BIAFRA WAS AND REMAINS RIGHT
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD
And Osita Ebiem
““…If General Gowon had handed over power in 1974 and implemented the nine-point programme carefully thought out by his advisers and ushered in a new constitution based on the Biafran document at Aburi, Ghana, there would have been no Murtala coup in 1976, followed by a series of worse coups thereafter…”…”
-- Hope Harriman, in an address to Government College, Ibadan Old Boys Association, (GCIOBA) on page 11 of Nigeria’s Punch Newspaper of October 25, 2010. [Emphasis, ours]
Over the years since the end of the intensive battle years in 1970 so many people on both sides have tried to write the history of the Biafra and Nigeria war. As would be expected, emotions have come into play and many have tended to go to the extremes of absurdity in trying to distort facts. Generally, some people have concluded that Biafra caused the war. Sadly the people with this erroneous idea assert that Biafra rushed into war over some disagreements that could have been settled without the use of the barrel of the gun. Some others argue that Biafra and her then-leader Emeka Ojukwu were out to carve out for themselves a kingdom to rule over. We will show that nothing can be further from the truth about that war.
It is said that in war, the Victor writes the history. This is very evident in some of the extant stories on the Biafra-Nigeria War which is also more factually known as Nigeria’s Genocide on Biafra. The only difference is that Nigeria not only tries hard to falsify the history of the war, it works even harder to let the people forget, and say nothing about, the genocide, not necessarily from guilt but sheer arrogance. One obvious reason why the Victor of every war makes it his duty to write the story of it is because he wants to use the privilege to absolve himself of most blames and justify the atrocities and crimes he committed against the vanquished while the war lasted. This is mostly true in a situation where the Victor has some sense of morality. But in the case of Nigeria and its Genocide on Biafra, the perpetrators seem to exist in the level of sub-human consciousness; they have not the slightest sense of morality or any form of decency.
Like we said earlier, the victor of any war writes the history to suit himself and tell the people why the defeated deserved every atrocity visited on him. But in the case of the Genocide in Biafra by Nigeria, there are certain factors that make it different. During the genocide in Biafra several battles were fought which sum up to be called “the Biafra War.” Nigeria won many of the battles for several reasons, one of which was that Nigeria wanted the war and planned for it, whereas in the case of Biafra, the war was an unpremeditated engagement, therefore unplanned for. Another reason for the outcomes of these battles was that Nigeria, the aggressor, had the stockpile of the arms and ammunition of many years at its disposal, to start with, while Biafra started with just bare hands. Additionally—and very important at that— Great Britain, USSR (Russia), then-East Germany, Egypt and by default, United States of America all combined to contribute men and weapons to Nigeria because they wanted the oil in Biafra.
So, it was based on these reasons that Nigeria was able to win most of the battles against Biafra, but not the war—as every event since 1970 to date has demonstrated. This point of “winning battles” as opposed to “winning a war” is important to note as we go on in this discussion because at the end of the three years of the war, Biafra surrendered; but Nigeria continued the war, “winning more battles” against whom it had already considered and declared a completely defeated people.
As of this day, we the peoples and Nation of Biafra have been back on that same battlefield: the war which Nigeria started against us and also kept going against us is still on, and we have thrown down the gauntlet to Nigeria. We are re-affirming our Sovereignty. We will win this war. We will be out of Nigeria and nothing is stopping us this time. This is a war of liberation for us, a war of survival; winning it means that we live, that we are on our own, independent of Nigeria, masters of our own collective national destiny, the Nation of Biafra.
We have emphasized this last point because Nigeria in its bid to distort history has contrived to overlook it. Nigeria forgets that it only won a series of battles and not the war. This is even truer when we remember that the man, Yakubu Gowon, who presided over the Genocide, had declared in January 1970 when the war supposedly ended that there was “…no victor, no vanquished…”
Let us look back at a few similar events in history to further show clearly how not to claim “Victor” prematurely. Hitler and his Nazi Germany won many battles of the WWII—quite decisively, at that; but they lost the War. In the American Civil War, magnificent Southern Confederacy General Lee won almost all the battles, but the South still lost the War, ensuring that America is what it is today: USA without institutionalized Slavery. Prior to that, colonial Britain had won most of the battles against ragtag Americans whom they derided and loathed with contempt, during both the American Revolution War or the American War of Independence and the War of 1812 which followed. But, as we can see today, in each case, the war, in the end, was certainly won by America. In South Africa, unconscionable and pernicious Apartheid reigned supreme as it subjugated Black Africans and for years celebrated victory, but only too soon: Mandela it was who carried the day on behalf of ANC and to the rescue of the Black (and even the White; in short, all Africans) of South Africa, to win that war.
There are Nigerians and even some misguided Igbo who derive a warped sense of delight by stating and trying to remind us of "...the complete and total defeat of Biafra..." clearly with the intent of rubbing it in. Well, if indeed Nigeria had really won any war over Biafra then, it is in fact only a pyrrhic victory. Nigeria only obtained a "victory" that brought it nothing but complete and total ill-health as a “country” and failure as a “State”. Take a look for yourself: in “victory” Nigeria has ever since only suffered from chronic dysentery, diarrhea, incessant nausea and vomiting; abdominal pain, muscle pain, lumbago, and headache, "go-slow," lack of focus, lack of concentration and lack of energy from an unending hemorrhage, paralysis and whole-body debilitation. See for yourself: how well has Nigeria fared since its much vaunted "victory"? And there again, if in fact there was a "complete and total defeat of Biafra," why are we here today working on actualizing Biafra, of which we are quite certain we will succeed? Why is Nigeria still afraid of Biafra, and continuing to wage a war which it claims it already won completely and totally? Why is the name of Biafra now on everyone's lips? Biafra is a Spirit which cannot be defeated; and it's incarnate—Physical and Political Biafra—is still here, waiting for an activating breath. Nigeria only won a battle or series of battles; we, Biafra, shall win this War. Biafra lives!
Facts and the truth which informs them have a way to come out eventually. In a recent newspaper report, it now shows that Biafra's Aburi Agreements Solution was in fact correct before the War; and even after the War. The report has it that the same Biafra's pre-war Aburi Agreements Solution was co-opted, after the war, by a group of the "victors" and re-presented to the "victors" who again failed to implement it, with obvious consequences—just as with its initial rejection. That report which came out on page 11 of Nigeria’s Punch Newspaper of October 25, 2010 was credited to Hope Harriman in his address to Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association (GCIOBA) and it says in part, “…If General Gowon had handed over power in 1974 and implemented the nine-point programme carefully thought out by his advisers and ushered in a new constitution based on the Biafran document at Aburi, Ghana, there would have been no Murtala coup in 1976, followed by a series of worse coups thereafter…”
Hidden in the body of the article we just referred to is a piece of factual history which Nigeria and some misguided Igbo thought that they had washed away in their propaganda and falsified history. Today, there are some of our people who are brainwashed to believe that the Igbo/Biafra caused the Nigeria’s war of aggression against Biafra, blaming our people and Ojukwu for the war. In so many places and in so many ways we have tried to present the facts and remind them of what/who really caused the war, but they do not want to listen; rather, they prefer to parade their pet peeves and falsities and malicious anti-Igbo, anti-Biafra ignorance to the detriment of truth and common decency.
With revelations like this by the Punch Newspaper, there have been enough facts evident everywhere which continually remind Nigeria and the world that:
a) In fact, Biafra had offered Nigeria a workable mechanism, in the document of the Aburi Agreements, which would not only have avoided war, but would have made Nigeria a successful nation.
b) This Biafran Aburi paradigm, if it had been implemented—even after the war also—would have placed Nigeria on the path to prosperity today; in which case, Biafra-designed and initiated Aburi solution was an effective, solid and sound concept right from the start.
(For the Aburi Accord, see:
http://www.biafraland.com/aburi_minutes.htm and or
http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-334770.0.html and or
http://www.dawodu.com/aburi1.htm and or
Google Aburi Accord or Aburi Agreement for yourself)
c) Elsewhere, during the recent Jos mayhem, the Middle-Belters who pride themselves on being the bulk of the Nigerian foot soldiers who defeated Biafra, were to acknowledge that they now understood why Biafra seceded, vindicating Biafra at last.
As such, let this shame all those who parade in ignorance, claiming that Igbo/Biafra "rushed to war," or that Ojukwu "rushed Igbo/Biafra to war," when the facts systematically show the patience of the Igbo/Biafra and their reluctance to go to war, as well as the serious, workable alternatives they presented to Nigeria. The facts show that following the Aburi Agreements, the then Eastern Nigerians had a slogan which summed up their resolve and mien: “On Aburi We Stand.” Who can forget that loud, clear, serious and public statement and credible message; and that stance of Igbo/Biafrans, except for the deliberately mischievous or densely ignorant? And, that was well before the Declaration of Biafra Independence was even contemplated.
Who can forget that one paramount principle of the Aburi Agreements is that no party should resort to force in settling the engulfing crisis? Was it the Igbo/Biafrans who reneged on the Aburi Agreements? The Punch article reminds us of who actually did. Was it the Igbo/Biafrans who resorted to force? Gowon/Nigeria did. Do the facts not show that, when in fact the War happened, all because Gowon had reneged on the implementation of the Aburi Accord, it was only in self-defense that the non-aggressive Igbo/Biafra rose to defend themselves against an enemy that had already ethnically cleansed them out of the enemy's territory (Nigeria) and was now programmatically determined to exterminate the Igbo/Biafra, even on the Biafrans' own soil?
As a matter of fact, it is only one who has never fought in self-defense, against all odds, that will blame the defender or try to referee that the defender has lost in "complete and total defeat." When you are engaged in self-defense, no matter the outcome, you are already a winner. When you find excuses not to stand up in self-defense to confront your enemy, and when you declare that the one who fights and dies in self-defense has been defeated, then you are in fact the loser.
Anyone is free to re-write history as it pleases him, but the facts will always stand out, even if buried for a while. Biafra was right in 1966: though aggrieved, she offered Nigeria Aburi Agreements as a way out; Nigeria agreed but later reneged. Biafra was right in 1967: she left Nigeria, as Nigeria continued its war of aggression against her; even when Gowon, by his own admission and words, knew that “the basis of unity for Nigeria was not there”, yet he still wanted to forcibly “keep Nigeria one” by committing the crime of genocide on the defenseless peoples of Biafra. Biafra was right in 1970 even though and even as her Military leaders surrendered to Nigeria. Then, Nigeria won just a battle only in a pyrrhic victory, because the Spirit of Biafra is indomitable. After 1970, Biafra remains right: today, the Spirit of Biafra is very much alive. Because Biafra has been right all along and shall remain correct for all time.
It is infinitely and invariably better that they who cannot, and will not, live together in peace stay apart so that they may survive at last. This is a Cardinal Law of Nature; its observance carries a Moral Obligation burden. And that is the deeper meaning of Biafra.
So, and because, Biafra has been right all along, come we now—right now—to reclaim our heritage and Destiny, the Independent and Sovereign State of the Republic of Biafra.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD; email@example.com
And Osita Ebiem; firstname.lastname@example.org