I bring you greetings.
It is beyond argument that, through the agitation for Biafra which you lead, you, The Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) have brought both local and international attention to the plight of Ndigbo in Nigeria. You have raised our consciousness to a level never seen before. In the face of naked brutality and state terrorism, you have stood tall, refusing to bow to tyranny. Your members have paid the ultimate price for the emancipation of the people of old Eastern region from the clutches of Nigeria, a country that is deaf and dumb to the sanctity of human lives. Above all, you have resisted the urge to go violent, remaining peaceful, even in the face of demonic provocation from the Muhammad Buhari led government. For these, my gratitude is yours.
I have not come to offer you gratitude. I have come to convey to you my concerns in areas I reasonably believe you are progressing in error and offer unsolicited advice as an Igbo man and a stake holder in the Biafra project. Just to be very clear, this letter is for the sake of posterity, seeing as we are all before history and will be judged by it.
1) The Biafra agitation IS NOT a quest for vendetta against Igbo politicians, Ohaneze Ndigbo and other Igbo non-IPOB members who may not share your method on Biafra in toto even when they may completely share the underlying message of your agitation. The Biafra agitation is a people’s cry against state-sponsored killings and other forms of institutionalized injustices. A quest for freedom to self determine our future and explore our potentials. That the Igbo leadership collective has not lived up to our expectations as youths is not in doubt. But a wise man must first catch Mr Vulture before asking him the name of his Barber. K’anyi zotagodi ana tupu anyi azowa ute.
2) To preside over a people, exercise any authority over them or even agitate for anything on their behalf, you must first understand them. Sometimes I fear that some of you, especially the online warriors, do not really understand the Igbo so well. Ndigbo are natural parliamentarians with a deeply rooted republican default setting. A very proud people. And they like debating every issue and having every man contribute his opinion before a conclusion is reached. This is the only way the conclusion can be binding on them. Plus, they don’t give anyone, not even the gods, absolute loyalty or trust. They can shout “Hosanna To The Highest” for you today but they won’t hesitate to gift you with “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” song the next day if they feel you are no longer serving their interest. Even if an Igbo man knows that you are taking him to heaven for a one-on-one with God, he will still need you to explain to him, in full detail, how you intend to do the journey and even after your explanation, he will not just close his eyes and allow you carry him in a wheelbarrow to God. He will want to walk the road to heaven with you, with his eyes wide open, maka adighi ama ama. That is who the Igbo man is. Most importantly, you don’t order him around.
This foray into who the Igbo man is, is as necessary as it is strategic, to enable us have a better understanding of the people for whom we are agitating for Biafra.
3) If a non IPOB Biafran expresses divergent view on any issue concerning the Biafra agitation, questions your method or voices concerns about any of your activities, do not be so quick to shut him up, insult him into silence, character-assasinate or bully him while spraying the “Sabo” tag on him like the anti-mosquito thing called “Raid”. You cannot insult an Independent Biafra Nation into existence neither can you character-assasinate your own people into submission. Everytime you insult people for asking question or refusing to follow your method without question, you create the wrong impression that the Biafra you are fighting for will be one in which free speech will be outlawed and people branded Saboteurs simply for owning and expressing divergent views on issues affecting them. Remember, the Biafra you are fighting for will not be for your members only. And if it is for all of us, how can one be a Saboteur simply for asking question or disagreeing with your method?? Being a member of IPOB does not make you more Biafran than other Igbo non IPOB members just as insulting people does not make you a hardcore IPOB members.
4) Whatever you do, however you do it, please DO NOT boycott election, especially your own states elections UNLESS you are ready to go violent. The only two means of securing an independent Nation is through the Political process or war. Any other thing aside this two is what the Igbo call ‘Ajambene’. No one will take you seriously, no one will fear you, and surely, no politician in Igboland will lose sleep over your activities UNTIL you put your numerical strength into use and prove that you can punish your enemies and reward your friends with your vote. Political power is everything. The man who holds it can determine when you should sleep and wake up. If you can’t use your numerical strength to change political terrorists in Biafra land and replace them with real Igbo Patriots who will at least use their States Attorney Generals to ensure your members are not thrown into jail simply for holding a flag, your journey to the land of the rising sun will remain an endless one because the truth is, the second biggest tragedy of Ndigbo is the tragedy of leadership.
If you cannot control your own homogeneous Igbo Nation, politically, with all your much touted numerical strength, you simply cannot extricate Biafra from Nigeria.
5)For any agitation to succeed, the agitators must balance Emotion (passionate commitment) with Reason. Before taking any steps, the first question you must always ask yourself is, how will this step take me closer to my target. And seeing as a Referendum date is your target, your question should be, HOW WILL ELECTION BOYCOTT HELP BRING THE MUCH NEEDED REFERENDUM FOR BIAFRA? The answer to the above question should be your guide.
It is an unjust world we live in. No one but us is coming to save us. Nigeria is a sovereign “Nation” with enough black liquid to bribe away the eyes of the international community from our plight. The United Nation is an assemblage of Nations full of flowry speeches but devoid of conscience. In the midst of well documented ethnic cleansing the Cameroonian sit-tight leader, Paul Biya is carrying out against the people of Southern Cameroon, the same UN “rewarded” Paul Biya with a seat at its Human Rights council. Syria yet burns in a senseless war being fueled by member States of the same UN. They care about one thing and one thing alone: Their Interest. The US is no different. The way and manner the US President, Donald Trump placed his country’s business interest with Saudi Arabia over and above the need to get justice for Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist allegedly butchered by the Saudi Authorities says it all.
lastly, brethren, I understand that due to the emotional attachment we have for Biafra, some of you might feel uncomfortable with this piece but I assure you, I bear nothing but love for you all and it is because of that love that I have refused to allow you be like ‘Eze Onye Agwana m’ who was busy dancing naked while mistaking laughter directed at his nakedness for cheers for his dancing prowess.
We cannot stop the Nigerian rain from falling but we can at least take measures to stop ourselves from being beaten by it.
You can reach Charles Ogbu @RealCharlesOgbu