should remember that the Biafra war ended with a dialogue why can’t we put dialogue first in anything will do rather than inciting violence.
We the youth of nowadays are leaders of this nation in time to come we should learn to live together in peace and harmony.
Nigeria is our home, it’s a country where we were born and I know we will all succeed in it without going running to another country.
God bless Nigeria.