What they did was to mandate their agents in Biafra Voice International (BVI), to circulate on Facebook, a video programme they aired four months ago on their platform. BVI is an Internet radio floated by Billie Human Rights Initiative (BHRI) – a human rights group that was once in partnership with Radio Biafra for the restoration of Biafran.
In the programme, BVI had replayed part of a broadcast by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, where he announced the setting up of Biafra Council of Elders in 2013. Kanu had announced the Council of Elders as the leaders of the Biafra struggle, which Radio Biafra and BHRI was subjected to. Incidentally, after the replay of part of that announcement, the presenter went on to tell his audience that Kanu became proud and arrogant, and usurped the powers of the elders.
But that was not true. Biafrans with knowledge of the struggle from the onset instantly saw the programme as a pathetic piece of propaganda and misinformation. They were well aware that the presenter did not tell the complete story, especially as it had to do with events that took place afterwards.
To start with, the presenter did not tell his audience that the appointment of the Council of Elders as leaders of the struggle was the brainchild of Kanu and Radio Biafra leadership. It was Kanu and his colleagues in Radio Biafra who always reasoned and preached that Biafra should go back to the original sociopolitical and cultural set up that existed in Biafraland before the British. It was Kanu and Radio Biafra that introduced the Council of Elders’ proposal before a partnership-meeting they had with BHRI in 2013.
In spite of this, the presenter did not explain it; neither did he tell his listeners that the partnership went awry when BHRI tried to hijack both Radio Biafra and the Council of Elders. Then, BHRI had insisted that all supporters of the struggle must register with it by purchasing its membership form and obtaining Identity Card. But Radio Biafra had argued against it, insisting that nobody buys forms to belong to his/her clan or country. Another argument was that BHRI was a mere human rights group and should not try to transform itself into the government of Biafra through the backdoor.
That apart, the presenter neither spoke on, nor reflected the fact that subsequent broadcasts and announcements by Kanu revealed how BHRI had been hobnobbing with politicians and soliciting for funds to run its affairs before Radio Biafra decided to cut ties with them. He did not tell his viewers that Radio Biafra was against involving politicians and money-bags in the struggle. The reason was that whenever elections draw near, politicians would want to hijack such groups – as was done with Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) – and use it as political tool.
The presenter did not also tell his audience that the partnership between BHRI and Radio Biafra had long packed up and that the Council of Elders was eventually sacked. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when it was discovered that Rochas Okorocha of Imo State released money to them (BHRI) to set up BVI. They were to use the radio station to counter Radio Biafra.
The video programme had proved to many Biafrans that BVI was a massive disinformation tool. However, to many true Biafran activists, this was not a surprise. The programme was produced by BVI few hours before August 20, 2015. It was made in response to the highly successful Biafra Heroes Remembrance Day that was held in Aba, Abia State on May 30, 2015.
Green with envy the IPOB could pull such a crowd in Aba, and record the grandiose success it did with the programme, BVI did the video and posted it on Youtube that August 20, to discredit Kanu. Then, Uche Mefor, Deputy Director of Radio Biafra had to respond immediately to set the records straight. His words: “But after finding out that the so-called council of Elders (indeed appointed by Nnamdi Kanu and hijacked by BILIE) has been criss-crossing Abuja and conniving with the Nigerian government to keep Biafrans in bondage, they were jettisoned. The so-called SCE and BILIE are political contractors”.
So, circulating the video again on Facebook last week may have meant BVI thought Biafrans had forgotten. But no! Biafrans knew that the partnership between Radio Biafra and BHRI had long collapsed and the Council of Elders sacked and dumped in the dustbin of history.
Another fact hidden by the BVI presenter in the video was that IPOB, as a political movement, was initiated and inaugurated by Radio Biafra weeks after the collapse of the partnership with BHRI. It was Fredrick Onyeali, residing in Germany suggested who suggested it. This was part of the reason Kanu commenced his worldwide “evangelism”, which took him to more than 55 countries of the world to meet with Biafrans. As a matter of fact, some countries like United States of America (USA) were visited up to three times by him. It was this “evangelism” that helped, in no small way, in connecting Biafrans worldwide, strengthening the movement, and making it the cohesive and formidable force that it has become today.
It was just early this year (2015) that BHRI and its partners, the Council of Elders started attaching Indigenous People of Biafra to their name, to which Kanu warned them severally. Kanu had told them that IPOB was a group with integrity, an integrity that was built with painstaking discipline and exemplary conduct worldwide. Kanu warned them not to taint the IPOB name with their unsteady character and irresponsible conducts. But they continued to ignore the warning and persisted in clinging to the name, perhaps wishing to attract violent confrontation that would tar the image of the group.
Biafrans now suspect them to be partly responsible for the kidnap of Kanu by the Nigerian government so that they would be able to position themselves unchallenged as leaders of IPOB. It is a position they believed would strategically place the to receive bribe from Nigerian government in the name of Biafra. Now with the trending allegation that Ohaneze Ndigbo (another highly discredited group of old men) had pocketed 50 million Naira from Nigerian government, via Obiano, the Anambra State Governor, Biafrans believed the Council of Elders was running a supremacy race against Ohaneze.
The shame of it all is that these two groups of old men knew nothing about the struggles of IPOB that have brought the Biafran issue in the front burner of world discussion. They know nothing about the sacrifices – the sufferings, the persecutions, and deprivations – that IPOB leadership and membership have gone through in bestowing integrity to the name. They know nothing about how Biafrans – both at home and abroad – have taxed themselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and financially to keep IPOB and Radio Biafra going. Is it then not a shame that while Kanu, the true leader of the struggle, is still in detention, these unsteady characters are claiming to be elders and leaders of the struggle?
Well, let the fake elders and leaders continue. But if they were wise, as old men should be, they should have known that they no longer command influence in Biafraland, or in control of anything. They should have known that leadership of Biafra already resides with Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. They should not have brought this shame on themselves.
Everything about Biafra restoration today is the handiwork of IPOB and Radio Biafra – the spread; the Biafra Remembrance Day celebrations; the Twittering onslaught on the world; the prayers; and the ongoing protests and its sustenance. Consequently, all these assemblage of irresponsible old men, Ohaneze Ndigbo and Biafra Council of Elders, even the BHRI – should be ashamed of themselves.
By Tim Tochukwu