By Charles Ogbu
The greatest tragedy the Nigerian state has carried out against the Igbos apart from murdering over 3 million of their women and children, is the removal of history from our schools. The younger generation of Nigerians now have different twisted versions of the Biafra war and what led to it as well as the role played by the dramatis personae of that unfortunate but avoidable incident.
Hearing a typical hypocritical “Nigerian Peacemaker” talk about Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and the Biafran war, you’d be forgiven to think Ojukwu was just a rebel who came out of his mother’s womb with deep-seated hatred for Nigeria.
My generation will no longer sit back and watch morally bankrupt men twist history and paint the prey as the predator, the protagonist as the annewsonist and the victim as the perpetrator.
Ojukwu was one of the most patriotic men to have graced this British business center called Nigeria. As the son of one of the then richest men in Africa, sir Louis Ojukwu and a product of one of the best universities in the whole world, Oxford university, the young Ojukwu had the wherewithal to excel in any field or even relax and take over his father’s chain of businesses or continue in the civil service which he joined on his return from Oxford but he opted to enrol in the Nigerian military becoming the very first Oxford product to join the army.
In the army, Ojukwu rose to the rank of a Colonel, commanded a battalion for Nigeria in kano, served Nigeria as a military administrator and was the only military officer who insisted that Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, a Yoruba man who was next in command to Aguiyi Ironsi must be the next head of state after the killing of Ironsi and his guest, Col. Fajuyi in Ibadan by Northern soldiers led by Theophilus Danjuma. The northern coup leaders had insisted on Yakubu Gowon as their choice but Ojukwu insisted on adhering to military hierarchy, discipline and tradition by seeing that power was handed over to Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe who was next in rank to Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi.
With the backing of the coup plotters, Col. Gowon took over power and as a disciplined officer, Col, Ojukwu refused to recognise him as the head of state leading to the very first serious disagreement between the two men.
Ojukwu’s disagreement with Gowon was not for any selfish reason. It was as a result of his insistence in seeing to it that the right thing was done.
And for all his selfless services to the country, what did Ojukwu get in return?
His people were massacred in their numbers in the North. Their shops were burnt and as a vindictive man, Gowon refused to do anything to stop the Igbo pogrom. Nigerian soldiers were not just unable to stop the Igbo killing, they actively took part in it just as they are currently doing even as I write this. Seeing to it that the Igbos were annihilated became Nigeria’s ‘One-Point-Agenda’
And what did Ojukwu do then?
He sued for peace. He made several effort to get the Gowon-led govt to protect the Igbos leaving in the North. Gowon gave him assurances and relying on these assurances, the Eze-Igbo Gburugburu assured Igbos who came back from the North as a result of the killings to go back to the North. How was he to know that the assurances he got from Gowon was like a promise of friendship made to the chicks by the hawk. The pogrom continued and most of those who went back to the North following Ojukwu’s assurance which was sourced from Gowon, came back to Ala-Igbo in body bags.
Even then, Ojukwu still didn’t declare Biafra. He still felt he could get the Gowon-led govt to stop killing thesame people it was meant to protect.
Ojukwu later succeeded in getting Gowon to put his signature on a draft agreement detailing several reforms that would not only see to the end of the Igbo pogrom but equally stop a re-occurrence in future. This event took place in Aburi, Ghana. But the Nigerian side came back home and reneged on the agreement. And the ethnic cleansing targeted at the Igbos leaving in the North yet continued.
Please, do not say because you read this from Charles Ogbu, therefore, it must be true. Do your own independent verification of everything I’ve written here. These are all verifiable facts. Google is still reachable.
Ojukwu never wanted to secede from Nigeria. It was Nigeria which pushed him away and almost sent his Igbo people into extinction. Ojukwu made several attempts to find a peaceful way out of the terrible situation. He pursued the peaceful approach but Gowon and co rubbished every of his peace effort including the most popular Aburi Accord where they drank and hugged each other only for the plateau state-born then young soldier, Yakubu Gowon to still refuse to implement the Aburi Accord.
It was after all of Ojukwu’s peace attempts were resisted by the Gowon-led govt in the face of the continued govt-sponsored killing of Igbos in the North that the Eastern General Assembly mandated the Oxford trained Governor-General of the then Eastern region, Col. Chukwuemeka Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu to declare the Eastern region as the Republic Of Biafra in a bid to protect the Igbo race from being annihilated.
Isn’t it criminally offensive that an average OneNigeria advocate would blame Ojukwu for declaring Biafra in a bid to protect his people from murderers, rapists and vampires but would neither blame those northerners whose insatiable blood lust led to the death of thousands of Igbos which was what forced Ojukwu to declare Biafra in the first place nor blame Yakubu Gowon and co who used the instrumentalists of the govt to aide and abet those northern barbarians rather than protect the Igbos?
And today, all the govt-sponsored killings and institutionalized marginalization targeted at the Igbos which gave birth to the Biafran war then have all gotten worse under another northerner, Muhammadu Buhari.
And you yet pretend not to know why the Igbos yet cry towards Biafra??
By Charles Ogbu