“This is not an occasion to stir up emotions, but it is impossible to forget that men, women, and children of our kith and kin were taken out of their beds and slaughtered. They were massacred in places of worship, in the streets, in market places and in vehicles trying to carry them to safety…” The above excerpt is taken from a speech by Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu after he had declared the secession of Eastern Nigeria, which later became known as the Independent Sovereign state of the name and title of THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA on May 30, 1967.
Today, we joined our fathers and mothers; brothers and sisters, of Igbo extraction all over the world to commemorate May 30th, not just as a a date that marked the birth of a nation borne out of resilience and resolve, but also a day we remember our brave heroes who died brutally in the pogroms in the north, and those who fought gallantly to defend their land. We also remember the creative ingenuity of our heroes in science and technology before the war broke out; we also acknowledge the efforts of foreign aid workers and reporters who came all the way to assist the war-torn and devastated nation of Biafra.
Now, one wonders why these heroes of Biafra had so much zeal in resisting the superior force of the Nigerian Army and their foreign allies, it was not just the charisma and leadership of Ojukwu, a look at the Biafran Anthem tells it all:
Land of the Rising Sun we love and cherish! Beloved Homeland of our Brave Heroes! We must defend our lives or we shall perish! We shall protect our hearts from all our foes! But if the price is death for all we hold dear! Then let us die without a shred of fear!
Much is to be said about the rhythmical richness of diction used in the anthem, but more significantly is the spirited resolve by these Biafrans to “fight tooth and nail” to protect their domain. Little wonder, the Biafran “warriors” who volunteered were given only a matchete and they matched into the forest bare-footed, without any body-armour to face a Nigerian Army that had an arsenal of both “nukes” and “ammos”. These brave Biafrans rather chose to “perish” in order to “protect” their community. This indeed is the ultimate “price” to pay for freedom and good governance in the present day Nigeria where our collective fight against corruption, insecurity, electoral maleficence, judicial connivance and terrorism is still far-fetched. We must all rise up and “fight for all we hold dear”.
It’s now many years since the Biafran war-lord (CDOO) said, we are no longer fighting a war of guns and bombs, but a war of ideas. Ideas! Yes, that is what kept Biafran(s) for 3 years! Indeed, those were turbulent years but the collective ideals and travails on which Biafra stood for is still being remembered, and would remain in the annals of Nigerian history. Only yesterday, we witnessed the inauguration of yet another elected government, aftermath elections which were fraught by widespread voter disenfranchisement, violence, flagrant disregard for electoral laws in uploading of results, among others, and despite international condemnation of these actions, a new President has been sworn-in to continue many years of uninterrupted civilian rule in Nigeria. It’s worthy of note here to add that, the Nigeria Civil war/Biafran war which lasted for about 31 months was as a result of the coups and counter-coups in Nigeria which culminated to the rape of democratic processes, brutal killings and pogroms of 1966 in the North that inspired the Secession of Eastern-Nigeria.
As we continue our Long Walk down Democracy lane, we must take cognizance of where we have been in order to appraise our present situation. As Chinua Achebe succinctly puts it: “if one does not know where the rain started beating one, one will not know when/where one started drying oneself”. We must understand the intricacies of our socio-historical milieu in order to forge ahead with plans for Nation Building and true federalism to address our collective aspirations.Also, the merits and demerits of the Biafran nation should be considered, this will help to proffer a suitable response to the calls for disintegration or restructuring of the federal system we now operate. More so, the basic reasons and situations that have lead to the calls for disintegration should be addressed promptly by the government. This way, we will uphold the honour and glory of our nationhood.
Long Live South-Eastern Nigeria! Long Live the Federal Republic Of Nigeria! God bless Nigeria!
The opinions and views expressed in this write-up are entirely that of the Writer(s). They do not reflect the opinions and views of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or any of its employees. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or its employees concerning the legal status of any country, its authority, area or territory or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers. Equally, the sketches, images, pictures and videos are obtained from the public domain
In the below short video clip is a vivid reminder of the Nigerian government program on Biafrans. NB: Viewers discretion is highly solicited.