| Saturday May 21 2017 | 12:15 AM CET

May 30th: Biafra's Heroes Day, A Time For Sober Reflection
Biafrans protest in Vatican Italy

Biafra's Heroes Day: A Time For Sober Reflection
On the 30th of May 1967, the Republic of Biafra was declared by the governor of the Eastern Region, an illustrious son of Biafra, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
This decision to be on their own was prompted by, among other silent reasons, the systematic massacre of Easterners by Hausa-Fulani in the slightest provocations, most often, not induced by the Easterners.

The Easterners in the northern region became the direct sufferers of any "blasphemous words" directed against Islam or Mohammed from any part of the world which has remained so, unabated, till date.

I am not to mention the marginalization against the Easterners which was at its peak where a quota system was meant to favour the North, even in the military which was one of the things Ben Gbulie decried in his book titled NIGERIA'S FIVE MAJORS - an unfortunate state, in both local and foreign military training, where qualified Easterners were dumped for badly unqualified northerners who certainly were repatriated to Nigeria. But regretabbly, Ben said, the repatriated northerners were promoted to the ranks of MAJORS before their abroad-trained counterparts returned.

Easterners, especially Igbos, were discriminated against and the agitation was high among the northerners for the Igbos in the north to go back to their own region or risk extermination in a Jihad(Holy war undertaken by Muslims against infidels) which was imminent to be led by northern elites except for the intervention of Nzeogwu-led coup d'etat.

Even in the military, among the northern soldiers the preparation was ongoing on how to finish the Igbos in the jihad which was even a top agitation discussed on radio programs by politicians in the north at that time.

"Igbos must go" was  reverberating the whole of Hausa-Fulani land as at that time and pogrom after pogrom was an attestation of the obvious readiness to commit genocide against the Easterners, especially the Igbos.

Seeing all those injustices, marginalization, pogroms and massacres meted against his people, Ojukwu held series of meetings with Gowon, including the widely known Aburi Accord,  to rescue the situation but all to no avail leading to the inevitable declaration of the Republic of Biafra on the 30th of May, 1967.

What followed the action of the Eastern Governor, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, was an instinctive reaction of war from the federal government of Nigeria led by Gowon and being helped by Britain, Nigeria bombed mostly women and children in Biafra, close to 3million in number.

The war lasted for 30 months and the second in command in Biafra, Phillip Effiong from Akwa-Ibom part of Biafra, surrendered to Nigeria.

The Easterners, those that identified themselves as Biafrans, have suffered much in the hands of Hausa-Fulani-British Nigeria since after that unprovoked war.
The things that happened, after the "No Victim, No Vanquished" declaration was made by Gowon, are points to be pondered on at this 50th Anniversary to be observed by Biafrans in Biafran land and the wider Nigeria in their homes and houses in sober reflection:
How the Igbos who had money in their bank accounts were given 20pounds each, no matter how much they had in their accounts.

How their veterans as well as their destroyed infrastructures were neglected and abandoned by the federal government of Nigeria against what was agreed by the government to do.
How they have been slaughtered in cold blood by Hausa-Fulani backed by Britain.
How they have been sidelined in the government and unfavourable economic policies made against them, being entrepreneurs.

How the locations of international airports and seaports have contributed to their leaving their lands to other regions where such are found.
How they are hated by other ethnic groups in the country and how all those ills meted against them which Ojukwu fought against have been multiplied.

Also Biafrans are to ponder on how they have survived against all odds in Nigeria. How their God-given talents have helped them emerge the best in Nigeria even in the face of subjugation.
As against the evil wishes and prophecies of haters of Biafrans - that Biafrans can not rule themselves if Biafra is allowed to exist as a Sovereign State, Biafrans should ponder on the economy of Biafra during the war and how Biafra had almost everything a nation should have, administered and presided by a Biafran, Ojukwu.

How the Whiteman posited that the complexity involved in the refining of crude oil was beyond the understanding of any Blackman but Biafrans locally refined crude oil during the war.
Biafrans should ponder on how they have comparatively performed better than their counterparts, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba, locally and internationally in different areas in the society.
Biafrans should ponder on all these even as they pray for the repose of their fallen heroes and heroines and then chart the best ways of achieving what the heroes died for, knowing fully well that Biafrans' ingenuity has increased from what it used to be during the war.

Therefore, let all Biafrans, including those who are still fiddling Nigerian politics, ponder and understand that Biafrans can do better staying on their own and that their land mass and political space can accommodate all of them.

(This article was written by Ogu Edozie Williams and published by IPOB writers)



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