Biafrans - Who they are, part 1

Some people claim that Igbos are not Biafrans. They say that the genuine Biafrans inhabit Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States; in other words, the genuine Biafrans are the native of Eastern Niger Delta. Igbos are not native to Eastern Niger Delta, Igbos are not genuine Biafrans; they are fake Biafrans. The genuine Biafrans belong to the South-South zone. Their allegations are based on the reports of the two historians Elizabeth Isichei and Adiele Afigbo.

Elizabeth Isichei and Adiele Afigbo, will not join people in telling lies concerning the relationship between Igbos and Biafra Isichei, though an Australian woman by birth, is an Igbo by marriage. She became Professor of History at the University of Jos in 1976 and is the leading Igbo historian. Afigbo became a Professor of History at the University of Nigeria in 1973. Afigbo read history at the University of Ibadan between 1958 and 1964, at a time when African history flourished greatly at the university.Igbo opinion leaders are free to ask for self-determination, non-marginalisation, possible secession of an all-embracing Igbo State from the federation of Nigeria. They ought to speak only on behalf of the Ígbo nation. No person will feel offended if they advertise probable secession plans for an all-Igbo-State but not Biafra, for Igbos are not Biafrans.

The Bight of Biafra, which General Yakubu Gowon, then Head of State of Nigeria, changed to ‘Bight of Bonny’in 1971 or so, is a geographical entity and not a political entity.

On 30 May, 1967, Chief Emeka Ojukwu turned the geographical entity into a political entity by including Igbos, thereby dragging Nigeria into an unprecedented 30-month experiment in human misery that cost the nation about two million lives, excluding invaluable property and monies that the barbaric war consumed.

A similar confusion appears to be raging in our National Assembly regarding a proper definition of the Niger Delta. Actually, the geographical Niger-Delta system covers virtually all the minor ethnic groups that constitute the South South zone of Nigeria. Igbos and Yorubas are not native to the Niger-Delta system. Some Igbos and Yorubas are native to various section of the River Niger but not to its Delta system.

However, just as Chief Ojukwu led the Igbos in 1967 to hijack Biafra from its genuine owners, deliberately ignoring the harbour cities of Port Harcourt and Calabar and making the riverless and rocky coal city of Enugu the political capital of a supposedly ocean situated nation, so have the Igbo and Yoruba power brokers at the National Assembly in 2000 introduced a political map of the Niger-Delta system (also known as the oil map of the Niger-Delta system) that now includes such riverless town as Umuahia, Aba and Owerri in Igboland and Akure in Yorubaland in the Niger-Delta system. Wonders shall never end.

Ceteris paribus, Enugu ought not to have been the political capital of Biafra between 1967 and 1970. Either Port Harcourt or Calabar should have been. Consider the numerous examples along the Gulf of Guinea from Senegal to Gabon. Virtually all the capital cities are situated near the cost. They include Dakar in Senegal, Banjul in Gambia, Bissau in Guinea Bissau, Conakry in Guinea, Freetown in Sierra Leone, Monrovia in Liberia, Abidjan in Ivory Coast (or Cote d’Ivoire), Accra in Ghana, Lome, in Togo, Porto-Novo in Benin and Libreville in Gabon.

The best example is exhibited in Equatorial Guinea where all the mainland cities were ignored and the island of Malabo serves as political capital. The only two exceptions are perhaps Nigeria and Cameroun. In the case of Nigeria, for about one and half centuries beginning from the 1840s, the coastal cities of Calabar and Lagos served as political capital. Abuja effectively became capital only in the out-going decade. Even at that, Abuja is situated at the centre of Nigeria unlike Enugu that is situated at the extreme northern border of Biafra. In the case of Cameroun, Yaounde, though not exactly on the coast, is also not very far from Douala, the nation’s biggest coastal city. Yaounde in Cameroun also greatly contrast with Enugu of Chief Emeka Ojukwu’s dream empire of ‘Biafra’.

Irrespective of the numerous political tricks played on the legitimage Biafrans on 30 May 1967 or those Igbo and Yoruba power-brokers are currently applying at the National Assembly, the truth remains transparent. As long as Geography and Politics (or Political Science) are studied in distinct departments in Nigerian universities, no amount of political tricks can succesfully camouflage the geographical fact under consideration, namely, that Igbos are not Biafrans.

Are they correct or is there maybe a more correct truth?

Read part 2 and make your own conclusions! 

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