First, he accepted a full unconditional pardon from a Nigeria President Shehu Shagari and returned to Nigeria from his exile in the Ivory Coast. Second, he joined a national party, the NPN, and contested for a senate seat under its platform as a prospective senator of Nigerian. He had a choice of joining the NPP which to a greater extent was a regional Igbo (Biafran) party, but he chose not to. Third, he vowed to go to war again; but only to ensure Nigeria's unity and would fight anyone and any cause that would jeopardize the country's existence as one indivisible entity. Fourth, in every interview and press releases he gave ever since his return from exile, he did not leave anyone in doubt where he stands on the question of Nigeria's unity.
Ojukwu severally reiterated his position that there will be no more secession by Biafra and that Ndigbo are back to Nigeria for good and for the long haul. Lastly, he accepted and received his full pension and accrued benefits from Nigeria government as a retired Colonel of the Nigeria army. And then when he passed away, he was buried with full military honors by Nigeria government and his burial was attended by notable Nigerians, including the late Emir of Kano Ado Bayero, who came to bid a fellow Nigerian farewell. Therefore it is safe to vouchsafe that Ojukwu died a Nigerian and would not be holding a brief for these modern day Biafranists who now want to secede.
Conversely, if Ojukwu is not Biafra and Biafra is not Ojukwu; and it is agreed that the two were separate entities; and that Biafra as an idea is bigger and greater than any one single individual including Ojukwu; and that Ojukwu is but the then arrowhead of the struggle for freedom that is Biafra, then Biafra survived Ojukwu and is still very much alive and well in the hearts and minds of those it represents something very dear and uplifting. So it goes without saying that the current restiveness among the polity that constitute Biafra is well founded because they have a standing to aspire to a dream Biafran-land; and therefore their agitation should be treated with all its deserved seriousness by the authorities in Nigeria in order to avoid a complete nuclear meltdown of Nigeria.
Biafra is an idea which time came a very long time ago; but is only being hounded and suppressed by forces that are too afraid to let it come alive and thrive. It is a symbol of a cause, founded to protect against crass and imprudent discrimination, marginalization and suppression of a people. It is an effort against oppression, genocide, pogrom and a defense of a peoples' right to life and pursuit of happiness. It is a call of duty to fight for survival of a people threatened with complete annihilation. But unfortunately, the lessons of the last civil war appear lost on Nigeria, as many of the unjust things that led to that war still subsist till today.
They have become rather more perversive and their perpetrators more emboldened and audacious. The discrimination of the same people and the treating them as if they are second class and not bona fides of the Nigeria society has only metastasized leading to the current uprising by boys and girls who were not even born during the last war and whose fathers and mothers were hardly old enough to have fought in the previous war. It shows that Biafra lives on, did not die with the last war nor was it buried alongside with Ojukwu, regardless of what his intentions were on Biafrans' reintegration back into Nigeria.
Icheoku says this is the fuel driving Biafra, especially the current agitation by courageous Biafrans who were either not born or were too young to actually participate or appreciate the magnitude of the disaster that was the previous confrontation with the Federal Government of Nigeria. So the government of Nigeria as well as other Nigerians must address the issue fueling this agitation rather than condemning those agitators as disgruntled miscreants who are not relevant and are up to no good and do not mean well for Nigeria. Icheoku says that a government of Nigeria and other Nigerian nationalities, who want an all inclusive Nigeria, must address the inequities and blatant marginalization and discrimination that is so pervasive in Nigeria. It is akin to the American experience where racist white people are eager to brand black men as angry but do not care to find out what is it that is at the root of this anger in black males of America.
Icheoku says it is not the composition of Nigeria as it is that is the problem. Nope, the problem is the skewed politics of "we and them" that has continually seen the people of Biafra left holding the plate in the affairs and matters of Nigeria. There is stength in number and majority of Nigerians including the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, would prefer a united one Nigeria as opposed to a balkanized one. These people would like to see a more united and unified Nigeria, where every citizen feels a sense of belonging and equally having a skin in the game of building the country and equally benefiting from the country. But it is not so; instead some people feel entitled to everything while some others feel left outside the door, begging for what should be theirs as of right. This is the problem and the underlying reason fueling all these agitations throughout Nigeria. No people or even a person likes to be blatantly treated as a stranger in his own father's house or country as in the case of the people of Biafra in Nigeria.
For example, if those Golden Eaglets who played and won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Championship Chile 2015 as Nigerians, could find jobs in any part of Nigeria as Nigerians; could live in any part of Nigeria unfettered as Nigerians; could aspire to any office in the land including the presidency of Nigeria as Nigerians; could marry anyone and raise their children in any part of Nigeria as Nigerians; could live in any part of Nigeria as Nigerians without being treated as none indigenes; could have their children attend schools in any part of Nigeria they call abode without discriminatory fees and charges; then bring on one united Nigeria and every Biafran would stand for it. Biafrans are for one indivisible, truly united Nigeria; but not one where unity is stressed when convenient for some and put aside when it is not.
Continuing with the Golden Eaglets analogy, but where any member of the winning team say from Edo State comes back and cannot go to Sokoto to get a job except as a mere contract staff without benefits; cannot live freely in any part of Nigeria if he is Igbo, without fear of deportation as an unwanted nuisance in Lagos or having his head randomly chopped off if in Northern parts of the country for simply being Igbo; cannot have a bridge linking to his geographical region built because it is an existing Nigeria state policy to deny and deprive his region of infrastructural developments; cannot aspire to the highest office in the land, the presidency, including holding certain portfolios, then these perpetrators and deniers of equity in Nigeria must have another thing coming and should roll their sleeves to deal with what is down the pike with the newly reignited Biafra agitation.
Icheoku says there is nothing unusual about devolution of unions which can no longer meaningfully co-exist as one. With married couple, it is called divorce; which allows spouses who cannot continue to tolerate each other in the same living space to go their respective ways. Such also applies to geographical entities and the world is filled with entities that have splintered over the many years because they could no longer live peacefully together as one, with South Sudan being the latest.
If Nigeria goes the same way and Biafra becomes an independent entity, so be it as it will not be the first nor the last such came into being. However, Icheoku continues to advocate for a stronger, more unified and united Nigeria; but one in which every one feels equal and where there is no born to rule mentality people lording it over their assumed lesser mortals. Icheoku maintains that no one is superior to another in Nigeria and therefore it is insulting for some people to always insist it is going to be their way or the whole country goes to hell in hand's basket.
Scotland had a referendum for statehood; Basque separatists did too; so why can't the authorities in Nigeria or even the United Nations push for a referendum in Nigeria to conclusively determine what is actually in the best interest of Nigeria, a united or a balkanized Nigeria. Must they wait until the agitation boils over and there is a conundrum before they do the needful? Icheoku however cautions that an independent Biafra might not be what is needed at this time as a more functioning united Nigeria is the key. Experience shows that as long as humans live together, fault lines will always emerge, no matter the devolution of political entities.
Modakeke and Ife are still not the best of friends in Oshun State? Onitsha and Obosi people in Anambra State are still feuding? Junkuns and Igbiras; Tivs and Idomas; Zango Katafs and Hausa/Fulanis; Beroms and Fulanis etc have remained permanent cats and dogs. Then on the international sphere, the very recently created South Sudan have seen war erupt between the Dimkas and Jolof tribes. So internecine conflict will not end with the letting go of Biafra but should it be a bar to trying? Even families still fight amongst their members; and in nearly homogeneous societies such as one united by one religion, crisis still develop. Pakistan was primarily carved out as a safe-haven for Muslims from a Hindu-dominated India, to ensure peace among its muslim population, yet they are still killing themselves.
It is a fact of life that things do not always usually go as planned; but like couples trapped in an arranged unhappy marriage, Icheoku says may be the different nationalities that constitute Nigeria should try a brief timeout from living together? They could give it a shot and be at liberty to later come back together as one, why not? It is an experiment that might be worth undertaking, considering the degree of restiveness currently pervading the country. A clobbered nationalities which who do not see themselves as one nor primarily as Nigerians; but who easily first identifies themselves based on their tribes. They don't care about Nigeria's survival, but only cares about what they can milk from it.
This is the reason they are always insisting on their way or the highway for others; and thus, secretly wishing by their action that country's center do not hold but to fall apart and into pieces. Icheoku does not share in this their divisive and detrimental actions; and says that whatever happens, absent a more reinvented and revived Nigeria which is working for everyone, a peaceful dissolution of the entity might not be an out of place thinking. Such a peaceful dissolution as happened in the former Yugoslavia, might be the best option for Nigeria under the present circumstance. Better still, let Nigeria devolve into its regional components as truly federating units; and let every region compete with one another to be the best they can be, but still under the umbrella of one Nigeria.