YAKUBU DAN-YUMMA GOWON AND HIS CROCODILE TEARS: TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Retired General Yakubu Dan-Yumma Gowon, born on 19th October 1934, was reported to have shed crocodile tears on the exploitation and despoliation of Oloibiri-Biafraland by past Northern hegemonic leaders of which he is one. Recall that as at 29th of July 1966, Gowon was a Lieutenant Colonel and Chief of Staff when he connived with Muhammadu Buhari and other Northern soldiers and assassinated Major-General J. T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi at Government House in Ibadan. Even though he was not the next in command in the military, he went ahead to assume the position of Head of State at the prompting of his fellow Northern military officers. From August 1, 1966, to the 29th of July 1975, Gowon ruled Nigeria and part of that period were used to destroy Biafraland including Oloibiri in the present-day Bayelsa State. One wonders why he is now shedding crocodile tears after destroying not only Oloibiri but the entire Biafraland during the war of genocide he embarked on Biafra.
We would like to remind the world, in case they have forgotten, that Gowon is an arch-genocidist, having killed over five million Biafrans including those from Oloibiri land. Fellow genocidists like Adolph Hitler, Charles Taylor, and Slobodan Milosevic were never left off the hook. Between the 18th of October 1945 and October 1, 1946, there were war crime trials on those who committed genocide during the Second World War, just like Yakubu Gowon did on Biafrans. Twelve of them were sentenced to death and hanged. Among those executed for their war crimes include Hans Frank, Alfred Rosenberg, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Julius Streicher.
There were also more trials, convictions, and executions from the Nuremberg Proceedings which held between December 1946 and April 1949. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are surprised that forty-six years after the genocide on Biafrans, conscientious people all over the world are not pushing for the setting-up of a similar tribunal to try genocidists like Yakubu Gowon. Rather, Gowon is moving freely and having the time to shed crocodile tears after committing heinous crimes against humanity.
Our advice to Yakubu Gowon is to stay off the Biafra restoration topic in order not to open up old wounds. Gowon must understand that Oloibiri is part of Biafra and any comment from him reminds Biafrans of the war crimes he committed against the citizens of Biafra. Just like it happened between 1967 and 1970, Biafrans are presently fighting for their survival and are using every means available to them to keep themselves from being exterminated by Gowon’s partner in crime, Muhammadu Buhari. All Biafrans, whether from Oloibiri or anywhere else, do not need the advice of Gowon because his advice is akin to the counsel of Alhitophel to King David of the Kingdom of Israel.
Commercial production of hydrocarbon started in June 1956 at Oloibiri, but this same Biafran community has nothing to show for it after 60 years, courtesy of Gowon and his Northern hegemonic leadership who are interested in the resources and not in developing the land and its people. Biafrans built and maintained their infrastructures even under the 24-hour air, land, and sea bombardments from Gowon’s military between 1967 and 1970. Therefore, rebuilding our old infrastructures and building state-of-the-art new infrastructures should be second nature to the already technologically and intellectually advanced Biafrans.
We posit that Gowon should concern himself with how to articulate his defence when the inevitable war crime tribunal is constituted. On the other hand, he should be courageous enough to take the route of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and Hermann Goering all of whom did not wait for the hangman's noose but rather committed suicide.
Gowon cannot just kill over five million Biafrans and then sweep the heinous crime under the carpet through a plea made during movie premiere about a Biafran town (Oloibiri) which was launched, not in the same Oloibiri but in far away Lagos, outside Biafraland. Those who are close to Gowon should tell him to leave Oloibiri-Biafrans alone and that he should take his plea to the upcoming war crime tribunal and let the tribunal consider his pleas.
However, from an introspective view, we at IPOB do not blame Gowon for his foolish unguarded comments and utterances regarding Biafra. Rather, the blame lies with the failed Igbo-Biafran leadership of the past and present that did not make a case for him to be tried as a war criminal. The acquiescence and capitulation of these self-styled elites who are nothing more than professional political slaves scavenging for relevance on the streets of Lagos and Abuja are the ones who let Gowon off the hook and which emboldened him to periodically come up with his meaningless opinions on Biafra.
But we assure the world that this generation of Biafrans will not let Buhari and his killer-squads off the hook until they are tried and convicted of crimes against humanity. We reiterate that all those responsible for the death of IPOB family members be they Nigerian Army personnel, DSS, Police or Navy will be hunted down at the appropriate time and dealt with. We will never forgive Buhari or his coming generations for the death he brought to our youths. The self-serving and so-called elites abdicated their responsibility to posterity and humanity when they cowardly let this butcher of civilians called Gowon off the hook.
Just as Mark Anthony told Marcus Brutus during Julius Ceasar’s funeral oration that “we shall meet you at Philippi,” Biafran lawyers shall meet you, Yakubu Dan-Yumma Gowon, at the war crime tribunal. Therefore save your crocodile tears and worry less about Oloibiri in Biafraland because it is too little, too late as Biafra is already out of your devilish contraption called Nigeria.
The restoration of the nation of Biafra is a task that must be done. Therefore, we must Go On With One Nation called Biafra!!!
Barrister Emma Nmezu
Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya
Spokespersons for IPOB