The date is 15th January, 1970 and few minutes ago Philip Effiong just announced in clear, unmistakable terms that Biafra as a country has ceased to exist. That date would also be remembered for the, ”˜no victor; no vanquished‘ speech by Yakubu Gowon which was covered in as much infamy as Murtala Mohammed‘s death. (of course I was not there)
A generation later I pick up a book written by the greatest literary figure of modern African civilization and for someone, whose principles and philanthropist views are unquestionable; he gave the book in question the name, ”˜THERE WAS A COUNTRY.‘ The verb ”˜WAS‘ is to me the most significant part of the book title. I doubt that Chinua Achebe, a colossus of written literature didn‘t know the full implications of giving his book that specific title. Maybe some people tried dissuading him from making use of that title but he used it nonetheless.
Some facts relating to the civil war were too obvious to be ignored and it‘s unarguable that the Igbo tribe suffered more from the whole debacle. From the gory memories of the pogrom to the sheer villainy of giving all Igbos twenty pound notes irrespective of their pre-war financial strength. Fingers would always be pointed whenever the Nigeria-Biafra civil war is discussed with enough claims and counter claims from both sides of the divide. That is not in any way what this article is meant to do.
This think piece is solely about the current clangor for Biafra‘s existence especially within the south-eastern states and what I opine about the situation.
Still on Achebe‘s book, (which I think is a must read for every Igbo,) if there ever was a perfect phrase to complete the book title then it should be, ”˜THERE WAS A COUNTRY; THERE IS A NATION‘ and rightly so too. The Igbo nation has survived beyond the existence of the country Biafra and that to me is a clear indicator that conflict and violence would definitely not provide the solace we need.
They are subtler ways through which we can, as a people, transcend the expectations that necessitated the war in the first place and honor the memories of the ones we lost. This doesn‘t discredit the efforts of our brothers and sisters who fought in the disadvantageous end of a lopsided battle.Their hands were forced and they did, with the little they had, exhibit the type of valor that Homer would have done better justice to but today we find ourselves living in a world where the term ”˜infinite possibilities‘ does exist and we can as a nation could and should tap into the resources this phenomenon gives us to create an Igbo nation stronger without weapons and brighter for the future of our little ones.
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