Monday, March 27, 2017

Ndi-Igbo And The Biafran Question

By Okafor Judith
I have heard so many people ask, "Why won't Ndi-Igbo forget the memories of the 1967-70 civil war and move on?" Or "Why is it that Ndi-Igbo cannot forget the bitterness of the civil war and move on?"
Odumegwu-Ojukwu taking oath of office as
Biafra Head of State in 1967

But I have these for those who have been asking the aforementioned questions:
The countries of Europe still discuss about the 30 year war that brought about the Westphalia treaty of 1648.
The Jews have not forgotten the holocaust of 1940s.
Alexander the Great wars of over 2000 years ago are still being talked about.
Ndi-Igbo have every right to discuss about the war because Warsaw still discuss the attack on her by Germany in 1939 in their history classrooms. Learning one or two things from it.
The First World War that was fought in 1914 which disrupted the relative peace in Europe for over 100 years is still being discussed.
The US attack on Japanese two cities - Hiroshima and Nagasaki that led to the subsequent end of the Second World War is still being discussed till date.
The aforementioned Wars and among others were fought during the 17th century and early 20th century. While the Biafra-Nigeria war that was fought in the mid 20th century is the one that Ndi-Igbo should not talk about, but rather forget and move on.

Well, the bitterness of the war would have been soothed, if only the likes of Benjamin Adekunle (Scorpion), Obafemi Awolowo, Yakubu Gowon, Mohammad Buhari, Murtala Mohammed and the host of others were charged for war crimes.
The Igbo would have moved on if those that lost their jobs during the war were automatically re-absorbed into the civil service and military immediately after the war.
Ndi-Igbo would have learnt again to fly, if the Biafra pounds was reasonably exchanged with the Nigeria's currency and, were allowed to withdraw from their savings in the Nigerian Banks before the war. Rather the Federal government placed an embargo on their bank accounts and savings.
The bitterness of the war would have been tasty, if the Federal government did not introduce the obnoxious financial policy: whereby Biafrans (Ndi-Igbo) were given only 20  pounds, irrespective of the amount of money they had in their bank account after the war. And this was only possible when they were able to present their banking papers. Irrespective of the fact that many of them lost their banking papers in the course of this war.
It would have made more sense, if only the Federal government never introduced the 'indigenization policy' immediately after the war. This policy enabled only the Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani and others who were handy at that time to buy shares and became co-owners of major companies and banks, hence, leaving the Igbo at the crossroads.
It would have made more sense, if only 'The Reconstruction Policy' was seriously pursued and successfully done. Apart from the Asaba end of the River Niger bridge, which was constructed at the end of the war, no other serious attempt was made by the federal government to fix all that were destroyed in Igbo land during the war.
Time would have healed so fast in varying degrees, if The University of Nigeria Nsukka was never abandoned despite the fact that it was almost reduced to rubble during the war. This perhaps was a way of paying the university back for quickly changing its name to 'University of Biafra', and also producing the scientists that produced the Ogbu n'Igwe that they (Ndi-Igbo) used to suppress the Nigerian troops.
I could go on and on to give many reasons, but the fact still remains that Ndi-Igbo can never forget about the war. It has legacies which should learn from.
Dalu nu, Igbo ndi nwem!

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