A known humanitarian Chinua Achebe wrote a book called ‘There Was A Nation’. The existence of Biafra is not just 1967 to 1970 but the existence of nation that have been.
The people of Biafra or the old eastern region had been even before the ship that took Africans into slavery in the year 1560s, the Joint European Slaves Union Ship captained by John Hawkins who became the first slave-ship captain to bring Africans to the Americas.
His ship, ironically called “the good ship Jesus,” left the shores of his native England for Africa in October 1562.
In the year 1966 to 1970, General Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, of blessed memory, selflessly championed the defense of his nation Biafran against the Nigerian military and her foreign allies who are no longer using chain to force his people into slavery rather they resort to marginalisation.
It’s important to note that the amalgamation of Nigeria was marked for total obliteration of Biafrans by the Hausa-Fulanis and their Yoruba counterparts on a revenge mission schemed against Major Kaduna Nzeogwu led military coup d’état. That coup was mischievously tagged an Igbo coup.
In Nigeria, Igbo Biafrans were terribly massacred in thousands within the Northern region of Nigeria, although the killing of Igbos started in the year 1945 in Jos, the present day Plateau State capital city. (Goggle Northern/Southern tension which manifested first in 1945 during Jos Riot. Three hundred (300) Igbo Biafrans were killed in that upheaval and again on 1st May 1953, when another disturbance broke out in the city of Kano).
Historical facts prove that realistically all the problems and sufferings associated with the Igbo Biafrans were simulated by late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He was then warned by prominent Igbo men including Mbonu Ojike who clearly told him that Igbos and the Hausa-Fulanis cannot co-habit. Zik totally declined to pay heed to their counsels by consistently projecting the One-Nigeria mantra. Even Fredrick Lugard who amalgamated the divergent indigenous ethnic nationalities and tagged them Nigeria, stated that the people are like oil and water that cannot mix.
Odimegwu Ojukwu wore the same shoe with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in same view of saving their people from bondage of mental and psychological slavery. If really Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe fully supported the Biafra movement with his influence and clout, the Biafra nation would have for long become another Japan in Africa.
After the genocide committed by Nigeria with the help of some countries against Biafra state, Odimegwu Ojukwu never conceived going to war with Nigeria but rather a firm and unbroken assurance that Biafrans would be safe and protected in Nigeria but the killings persisted. An agreement was made on Aburi accord to put together the same purpose of securing Biafrans but Yakubu Gowon blatantly reneged on what was agreed on in Ghana. Odimegwu Ojukwu did not kill anyone nor did he orchestrate the killing of Biafrans. Mazi Nnamdi similarly refused going to his parents’ burial to see that genocide will not be committed against his people. They try their best to save their people from being annihilated by the Northern oligarchy and the Yorubas.
Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe did virtually nothing for the interest of his own people but instead, was busying himself around with personal protection amongst other interests. He was so engrossed in callousness to the point that he lost the wisdom of seeing what Obafemi Awolowo was envisioning through tribal politics. Tafawa Balewa played the same tribal politics and Zik totally lost out. He traded the overriding interest of his own people for the politics of One-Nigeria which till date, has remained the mainstream politics in the country. Disappointedly, those who were involved in playing tribal politics are today ruling over Zik’s people. Ndigbo kwuru Okwu Sina: “Ana esina ulo amara mma puo na ama…”, just like what some politicians are doing today.
Mana Zik sitere na-ama wee biawa na ulo”. One common Igbo adage says that “one’s beauty starts from inside to the outside, but Zik’s beauty started from outside to inside”. That was how he created the problem between the Igbos and their Eyo Ita brethren. When Azikiwe was sacked by Awolowo in Lagos, it was then he remembered he had a home and got back to Enugu where meritocracy was being practiced. The love that then existed between the Igbos and their neighboring Biafran brethren was tampered with. He removed Eyo Ita as the duly elected Premier of the old Eastern region. This was how Zik precipitated the animosity which is yet being felt today by some of our brethren in both Akwa-Ibom and Cross River States.
Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu though late, remains a man that should be honored amongst Igbos in particular and Biafrans in general. His father, Louis Ojukwu was the richest man in his own time in Nigeria. Chukwuemeka employed his father’s wealth in the defense of Biafrans from being obliterated. What a sacrifice one can make for his people!
Nnewi became what it is today because Ojukwu heeded to the call of investing in Biafraland instead of Lagos. Nnewi has the highest number of billionaires in the Nigerian contraption at least and these men have their companies firmly located in the town, exceptionally thriving as Ojukwu’s brainchild.
It should be emphatically stated here and wisely too, that the people’s General, late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu never killed anyone nor did he orchestrate the killing of Igbos and other Biafrans anywhere in Nigeria. He rather saved his own people from the total annihilation plot of the Fulani oligarchy and their Yoruba counterparts.