The supreme arbiter of the destinies of great nations and their eternal sovereignties has not passed his final verdict on Biafra.(www.self-determination.com) The realities in present day Nigeria make this case even more poignant and should serve to educate us as to the vision and the promise that was and still is Biafra. It goes without saying that the future of Nigeria has been mortgaged to the whims and caprices of the feudalistic and parochial elements of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy and their agents, the Nigerian military establishment, whose stock-in-trade are coups and counter coups, graft, avarice, corruption, mediocrity, embezzlement, murder, mayhem, etc. Is there any wonder that nothing is working in the country? We then clamored for democracy through elected government of the people for the people by the people so as to bring home to the general populace the dividend of democracy in a supposedly vibrant economy, but what dose has that presented to the oppressed people of Nigeria, high level corruption in the name of fuel subsidy, corruption in high places, embezzlement of pension funds to billions of naira and election malpractices. Insecurity of the citizens ad the frequent terrorist massacre of innocent eastern Christians as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram sect fully supported and empowered by the northern political elites.
During the Biafran War, the Yorubas along with some neighboring ethnic groups in the southern section of the country collaborated with the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy in their genocidal war against us. Since then, a cross section of the southern political elites have wittingly and unwittingly advanced the Sokoto Caliphate’s fundamental agenda which the late Saduana articulated as the continuation of the “interrupted match” to the Atlantic. This has led to the internal colonization of the oil-producing southeastern section of the country for the past fifty years. Even the Yorubas and other ethnic groups in the southern part of the country have not escaped this internal colonization. Fifty two years is not one hundred years, is not one thousand years, and is certainly not forever. The plight of the Ogonis and other oil producing regions would no doubt alert them to the designs of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy. In the light of Abiola’s predicaments on the fairest and freest election ever observed in Africa , the Yorubas would by now have learned who their true visionaries were during the Biafran war. On the one hand are the likes of the venerable and incomparable Wole Soyinka, who supported the Biafran cause, and was subsequently incarcerated for that principled stance. On the other hand are the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, who out of short-sighted political expediency, cemented the glue that now holds the Yoruba people in an inferior position to their fellow “victors” from the northern section of the country, in spite of their enormous contributions to the war effort. That the man Abiola (a Yoruba) will never become the president of Nigeria, even though he clearly won that election, is a well orchestrated design of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy. As these events unfold, we as Biafrans and as Igbo people, must not be caught napping, for those who fail to chart their own destinies are doomed to have others do it for them.
Students of political and constitutional history have been taught that all power and authority must be derive from the people and that all free governments must be instituted for their benefit. An examination of the political dispensation in Nigeria since its “independence” fifty two years ago will reveal an abysmal failure in all facets of governmental activity, and in all measurable material well-being, social, economic and technological indices. The above abysmal failures in this country would perhaps lend themselves to be downplayed were they not also affecting the destiny of the rest of the African continent. A country where power is derived from the barrel of the gun, and where the average soldier’s time is spent on devising ways of plunging the whole nation into an endless cycle of coups and counter-coups, is not fit to be called a country. It is an unworkable arrangement by which any charlatan can rise to dictatorship, provided he has access to arms and a twisted and perverted following in the military. The dispensation must be realigned to reflect the organic reality of its various nationalities and peoples. As we are told, “where there is no vision, the people perish!” Today, we have elected government in a big country like Nigeria yet the country , her people and the economy are still visibly impoverished.
Perhaps it was this concern about the wastage of human potential that convinced our leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, the Nostradamus of our time and leader, of Biafra to accept the invitation to deliver his first major post-Biafra War speech in February of 1994. Delivering that lecture at the Lagos Law School, and upon reflecting on the fact that his Biafrans were a people who were outgunned, blockaded and starving, he recounted the whole Biafran experience thus:
“The war has come and gone but we remember with pride and hope the three heady years of freedom. These were the three years when we had the opportunity to demonstrate what Nigeria would have been even before 1970. In the three years of war, necessity gave birth to invention. During those three years, we built bombs, we built rockets, we designed and built our own delivery systems. We guided our rockets, we guided them far, and we guided them accurately. For three years, blockaded without hope of imports, we maintained engines, machines, and technical equipment. The state extracted and refined petrol, individuals refined petrol in their back gardens, we built and maintained airports, we maintained them under heavy bombardment. We spoke to the world through a telecommunications system engineered by local ingenuity. The world heard us and spoke back to us. We built armoured cars and tanks. We modified aircraft from trainer to fighters, from passenger aircraft to bombers. In three years of freedom, we had broken the technological barrier. In three years, we became the most civilized, the most technologically advanced black people on earth.”
Clearly, the gadgets and the innovations and inventions Ojukwu was referring to above were crude artifacts. History records that all industrial, technological and scientific revolutions have consistently had such humble beginnings. The Biafrans were clearly on the verge of such revolutions. It was only unfortunate that historical forces aligned themselves against Biafra’s favor. 42 years since the war ended, Nigeria has achieved nothing in the field of technology that one can compare to Biafran inventions. The world would never know how the positive fallouts of such revolutions in Biafra would have impacted on the human race. Lasers, radar, nuclear power technology, rocket science, penicillin, etc., are all products of World War II. Today, lasers have found applications in many scientific and technological activities, ranging from intricate surgical operations, to sophisticated guidance systems for missiles and automatic airplane flights and submarines. The radar has revolutionized air travels, making possible commercial and military transport airplanes. Nuclear power now provides electricity for many residential and industrial uses, besides their original use as cataclysmic agents of total destruction. Rocket science today has developed to such an extent that it is now a routine practice to send space probes to the outer fringes of the cosmos, and spaceships to the moon; and possible trips to mars in the future are now on the drawing boards. Penicillin and other antibiotics are now the conventional weapons of war against microbes that must attack humans and livestock to survive. These technological marvels that are now commonplace materials to our post- World War II era clearly illustrate the type of metamorphosis the so-called crude artifacts of inventions and innovations that were engendered by the historical realities of the war era have undergone. They also illustrate the potential of human ingenuity when properly mobilized and channeled. This was the case during the Biafran episode, and most likely would have been the case in an independent and sovereign Biafra.
No one is disputing the fact that these marvelous materials and advances in modern science and technology would not have been invented in the long run, were it not for the occasion of the two wars: World War II and Biafran war. And no one is also implying that wars are necessary so as to bring out the best in human creative potential. Definitely, most, if not all of the above materials would invariably have been invented, but at a much slower pace. The challenge of every nation worth its salt is to find a way to harness the creative energies and potentials of its citizenry — a challenge our Biafran nation would have so ably met.
I have no doubt in my mind that had Biafra been able to withstand the forces of darkness that were unleashed against it, it would no doubt have taken its rightful place in the community of highly industrialized and technologically advanced nations in the world today. The revolutions currently taking place in the basic sciences, ranging from understanding the nature of the fundamental particles that make up matter, to the human genome project, to the sending of space probes to investigate the outer fringes of the galaxies, to the making of advanced and intelligent plastics and electronics, etc., would clearly not have passed us by, in the manner that these and all pertinent technological advances have clearly passed by the entity called Nigeria.
I look all over Nigeria, and all I see is despair and wastage of human potential and natural resources. Is there any wonder that some of those once comrade-in-arms that fought against those ‘restless’ Biafrans have now turned against one another? What a twist of irony!
As ludicrous as the prevailing political dispensation in Nigeria is today, we must not lose sight of the fact that the fundamental issues that led to that war have still not been resolved forty two years after the cessation of hostilities. The lives and property of our people are still not very safe in regions north and west of the River Niger, as the recent Islamic fundamentalist-inspired Boko Haram are very busy burning life out of ndigbo wbeyond recognition this pracrice of reheased massacre of ndigbo has been a hunting pass time of the house/fulana even before independence and clearly demonstrates the cowardly and murderous pack had the temerity to paraded the north as not being interested in the peaceful co-existence of this union called Nigeria . . You may ask, what earthly offense did Gideon commit against those that beheaded him in 1994 ,such a blood-thirsty marauding hound of people? His offense, according to his killers, was that his wife, used some pages of the Koran as toilet paper. And so they felt that it was their right to mete out such a blood-thirsty vigilante justice. What a civilized people in a very cultured country!
I ask myself, if Nigeria must crumble like a giant on a feet of clay, as she must, should we as Igbo people and as Biafrans, also crumble? My answer is an emphatic no! This answer is informed by the potential I see in the infinite resilience of Igbo people to improve their collective lots along the lines of the basic tenets of the ideals of Biafra and their traditional democratic political systems. Although we do not have a politically sovereign Biafra, at least for the time being, we must press forward by all possible means, with actualizing the noble ideals of Biafra. There is something noble in developing science and technology in Igboland, and by extension, building on the inventions and innovations of the Biafran scientists and Engineers that were attached to the Biafran Research and Production (RAP) unit. There is something noble in unifying all Igbo-speaking peoples from one corner of Igboland to the other. There is something noble in building engines of economic growth in Igboland. There is something noble in creating a more culturally progressive Igboland, where all people are accorded equal status and worth, regardless of gender and faith. problem in Igboland. There is something noble in reforming education in Igboland, and bringing its standard to the level of the era that produced the likes of Chinua Achebe, Godian Ezekwe, Christopher Okigbo and Flora Nwapa. There is something noble in updating Igbo language to reflect the realities of the modern era. There is something noble in providing modern healthcare to all people in Igboland. There is something noble in controlling population explosion in Igboland. There is something noble in reinvigorating the spirit of community development and private initiative in Igboland via massive agricultural infrastructural investment as being embarked upon today by the governor of Imo state , Anayo Rochas Okorocha. And there is something noble in protecting the lives and safeguarding the property of our people wherever they choose to live. Should we be able to accomplish the above tasks, our people who gave up their lives in order that we might have our Biafra, would not have died in vain. And therein lies the promise that was and still is Biafra.