Saturday, July 1, 2017
HOW TO ACTUALIZE BIAFRA WITHOUT A WAR - CHUKWUMA EGEMBA
1999, the flame of fire for Biafra restoration was re-started with the formation of Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, Uche Okwukwu, Prince Orjiako and others with the aim of securing the resurgence of Biafra independence and sovereignty. Since then, the flame had spread into a wild and unstoppable fire, thanks to the efforts of thousands of Biafrans with unquenchable appetite for freedom and justice. The setting up of Radio Biafra London (RBL) in 2009 – the brain child of Sam Ume (Tagbo Umeasiegbu) and actively supported by Nnamdi Kanu, Dr. Chukwuma Egemba, Nwada Amarachi Okpara, Uche Mefor and Kingsley Kanu added more fuel to the burning wild fire, making it unquenchable and unstoppable.
Today, the forces of freedom and justice, which Biafra represents, have set it on collision course with the government of Nigeria, which sees the resurgence of Biafra as a threat to its national unity and territorial integrity. In fact, Nigerian government sees Biafra more threatening than Boko Haram that had physically taken over sizeable chunk of its territory and killed hundreds of security operatives and innocent civilians, hence the efforts of successive governments to out-do each other in repressing and suppressing Biafra restoration efforts.
Unfortunately, the more highhanded and aggressive they become in trying to diminish the fighting spirit of Biafran activists, the more determined and aggressive we become in fighting to bitter end for our survival, freedom and justice. The recent and ongoing tsunami of protests around the world against the arrest, continued detention and mocked trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the Director of RBL; imprisonments, extra judicial killings and police brutality against Biafra activists are testament to the fact that the match for Biafra restoration is unstoppable until victory is achieved. It is very unfortunate, criminally indicting and unacceptable that many innocent people had been killed needlessly by Nigerian security operatives and often buried in mass graves. These callous and cowardly actions had not diminished and cannot diminish the quest of Biafrans from freedom.
However, a tactical and strategic retreat is necessary and should be encouraged now. It is not a surrender or sign of weakness. Even in battles, generals make tactical and strategic retreat and withdrawal in order to re-strategize and regroup for further attack. It is clear that Biafraland has been fully militarized with more mechanized formations being deplored in different parts of our land, especially in Aba and its environs. Former Boko Haram prisoners and terrorist had been let loose, armed and fully incorporated into the army and police and sent to Biafra territories with clear instruction to shoot at site Biafran activists and protesters, no matter how peaceful they may appear. Besides, we have chief murderous ‘security’ officers at federal and state levels, who had openly declared their hatred for Biafra and the Biafran cause. Therefore, it will be unwise to give these blood thirsty murderers further excuses to murder more of our young and innocent people. Tactical retreat is not surrender.
Again, I have argued and will continue to argue that armed struggle had run out of fashion and no long constitutes first options in self-determination in the 21st century. I have dedicated a considerable part of my adult life for the struggle to restore Biafra. During this time, I have never advocated for the use of violence as the first or preferred option. I make no apology for this stand and will hold it strongly until I am proved wrong. All evidence from all sources within all areas of Biafra points to the fact that they want the restoration of Biafra, but do not want violence and war as means of restoring their freedom and sovereignty. It will not be wise to work against the wish of the people.
It is on this premise that I am openly and unequivocally calling for the suspension of all street protests and any gathering that can be construed as such. My most worry and concern is that the protests are organized and led remotely – with the organizers – not only invincible, but also not taking responsibility for their action. This is wrong and must not be encouraged or supported. Obviously, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and the state governors in the states where Biafrans are killed will be held responsible for their murderous actions because they gave the orders and are the Chief Security Officers in their respective jurisdictions (at national and state levels). In the same manner, any person or persons, who overtly and covertly instigate innocent people to be murdered are equally culpable. Obviously, those concerned in misguiding innocent people and indirectly encouraging their murder know themselves and I know them.
I have purposely chosen not to name names here for obvious reasons, it is not out of fear of intimidation or death. Some of those involved know me too well, know how to get to me and where I live, so fear is out of it. They also know that I have contacted them personally and directly on this matter. Let me make it clearer, instigation of murder is a criminal offense.
Inasmuch as I want Biafra, prepared to commit my last breath to make the restoration of our freedom and sovereignty a reality, I do not hate Nigeria and do not wish Nigeria dead. At the end of the day, whatever that will remain of Nigeria after Biafra will be our closest neighbour, our biggest political and economic partner. Czech and Slovakia co-exist after the demise of Czechoslovakia; South Sudan did not wish Sudan dead during the pursuit of their independence; East Timor did not seek to destroy Indonesia, neither did war break out in the former Soviet Union that metamorphosed into 15 independent and sovereign states.
Oh, by the way, did black South Africans drive the white minority into the Atlantic after apartheid? Why then should any sane person or group wish Nigeria dead in order to restore Biafra? It does not make sense, both in time and space. Where then is the mantra of the Biafran people: ‘Live and let live’ that had sustained us for thousands of year? If we want to live in freedom, we must not only allow others to live, but live in peace with them. Is that not common sense? The processes, procedures, terms and conditions of self-determination of indigenous people do not and cannot include the annihilation of another people or nation. You do not have to preach hatred to prove your point and support for Biafra!
Consequently, the question of Biafra is not about war, it is not about destroying other states/nations, it is not about hating other peoples, neither is it about threat and counter threat. It is all about careful and coordinated efforts; it is about synthesizing individual, group, media campaigns into a structured and systematic action plan with tightened loose ends; it is about carefully cultivating and courting friends inside and outside, in low and high places; it is about strategically and tactically using your limited resources to maximum benefit of the struggle; it is about laying a solid grassroots economic base within the confinement of space and scope available to us; it is about building a solid political base and alliances within the confinement of current political realities; it is about changing and reshuffling plans and strategies to suit local, national and international conditions and realities and above all, it is about creating operational base. Without these, in any order, we will be punching and blowing hot air, wasting time and resources and alienating our support base. This is what we have done for more than 15 years and it is not sustainable going forward.
War or violent path to Biafra restoration is and cannot be a viable first option for several reasons:
· Local: There are no favourable local operational base for such action. We don’t have full and exclusive control of any territory from where a meaningful and successful operation could be launched. Our local population had suffered and still suffering from imposed socio-economic hardship, which will make such operation very unpopular and will add to their hardship. Violence will be hard and difficult to sell to our local support base.