THE NEW NIGERIA/BIAFRA WAR?
The war that broke out in May 1967, with the declaration of the independent republic of Biafra by late Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, seemed to be on the verge of repeating itself in Nigeria today. The question is: why would Nigeria go through civil war again considering the loss of millions of lives and destruction of property in the previous one that only deepened the sorrows and travails of the survivors? It seems from all indications the Nigeria/Biafra war was not a sufficient lesson to check our barbaric impulses from going the way of the beast again. But if nothing drastic is urgently done, Nigeria will once again go up in flames and consume millions of us.
The conditions that led to this civil war 54 years ago were never addressed to date. The war ended not because there was an agreement between Ojukwu and Gowon to address the concerns of the Igbos. It ended out of concern for the overwhelming humanitarian crisis Ojukwu couldn’t tolerate any more together with British forces and their allies that stacked up against Biafra, a people seeking peace and just society away from a government that targeted them for extermination.
Prior to Nigeria/Biafra war, the new so-called independent republic of Nigeria was plunged into socio-political and ethnic crisis. The infamous Jos riot led to the killings of so many Igbos in the region. The same massacre occurred in Kano in 1953. The political crisis in the western region where the election was marred with irregularities deepened the tension. In Nigeria, violence spread throughout the country and chaos broke out every now and then, leading to uncertainties and fears. People fled the north and west to anywhere relatively safe. The federal government that was dominated by the Northerners deliberately allowed the crisis to unfurl in order to hinge on it to declare a state of emergency in the western region and place it under martial law. These troubles led to a military coup as an intervention to quell the tension in the land and restore sanity in the system.
This military coup of 1966, which was carried out by predominantly Igbo officers took the lives of Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello. Amongst the victims were 30 political leaders who were mostly from Northern extraction. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Awolowo were spared. By July 1966, Northern military officers staged a counter-coup and installed a junior officer Gowon as the head of state. The crisis and ethnic tension led to so many killings that by September 1966, about 30,000 Igbos were slaughtered.
To fix this problem, Ojukwu, the military leader of the Eastern Region, and Gowon his junior, who was the military head of state in Nigeria, together with other political stakeholders convened in Aburi Ghana to address this Nigeria unfolding impasse. An agreement was reached by both parties for a decentralized government that is basically the same restructuring that is being clamored today. The British out of spite for the Igbo and ill-will for the development of Nigeria was not happy with what is popularly known as the Aburi accord and advised Gowon to back off. Ojukwu could not allow the killings of the Igbo to continue, and on 26 May 1967, seceded and declared the republic of Biafra four days afterward. This is what triggered the war that lasted for 3 years and by the end of it, about 5 million Biafrans excluding millions of Nigerian lives were lost.
Nigeria has today sunk into the same volatile situation that appears to make war inevitable. The same apparent ineptitude with hidden agenda displayed by Nigerian leadership in the early 1960s which incubated the war is being witnessed. Insecurity is at the peak because hoodlums, bandits, Boko haram, and terrorist herdsmen have overrun the land, raping, kidnapping, maiming, thieving, and killing citizens with impunity. Igbo communities are being invaded by criminals from the north on the pretext of cattle rearing. The airwaves are inundated with ghastly news of the criminal activities of these bandits, and the government does not have one single person in custody. What other evidence do we need to know that the Nigeria-Fulani government is a terrorist group responsible for this current Nigeria volatile situation?
But the pushback and resistance by the Eastern Security Network (ESN) are likely to serve as a catalyst and excuse to declare war on Biafraland. Every thinking mind knows that war is evil and serves no good purpose, and does not advance any course. The Biafrans will not sit back and be slaughtered by the terrorist Fulani-government whose goal is the conquest of Biafra land. The intimidations and attacks on indigenous people of Biafra are constantly emboldened by a lack of retaliation. But with the emergence of ESN, this criminal, the terrorist Nigerian government will meet strong resistance.
If Nigeria keeps to this aggression and trajectory, it will only end in arm-conflict. The only way to avert another war in Nigeria is not by so many noises many who do not accept the reality that Nigeria cannot be one nation are making. Calling for dialogue and reconciliation will not fix Nigeria. Restructuring which was rejected in the Aburi accord is a joke now, nor will an Igbo president help pull the majority of Igbo and Yoruba back from their inner saturation of Nigeria. Nothing aimed to unite Nigerians will work. A simple referendum will expose the people’s aversion to this country, and this is what the criminals in power won’t risk.
To fix Nigeria is to divide Nigeria so that people with a common heritage, culture, and homogeneity move on. If this is not done soon, I am afraid the greed for oil in Biafra land and the evil agenda of territorial conquest will push the northern stupid leaders into another war. I am just afraid!