Often times, I continue to wonder why our Northern 'brothers' are ready to drown instead of being alive to see Nigeria disintegrate peacefully. Why must it always be the North of all the Federating components?
This is too shameful and smacks of a people's inability to survive without being carried along by others. I had expected their Youths –Arewa Youths - to prevail on their elders to let any region that wants to leave to go their own way, at least, to demonstrate to the whole World that they too, can survive without leaning on others forever. Unfortunately, however, they too, are more scared!
During any national festivity, the Northern elders and elite cannot send other messages than “one Nigeria… Nigeria’s Unity is not negotiable”. “We believe in the indissolubility of Nigeria” etc. After 100 years of living together in a forced marriage that has gone mundane and characterized by bloodshed and pathological hatred, the North still lives in the illusion that it will last forever.
On the assumption of Office in 2015, Buhari was quick to say that the Confab Document was a thrash only fit for the bin. That was how a president described a work delivered by the cream of the nation’s intelligentsia and scholars of international repute. He vowed not to implement its provisions. No wonder participants in the making of the recommendations like Ahmed Ali, Jeremiah Useni, Bashiru Dalhatu and other Northern representatives are now reneging on what they agreed as the only way to move the country forward.
Recently in an interview, Junaid Mohammed in his known posture, boasted that it will not be implemented and dared any aggrieved people to do their worst as if he will allow his family to stay in the country should any holocaust begin. The North had always wanted war in this country because of the ever backing of their godfather and ally, Britain.
Buhari severally has stated that the entire nation should better drown and perish than Biafra to leave Nigeria. People you hated with a passion, people you decimate at will and marginalized, yet are so precious to you. His army Chief has also said that Biafra cannot be in his lifetime. Haba Mallam. However, I cannot be able to guess his age at the time of the Civil War. Dr. Junaid and his brothers are boasting of the consequences and how they will crush them again. They seem to have forgotten so soon as they are gradually and consistently trying to play out the exact scenario which led to the three years bloodbath.
In January 1967, Nigerian leaders converged in Aburi, Ghana, to resolve the stalemate which generated a lot of tension in the country. They did not go for a jamboree. The leaders, in the presence of the host president, General Ankrah, reached far-reaching decisions and all of them signed it including Col. Odumegwu-Ojukwu from Eastern Region.
Upon return back to Nigeria, those who took Nigeria as only their own, persuaded the Head of State, Col. Yakubu Gowon, to jettison the agreement, inadvertently insinuating that they had no brains, or were not prepared before embarking on such journey of great national importance.
This is one advice, but too many, that later took the lives of over three and a half million people in a needless, preventable Civil War. The uninformed and some children not born that time were fed with a distorted history that Governor of Eastern Region, Col. OjUkwu caused the War, Meanwhile, Ojukwu started calling for the implementation of the agreements with no avail.
With surging refugees who fled from the North and West, and Civil servants hoping for reinstatement, no funds for they had lost all their lifetime possessions in a flash, he became more anxious over the implementation of the Aburi decisions, at least, the palliative aspects. Ojukwu, seriously choked and visibly running out of options, called World Press and addressed as follows:
“We are coming to the end of another fiscal year when estimates are made and plan also made for the coming year. But this will not be possible under the present state of affairs, and for this reason if, by 31st March 1967, the Aburi agreements were not fully implemented, that he, Ojukwu will not have any other alternatives than to take whatever measures that are necessary to give effect to the East as those agreements”.
The federal Government of Nigeria was still adamant, not feeling for the untold hardship their Eastern brothers and sisters were passing through. They sidelined Ojukwu completely and continued to plot wickedly against the people of Eastern Region.
On May, 27th 1967, Gowon made known, their ploy to cause a sharp division between the Igbos and their brothers and sisters from other groups of Eastern Nigeria. He announced his twelve – states structure, carving out Rivers and Southeastern states while dumping all the Igbos in one state he called East Central State. He chose their administrators for them in Lagos.
To further cause disaffection, he introduced an issue unheard of in the World – “The Abandoned Property Issue”. It would be recalled that from Colonial Era the minority people in the East led by late Dappa Biriye an elder statesman, strongly agitated for a separate “Oil Rivers” state but their request was not granted. They took their agitation to London, Late Isaac Adaka Boro, a radical undergraduate from Kaima, rekindled it again and failed. Now that the North had drawn a battle line against the people of Eastern Nigeria, they now saw it expedient to give them the states!
The action of the Federal Government was not only provoking but also insulting on the intellect of the East. Ojukwu, who did not do anything without consultation, immediately summoned a meeting of the Eastern Nigeria Consultative Assembly, also Known as Leaders of Thought – a Think Tank comprised of some notable elite and opinion leaders that cut across the length and breadth of the East to be advised on the next thing to do under the circumstance.
A people rejected cannot also reject themselves, so they mandated him to declare the Republic of Biafra without further delay. Three days later, on 30th May 1967, Col. Odumegwu – Ojukwu carried out his mandate.
TO BE CONTINUED… READ PART 2, CLICK HERE
EDITED AND PUBLISHED: PRINCE RICHMOND C. AMADI
EDITED AND PUBLISHED: PRINCE RICHMOND C. AMADI