Biafra by Col Achuzia
Published December 23, 2016 by George Israel
Col Achuzia recently published that ‘Biafra does not mean secession ‘. According to him ‘WE’ are proud Biafrans living in Nigeria. The Biafran agitation is an expression coming from perceived general frustrations of ‘some’ Igbos as a result of deliberate marginalizations & deprivations.
However, the approach is wrong. Why? Igbos have more to lose in Biafra than being part of Nigeria. The economic losses from the 30 months civil war have been recovered and our people do not seem to know that that dominant progress angers the other federating units who hate the Igbos.
Unfortunately, Igbos have not been able to collectively organise themselves politically – both at the local levels of tradition, intellectual – towards a central command for national relevance. It is this failure that gave credence to the costly, life threatening, ill-timed, disconnected struggle for Biafra; generally ancored around under informed “seemingly” jobless youths.
Biafra quest, remains in the spirits of all segments of the Nigerian “fabric” – from North to South, East to West etc. This is why there are so many groupings – from the 19 Northern Governors Group, to Arewa Consultative Forum, the South West Odua Peoples Congress with a strong, influential respectable political blocks. What is common with these groups is their respect for their traditional kingship systems that give them a central voice, command & control posts. So they are more organised. That explains why the quests for their “BIAFRAs” is more organised, better planned and *silently* being executed.
For example the 19 Northern Governors have successfully disconnected the dependence of their economies from the national power grid by signing an MoU with the General Electric ((GE) to instal a massive SOLAR POWER Project. So they are independent as long as electricity is concerned. That’s their “Biafra”. The Kaduna refinery is to receive crude from Niger. That’s another “BIAFRAN” independence. Their River Basins are producing and providing food.
North East is to rehabilitated from a statutory percentage of the Nigerian annual national budget. Their airports & roads are being upgraded to international standards. Their rail lines are working, connecting cities & new routes being constructed – Kaduna – Abuja route. In the whole Nigeria, its ONLY Kaduna that is connected to Abuja by both road and rail. That’s the true quest for “Biafra”!
Lets look around the West for their quest for their “BIAFRA”. Lagos – A Mega city project projected on the local and migrant populations in Lagos State & environ; AT THE EXPENSE OF THE SETTLER ENTREPRENEURS, BUSINESSMEN (including the Igbos) DEVELOPMENTS, TAXES and ENTERPRISES. Expansions of Murtala Mohammed Int & Local Airports, concessions, The Free Trade Zone (copied after the moribund TINAPA), ANOTHER ongoing AIRPORT and the SEAPORT CONSTRUCTIONS at the Lekki axis, New towns and sprawling HOUSING ESTATES (including EKO ATLANYIC CITY Project), the 10 (Ten) Lane expansion of the Lagos – Badagry EXPRESSWAY into the international gateway to the Rep. of Benin and by extension the West African subregional economies, the Fashola’s Rail line linking Badagry through Alaba Int. Mkt, Aspanda, Orile, Arts Theatre, CMS, VI, Lekki to the Free Trade Zone(FTZ), the 4th Mainland Bridge concessioned to a Japanese Consortium to link Ikorodu to Lekki/Aja axis, by extension the FTZ, the Expressway Road links to all South West cities.
Today you can practically exit Lagos by choice, through Ikorodu, Ajah, Lagos Ibadan Expressway. And if you are coming from Badagry, you can connect from Ijaniki – Eba axis to Lagos/Abeokuta linking you direct to Shagamu (without getting into Lagos). Same developments are going on in all South West major cities of Abeokuta, Ijebu Edo axis, Akure, Oshogbo, Ado Ekiti, Ife (and Ile Ife), Ibadan, linking Ilorin, Lokoja and Edo; energising their economies. THESE ARE THE TRUE QUESTS OF THEIR “BIAFRA”.
Now the question “Is there a solid economic base to support this South Eastern Biafran agitation”?.
Your answer is as good as mine. The Southern governors cannot come together (like the South Western, Northern Governors) ON ANY common economic activity. The roads that link Anambra to Imo are motorable to the limits of Anambra boundry. Neither Ohakim nor Rochas saw the need to link the comkon communities of the 2 states on that axis. Same goes to Imo/Abia/Akwa Ibom (Umuahia) axis. They will say… Federal Roads. Are the South West / the North not also Federal roads?
South Eastern governors CANNOT come together for a common front on regional or national issues. They are endlessly, mutually distrusting. Our Igwes and Ezes (Kings) have been decimated using President General (PG) structures (by same clueless Governors) for selfish politics to destroy our strong traditional institutions. Now the Igbos are being ridiculed for lack of respect for themselves, their institutions and their heros and hardly any consensus on regional/national politiacl issues. So how can the “Biafran” project stand?.
The 2nd Airport in Igbo land, at Owerri was built by commendable community efforts and thereafter handed over to the Federal government without any compensation – end of story! Our people who had occupied the select positions of Aviation Ministers – Kema Chikwe, Stella Odua, Osita Chidoka etc., must have tried their best but they could not see their own “Biafra” by improving the facilities beyond making Owerri Airport a Cargo Airport! By the way, its ONLY Owerri Airport, in the whole Nigeria that was built with the “slave” deprevations of Igbo contributions and without compensation for community land and resource contributions and levies.
About a month was the Annual Zik’s Lecture Series which held at the Social Sciences Faculty of the UNIZIK Awka and sponsored by no less an Igbo personality as Sen Ndi Obi. Laughably, no South Eastern Governor was in attendant. The highest attendant was just the Deputy Governor of Anambra State Dr. Ikem Okeke. Whereas the former VP Atiku ABUBAKAR had time to come as the Chairman of the occassion to honour the Great Zik, whereas the former Kenyan Prime Minister – Odinga was the Guest Speaker. How can we push the quest for the struggle if we do not care to honour our internationally acknowledged best – The Great Zik of Aftica. When the West remembers their AWO, our people will be lobbying to be invited! Here we can’t honour ours. November 26, was the date of Odumegwu OJUKWU’s memorial. No advertorial nor any rememberance was recorded. I can go & on. We don’t need to bring our youths, the future leaders, in a defenseless agitation for “Biafra”. We need to act like a blessed people of God who came from after the civil war to great heights worldwide. We need to hold on to our control of the Nigerian commerce & move into industrial monopoly of the Nigerian economy like the Chinese, Indians, Lebanese. We need to build developmental capacities for the Igboland. We need more Innosons. Anambra, Imo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi States previous and serving governors should set up fora, create and selflessly impliment SOUTH EASTERN INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLANS – in the areas of agric, roads network infrastructure, ecomony, education, power, natural resources, strategic positioning for political orientation. Gov. Peter Obi initiated the Anambra Intrgrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). Why not also create as governors, the South Eastern Integrated Development Strategy (SEIDS) and membership will be made up of all the current & previous Governors and 1st Class Kings and Igwes.
That should be the starting point for the real quest for “BIAFRA”. Therefore we must start guiding OUR YOUTHS to stop presenting themselves through the current Biafran Agitations to the trigger-happy Nigerian Soldiers for ETHNIC CLEANSING of our valuable youths.