BETWEEN OJUKWU'S 'AHIARA DECLARATION' AND HITLER'S 'MEIN KAMPF'
Released and delivered to the Biafran nation by the then Head of State and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Gen Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. From the little village of Ahiara in Mbaise - near Owerri, this historic event took place on the 1st of June, 1969, as the Civil war raged on.
Since then, the Book has assumed the status of being the third most controversial book ever written and documented; coming behind Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' (1923), and Charles Darwin's 'The Origin of Species' (1859).
The book, Ahiara Declaration, was a document many considered untimely, but very purposeful for the freedom, upliftment and total emancipation of the black race, and very relevant to the Biafran cause and her destiny. Gen Ojukwu, displayed versatility, brilliance, brevity and patriotism, in producing a masterpiece of a document, which ought to be celebrated by the entire third world. Since the past one hundred years, only Ahiara Declaration has been able to unveil the atrocities of Great Britain, as well as proffering solution to the Negro race especially black Africa, on how to checkmate British dominance and her Imperialism.
Like Hitler's book,'Mein Kampf,' it aroused international commentaries and suspicion. It further pricked the hitherto conscious minds of white imperialists. Then, there is Nazism itself, the religion of the German revolution, which underlay and inspired it's temporary but spectacular success, and was as important an element in its politics, as was Calvinism in earlier convulsions.
From 1923 when Adolf Hitler published his book in Germany, to 1933 when he was appointed Chancellor of Germany, the rest of Europe knew that another great war was imminent. Hitler was a tactician, extra bold, and of indomitable courage; a mass mobilizer, and fearsomely demagogic. He rose to power on the crest of his own 'designed' revolution. In that revolution, the ants, grasses and birds of Germany were all involved. They followed and obeyed him. The people, they licked his arse at will, even when he slept. He, therefore, needed to brainwash the Germans, to indoctrinate and carry them along.
His book re-awakened patriotic zeal in the German people, and gave them new political and social re-alignment; an ideology to forge a master race, and control the world; and a new philosophy of life which would enable them to reclaim their glorious past. While the book, Mein Kampf, re-awakened patriotic zeal in the German people, and gave them a new political and social re-alignment, an ideology to forge a master race and control the entire Europe, Emeka Ojukwu's book,'Ahiara Declaration,' a Manifesto for the Biafran people, became confusing.To an extent, Ahiara Declaration challenged the already existing Sovereign States of Black Africa, and, indeed, the entire negro race-majority of whom could not distant themselves from their white masters and colonialists because of economic dependence political alignment and social welfarism.
Except for countries like Omar Bongo's Gabon, Julius Nyerere's Tanzania, Houphouet Boigny's Ivory Coast, Kenneth Kaunda's Zambia, the rest of black Africa watched with keen interest, or regret, the events in Biafra. Already, the entire North Africa including Egypt and Sudan had sided with Nigeria, based on religious and cultural affinity which they held on to, strongly, while the Biafran nation is an entire Christian domination. Ojukwu meant well, political analysts observed, but the book was too open and wildly interpreted.
Emeka Ojukwu was born into a super-capitalist family. His father Sir Louis Patrick Ojukwu was Africa's first multi-millionaire and was highly respected by the British and other Europeans and American countries who helped immensely to organize and shape his vast business empire for him round the world. In Europe especially, he became a reference point for those who wished to relate closely to African new states. Indeed, he was the numero uno. The vast wealth and fortune of Nnewi people today is as a result of the pioneering role, philanthropy and ineffable magnanimity of their worthy son, Sir Louis Patrick Ojukwu, who worked tirelessly to uplift the economic and social standards of his people and Nigeria in general.
Emeka hailed from this great town where transport business, trade, industry and commerce are the major occupations. The world, therefore, stood agape when he started to introduce socialism, and urged the Biafran people to embrace it. Like Adolf Hitler before him, Emeka Ojukwu had an ill-defined concept of 'National Socialism.' He believed the Igbo had enormous talents.However, the introduction of a formal revolution into Biafra during the war may have been a good idea but the country got into serious trouble soon after.
The Ahiara Declaration came too soon. It was a necessary document but the timing made it untimely. There were portions of it that weakened the elders, leaders of thought, and especially the moneybags in Biafra. The moneybags were those rich people who, on their own, had volunteered to help the nation and the Army instead of being meant to understand that their wealth belonged to the Biafran nation and government. For instance, the idea of reminding them to 'freely' donate one van or truck or a house, if they had two, did not go down well with many of them.
The preference for communism in his Biafran leadership was queried. The result was sabotage and weakness. The effects of Ahiara contributed a lot to the collapse of the young republic. It weakened the people.The principles of the revolution were, therefore, treated with levity. To the Biafran elites and captains of industry, Ahiara Declaration was another Communist Manifesto, but the Igbo remained arch capitalist-oriented people.
Biafrans, Africans and the international community alike, conveniently misinterpreted this Biafran Revolutionary Document to suit their purpose. Thus, Great Britain and Soviet Union particularly, who were already biased against Ojukwu, saw the book as a slap and an insult from a third world leader, and, therefore swore to deal with him and his Biafra. And all through the war, their presence were conspicuously felt in Nigeria working, planning and fighting against Biafra, even at the battlefields too, and as mercenary pilots.
However, the greatest significance of the book which contained the 'Principles of the Biafran Revolution,' was that it allowed the Igbo understand why they were fighting; the need for oneness, love, equality and social justice, freedom, and security of their lives and properties.
Amadi writes from Lagos