THAT BIAFRA'S OGBUNIGWE: THE REAL QUESTION FOR NIGERIA
A direct question demands a direct answer…
In presenting a book on Biafra’s Ogbunigwe and other technological achievements of Biafra during the war, Retired Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu was attributed with:
“The Federal Government has been urged to absorb Biafran scientists who produced the technological and scientific innovations that sustained their efforts during the thirty months civil war, despite the adverse conditions which they operated.”
In so “urging,” if he thought he might get a meaningful response, Kanu is only assuming a normalcy for Nigeria which is completely alien to Nigeria’s way of thinking, acting and life, especially in the areas of discourse, problem-solving, discussion and productive interactions, when compared to other countries of the world. Who or what really is “the Federal Government of Nigeria” that is being “urged,” anyway?
What needs to be done is to pose a direct question or questions, and demand a direct answer or answers from those individuals and their associated hegemonies who, for all intents and purposes, ruled and still rule, ruined and still ruin Nigeria. These questions are for the likes of Obasanjo, Gowon, Danjuma, Katsina, the Caliphates, the still-living of the Zik-Awo-Bello-Enahoro generation. Not to be forgotten are the Generals like Adekunle who prosecuted the war for Nigeria, and their junior and staff officers and civilians who carried on the war after the big guns fell silent, like Babangida, Buhari and Gusau, Ciroma, even Atiku, and the rest.
Question: What is the real reason for refusing to adopt ingenious and first-class Biafra technology and reintegrate the Biafran scientists and technologists into Nigeria after the war?
Question: What is the real reason for insisting that the Igbo / Biafrans be forced back into Nigeria and kept that way, even while insisting and making every effort to reject their scientific, academic and other technological contributions, including even their equal citizenship of Nigeria?
We pose these direct questions to Obasanjo, who at this time is one of the most vocal and ardent practitioners and advocates of the policies in question. General Obasanjo: we need your honest answers to the questions.
We also pose these questions to another personality: Gowon. He made an honest and truthful statement as the anointed leader of the July 1966 Northern Military Revenge cum Secessionist coup (Operation Araba): “The basis for unity of Nigeria does not exist.” Then, he turned around and somehow still found “justification” to wage a war “to keep Nigeria one”; but in fact, a war purely against the Igbo / Biafrans which went beyond war to calculated genocide resulting in the death of over 2 million Igbo / Biafran children, pregnant women, elderly men and women non-combatants by deliberate starvation. General Gowon: can we get an honest (one more time) answer to the questions above?
We pose the same questions to Theophilus Danjuma, whose record speaks for itself: a man seemingly without a conscience who prides himself on being part of every military coup which has taken place in Nigeria, having no qualms about supervising the targeted horrific killing of then fellow Igbo Nigerian military officers. By his own admission, he has become unimaginably wealthy, off Niger Delta Oil revenues and Oil wells. General Danjuma: do, answer the questions posed above.
Biafra’s scientific and technological acumen is not a legend: it is fact. Yes, Biafrans made the Ogbunigwe during the war: military and arms innovation would have surely followed. Yes, Biafrans extracted Oil and refined their own Crude during the war: certainly, they would have been able to build, operate and maintain their own refineries after the war. Post-war, in the 1990’s an Igbo / Biafran, Dr. Izuogu, built the first all-made-in-Africa (read: all-made-in-Igbo / Biafra) car: the very same Nigerian forces that had been suppressing this feat all along saw to it that this achievement was totally rubbished. All over the world, the Igbo / Biafrans are making their mark, contributing freely to every aspect of world progress, under the flag and banner of those other countries—that is, every place else on planet Earth but Nigeria.
We therefore ask these questions above to Nigeria, and personally to the ones mentioned above, expecting honest answers. What we want are frank answers; so let’s make it easier by dispensing with the myth and propaganda that the Igbo caused the Biafra-Nigeria war. The Igbo never provoked nor caused that war. The Igbo fought in self-defense. History will show the antecedents of the war, starting from the original problem of “amalgamating” groups who were unready, unwilling and totally mismatched into a “country” to be called Nigeria. A construct of colonial British intent and design, it was clear (yes, even to the British-architects then) that Nigeria could not survive as such. The concessions extracted by the North from the South as a condition for agreeing to Independence put the first nail in the coffin. The openly rigged first election to the benefit of Northern Nigeria was a self-fulfilling bad omen; the boycotted (by the South) violent elections of 1964 and the dysfunctional 1965 special election in the South were predictable. Western Region’s internal problems boiling over by 1962, eventually leading to the declaration of a state of Emergency for that region by Nigeria’s Prime Minister, thus “federalizing the problem,” and resulting in “Operation Wetie” earning it the moniker of the “wild, wild West,” proved that even regional autonomy was not going to save Nigeria. Then came the bloody coups of 1966; the ethnic cleansing of the Igbo in the North by the North; the fact that the Igbo / Biafrans, victimized by a well-orchestrated program supported by Gowon’s government of Nigeria, were no longer safe in any other part of Nigeria; then, Aburi agreements—the last reasonable hope—which Gowon and Nigeria broke, leaving no viable or safe choices for the Igbo / East than to declare Biafra, while Gowon declared war. The Igbo are not responsible for the war.
Having cleared that up, it must be demanded that all those involved in this horrendous affair answer the questions posed. There is no way they can hide any more behind the myth, lies and propaganda that the Igbo caused the war, and or that the Igbo must continue to be vilified for that war. There is no way they can continue to carry out the policy that Nigeria would never accommodate Igbo industry, achievements and leadership even while insisting that they, the Igbo, remain forcibly part of Nigeria, unless they step forward, answer this challenge, and take up the questions asked here to tell us why. They need to answer the questions.
With a little honesty on their part in their answers, it will become clear why Nigeria has really never worked and will never work; it is no mystery, and honesty will only affirm that.
History notes that after the Barbarians conquered the all-powerful Roman Empire, in spite of what they were notoriously known for as aptly suggested by their name, they, the Barbarians, in fact adopted and imbibed superior Roman ways and technology, and in so doing, preserved much of what the Roman Empire was / is famous for, while also improving themselves on that account. If even the Barbarians could act like this, what wicked forces, what twisted reasons, what deep-seated prejudice would destroy any remaining iota of good and sound judgment on the part of Nigeria with regards to the Biafra-Nigeria war, considering its treatment of Igbo / Biafrans who clearly possess proven superior industry, technology and science? That is the real essence of the questions put to the characters listed above, because, they are the custodians and chief operators, if not the personification, of Nigeria’s unabashed malice to the Igbo.
Tell why, in all honesty; answer the questions, Obasanjo, Gowon, Danjuma, Katsina, the Caliphates, those of the Zik-Awo-Bello-Enahoro generation, Adekunle and his fellow retired generals, and their junior and staff officers and civilians, Babangida, Buhari and Gusau, Ciroma Atiku, and the rest. What exactly was / is your reason for vehemently refusing that Nigeria should accept and incorporate proven (and needed) Biafran science and technology and industry, and the professionals who made it happen, of which Biafra’s Ogbunigwe is only a symbol?
There should be no surprise that honest answers can only go to show that these men were convinced beyond any doubt that there is indeed no basis for Nigeria’s unity, but deeper than that, that Nigeria could not, would not and cannot live competing successfully with unbridled Igbo left to the Igbo’s own entrepreneurial devices, skills, drive and ingenuity. Honest answers will reveal that, strictly out of sheer malice, these men had to stop the Igbo, period, by corralling the Igbo into a corner-cell within Nigeria, therein to trap and enslave the Igbo, never letting them again see the light of day, lest the Igbo should do their usual thing. Let them answer the questions honestly. It is a challenge. Everyone stands to learn something from their answers. We can’t wait to ask them in response: Since you can’t live with them (the Igbo), why go to any extent to keep them in your midst, against their wish?
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD. [email protected]