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.