Even Ojukwu did not want a second Biafran War, or did he?

Wondering what all the Indigenous People Of Biafra thought about as they observed today’s Sit-at-Home order. Were there family arguments about the usefulness of the agitation? Or heated debates about the possibility of a referendum happening soon. Maybe introspective moments for the melancholic about the sincerity of the movement.

It’s hard to tell, being from this part of the country where this business of Biafra–ing is starting to make me feel like I am, at best, complicit in the perpetration of oppression against a marginalised people. Even though many of the triggers were released long before my own existence.

It’s been 50 years since Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu led a part of the country in the battle for the self-determination of Biafra. 50 long years, before which the young Ojukwu had distinguished himself as the “Nigerian Ideal”. Born in the North to an Igbo “big man”, trained in the Southwest and then, in the West; imprisoned for standing up to a White bully; denied himself the privileges of having an influential father by charting a career path for himself in the Nigerian Military Forces, and finally, as a young Lieutenant-General, 50 years ago today, and under very murky circumstances, made the following proclamation:

“…that Eastern Nigeria be a sovereign independent Republic, now, therefore I, Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority, and pursuant to the principles recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf and territorial waters, shall, henceforth, be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of The Republic of Biafra.”

And since then, there has been Biafra. It’s sovereignty though questionable, its existence is as undeniable as the Eastern soil that majority of its indigenous people call home. The evidence of its soul is with every single Nigerian, whether they lived through the bloody years Civil War or not.

And today, both survivors, veterans of the Civil War, and the rest of us saddled with the responsibility of determining whether or not a second war, for the same cause, is necessary.

Presumably to help reach an informed decision, based on the sentiments of the man who started it all, Aminu Gamawa posted this on Twitter:

The only problem is: Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s words may serve both extreme ends of the spectrum.

On the one hand (and as Dr Gamawa seems to think), Ojukwu, before his death but long after the war had been fought and countless lives lost, had learnt his lesson: that each side had learnt had counted its losses and so the matter is done. No need for a second Biafran War.

On the other hand, Ojukwu seems to be saying in this video that he was so sure that he’d put up a good fight during the Civil War and as such, it is impossible that any side (Nigerian or Biafran) can deny the lessons learnt of the War: that Biafra exists; and will has earned its right to self-determination. That anything other than this would mean that the countless deaths were in vain. A man proud of the work he’d done wouldn’t think he did so in vain.

What do you think?

Should we not have the confidence (as a country) in our own soverignty enough to allow every one to have a say in determining who stay and who goes out of our union?

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