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Tuesday 2 February 2016

South-south is not Biafra’s problem

The strongest message that the Southeast and South-south geo-political zones of Biafra were inseparably working together in the struggle for the restoration of the independent state of Biafra was given recently to the world. It was given by ex-militants of the South-south geo-political zone (Niger Delta) by hijacking a ship off the coast of Bakassi Pennisula in Biafraland.

The hijack was done on Friday, January 29, after which the ex-militants revealed the reason for their action by giving Nigerian ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, an ultimatum to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, before 31 days’ time.

As if that was not enough, few days later, on Sunday, January 31, they made a declaration, telling the Nigerian ruler that either he released Kanu, or the hostage ship would be blown to smithereens. A spokesperson for the ex-militants, General Ben, declared in a statement that “We are in touch with everything happening around the IPOB leader… “Now the court has denied him bail, saying because of his dual citizenship he might jump bail. We also heard that the judge said he would rather give the matter an accelerated hearing”.

General Ben went on to warn of a possibility of the Nigerian government not taking their ultimatum serious, and then promised that they would surprise the government if that became the case. “The federal government might have taken our ultimatum as an empty threat. But we will surprise them” General Ben said.
Biafra Family Writers understood that the threat was already causing panic, both in the country’s seat of power Aso Rock and outside of it. The panic is mostly felt among Northern Nigeria power mongers (and their Yoruba collaborators in the west), especially on the fact that the development sign-posted the working together of the South-south peoples and the Southeast. It was something they had done everything in the past to make sure that it never happened.

Another thing the ex-militants’ action showed was that the South-south peoples were never the problem of Biafra. Indeed, realization is growing in Biafraland that the Southeasters had, in fact, been the actual problem with Biafra restoration. But in the past, people of the Southeast have often criticized those from the South-south as the ones against Biafra, and sabotaging efforts to restore it.

Nonetheless, a cursory look through history proves the contrary. Several prominent people from the South-south played, and are still playing great roles in the struggle for Biafra. For instance, one of the most dedicated and loyal Biafrans that have lived is General Philip Effiong. He was next in command to his Excellency, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the late Head of State of Biafra. Effiong was so dedicated that after the war he chose not to have anything to do with Nigeria. He neither sought their political appointment, their jobs, or their national award. He died a hardcore Biafran, and was buried with Biafra flag.

There was Frank Opigo, former Principal of Okrika Grammer School, a native of the now Bayelsa State. He was the one who told Ojukwu, when the challenge of what to name the new republic came up, that the name of the territory was Biafra. He told the Head of State that the new country should not be given any contrived name, as has been the case all over Africa, but that it should be given its original name Biafra.
We remember the legendary Express Rex Jim Lawson, the fabulous musician who made great songs in solidarity with Biafra. There were others, too numerous to mention. It can be confidently argued that for every single saboteur named in the South-south, one could easily find 10 others that stood rock-solid for Biafra. For instance, when people talk of Ken Saro Wiwa, sabotaging the Biafra effort, they forget that there were more than 10 others standing for Biafra in Ogoniland at the time.
Godswill Akpabio, was a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, and he is the only governor from the Biafran enclave that has stood fearlessly in front of Nigerian rulers to proclaim the injustices of Nigerians over Biafrans.

Because Nigeria had the media and the propaganda, they have often succeeded in giving the impression that all of the South-south were against Biafra. But it was a divide-and-rule stratagem. Even in the current dispensation, Nigeria has tried to do same, but Biafrans have so far used the power of modern technology as is seen in the social media and Radio Biafra to overwhelm them. That was why, alarmed with what was happening, they tried to enact a law at the Senate to cage the social media. But that has not worked either.

Meanwhile what do we have from the Igbo-speaking South-east? It is that they have posed more problems for Biafra than those they accuse. It is time people of the South-east part of Biafra begin to look in the mirror. Even Nnamdi Kanu, have had occasions to say this in the past, before he was kidnapped by Nigerian government.
Ndi-Okereke Onyiuke is not from the South-south. She is from the Southeast. Yet she was one of the randy girls that played the informants for Nigerian soldiers against her Biafran people during the Biafra/Nigeria war. She was later to be rewarded with the position of Director-General of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

There was Ukpabi Asika, who played the saboteur role against the Biafra struggle. He was rewarded with the Administrator of East Central State, as Southeast was dubiously branded then. Joe Irukwu was from the Southeast also, and he played the saboteur against his own people. He was rewarded with the position of heading Nigerian Reinsurance for years. There were several others like Ifeajuna. Now, for every single Biafran name mentioned from the South-south to have worked against Biafra, we will find double of that from the Southeast.

In the current dispensation, the case is still the same. We have seen that it is high-ranking political leaders from that area that have always ranted against Biafra. Senator Chris Ngige, a former Senator and governor, has done that, and almost all the governors of the Southeast have also done that. Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Joe Igbokwe of All Progressives Congress (APC) have had opportunities to talk ill of their people’s desires and attempts to have their freedom. It is from the Southeast that a foolish Christian leader opened his mouth to describe the Biafra struggle as evil. The irresponsible Christian leader was Father Ejike Mbaka, who was head of Adoration Ministries in Enugu.

Meanwhile, and so far, no prominent individual or group from the South-south has, at any time, spoken against Biafra restoration. So if it is prominent Igbo-speaking Biafrans that has climbed the dais to speak against Biafra, what is the basis for the claims that South-south peoples are against Biafra restoration? No! Igbo-speaking Biafrans are the problem of Biafra.

ByTim Tochukwu

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