OPINION: In Biafra Nigeria Died |- By Peter Agba Kalu


There are certain things that makes a nation and patriotism of her citizens is top most. When you lost that you have lost a nation no matter how you try to manage it, the soul of that nation is gone.

Nigeria as a nation lost her soul not necessarily because of the civil war, nations do fight civil war and still come together to build a great country. America is a perfect example.

Nigeria rather lost her soul because of the way the end of the civil war was mismanaged. And each year, instead of taking steps to correct this, our leaders keep on moving on the wrong lane to a patriotic nation building.

Some people believe that the Nzeogwu coup was when we lost our political innocence. I beg to disagree. There was rather already a sociopolitical cum religious problems impeded by the corrupt attitudes of the politicians then, which the military boys in their own sincere innocency intervened to control and stop.

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Their intervention is being faulted because their mission failed. The after effect of January 15th, will tell you that am telling the truth.

What Kaduna Nzeogwu and Co did was purely a military affairs. They didn’t take any civilian into confidence not even their immediate families. Most of their colleagues and close friends in the military were kept in the dark before they struck. Now, after the stricken and failed, their actions was used as an excuse to visit pogrom on thousands of other innocent Nigerian citizens.

The excuse being they failed to equally kill Michael Okpara and Nnamdi Azikiwe as they did northern leaders. This excuse was given against the background of the truth that we all know. Azikiwe was on a medical trip outside the country, while PM Okpara was a host a foreign Head-of-State.

This was a program that was beyond the control of the military boys before the struck. Reading ethnic meaning into a purely military affairs was because some people already had ethnic cleavage instead national patriotism towards the nation. This is not an attempt to justify Nzeogwu but to rather state the obvious facts.

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What in actual fact violently shattered the melodies of our collectiveness and killed the spirit of National Unity was the bloodshed of innocent civilians that flooded the streets of the north. Ironsi that took extreme steps to reassure the nation, surrounded self with his northern brothers, never kept a secret from them, trusted them more than he trust his Igbo people was slaughtered like an animal. These and several other deceptive factors that was initiated by ethnic cleansing of a section of the nation led to the Biafran war.

Believe me, Nigerian problem was not because of the war, the problems we are facing today was because of the outcome of the war.

Gowon declared, ” No Victor No Vanquish” a wonderful melodic hymn that could have restored the nation and sprout the spirit of patriotism in the hearts of men if it was put into action.

But, rather, abandoned properties were declared and a section of the people started behaving like the conqueror as others were subjected to subjects of kings and treated like the conquered. With time, it became a national policy and was inherited by people who accepted it as their fate and another who see it as their God given privilege.

That’s the system that created the vacuum for the rise of the Nnamdi Kanu at this time and reason why there’s such wide followership within a section of the nation. So, to attack Nnamdi Kanu’s ideology or lock him up without addressing the root cause of his emergency is to aggravate the problem.

To chain him in his peaceful demand for separation of the nation is motivate a generation that will make of same demand violently. And, in this advanced age violence that come in many forms. It might not necessarily be physical, it might be cybernetic, economic, social or militant.

So, the earlier we wake up to address these issues that motivated and is still motivating Nnamdi Kanu and his followers the better for us. To keep on pretending and pointing accusing fingers at the young man called Kanu as if silencing him will bring an end to this demand for Biafra is to live in denial of the truth.

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That there was Ralph Uwazurike 30 years after the war with lots of followers and an Nnamdi Kanu with far more aggressive tendency will tell you that as a result of the outcome of Biafran war, the idea of Nigeria died in the soul of many people.

Their emergence 30 years after the war will tell you that they sincerely gave the Nigerian project a chance but what they got in return was piteous hypocrisy that camouflaged self as national unity.

If the policy of no victor no vanquish was put in place, if the issues that led to the war had been addressed, if a section of the nation were not being discriminated and treated as outcast, if there was honest and committee leadership that was committed to sincere national unity, there couldn’t have been Nnamdi Kanu.

It should bother a nation that her educated, resourceful, intelligent and well endowed citizens are denouncing citizenship of her and following and funding an ideology of division which Kanu is only a front. This is a enough sign to any sincere leader that Kanu is not the problem.

That locking up Kanu who was calling for Biafra almost 40 years after the war sparked a movement, that was unprecedented in the history of Nigeria will tell you that this has become a generational struggle. And there’s no amount of force that can suppress an inherited ill feelings.

That a generation that saw not the war has taken over the demand for what their fathers demanded will tell you that issues that led to the war has not been addressed. Address it, not locking up Nnamdi Kanu or suppressing his followers is the cure.

The most unfortunate thing is that everyday is horizon is increasing. Because of events going on presently in the nation his ideology is gaining a lot of sympathizers. And this is a bad omen to the nation.

Moreover, the rampaging of Fulani herdsmen is not helping matters as people in Kaduna South, Benue, Niger Delta and some part of western Nigeria are buying into his ideology.

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Besides, we cannot talk about Nnamdi Kanu’s ‘crime’ in isolation of Boko Haram and Niger Delta militia. We cannot talk of pardon and amnesty for one and insist on prison term for another and expect some section of the nation not be unhappy. We don’t suppress, discriminate and marshal out policies that is against a section and turn around to future suppress them when they protest and still wonder why they’re not happy.

That Nnamdi Kanu is demanding for Biafra and a lot of reasonable, well educated, highly resourceful intellectuals from all round the world are following him is a failure of leadership on the side of our leaders. It in all honesty called for sober reflections of things they have been doing wrong.

Nigeria will be in big trouble whenever an American leader that does not buy into the idea of killing civilians in peaceful protest emerges. You will see an unprecedented crowd that will be very difficult to handle storming the streets and the outcome will be unpredictable. Let’s face the fact, the street march being planned in Port Harcourt in support of Donald Trump is to taste the water.

The truth is that Nnamdi Kanu isn’t the problem, he’s rather part of the solution if his situation is well handled. So, keeping him locked up fuels the problem while being humble enough to bring about an honest around table discuss might make a positive impact to the Nigerian project.

In Biafra Nigeria died. The key to the restoration of the soul of the nation lies getting back the heart of these Biafrans to become a patriotic Nigeria. But, everyday the steps our leaders take separates them further.

Buhari should stop listening to some of these politicians that meant no good for us. Release Nnamdi Kanu to show us that you want the negotiations to start.

Sir Peter Agba Kalu, senior write at The Sun Newspaper.


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