THE AHIARA DECLARATION
On Monday November 28, we began serializing the Ahiara Declaration, the principles of the Biafran revolution by late Dim Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu. Today we continue with the fifth part.
Nigeria was indeed a very wicked and corrupt country in spite of the glorious image given her in the European press. We know why Nigeria was given that image. It was her reward for serving the economic and political interests of her European masters. Nigeria is a stooge of Europe. Her independence was and is a lie. Even her Prime Minister was a Knight of the British Empire! But worse than her total subservience to foreign political and economic interests, Nigeria committed many crimes against her nationals which in the end made complete nonsense of her claim to unity.
Nigeria persecuted and slaughtered her minorities; Nigerian justice was a farce; her elections, her census, her politics – her everything – was corrupt. Qualification, merit and experience were discounted in public service. In one area of Nigeria, for instance, they preferred to turn a nurse who had worked for five years into a doctor rather then employ a qualified doctor from another part of Nigeria; barely literate clerks were made Permanent Secretaries; a university Vice-Chancellor was sacked because he belonged to the wrong tribe.
Bribery, corruption and nepotism were so widespread that people began to wonder openly whether any country in the world could compare with Nigeria in corruption and abuse of power. All the modern institutions – the Legislature, the Civil Service, the Army, the Police, the Judiciary, the Universities, the Trade Unions and the organs of mass information – were devalued and made the tools of corrupt political power. There was complete neglect and impoverishment of the people. Whatever prosperity there was, was deceptive. Unemployment was growing. Thousands of young school-leavers were drifting away from the villages which had nothing to offer them into towns with no employment openings.
There was despair in many hearts and the number of suicides was growing every day. The farmers were very hard-hit, their standard of living had fallen steeply. The soils were perishing from over-farming and lack of scientific husbandry. The towns like the soils were wastelands into which people put in too much exertion for too little reward. There were crime waves and people lived in fear of their lives. Business speculation, rack-renting, worship of money and sharp practices left a few extremely rich at the expense of the many, and these few flaunted their wealth before the many and talked about sharing the national cake.
Foreign interests did roaring business spreading consumer goods and wares among a people who had not developed a habit of thrift and who fell prey to lying advertisements. Inequality of the sexes was actively promoted in Nigeria. Rather than aspire to equality with men, women were encouraged to accept the status of inferiority and to become the mistresses of successful politicians and business executives, or they were married off at the age of fourteen as the fifteenth wives of the new rich.
That was the glorious Nigeria, the mythical Nigeria, celebrated in the European press.
Then worst of all came the genocide in which over 50,000 of our kith and kin were slaughtered in cold blood all over Nigeria, and nobody asked questions, nobody showed regret, nobody showed remorse. Thus, Nigeria had become a jungle with no safety, no justice and no hope for our people. We decided then to found a new place, a human habitation away from the Nigerian jungle. That was the origin of our Revolution.
From the moment we assumed the illustrious name of the ancient kingdom of Biafra, we were re-discovering the original independence of a great African people. We accepted by this revolutionary act the glory, as well as the sacrifice of true independence and freedom. We knew that we had challenged the many forces and interests which had conspired to keep Africa and the Black Race in subjection forever. We knew they were going to be ruthless and implacable in defence of their age-old imposition on us and exploitation of our people. But we were prepared and remain prepared to pay any price for our freedom and dignity.
And in this we were not mistaken. Five weeks after we had proclaimed our independence Nigeria, goaded by her foreign masters, declared war on us. For two years now we have fought a difficult war in defence of our Fatherland. From the beginning we have never been in doubt about our ultimate victory. But, seeing the odds ranged against us, the world did not believe that we had any chance of success whatever the merit of our case. Perhaps our determination and persistence are making the world think again.
Biafra today is no longer a lost cause. For us, Biafra's eventual triumph has never been in doubt: Biafra has always been the shining light at the end of our dark tunnel. In the two years of our grim struggle, we have learned important lessons about ourselves, about our society and about the world. In some ways this struggle has been a journey in self-discovery and self-realisation.
Our Revolution is a historic opportunity given to us to establish a just society; to revive the dignity of our people at home and the dignity of the Black-man in the world. We realise that in order to achieve those ends we must remove those weaknesses in our institutions and organisations and those disabilities in foreign relations which have tended to degrade this dignity. This means that we must reject Nigerianism in all its guises.
Fellow countrymen, are we going to say no to Nigerianism and then let a few unpatriotic people among us soil our Revolution with the stain of Nigeria? Are we going to watch the very disease which caused the demise of Nigeria take root in our new Biafra? Are we prepared to embark on another revolution perhaps more bloody to put right the inevitable disaster? I ask you, my countrymen, can we afford another spell of strife when this one is over to correct social inequalities in our Fatherland? I say NO. A thousand times no.
The ordinary Biafran says no. When I speak of the ordinary Biafran I speak of the People. The Biafran Revolution is the People's Revolution. Who are the People? you ask. The farmer, the trader, the clerk, the business man, the housewife, the student, the civil servant, the soldier, you and I are the people. Is there anyone here who is not of the people? Is there anyone here afraid of the People – anyone suspicious of the People? Is there anyone despising the People? Such a man has no place in our Revolution. If he is a leader, he has no right to leadership because all power, all sovereignty, belongs to the People. In Biafra the People are supreme; the People are master; the leader is servant. You see, you make a mistake when you greet me with shouts of 'Power, Power'. I am not power – you are. My name is Emeka. I am your servant, that is all.
Shaking off Nigerianism
Fellow countrymen, we pride ourselves on our honesty. Let us admit to ourselves that when we left Nigeria, some of us did not shake off every particle of Nigerianism. We say that Nigerians are corrupt and take bribes, but here in our country we have among us some members of the Police and the Judiciary who are corrupt and who 'eat' bribe. We accuse Nigerians of inordinate love of money, ostentatious living and irresponsibility, but here, even while we are engaged in a war of national survival, even while the very life of our nation hangs in the balance, we see some public servants who throw huge parties to entertain their friends; who kill cows to christen their babies. We have members of the Armed Forces who carry on 'attack' trade instead of fighting the enemy.
•To be continued