By Anthony A. Kila
Those who easily discard the spirit of Biafra are wrong and they need to be corrected. A closer look at their position and action will easily reveal that their swiftness to discard is borne out of ignorance and naivety at best or intolerance and malice at worst.
Lest we become guilty of what we accuse others of doing, it is time that we openly defended the spirit of Biafra from its internal and external enemies.
The spirit of Biafra like any other collective spirit is more of a feeling than an idea or a plan. It is a non-tangible vessel that harbors an imagined lost glorious past or a possible future for collective solace. It is only natural for any group to invoke such spirit anytime their sense of exclusion and oppression outweighs that of belonging.
Politicians who say “we are all Nigerians and Nigeria is non negotiable” should be dared to run for office without seriously considering ethnic balance in their plans and actions.
Truth is, only a foreigner or an imbecile is sincerely ethnically blind in Nigeria. I have noticed that in the public space there are two kinds of Nigerians. The ones that prosper by clinging unto and riding on their ethnic or even religious identity, then we have those that advance and prosper by maltreating their own to show the rest that they can be trusted. In both cases, neither is ethnically blind.
In a country where crucial relationships such as nominations and elections into public office as well concessions and permissions granted by the state to private citizens and organizations is largely influenced by one’s ethnic origin, it really is unfair to ask anybody to renounce their ethnic identity.
Let’s face it. Nigeria at best is a ‘union of nations’. What the good people in Nigeria should be advocating and monitoring are fairness and dignity for all members of the union. Such goodness can and must be measured by their consistency of position regardless of the different parties involved in any similar case.
Part of the biggest and most dangerous enemies of the spirit of Biafra like any other collective spirit are therefore those Igbo leaders that got personal benefits from Nigeria in the name of the Igbo and did nothing tangible for the Ndi Igbo. The spirit of Biafra needs to be defended from such vultures.
Equally or perhaps more dangerous to the spirit of Biafra are the ‘new kids on the block’ led by Nnamdi Kanu and his likes now perpetuating the Biafraud: an enterprise built on falsity and hatred to generate fame and fortune at the expense of gullible Igbo people. The spirit of Biafra needs to be seriously defended from these Biafraudsters who have kept mute about Biafra until a new government came into power in Nigeria.
The ‘new kids on the block’ are more dangerous because unlike their fathers who exploited the Ndi Igbo’s identity for political gain this new generation of Biafraudsters are actually exposing the lives of the Igbo to real dangers. Whilst their fathers simply got power by using their ethnic identity then leaving the ordinary but industrious people to fend for themselves. This new breed is asking for money and they are even trying to close the avenue from which the Ndi Igbo make a living.
Truth be said, the Nigerian institutions have not handled the situation well either. The spirit of Biafra needs to be defended from the Nigerian Government too. In a country that offers an endless carnival of the absurd, one of the most comical self induced errors since May 29 2015 was when the National Broadcasting Commission announced that it had neutralize Radio Biafra then it turned out not to be so.
The Presidency through the spokesperson also helped with a nail in the spirit of Biafra by responding to some spurious accusations broadcasted on Radio Biafra. That was perhaps the best publicity Biafraudsters could get.
The people and government of Nigeria need to start acting in a matured and wise way when it comes to issues of ethnicities and nationalities in Nigeria. Acting as if Nigeria were one nation is not only false but also wrong. Coercing Nigerians to as act as if we were one nation is not only illogical and illegitimate but also counter-productive. The best, the government can do, is to openly try to form a new identity made of the Nigerian Spirit by negotiating with its people.
We need to realize that until a very long time to come, once in a while, one of the nations that make up the union called Nigeria will feel at ease and will question its place amongst us. At the point all the rest can do is ask for it to be carried out through legal means and without putting the lives of any of its members at risk.
We need to accept that until a very long time to come, natural but doused spirits of Arewacin Nijeriya will come out as Arewa Republic, Omo Oduduwa as Odua Republic etc.
No spirit should be maltreated; individuals that lie or try to mislead the less-informed and most impressionable members should be exposed and punished.
It is the duty of the noble ones in each nation to protect and defend the spirit of the collective from few gold diggers and fraudsters that will exploit and tarnish the spirit of all.
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