Anger, defiance and condemnation have greeted President Muhammadu Buhari’s stand on the Biafra agitation, with frontline Igbo groups and leaders insisting that no force on earth can stop the Biafra sun from rising.
Buhari had declared in Katsina State that Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable, arguing that it would be better for all to drown than to allow Biafra secede. He referred to those agitating for Biafra as kids who were not born during the civil war, which claimed over two million lives.
Individuals and groups that bared their minds yesterday included the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), ex-Biafran warlord, Col. Joe Achusia (retd.), the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
While the leader of BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, said no one can stop the realisation of the state of Biafra, Achusia described Buhari’s statement that his administration would not allow the agitation for Biafra to succeed as a personal opinion. And for MASSOB, Ndigbo should match ahead with full hope that the state of Biafra would be achieved soonest and the people liberated from the clutches of oppression.
In a statement by its national director of information, Sunny Okereafor, MASSOB said: “Buhari is the president of his country, Nigeria, and he is free to say whatever he wanted and we on the other side will not engage him in any verbal war on this issue, but what we want to assure our people is that Biafra will be achieved before the end of his tenure. We have our focus, which is to actualise Biafra through non-violent struggle. We’ve gone a long way and there is no going back. So, if anybody feels like drowning, Biafra will not drown alongside that person, it will remain afloat.”
Our freedom unstoppable
On its part, IPOB said the freedom of Biafrans was unstoppable despite all the killings, incarcerations and intimidation.
“We are about to cross the Red Sea, we are confident of what will soon happen to Pharaoh and his chariots, we can sight the Promised Land, victory is assured,” IPOB said in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful.
“We are marching in solidarity and in honour of over 200 of our members killed. And the over 100 others who are still missing and to state to the whole world that your death will not be in vain.”
A different kind of Biafra
Uwazuruike while reacting to the statement by President Buhari that the Federal Government under his watch will use every resources to crush the actualisation of Biafra, said the Biafra Nigeria defeated in 1970 was not the same with the present one:
“The important thing is not what President Buhari said because he is mistaken as the Biafra which was defeated in 1970 is not the same with what we have today. Biafra cannot be defeated because its realisation is already at hand and the activities of the Fulani herdsmen has now made it even easier.”
Similarly, Chief Benjamin Duru of the World Igbo Institute, said Biafranism was a spiritual movement that cannot be defeated because Biafra means justice, equity and freedom. “And that is what Nigeria needs,” he stated.
Agitation for true identity
Achusia said Ndigbo should not panic saying that as a Nigerian, Buhari was entitled to his own opinion like every other Nigerians, but noted that the Biafra agitation was for a true identity just like they have Arewa for the North and Afenifere for the South- West.
“He calls himself Arewa, in the South-West they have Afenifere, why can’t they allow us to have our name as it was even before the almagamation? What is in a name? Is it a boogie name?
“Except an individual has malice against another, that is when you begin to deny him of his identity. We are not asking for the Biafra of the secessionist era, we are asking for a name and let people see us for who we are,” he said.
Achuzia recalled that “our children who were born over 30 years under the name of Biafra and were sent out to different parts of the world, have now returned home to maintain their true identity by agitating for the name Biafra. So, people should not panic because of the President’s personal opinion, it is his opinion. As such, people should not get angry unnecessarily or start reading meaning to it.” (Daily Sun)