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Friday 3 November 2017


By Odira O.Udozo | Biafran Writers

November 3, 2017

Towards the end of his reign as leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin; one of the greatest dictators that have ever lived, acted out a drama under the full glare of his people. He held firmly to a live chicken, plucked its feathers one pull after another while the chicken reeled in pains. He continued the act till the chicken was completely bereft of feathers; he then dropped it to the ground. Stalin then reached for his pockets, got a handful of grains, poured it on the ground; bit by bit; while walking away from the chicken, the featherless chicken started following the course of the grain, picking up the grain as it moved along, ultimately following Stalin to get more grains for food. Stalin turned to his audience and said to them; “this is how you rule the people.”

This strategy didn’t apply to communism alone; it’s being a strong tactics used by the oppressor over the oppressed, the rulers over the ruled, the masters over the slaves, the elites over the masses.

The incidence of the over-hyped payment of pension to pardoned Biafran ex-police officers by the APC government and the subsequent songs of allegiance by the pensioners was a mirror to the Stalin drama of old. These were proud officers that served their country Biafra for 3 yrs.; most were Nigeria police officers before the war. It is puzzling that 47 years after Yakubu Gowon ‘the truthful’, declared no victor; no vanquished! Our ex-policemen were still vanquished financially. If there was really no vanquished, then why the need to pardon anyone? Perhaps the crime of Biafrans was losing the war to the world powers aided Nigerian state. This sudden show of affection by the Buhari administration, not just to easterners but ex Biafran policemen is more of a Trojan horse. As many wonders; why now? Why didn’t he do this when he was a military head of state? Is it the carrot part, after the stick (python dance) or an attempt to better the chances of the APC in their planned November 18th Anambra gubernatorial elections? Time will tell.

However, making a show out of it after the dust of the python dance is yet to settle underscores the petty motives behind such gestures.

It’s common to see some easterners lampooning the pensioners for praising the Nigerian government; the president of the “Association of Retired War affected police officers”(ARWAPO); a retired Asst. superintendent of police; was noted to have said; “we are all one, one Nigeria forever. The war is over and over forever”. Whether they meant that statement or were just singing for their supper isn’t the issue, the political elites and upper class of eastern Nigeria has made it easy for the Nigerian state and its captains to pull ‘a Stalin and naked chicken’ act on our veterans and masses. If we had leaders in the old eastern region, why would some Biafran veterans still camp along the road to beg for arms after 47yrs? How come we have ex Biafran soldiers and policemen living in pitiable conditions, yet some Biafran captains of industry were donating millions of naira to the North-east development and rehabilitation? It seems in our case, the Nigerian state isn’t the only one playing Stalin, some of the so-called eastern leaders have mastered the art of ‘feather plucking’ their own kind.

Many people; mostly non Biafrans have vilified the easterners for being ungrateful over Buhari’s ‘gift of love’, sometimes one just has to wear the shoe to understand. In the run-up to the 2015 election, during the WAEC Certificate saga of the current president, someone said that even if Buhari should tender a NEPA bill receipt, it will do as far he is concerned. That was the degree of disenchantment most Northerners and westerners had for the Jonathan administration, nothing would placate them except the Buhari presidency and they got it. The placatory intentions of this payment may not be met because the mood in the east is building up to that crescendo where only an independent state will do. This is because even if ‘grains’ of Ibibio, Efik, Igbo, Annang, Ijaw presidency are thrown to the east, there will be deviants who won’t join in the grain picking procession; and the pilgrims on the trail set by Nnamdi Kanu and other pro Biafra leaders, continue to explode in numerical strength. 

What kind of appreciation do they want from the Biafrans really? The actions of the APC government these past 3 years has exaggerated all the factors that precipitated the civil war, the same war that produced these maltreated ex Biafran policemen in the first place. The government has killed thousands of Biafrans since assumption of office and they think paying the due entitlement of ex-policemen will erase all their atrocities? Will they pay benefits to the families of slain peaceful IPOB members, will they grant scholarship to their children? Too much water has passed under the bridge indeed. Genuine appreciation would come when justice is done, when the 3 million of 1967 and the victims of Asaba massacre have justice, when the owners of the land control the resources in their land, when the sponsors of Fulani herdsmen are brought to justice, when the seaports of Calabar, Port-Harcourt function at par with Lagos, when referendum is granted for the people{ the same people referred in the constitution line; we the people} to actually decide their destiny and not be doomed by the outcome of a meeting in Berlin.

Edited by John Agbai
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