by Dr. Charles Awuzie (Johannesburg)
“The use of force to deprive peoples of their national identity constitutes a violation of their inalienable rights and of the principle of non-intervention…By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every state has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.” ~Ref: Hurst Hannum; Autonomy, Sovereignty and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights, Page 38.
I have endured the urge to write about the on-going agitation for the release of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and the subsequent declaration of the Sovereignty of Biafra for two reasons:
1) Because of my principle of not publicly speaking about any subject I have no clear understanding of.
2) Because of my doubts about the honesty of the motives of the incarcerated leader of the #IPOB – Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
Its okay if you have a problem with my second reason, I also do. The proliferation of Secessionist Movements in recent times has made some of us to question the motives, aims and desires of the leaders of such groups before we lend our tiny voice(s) to their cause.
For the record, I believe in the principle of self-determination, whether it is Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’s call for the secession of the Yoruba people from Nigeria or Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’s struggle for Biafra’s secession from Nigeria; I believe in both ideologies but I always have problem trusting in the pioneers of such movements, perhaps because of my secret romance with conspiracy theories.
Back to the purpose of this macro-blog, I am afraid that Nnamdi Kanu might not make it out of ‘prison’ alive, not because Buhari will kill him but because the security agents might snuff the life out of him in the course of interrogating him. But before that happens, here is my two-edged-sword:
First to Biafrans: Protests, no matter how peaceful have never solved any socio-political problem instead it has created more confusion and chaos. You have a just cause. The actualisation of Biafra is a dream every Biafran hates to be awoken from. That you and I love Biafra doesn’t mean that we hate Nigeria. It just means that we would rather choose to relate with Nigeria as a mother and no longer as a sister. If Nigeria understands this, she would let Biafra go in peace having understood that at one stage in life, a mother will have to release her child to take care of himself.
Like everyone else, I believe in self-determination but I do not believe that IPOB and MASSOB are doing it the right way.
Biafrans should immediately withdraw from the streets and mobilise a team of high powered international lawyers who would engage the United Nations in the processes and procedures of self-determination. This would culminate in the summoning of the Nigerian Government to a world court and subsequently, the Nigerian Government would be given an ultimatum by the international community to either hold a referendum on the Biafra-Secession saga or risk sanctions. I strongly believe that if the international community forces Nigeria into holding a referendum on Biafra-Nigeria marriage, Biafra would surely win. This way, we would have secured victory without further bloodsheds and unnecessarily frustrating economic activities in South Eastern Nigeria.
To the Nigerian Government: I believe that you have the right to protect the unity and sovereignty of Nigeria. I also understand that you do not wish to kill Nnamdi Kanu in detention. But please understand that it is dangerous to fight an ideology whose time has come. The war against Boko Haram has not been won because it is a fight against an ideology. Biafra is an ideology and not an enemy. Only fools fight ideologies with bullets. I will advise that the Nigerian Government call for a referendum on the secession of Biafra. I bet you that there are millions of Biafrans who would vote against Biafra, not because they don’t believe in Biafra but because they don’t trust the after-effects of the declaration of the sovereignty of Biafra. They are afraid that if the igbos are still divided over grey-haired issues like the OSU-Nwadiala myth, the ODIBO/ORU-OGA mentality, The inter-State dichotomy where Abia would freely deport Anambra civil servants while Anambra would not promote an Enugu civil servant beyond a certain grade level because of their state of origin and all the crinkum crankum familiar with the politics of the Igbo people. With fears like these and perhaps a few state-sponsored propaganda, Nigeria might win the referendum.
#NO2Protests #YES2Referendum #ReleaseNnamdiKanuNOW #CharlesAwuzieSPEAKS
Dr. Charles Awuzie is a South African based Nigerian pastor, succeeding businessman and prolific blogger. He blogs on www.charlesawuzie.com and tweets @pastorcharlesc.
BIAFRA: Meet The Ibos, Nigeria’s South-Easterners. Forest Whitaker & Bishop TD Jakes’ Roots Traced To The Ibos.
Among the different ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo are without a doubt, one of the most remarkable. So remarkable, indeed, that some have even traced their ancestry to biblical Israel, as the far-flung descendants of Jacob, the Jewish patriarch. Gad, Jacob’s seventh son, is said to have had three sons who settled in South-eastern Nigeria. These sons; Eri, Arodi and Areli, are believed to have fathered clans in Igbo-land and to have founded such Igbo towns as Aguleri, Arochukwu, Owerri and Umuleri.Igbo geniusEven the bitterest adversaries of the Igbo cannot but admit that, asa people, they are very resourceful and ingenious. Indeed, this has often been the cause of their envy and dislike by others. However, more enlightened non-Igbo Nigerians see this as a cause for celebration.
As people all over the world remember Biafra today, a renowned Nigerian economist and social media commentator, Mr. Kelechi Deca writes why the Nigeria-Biafran war should not be forgotten in this piece he titled “Unforgettable”:
Some people have asked me why is it that we cant just forget this ‘Biafra’ and move ahead. I asked them, move ahead to where? Are we behind because we refused to forget Biafra?
But how can anyone forget Biafra?
How can we forget what brought us joy and sadness?
How can we forget the event that changed our humanity?
How can we forget the 2 million of our people that perished?
How can we forget our sisters and our mothers whose chastity were desecrated?
How can we forget our young men whose lives were cut short in defence of fatherland?
How can we forget the bloods on the Niger?
Is it Nsukka sector, Abagana Sector, Nkwelle Sector, The fall of Enugu, Onitsha, Umuahia, Port Harcourt, Aba, and the gallantry at Owerre?
Can we forget Ahiara?
How can we forget?
I found out that those who want us to forget about Biafra which happened 43 years ago, commends the tenacity of the Jews in holding on to their memory of the Holocaust, they do not mind the Japanese remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Americans have not forgotten their civil war of over 200 years,even the Boer wars are still commemorated.
Yet they want us to forget.
Remembering the Biafran National anthem, The Land of the Rising Sun written by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Land of rising sun, we love and cherish, Beloved homeland of our brave heroes; We must defend our lives or we shall perish, We shall protect our hearts from all our foes; But if the price is death for all we hold dear, Then let us die without a shred of fear.
Hail to Biafra, consecrated nation, O fatherland, this be our solemn pledge: Defending thee shall be a dedication, Spilling our blood we’ll count a privilege; The waving standard which emboldens the free Shall always be our flag of liberty.
We shall emerge triumphant from this ordeal, And through the crucible unscathed we’ll pass; When we are poised the wounds of battle to heal, We shall remember those who died in mass; Then shall our trumpets peal the glorious song Of victory we scored o’er might and wrong.
Oh God, protect us from the hidden pitfall, Guide all our movements lest we go astray; Give us the strength to heed the humanist call: To give and not to count the cost’ each day; Bless those who rule to serve with resoluteness, To make this clime a land of righteousness.
The tune of this anthem was adopted from Sibelius’ “Finlandia” written in 1899 by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It share same melody with six Christian hymns such as;
Be Still, My Soul;
I Sought the Lord;
We Rest on Thee;
A Christian Home;
This Is My Song;
and I Then Shall Live.
Other historic songs that share same tune are Gweddi dros Gymru or A Prayer for Wales (a national song of Wales).
Ambrosian Oaks (the alma mater of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa).
And At Thy Call We Gather (the alma mater of Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawaii).
It is also the tune for Capital University’s alma mater, “O Capital.”
We remember today and always the People’s Republic of Biafra, founded, May 30, 1967.
Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state in south-eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, taking its name from the Bight of Biafra (the Atlantic bay to its south).The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. The creation of the new state that was pushing for recognition was among the causes of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War.
The state was formally recognised by Gabon, Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Zambia. Other nations which did not give official recognition but which did provide support and assistance to Biafra included Israel, France, Portugal, Rhodesia, South Africa and Vatican City.
Biafra also received aid from non-state actors, including Joint Church Aid, Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland, Caritas International, MarkPress and U.S. Catholic Relief Services.
Nigerian Military Government was supported by the following countries to fight Biafra: Egypt (air support), United Kingdom,Soviet Union, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Poland Poland and the United States of America.
After two-and-a-half years of war, during which about 2 million Biafran civilians had died in fighting and from famine, Biafran forces agreed to a ceasefire with the Nigerian Federal Military Government (FMG), and Biafra was reintegrated into Nigeria. Many have described this reintegration as a forced marriage between two nations who have nothing in common.
on the morning of May 30th 1967,47 years ago, the late General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu declared the sovereign Republic of Biafra and a national anthem titled “Land of the Rising Sun” which was composed by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was sung.
ENUGU—Leader of the pro-Biafra group, Biafra Zionist Movement, BZM, Barrister Benjamin Onwuka has claimed responsibility for last Saturday’s invasion of Enugu State Government House saying members of his group took control of the Enugu State seat of power for about four hours after they successfully hoisted the flag of the Republic of Biafra and some banners at the main gate.
He briefed newsmen at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Press Centre, Enugu, Wednesday morning , where he claimed responsibility for the invasion, which he said was primarily to reclaim the old headquarters of the former Biafra Republic.
Onwuka dismissed speculations that the group was sponsored by some politicians in Enugu State explaining that the major target of the BZM members was to hoist the Biafran flag as a symbol of rebirth of the defunct Biafra Republic.
He said that members of the group who were not armed, were in the Government House from 3 am to 7am before soldiers dislodged them, insisting that they accomplished their mission.
He, however, warned that Nigeria should vacate the Biafra territory before March 31, 2014 or risk a bloody war, disclosing that his group had concluded plans to take over total control of Biafra land from April 1.
BZM as they are called is a new group in the South East of Nigeria and people are dissatisfied with their activities as the Country is yet to win the battle against the dreaded Boko Haram in the Northern part of Country. Could this be the rising of another terrorist group in the South East of the country?