The euphoria of the actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra has become an outlandish symphony, that most young Igbos have decided to dance to under a shimmering hot sun in this 21st century, without a proper assessment of its benefits and upshot of dancing to such a fatal song of this tempo, at the wrong time.
I’m an Igbo man, whose ancestors had played a vital role in preserving the heritage of the Igbo culture and values, in the little way they could and I’m proud to say here that most of my fallen ancestors that had gone to the world beyond, participated actively in the Biafra Civil War, which was led by Ojukwu in 1967-1970. I wasn’t in existence at that time, but rather, I was privileged to cohabit with some intelligent homo sapiens that fought the war for years and the experiences they garnered, were bequeathed in my consciousness. I’m one of those million lucky young Igbos that were fortunate to hear the Biafra War story from the orifice of some of our ancestors that pulled the trigger, right in the battle field and even participated in the building of the so called ‘’Ogbunigwe,’’ the local bomb.
My father told me his own version of the Biafra War story when I was younger, of how he fought the war, alongside his brothers at a very tender age. Tony Ubesie, one of my ancestors of a blessed memory, who later became a Captain in the Biafra Army at the age of eighteen, also had his own account of the war. Tony was among the few individuals that were opportune to pass through the four walls of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka after the war, where he studied Igbo linguistics from I976-1980 and I’m so pleased to have navigated through the same walls and also partook from the same ‘’Lions Heritage,’’ just as he did. He was later nicknamed Bullet, a.k.a Ukpaka Gbagburu Enyi, during the war. Tony dropped an Igbo novel that was titled ‘’Juo Obinna,’’ after the Civil War and this wasn’t his only novel anyway. Through this novel, he was able to decipher gently, his experience during the Biafra War and this well narrated, explicit and articulated master piece was published by Oxford University Press in 1977, if my memory still serves me right. I believe that most of these young Igbos that are busy clamouring for the State of Biafra at this virgin period have not read a single book that told the story of our Civil War. Most of them cannot even speak our native language (Igbo), let alone reading it – what a shame.
I never wanted to embark on this writing escapade, but my instinct revealed to me that some young Igbos really need to hear my honest position on this subject matter. I have, but a few questions to ask my fellow Igbo youths that are flocking the internet with various pictures and written journals about the Biafra War that they never witnessed and my questions go this way;
What infrastructure or frame work have you built for your Biafra to stand upon? Don’t you know that for a state, like the one you all are canvassing for to stand, it needs a strong economic, political and social frame work that will stand a test of time? Don’t you also think that what you should be talking about at this juncture is to sort for the most effective and long lasting ways, of uniting these Eastern States, which have fallen apart like pieces of Ukpaka seeds? Think about this; why can’t the Eastern Governors pull resources together and build your region? Who are those that will manage the affairs of your Biafran State? Is it these same Eastern (Igbo) Governors that have wrecked and stolen all the money that were meant for the development of the Eastern Region? I’m not against your determination in actualizing your Biafra dreams, or either am I an anti Biafra, but the truth must be told, no matter if it taste as bitter as an Onigbu leaf. I believe strongly that the Igbos are not ready and matured yet to possess this their daydreaming state. Brood over on these questions for a minute, while I fill up my ‘who send you glass cup’, with some fresh palm wine that my good friend bought along Epe axis of Lagos state.
Do you have any wharf in the Eastern Region? How many functional industries do you have in your region? What have these individuals who are busy brainwashing you and telling you to get ready for war done for an average Igbo youth? What is the shape of all the Universities that are located in the Eastern Region like? Do you have an efficient Dam that will power the whole region if you go home now? What is the condition of the Eastern roads like? What are the Eastern Governors doing with their respective federal allocations? Just to ask, but a few.
Take your time as an Igbo youth to assess and analyze the wretched condition of Abia State and other states that are in the Eastern Region and write a report to that effect, without compromising your findings. Are these states not managed by the Igbos (Governors)? Are these Governors from the Northern or Western part of Nigeria? Is this the type of Biafra that you need? The Igbos are busy developing other states and allowing grasses to take over their lands. When was the last time you visited your village as a patriotic son or daughter of the soil, of the Igboland? Of a truth, almost all the elders that fought during the Civil War regretted why they embarked on such an unprepared expensive mission, which almost sent the entire Igbo race into extinction.
Some youths of the Igboland need complete metamorphosis of their psychology because, most of them have decided to compromise rationality for mediocrity. Let’s become more realistic in our judgement for a while, and stop following the band wagon of the jonses. If you really want your quest to transmute into a reality, it is of a greater importance that the Igbos should first build a foundation for their home and stop chasing after shadows. I foresee major ethnic wars and crisis amongst the Igbos in less than ten years, if the youths choose this unprepared means to achieve their Biafra dreams.
I was opportune to have conversation with some old men that fought the Civil War and I can boldly say here that most of them never liked it because; the Igbos were never ready for it at that time. Do you want history to repeat itself? Where you privileged to see your grandfathers? I didn’t see mine either because, he died out of accumulated stress that was bequeathed on him by the Biafra War. The stories of my ancestors ended the same way, after my thorough inquiries and I believe that all these young Igbos, who are busy clamouring for Biafra now have not witnessed a real bloody fight, let alone a war. How many of you can pull a trigger and whisked away the brain of a man right from his skull, just in a single target?
My honest advice and opinion here is that, the Igbo youths should tell those people that are in their various hidden bulletproof cars to develop their home first, before forcing you (the youths) to embark on an unplanned journey home. The aftermaths of an unprepared war is always more deadly and gravely than HIV and the tomorrow of an average Igbo youth is more realistic and sure to an extent, in this present Nigeria that is still looking for her bearing, than this your unprepared fantasy paradise called Biafra.
(Emeka Ubesie is a young Nigeria writer, he is a member of Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Institute of Public Diplomacy and Management (IPDM), Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN), The Royal Life Saving Society of Nigeria and he is currently working on his first short African fiction novel)
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