THE BIAFRA AND FREEDOM IN QUESTION
(Summary of Paper Presented at 2018 Biafran Heroes Remembrance Day, 30 May. Rojenny Games Village, Oba, Anambra State)
Prof Chidi G Osuagwu
As we engage in solemn remembrance of the millions that died in Biafra; so that the bells of freedom can ring and trumpets of worthy life blow among the Black African Race, world over, we must ask ourselves ‘what is the Biafra and what is the Freedom in question?’ Ancestors have indeed told us what and how to achieve it. Olaudah Equiano, Haitian revolutionaries, and other great ancestors, have told us what to do. Our future must be anchored in our industrious and religious past, guided by Gran Ibo. Ahiara declaration, 1969, summarized the essences of the Biafran struggle for freedom, which we must understand, internalize, and be guided by, as a sacred Mandate:
“Our struggle has far-reaching significance. It is the latest recrudescence in our time of the age-old struggle of the black man for his full stature as man. We are the latest victims of a wicked collusion between the three traditional scourges of the black man – racism, Arab-Muslim expansionism and White economic imperialism…Our struggle is not a mere resistance – that would be purely negative. It is a positive commitment to build a healthy, dynamic and progressive state, such as would be the pride of black men the world over”.
(General Emeka Ojukwu; Ahiara Declaration, 1969)
The Biafra in Question
“Our disagreement with the Nigerians arose in part from a conflict between two diametrically opposed conceptions of the end and purpose of the modern African state” (General Emeka Ojukwu; Ahiara Declaration, 1969).
So, the Biafra in question…the Biafra we quest for is a “Progressive State, such as would be the pride of the African the World over”. Biafra for Africans, the world over. Biafra of our quest is Ibo Granmoun-compliant Biafra. A Biafra whose mandate is consistent with the 1791 Commission of The Great Igbo Spirit; Ibo Granmoun, as Haitian revolutionists personified Her…to free Africans the world over from what Nnamdi Azikiwe, 1949, called the ‘bondage of ages’. Secession, which Biafra was forced into by Britain and her local vassals, was never a primary aim of Biafra!
Definitely, a Biafran State cannot be a Berlin-State. A Berlin-State is, by definition, an anti-African State created for European interests. So, the key problem Biafran agitators have with Nigeria is that it was created and functions, excellently, as a Berlin-State; an anti-African State. Millions of Nigerians, particularly from Northern Nigeria, are beggars, while aliens pump Nigerian oil without reliable meter, according NEITI. President Trump just called African Berlin-States Shithole States, which is what Biafra specifically argued against in the Ahiara Declaration. The British employing, through suzerain control, arms and extreme violence have refused Nigeria’s transformation to a Westphalia-type State; that can work for the good of the African nations in Nigeria and elsewhere, as against British and other alien interests, which Biafra struggles against.
Because the Biafran-type State is a Pan-Africanist Ideal State, it would exist within any territory that sets up a State for Africans modeled on it as Archetype. This explains Ojukwu’s oft-repeated Biafra-of-the-mind…Biafra as an African State state-building paradigm. Biafra is the ideology of the ideal African State, anywhere (A state with one-man and one-woman duad representation per constituency would be typically African, for example. Africans, usually, don’t send a delegation of one. There must be a complementary pair). This explains Professor Chimere Ikoku’s 1970 Statement “If we cannot have Biafra, we must Biafranize Nigeria”. The ancient of pervert British fear of Biafranized Nigeria is the reason Lugard warned and Britain has diligently kept ‘Biafranish’ Igbo and other Eastern Nigerians far from power in Nigeria since inception. It is the foundation extant of Igbo and Biafrans’ Containment Policy in Nigeria that, for example shut-off Eastern ports.
It is true that the Eastern Nigerian on the street thinks of Biafra as our traditional truth-justice society; Equiano’s indigo wholesome Society, restored in our Off-Bight-of-Biafra homeland. That is Small Biafra. But, the true Biafran elite, who conceived it; like Ojukwu, Chimere Ikoku, the framers of the Ahiara declaration, etc., thought of Grand Biafra. That is Biafra in Pan-African terms, which has been the traditional conception since Equiano and the Haitian Revolution (late 1700s). The hope has been that the achievement of the former will accelerate the realization of the latter. This possibility is what Britain and other neo-colonialists are desperate to stop by all means, in Napoleonic spirit, forever.
The Freedom in Question
The freedom Biafran agitators are struggling for is freedom from the factors that block the achievement of a Biafran-type, free, African State in Biafraland, specifically, and African world generally; to replace the current Berlin-States that trap Africans in social existential ‘shitholes’. The three key factors that drive African un-freedom, worldwide, identified by the Ahiara Declaration as the three traditional scourges of the black man are:
White economic imperialism
For Biafra 50 years ago, these were the key markers of African un-freedom. For Biafrans 50 years later, nothing has changed. Racism is the psychological, mostly mythical, assumption by certain human races that they are of superior quality than others and, therefore, have a superior right to survive and propagate their kind in the World, at the manifest expense of others. For a long time; since Aryan people invaded India 3000 years, warm climate peoples with melanin-rich dark skin to protect them from ultraviolet solar radiation and very rich natural resources, have been victims of racist aggression and oppression. Light skin peoples from resource-poor realms usually employ racism to rationalize aggressive armed robbery of the resources of dark skinned peoples. Pseudoscience; like social Darwinism, has given racism the fake aura of natural truth. But, it is not!
Whereas Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen terrorists clearly manifest Arab-Muslim expansionism in today’s Nigeria, Britain is still the weathered icon of White economic imperialism. Each targets the Biafran peoples and territories as the key people to conquer, in Nigeria, in order to achieve their ultimate objectives. And because the basic cultures of the two share the same Indo-European zero-sum base, they understand each other more and collaborate. Hence the Brito-Fulani co-imperialist hegemony in Nigeria.
Arab-Muslim expansionists aim to conquer and occupy Nigeria; then West Africa and Africa, part in fulfilment of Othman Dan Fodio’s dream, which is turning nightmare to all concerned. Britain aims to consolidate control of Nigeria…then Africa, as part of informal empire. And is ready to ignite another scramble for Africa with China and Asia rising, towards that purpose. A major reason Britain left Europe, with their inhibiting ‘German’ regulations; in so-called Brexit, is to consolidate her informal empire in Africa with Nigeria as beach-head. As British scholar, Colin Crouch, put the situation:
“What lies behind the triumphal optimism of the Brexiteers is their belief that they can reconstruct the British Commonwealth (the old empire) as a trading zone based on the UK. I think that this is a delusion, but there is a deep strain of nostalgia for the Empire within the romantic wing of the Conservative Party, and it resonates with a section of the population, across classes. It will, I fear, need the full experience of a failed attempt to shake the confidence of this dream” (https://www.socialeurope.eu/2017/05/nations-political-constructs/). Here we are! Biafran aspiration is the most potent threat to British empire revival ambition, for which Brexit was contrived. Well, there is not much Britain can do to control any of her former colonies in Asia…definitely not India. But her chances are brightest in Nigeria, where writer Obi Nwakanma had complained that the British High Commissioner had been acting and talking as the Governor-General of Nigeria. Well, Informal Governor-General the British would, wryly, correct. 50 years on, the Biafran agitation for a pro-African State and against Niger-area Berlin-state is facing the same formidable enemies. The same unsavory choice stands…defiant march to the pro-African State of our dream, with geography as secondary concern!
Freedom for Biafrans; as articulated by the Ahiara Declaration is, therefore, a STATE in which the Racism-driven alliance between Arab-Muslim expansionists and White imperialists; represented in Nigeria by Brito-Fulani co-imperialists, cannot take Sovereign Decisions over the National Security of Biafran peoples.