By NBF News
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Ojukwu said he would seced if the East was blockaded or attacked. It was obvious that Gown was not only jeering at Ojukwu but also taunted him by not only splitting the country into 12 states, including Eastern Nigeria without any form of consultation or input from Eastern Nigeria, but in early May 1967, Eastern Nigeria was blockaded by sea, road and air, by the Yakubu Gowon administration.

Consequent upon this, the Eastern Nigeria Conslutative Assembly gave Ojukwu the mandate to pull the East out of the Nigerian Federation. When the Assembly assailed Ojukwu with this mandate, Gowon immediately declared a state of emergency in the East. Gowon at the same time published the decree that abolished the Regions. This last straw was seen as an open invitation to the East to go. The East was finally pushed out by the Yakubu Gowon administration.

Come to think of it, was Mr. Ezechukwu really unaware of the mindless killings of unarmed, harmless civilians of Eastern Nigeria origin in parts of Northern Nigeria and later, Western Nigeria, by Northerners, where pregnant women were ripped open and the foetus sliced to shreds; some had their breasts cut off, eyes plucked out and given to the victims to chew? The victims recounted their woes, in details.

Was he also unaware that most secondary schools in the East, especially those large enough and near airports and railway stations were turned into emergency hospitals, when conventional hospitals were brimming and overflowing with headless, eyeless, breastless, limbless bodies, maimed and brutalized Easterners brought down from Northern Nigeria mostly, railroaded to the East, like cargoes and baggages?.

The sheer magnitude of the pogrom, fuelled agitations for secession, FIRST BY THE NORTH, when, immediately after the publication of Decree 34 also known as Constitution Suspension and Modification (Unification) Decree on May 24, 1966, the North reacted immediately against the Decree.

Students' demonstration in Kano which turned bloody, spread through towns and cities in the North with 'ARABA!!!' as its theme and the massacre of Easterners as its aftermath.

Araba is the North's word for separation or secession and within the same period, the elite in the North, championed by civil servants in Kaduna, the administrative capital of Northern Nigeria, staged demonstrations with banners, proclaiming 'LET THERE BE SECESSION'.

The Military Governor of Northern Nigeria, Col. Hassan Usman Katsina called a meeting of all Northern Emirs, who attended the meeting with a mandate that 'the North should secede'. It did not end there. The Head of State, General Ironsi was told by the same Emirs to rescind the Unification Decree or the North would secede.

Ironsi was on his first leg tour of the country to explain the essence of the Decree, which was only to enable the military already used to unified command, to function and that the Decree was only a temporary measure. Did anybody listen to him from the North? Did they accept his explanations which were widely publicized then? Did the Northern military not take advantage of the man's visit to the Western Region, to eliminate him and his host, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi?

We learnt in those days that the North did not want him killed in their soil, since their place would be Ironsi's next port of call, so he had to be eliminated before he got to them.

The Western Region gave itself a new name - Republic of Oduduwa - 'if the East is forced or allowed to go'. Now, what other options, workable and unworkable, could Mr. Ezechukwu have wanted Ojukwu to pursue, which he did not pursue? Could Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, as the Governor of Eastern Nigeria, have abandoned the Easterners in Nigeria, at that time of holocaust, genocide and pogrom, to stew in their own blood like the Jews in Russia?

This write up is a tip of the iceberg and not intended to be a 100 percent account of the greatest injustice, humiliation and man's inhumanity to man, inflicted by a section of a country to another, of its hopeless and helpless citizens. In the main, the intention is to help Mr. Uche Ezechukwu and those who think like him, to know exactly where the Easterners stood in the opinion of the rest of Nigeria at that time in 1966 and the years after.

In an interview which Ojukwu granted to a correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, on why Biafra failed, Ojukwu, among other things said:

'I declared Biafra late.
' I did not prepare enough for food.
' I did not realize the full implications of the closure of the Suez Canal'.

He declared Biafra late because he went all out in search of peace, as he responded to pressures to declare Biafra; 'I know the consequences of secession. For sometime you may be without friends. It may even lead to war.'