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Monday, May 27, 2024

A Straightforward Talk To My Igbo Brothers And Sisters

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The average Igbo’s emotional attachment to Biafra is overwhelming. Even those of them who were not born by 1967 or have little knowledge of Biafra’s antecedents are not unaffected by this deep bond. Sadly, even the most rabid Igbo hater can turn a seemingly intelligent Igbo’s head with appeals to Biafra. Since our memories are so short, can we recollect how loving and seemingly Igbo-friendly Chief Femi Fani Kayode posed a few years ago, cosying up to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu? Today, like 7Up, the difference is clear.

It does not surprise me that the likes of Simon Ekpa and others like him are using Biafra to unjoint my people’s minds, even as they unjoint the East economically and socially. Is it not time we start thinking and asking questions? Can we compare Ojukwu and the likes of Ekpa and draw conclusions? I dare ask these Igbo Biafra agitators fomenting this trouble from outside Nigeria: is their ‘revolutionary’ tactic of igniting mayhem in the East so that there will be Nigerian military responses win them global sympathy feasible? The world is not stupid, you know.

In case you are still carried away by these people’s rhetoric a few questions may help reset brains.

Why are supposedly Biafran agitators killing fellow Igbo and crippling their economy?

As Biafra’s leader, Ojukwu promoted the best of his people. This latter-day ‘Biafrans’ slaughter the cream of our society. Which sane society kills the likes of Dr Chike Akunyili, the husband of Professor Dora Akunyili?

Why use force to compel the Igbo into Biafra? The Scottish separatists did not have to compel the Scots to vote to exit the UK. Today the sit-at-home is being held at the barrel of a gun. The same will be the case of a referendum held under these people’s watch.

I learnt these killers want to extend their sit-at-home to Lagos. Maybe it is false. But there are possibilities. Just as Northern terrorists can come to Lagos, so can these people. Any Igbo who backs their onslaught on another man’s land deserves anything done to him or her.

Is Biafra, as this one track-minded agitators see it, the way to go for us? Thinking things through and looking at alternative evidence is the fanatic’s biggest problem. But the Igbo should look at reality. Should we hand over our destinies to such people? I will never stop demanding a confederation of all Nigerian peoples, not just the Igbo. It will give us almost all the benefits of secession without most of the attendant hassles from secession.

The injustices and contradictions of Nigeria are real. There is no point denying them. There is no legal basis for keeping Nnamdi Kanu in prison. But we, the Igbo, must navigate the world the way it is, not the way we would want it. That means fighting for what is justly ours without ruining our interests or creating unnecessary enemies. 2023 is not 1967.

‘Ala Igbo Amaka.’ (Igboland is beautiful).

By Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema

Onyema is an author and a historian.

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