Biafra: The Tragedy of Misplaced Priorities
“At present, we are enveloped in darkness…. Providence has done much for us in this contest, but we must do something for ourselves”
(Gen. Washington to James Mchenry)
Article 2 of the Vienna Declaration and programme of Action States, “ All peoples have the right of self determination, by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
The Article went further to say, “taking into account the particular situation of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, the world conference on Human Rights recognises the right of peoples to take any legitimate action… to realize their inalienable right of self determination”
The excesses of this article are for meaningful development. All human rights instruments are for a common good. Where the common good is not forthcoming, the prevailing situation would be that of “violation” amounting to confusions and the breakdown of rule of law.
The aspirations of all peoples should be the respect of the principles of equal rights and self – determination of peoples, peace, democracy, justice, equality, rule of law, pluralism, development of better standards of living and solidarity. Where these are not visible, the alternative to achieve them is the next option. The next option leads us to the topic of this write-up.
May 30th, 1967, lt.Col. Chukwumeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, being mandated by Eastern consultative Assembly declared, “ whereas we are living witnesses of injustices and atrocities committed against Eastern Nigeria, among which are the premeditated murder of over 30,000 of our innocent men, women and children by Northern Nigerians, the Calculated destruction of the property of our sons and daughters, the shameless conversion of two million Eastern Nigerians into refugees in their own country, all this without remorse”
The 1967 Nigeria / Biafra war was fought to stop the premeditated murder of the people of eastern Nigeria. The atrocities were committed by the Nigerian government “without remorse”. Though Ojukwu could not accomplish this mission due to personal limitations and because of the activities of saboteurs, the attempt, nevertheless had been made.
It is unfortunate that the same group of sell-outs are still present in the struggle started by Uwazuruike etal. Uwazuruike along with other Igbo youths while hoisting the Biafra flag in Aba, Abia State capital on 22 May, 2000 saw injustice, inequality and marginalisation of the Baifra people as the order of the day. In the one year anniversary of the hoisting of the flag, Uwazuruike said, “Beloved Biafrans, we cannot be part of a nation where injustice, inequality and marginalisation are the order of the day. We cannot be citizens of a country where corruption is a way of life. We cannot belong to a country where dictatorship, violence and intimidation are principle of state policy. We cannot belong to a nation where our children have no future. It is better to die in the struggle for liberty than to live as slaves.” He did not live up to this declearation as his actions will reveal later.
Uwazuruike’s good intention was demonstrated in the burial of late Gabriel Ogu, when he bent down to kiss the casket of Gabriel Ogu, when he, Ogu was lying in state. “if I deviate in the struggle to actualize Biafra,” Uwazuruike took an oath, “may I lay as Ogu laid now”. Since that oath, the spirit of Gabriel Ogu was following the massob leader. Events will later prove that Uwazuruike either forgot about this oath that he swore or he never meant it when he made the oath. It is fools that make oath without keeping them as present contemporary events have proven here.
The struggle has as of now taken another dimension. The original thinking of chief Uwazuruike was diverted to money making. Some group of people are thinking on how to move the struggle forward, while others, led by Ralph Uwazuruike thinks on how to secure positions and make money. Uwazuruike is now a known agent of the Nigerian government and this is part of the deal that he made in order to secure his release from prison as was brokered by Nnamdi (Andy) Uba of Uga, Aguata Anambra State. For years many within the struggle saw something wrong emerging by the dictatoral tendencies of Ralph Uwazuruike, every effort was said to have been made to make him see the errors of his ways, but like the proverbial dog that is headed to destruction, his heart and ears were sealed so much that he could not and would not hear or listen to any body.
Biafra risorgimento was the spirit of baifra citizens suffering everywhere in Nigerian. Those who go by the name Biafra become victims of circumstance. The rate of development in Biafraland is not something to write home about. There is no employment to Biafra youths. Graduates have now turned to be Okada riders, no good roads, no good water, and no electricity. Innocent Biafra Citizens have filled up in Nigeria cells with trumped-up-charges against them. The one who supposedly was leading them is now a turn-coat who have abandoned the ship of Biafra in search of perssonal self actualization. Uwazuruike and his family in time, will realize that Biafra being an institution, may be betrayed by him but cannot be destroyed. In the fullness of time what must be, will surely come to pass.
Businessmen and women have heavy tariffs placed on their imported goods. Biafra conditions in Nigeria are deplorable. Government of Nigeria is insensitive to the plight of the Biafra people. Coupled with these types of living conditions, the people came out en-mass to give the Biafra struggle a boost. They supported Uwazuruike and other Biafra Actualization groups. The unfortunate thing was the change of mood of the leaders. Instead of struggling to actualize Biafra, they dumped the spirit with which Ojukwu utilized more that 80% of his father’s wealth, and 100% of his own wealth to fight for Baifra emancipation. When Ojukwu was busy “fighting” to defeat the Nigerian aggressors, some disgruntled elements and saboteurs in Biafra were busy scheming to frustrate the fight. The same groups of people are still around doing one dirty job or the other to make sure the people of Biafra are still living in bondage. This time around, it is the leaders who sell out. They collect huge sums of money from the government of their oppressors, and turn around to deceive their subjects to believe their exploits.
Sources with close contact on ground, have it on good ground that Uwazuruike and co have been found to have engaged in wealth acquisition rather than pursue the emancipation of Biafra. It is also on good record that the Niger Delta people were willing to work with MASSOB under Uwazuruike but he made it impossible due to his desire to be the leader without having leadership skills. My findings on the wealth of our leaders, reveals an alarming craze for property and business ownership by Ralph and his family as well as few of his acolytes. It was revealed that filling stations, (Gas stations) beautiful mansion in Victoria Island, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Aba, some oil blocks, acres of land are owned by these discredited judases who love wealth and blood money more than liberation from the yoke of bondage which Nigeria represents on the lives of our people. Uwazuruike by this act, have shown once again that the Igbo man is subject to compromise especially when money and property is involved. What these fraudlent men and women did was a betrayal of those who have given their lives and resources to the Biafra Actualization and in time, he will pay the price. Right now, Ralph is paying the price by becoming like the proverbial Cain who is running all over the place in search of shelter from the unknown danger that his acts (the killing of Abel) brought upon him.
Some whom the freedom fighters trusted as leaders are the people who inform the security agents of the activities of the Biafra freedom fighters. For instance, on 30th of January, 2007, while a meeting of the MASSOB members were going on in okwe, home town of Ralph Uwazuruike, some MASSOB leaders used their cell phones to make secret calls to military men, telling them how the levies are collected and when the exercise will end. As soon as the money have been collected and packed in Ghana must go sack, the security agents arrived and in the process, more than 30 MASSOB members were killed. The leaders were spotted inside the bush sharing the money, the part that will go to Nigeria security agents, and the part that would go to their purse. The rest of the things that happened are history today. It has been one scam after another under the leadership of Ralph Uwazuruike and just like everything in life, there is time for everything. A time to steal and a time to get caught, a time to deceive and a time for the truth to be revealed. Some within this struggle cried out four years ago regarding the direction that Uwazurike and his clique were taking the struggle but those groups who suppose to address this issues ignored it thinking that Ralph will rediscover his ways and make amends but such group like the Biafra Foundation in USA, know better now. They also were victims of Uwazurike's corrupt ways.
The entire leadership of the struggle under Uwazurike have been involved in place seeking as well as deceiving its followers. It is to maintain his place especially in the monetary matters, that Uwazurike resisted every effort to work with people like Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo. The fallen leader of MASSOB himself was so sure of what his mission was, that he felt that he will be able to look after himself by shedding the blood of Igbo/Biafra youths and turn around to profit by it. When the leader does not have faith in whatever he does, that leader should be discarded. He was busy acquiring wealth and building and buying landed property here and there. This atitude brought the struggle into disrepute and conflict of interest with what the original goal was-Actualization of Biafra. The incident that took place during Uwazurike's last visit to the United States was to reveal what had been going on in the past few years and his style of leadership. This is a man who regards the MASSOB as a private project blindly ignoring the obvious fact that this is something that is greater than him and his family, selfishness or endless desire for deception. He traveled to the States to purchase properties using the money that was collected from the struggling youths whose means of livelihood he messed up and took away their monies and handed them currencies that are no legal tender. Will this man walk away from this criminal activities that he so brazenly have committed against the Biafran nation?
Chief Uwazuruike flamboyantly told us in his one year anniversary of the struggle for a new Biafra that .a nation we want is the ideal state, that the nation we want is a nation where justice, equality, fair play, freedom, truth etc are the principles of state policy. Hence, the comment, “It is better to die in the struggle for liberty than to live as slave” This is the man who claimed to be following in the steps of Mahatma Ghandi and that of Dr. Martin Luther King. Uwazurike have betrayed the confidence of those that reposed confidence in him and by so doing, have made himself an outcast even in the same struggle for which he stated that he is willing to "lay down" his life. In the language of Plato in his book
The Republic, I quote, “No one must have any private property whatsoever except what is absolutely necessary. Secondly, no one must have any lodging or storehouse at all which is not open to all comers… they must live in common, attending in messes as if they were in the field… they alone of all in the city dare not have any dealings with gold or silver or even touch them or come under the same roof with them”
(Republic, Book 111, 415 E) This is actually Plato’s requirement for the ruling class of his ideal Republic.
St Augustine (354-430 A.D) known as the platonizer of Christianity saw that intellectual darkness was rapidly descending over the Roman Empire. The empire was disintegrating, its vast institutional and cultural resources suffered from the empire’s neglect and the church’s indifference or hostility to pagan culture. In his book “The city of God”, st Augustine’s distinction between the sensible and the intelligible world is expressed in Christian terms as the distinction between the earthly city of the flux of opinion, and the heavenly city of God’s eternal truth.
What am I talking about here? I mean that the so-called leader who championed the cause of Biafra struggle is fake. He along with his ilk felt that in their respective professions, they are never-do-wells, and therefore, the earnest way to make money is in the use of Biafra. And for the peoples of the nation of Biafra, while they suffer in the hands of the Nigeria government, they will use it as a vehicle to acquire wealth for their individual families. In other words, the people want to go, they want freedom but do not have honest and dedicated leaders that will lead them to the promise. The unmasking of Uwazurike and his criminal gang is a good outcome for all those who are praying and seeking emancipation as this will help refocus and re-energize the people of Biafra and also help heal all the rift that this evil man brought into the movement for his selfish ends. Another lesson here is that we all must watch people live the life they preach about and do the work they claim to have been trained on. Uwazuruike claimed to have been trained as a lawyer in of all places, India and never practiced for a day. I guess it is possible that he may never have been to India yet the lies and deception operating within him, are able to confuse him and mislead others.
Let those who think that this is unachivable project not rejoice yet as this revelation about the person of Uwazuruike and his lies are a good developement for the emergence of Biafra in no distant time. A look at Nigeria will reveal that it is not making any progress toward unification rather there is disquietness and anarchy in the land. Nigeria is moving in cirles and it appears that the gods have sworn to have her destroyed and have cursed her with serpent leaders as well as scorpions who do nothing but bite and sting the people of the land. These are those who have driven the defenceless people of the East to either engage in non violence struggle and armed struggle as is the case in the Delta. Biafra Actualization agitation and the war going on in the East of the Niger are all testimonies as to the fallen state of Nigeria.
I want to say that those who think they can make money, or secure positions in the name of Biafra struggle, will have themselves disappointed at last. The cries of those who lost their lives in these struggle, become cries of Abel from the grave. God is still asking the impostors of Biafra struggle, "Where is your brother?" The Abels of this struggle. In as much as Biafra struggle is a divine mandate, every care must be taken to make sure that we are not repeating what brought setback in the past. Uwazurike is not Biafra. He was a leader of MASSOB until he was found wanting. And if Biafra foundation or other groups out there are for Biafra struggle, then all must shun sentiments and deploy every resources such as Voice of Biafra international to educate and enlighten our people on the state of things.
Niger Delta has more than 25 groups operating and fighting for their rights. But once any of their sons is arrested, all other group of their sons is arrested, all other group start action from different angle. The goal is one – to achieve whatever is their objective/ mission. Their's is a mission with cohesion and direction void of any selfish tendencies as is the case with some Biafra leaning movements right now. Though they may be infiltrated right now, yet they are able to forge ahead in the face of enourmous challenges. Our people who still believe that Biafra will be handed to to us on a platter of gold may need to have a rethink since we are not dealing with western Europe here. Our failure in deploying all our resources on behalf of Biafra is not helping right now. Finally, I say, non-violence cannot give us Biafra, neither will violence do but we must listen to the wise one who said to the slugard to "go to the ant and learn her ways" There are few lessons that we can learn from our cousins in the Delta.
If there is no re-think, and re-strategizing now, Biafra struggle will be a tragedy and the priority will remain misplaced. While there is a chance of re-igniting the fire that is fast fading away, all honest and sincere Biafrans all around the world, are called to wake up and see what is happening to the struggle more than forty years after loosing more than 2 million of our people to the genocide that was unleashed upon us. The Okwe chief (Ralph Uwazurike) have shown that he is not the messiah but rather a hungry man who do not have what it takes to deliver. It is good that the charade that he represents is exposed for all to see and all those out there who still thinks that he is the all in all, must now have a rethink or go down with him. Biafra is greater than Uwazuruike and his greedy ways and more importantly, Biafra deserves a more inteligent set of people to lead its actualization than a man who lies and deceives at every turn.
“ Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious” (George Orwell: 1984)