Biafra: From Taste Of Freedom TO Thirst For Freedom

■Author: Celestine Ariwodo
■ Twitter: @umuchiukwu
■ 20, June 2020

That our fathers tasted freedom, saw freedom, and was once free. We heard freedom, lost in love with liberty, and thirsted for freedom. Sadly few will remember that because few read history in Nigeria and even fewer are ready to learn from its lessons. 

This is a frightful testimony and contribution, and it is indeed food for thought As a little child, each time my grandmother gather her grandchildren together, she would either tell us the history of Biafra and the war (genocide) or she would say to us folklores, but Biafra stories interested me most. Grandmother's narratives were epic. My early and eternal love for Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was her handiwork. From moments of celebrations to that of mourning, from days of surplus, our land drove into days scarcity. 

Food would land on some occasions, and on others, hope for food landing would be the present food. Starvation became a wicked stranger and strangler. She would sing those war songs like "woo mu a winner Jere agha... Nwanne Laputa n'uzo ree ya". She said, if not for SABO we wouldn't lose the war. 

I asked what SABO means, and she said a betrayer.
Before I was taught in church about Judas' betrayal of Jesus Christ or Brutus betrayal of Julius Caeser in school, the grandmother has taught me about Ifeajuna's. From childhood, sabotage became an unpardonable crime in my perspective. 

In life, I have wondered about many things, and one is why I was taught Brutus and Judas betrayal History in school and church but never Ifeajuna's, which affects me directly. I was forced on this wonder to relate Africa and her church's hypocrisy with the recent death of Floyd that has raised many protesters in African soil. Who protested 5 million Biafrans that was killed, who is protesting Black people dying in Africa and especially Nigeria every day? The day Ojukwu died, I wept. 

Sadly, the grandmother was dead too. May their souls rest in peace. But in those days whenever I asked grandmother how we can go back to Biafra, she would promise me that one-day Ojukwu would take us there and I would become happy. Those days are far gone. She told me what she did to make me happy as a child, I believe, but on the other hand, she was in spirit knowing that God would raise another saviour. 

(That is why Biafra cannot die). When reasoning began to dawn on me as a growing youth, my greatest challenge was Who Will Take Us To Biafra? This question was rhetoric, though, but I was praying for answers one day. One day I heard about Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. 

I never took him seriously at first because my uncles who were MASSOB members then never displayed any seriousness to freedom. Before I am misunderstood for fighting against any group of persons or individuals, I am from Okigwe Province of Biafra land as MASSOB leader Dr Ralph Uwazuruike. In those days people hide to talk about Biafra. It was like a Umunna meeting, and more like only Igbo people nation. 

However, when in my lifetime I saw Biafra flags, placards and banners in the hands of older men and women, and youths across Europe, America, Asia, Australia, and Africa (in Biafra and Nigeria soil respectively), protesting fearlessly and peacefully my doubt was dissolved, and my fear died. 

My conviction was born that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is true that saviour my grandma told me about that would come. I started following him. My brains began to adjust. My understanding began to open and everything he says coming to pass every day. His followers in the movement grew—Biafrans and none Biafrans alike. 

He started having secret disciples even in enemies camp like Nicodemus in the Bible, but ego and sabotage never allowed them to come and join, but some fear was their weakness. He began to dismantle the creation of a white man (Nigeria) with the truth. Taught me what schools and churches hid from me, and I said give me freedom or kill me. They called him miscreant and labelled us terrorists thinking we will forsake freedom, but it didn't work. Biafra in you, we shall breathe freely, walk freely, and enjoy the fullness of liberty without our future generations thirsting for freedom. 

Edited By Ezekwereogu John Odinaka
Published By Udeagha Obasi 
For Umuchiukwu Writers


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