• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Seeing the Igbos as defeated Biafrans in Nigeria

Seeing the Igbos as defeated Biafrans in Nigeria

It may not be documented or written down anywhere, but it is in practice. Former president Muhammadu Buhari made a violent statement concerning the Igbos during his tenure, signifying that they are endangered and sidelined. Notwithstanding, the Igbo man could be a terrible person because you cannot compete with him. No tribe in Nigeria has been able to outwit, override, or surpass an Igbo man. The fear of the Igbos has made Nigeria an animal kingdom whereby, in a population of over 250 million, one person has the licence for cement, flour, sugar, petrochemicals, building equipment, noodles, etc. That monopoly has not only affected macroeconomic development but also sparked uncontrollable inflation.

Recently, former Head of State Yakubu Gowon visited the presidential villa and told newsmen that he initiated the civil war and was defeated. The livid emotions on his face could not extricate him from the paroxysms of hate towards the Igbos. Gowon really wanted to be taken as a hero of the Nigerian-Biafran war, but only a divided, tribalistic country filled with bigots and fascists would accord him such respect.

Interestingly, Jacob Gowon was just a soldier when J.U.T. Aguiyi Ironsi promoted him amongst his closest rank and file, to which Alexander Madiebo raised a protest but was ridiculed. Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi had promoted Gowon due to the conservative Christianity at the time accepting him as a brother. In 1967, under the auspices of Joseph Arthur Ankrah, the planned Aburi Accord came to an end with both parties agreeing on a confederation.

When Gowon returned to Nigeria, the British called him and queried him for such an agreement, to which he called a meeting stating that the task of keeping Nigeria one must be kept. Misery, degradation, death, and nothing God or Satan did not invoke could influence an unassuming life. The infernal selfishness of the Hausa-Fulani and the desires of an Igbo man turned him into a fiend. Lt. Col. Gowon and Lt. Col. Ojukwu were 32 and 33 years old, respectively, when the civil war started in 1967.

At that time, Jeremiah Awolowo, who had committed treason, was kept at the Calabar prison. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had to release Awolowo to spite Zik in the hope that he would initiate the republic of Oduduwa. To his chagrin, the Fulanis made Awolowo the Federal Minister of Finance, who caused the deaths of millions of Biafran children who died because of kwashiorkor.

Besides, Chinua Achebe, in “There was a Country’, upheld that ‘There are a number who believe that neither Gowon nor Ojukwu were the right leaders for that desperate time, because they were blinded by ego, hindered by a lack of administrative experience, and obsessed with interpersonal competition and petty rivalries”.

Nevertheless, the Biafran leadership had no choice but to give up the fight, surrendering to the federal government in January 1970. In the end, Biafra collapsed. Today, the two major players in that war have never provided a personal contribution to the reason and nature of the war. However, tribalism, which breeds sectarian conflicts affecting the lives of civilians, is still fresh in Nigeria. The thing introduced by Obafemi Awolowo in the 1970s has held the Yorubas bound, keeping Nigeria at a standstill.

Biafra embodied the aspirations of a people who, in unison, did all they could to preserve it but lost it due to factors beyond their control. To move forward as a nation, it is crucial to confront the lingering effects of the Nigerian Civil War and embrace a narrative of reconciliation and unity. This involves acknowledging the pain and suffering experienced by all parties involved while also recognising the shared humanity and aspirations for a better future. By challenging outdated narratives and promoting inclusivity, Nigeria can build a more cohesive society founded on mutual respect, understanding, and collective progress.

In conclusion, seeing the Igbos as defeated Biafrans perpetuates a harmful narrative that undermines the resilience, cultural identity, and contributions of the Igbo community to Nigeria’s history and development. It is time to challenge this myth and foster a more inclusive understanding of Nigeria’s diverse peoples. By embracing reconciliation, unity, and mutual respect, Nigeria can build a brighter future for all its citizens, transcending the divisions of the past.

Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu; St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Awgbu.