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Biafra & The Zoo. To Which Do You Belong?





Some months ago after a very satisfying date with a darling friend of mine in the South, I reclined my seat as we drove home from the restaurant. He turned his radio on and I'd expected to here some sensual R'n'B music, maybe some Keith Sweat or Joe, to go with the mood. However nna bros had something else in mind as he went straight to Radio Biafra and cranked the volume way up.  

That was my first experience with radio Biafra, and it was quite surreal. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, never imagined something so "unique" existed on the airwaves. Till date I'm not sure if my friend listens to it solely for comic relief or if he's a card carrying pro-Biafran. I've been itching to ask but afraid of the answer... 

As I heard the expletives and angry words, especially the word "zoo" being thrown around once every minute, and several divisive conspiracy theories being hurled, I wondered one thing; what's the agenda, and why? 

Two months ago during a taxi ride from the PH airport into town, I engaged the taxi driver in a conversation as the dial was on Radio Biafra and he seemed very aggressive and aggrieved. He kept on yelling that they should let us have our Biafra, he is a Biafran, not a Nigerian! 
     Calmly, I asked him why. The young man in his twenties couldn't give me any meaningful reason why he says he's not Nigerian. All he said is that Nigeria is a zoo and there's a strong hate for Igbos so they will never 'let us be great'. I was hoping to gain more insight...

In recent months the antics of these "secessionists" have garnered more media attention, and the arrest of their modern day leader, Nnamdi Kanu, seems to have ruffled their feathers, there's near-palpable agitation in the air. 

So, the reason behind this post; I just stumbled upon these comments on Bella Naija on the post titled Pro-Biafra Activists in India Threaten to Destroy Nigerian Embassy and I would like to know your thoughts on them. 

(This in response to a reader saying she's Igbo and very ok being NIGERIAN)-"You are Ok being a nigerian my foot. Who are you fooling you agent of darkness and workers of iniquity. What is wow about being a nigeria?? Let the people who want to go be on their own go. Why are you holding them back?? The solution is very simple, move lagos international airport (MMIA) and and Apapa seaport to the east for only one year and see if you will still be clamoring for your pathetic “one nigeria”. You can no longer fool anyone with your evil propaganda. You are not a Biafran or igbo speaking Biafran rather".

"Please if anybody here is OK with being From the zoo..be sure to indicate when the time for referendum comes because i and millions of other Biafrans are ready to go..Tell urselves the truth-nigeria is not workable and will NEVER be.So u can be free to stay back in the zoo where u enjoy steady light,Good roads,quality education,
Where u come out from school and u have hope of getting a job or u can get loan to start business..where politicians get treated in their country..lol.
(Sarcasm, in case you were wondering)
Free #NnamdiKanu
Nigeria is a ZOO..quote me anywhere and i will defend my stance".



Thoughts, anyone? I have a few questions. 
I. Why do pro-Biafran activists always sound so angry, aggressive, hostile, insolent and caustic? 
II. Why are the pro-Biafran activists ALL in the diaspora? This I. Really. Do. Not. Get... Help, anyone?
III. Are they ready for the impact of another war? Are they really ready? Have they spoken to people that fought that war, even people that lived through the war? 

Pro or Anti Biafran, please air your views. 


I feel a need to include this addendum after receiving a few phone calls concerning this post. I'd thought it was apparent from this post that I'm writing the from a neutral standpoint. From the questions I ask, it's clear that I myself am seeking clarity on the subject and not aiming to inform or impart any knowledge on the matter. I solely aim to present a platform for people to air their diverse views. Thank you.

Comments

  1. My own question for you is, why aren't you "pro-Biafran"?

    I honestly know next to nothing about the biafran movement. All I know is, it caused the civil war, Ojukwu was their leader and they surrendered in January 1970. I honestly don't understand WHY they want to leave. I mean, what's the main reason for the movement?

    I don't think the all the pro biafran activists are in diaspora, we have them right here too, both literate and illiterate.

    If anyone can truly explain the biafran movement(without bias cos this seems to be the issue, the two sides to this story-pro and anti biafran sides are polar opposites with very very few similarities) I will be very grateful.

    I don't think anybody can be prepared for war and all its effects and consequences. They might think they are but they aren't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The answer to your question is multi-layered, and I doubt the full breadth can be captured in one post. I am also still learning the full reasons myself, but Chinua Achebe's "There Was A Country" has been quite a valuable resource to me on the subject.

      Delete
  2. The least thing we need in this country is division and in my candid opinion,the cause the pro-biafran protesters are fighting 4 is not justified and they are not d only ethnic group in nigeria,we have not been able to handle the boko haram menace and biafran is adding salt to injury.

    Mz indomi says so.

    ReplyDelete
  3. One of the problems with these masquerades agitating for Biafra is that they imagine a sane and thriving society within a couple of years if Nigeria splits. Yessir, Angels will come down and govern the land, Ngige, Okorocha, Anyim, Ekweremadu, Orji Kalu and all the well known Igbo elite will be sidelined or jailed and "intellectuals and holies" will make the land and people great. They should ask South Sudan, Eritrea, Korea, Ukraine, Cambodia, Pakistan, Slovakia (and all the segregated USSR nations) how they're grappling with this. Let them also ask Scotland why they voted massively against secession and why such an issue is dead on arrival at the US Congress.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For safety n security reasons most probiafra peeps r in diaspora. Stay in naija n watch itself "get missing" d nzeogwu way or tried for treason
    This is 2016, there is no need for war to desperate it can b achieved amicably eg referendum like Korea India/Pakistan.
    The issue is what will b d future of Biafra if granted independence? D SE/SS leaders to what extent have they developed their States. Its true that part of the development is d duty of FG. To what extent r they conscious of s need of d masses.
    D current leadership has even made it worse with the northernisation of political appointments n govt office employments

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm Pro-Biafran o, but my parents, uncles and people here in the north won't hear of it. Especially my dad and uncle. My Mum will say 'why won't you support Biafra when you don't know anything about war'.

    I've read some books and articles concerning the Nigerian and Biafran war (especially one written by Chimamanda Adichie) and I seriously don't like it. My parents witnessed the war and they said the experience was horrible so supporting Biafra is like asking for another war. But my mom said the agreement during the war was that the victim (vanquished) will serve the victor for 30yrs and be free again so I think that's the reason for this latest agitation.

    Instead of arresting the leader and some of the protesters like in rivers state, I think the government should look into it and address their grievances or better still let them (us) have Biafra.

    BTW I was looking forward to this post because I know you'll make a post on this latest issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So u are pro-biafra?na wa oh.....later u would cry that ur daddy ain't paying your school fees....when u show signs of a born throway.....hian

      Delete
    2. Child.

      How old are u again?

      Delete
    3. Are you for real? You really haven't stated why you are pro biafran. You read Chimamanda's book and think its an objective position on the biafra issue? You do know she's Igbo, right? and most of the accounts she based her story on are from her uncles, grandpa and basically peeps on the biafran side of the divide. This doesn't mean that their accounts are false but it does't mean they are objective either. The fact that your parents who probably lived through the war(and are Igbos too) are against the biafra movement should shed more light on this situation for you.

      If all you've read on this matter is just accounts from the Igbos then you haven't read enough. You have to read the accounts of the other parties in the war to get a balanced view of the situation and most importantly, you have to read accounts from parties who are not directly affected by the war i.e. an external party who will most likely give an objective account of the events(wikipedia isn't the objective party I'm talking about o).

      Anywaiz, like I said, you haven't really said anything with your comment. Why are you pro biafra if its cos you didn't like the accounts you read then maybe you should think harder 'cos secession is a very very very serious issue and its a lot bigger than many of us even imagine(read Memphis's comment)

      Delete
    4. @ Sunshine, you have just won my heart again.

      @ Hope N, Lol! Doesn't help. Enlighten your self before you get entangled in the wrong Web.

      Information abounds. I think the biggest problem of the Igbo's is that they are not united.
      The day they work together for a collective goal, they will conquer. I admire the Igbo's a lot, they would have been the "Jews" of Africa. What they need is a phenomenal and transformational leadership. It takes one person to start the cause, it won't be easy, but if they can put the same effort and more as they have for the actualization of Biafra, there is no stopping them.

      Delete
    5. Hope, you are one of the few educated pro-Biafrans, and (I might be wrong) yet you seem so uninformed on the matter. Chimamanda's fictional work is hardly a valid enough historical reference... I mean, it's a free world, and you can be pro or anti-whatever you like, but please, please and please, educate yourself on the matter beforehand.

      Delete
    6. @Claire, wait hol' up, hol' up, are you saying... are you saying we aren't Jews? Lol... I wish someone would finally tell us if we're Jews or not. I'm currently attempting to read "From Babylon to Timbuktu", and there seems to be some evidence that some West Africans are Hebrews.

      Delete
  6. How many Nigerians know about the war? How many of us know Nigerian history? How many of us believe there are only three ethnic groups in Nigeria? I didn't know about the war until I was in form 3. In history class, in 1987. But even then, I wondered why there was so much secrecy about it. No one wants to talk about it. And because we are not talking about it, that's why some people believe Biafra will solve all the problems.

    People are paid to spew hate online. Read the comments in Punch online. They live abroad because it's safe for them. Most of the 2 million people who died in the war, died from malnutrition. Our neighbours pray for us not to have a war. There will be an exodus of about 60 million people. We will overrun our neighbours. Somehow we believe some parts of the country have it better than others. We don't realise we are all marginalized.

    Nigeria will break up. We hate each other too much to stay together. We don't know when it will happen.

    Hope N, read books by retired soldiers to piece together why there was a war.

    Mallama

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amos 3:3 - Can two walk together unless they are in agreement?
    Now how do you hold onto someone who doesn't wanna stay (Biafra) and how do you get rid of someone who doesn't wanna go (Boko Haram)?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thelma....always promoting tribalistic stuff on here. not surprised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is this tribalistic, please?
      As for the Hope lady up there, all I can do is to smh!
      Ps: i'm Igbo

      Delete
  9. 2 days ago I found out my big bro is pro biafran and passionate about it. Unlike me, I didnt engage in any arguments with him. I mess around and end up homeless in lagos.
    In my opinion, biafra agitators are composed mainly of rebels without a cause, folks with 'revolution complex', and ignorant folks who think the land of biafra will be made of milk and honey. FOH

    ReplyDelete
  10. If we fail to tell our civil war story history will repeat itself. We need to look at pre war,war and post war exhaustively . Keep the younger generation informed. That story will also help to quash those factors that led to war in the present day.

    All the young ones calling for war have no idea what war is all about. Social media is not even helping matters as it has put tribalism in our faces and slowly we see history repeating. There is nothing to caution this generation of the effect of spreading hate propaganda amongst the major ethnic groups. That's how it started,before the kiilings and then the war

    Only in Nigeria can something as huge as a civil war be swept under the rug. My mum told us so many stories about the civil war and in her words" God forbid I see another war"

    Sorry if I sound scattered my head is quite scattered at the moment. J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you J. Enlightenment is the key! That's what Hollywood has done. Made movies showing their soldiers as strong and patriotic to their land.

      Nigeria did Half of a Yellow Sun that was pretty much PG13 compared to what really happened and censors board wanted to edit or ban it from showing. I was shocked!

      Lack of information on the consequences of war is what has led to present day oblivious youths esp from the east, and the old ones are even making things worse, probably they lost a relation. They forgot that other families also lost relations too.

      If it starts, I'm so running away from the continent. God help us.

      Delete
  11. Y'all should leave Hope be. She hasn't said she wants a war has she? Secession doesn't AlWAYS happen by way of war, so she's entitled to be Pro Biafra.

    I'm neither Pro or Anti by the way, I just want a peaceful life in whatever land I choose to call home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no peace without a clash of ideology. And that leads to war, where the triumph assume 'peace'.

      Delete
  12. that radio station is a big joke

    ReplyDelete
  13. One of the major reasons why this agitation persists is that those at the helm of affairs in Nigeria will readily prefer to play the ostrich. Issues which ought to be addressed are not getting the required attention.

    For instance, major key players in the nation's affairs either walk out of or completely boycotted the public hearings of the Human Rights Violations Investigation Committee, popularly known as 'Oputa panel'. The civil war- causes- were inter alia discussed. It is valid for one to as why some of these key players either walked out or boycotted Oputa panel. Till date, the report of that panel has been dumped.

    Whether we Nigerians like it or not, the civil is an indelible part of our history. Whether we teach the cause and effect in school and colleges or not, the scars are they. The worse is to let those embittered still by those scars to pass down the war tales- with venomous anger- to an impressionable young generation. Nigeria should take a cue from Rwanda. If the institutional decay in the North was addressed before now, Boko Haram will be unknown to us I believe. If the environmental degradation in the South-South was addressed from day one, Ken Saro-Wiwa and his comrades may still be alive today; Niger-Delta militancy wouldn't have seen the light of the day. If the pogrom in the North was addressed properly, over two million lives- mostly women and children- would not have been lost. All these people, including those maimed and killed by Boko Haram are individuals with dreams and aspirations that will move Nigeria forward.

    No sane person wants a replay, not even playfully, of the civil war. It was the darkest moment of our history. But the problem is, when the subject is the Nigerian civil war, a lot of people readily cloth themselves with a garb of sentiment and cheaply sell of objectivity. My advice is this: when examining the civil war, one should first ask; what was the (initial) cause. Secondly, how was it handled. This would afford the person a clearly view.

    The fact that the book, 'There Was A Country' was written by a Nigerian of Igbo extraction notwithstanding, it is quite objective. If not for any other reason, the fact that the author had nothing to gain by being subjective and that someone had to tell the hard truth. Granted, a lot of people will disagree with this.

    Therefore, we should as Nigerian look at the things that brings us together. And we cannot validly do that without looking at those issue that draw us apart. Failure to do this, these agitation will continue and at some points may take, once again, unimaginable dimensions.

    Lastly, it should be known that a people have a right to self-determination. And war is not necessary for the achievement of same. I believe people should be guided by reason in whatever they seek.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have followed the Biafra brouhaha for a while now.What never ceases to amaze me is peoples lack of quest for knowledge and enlightenment.The civil war is a dark blot in our history that cannot be wished away,unfortunately Nigeria has been cursed with a lot of shallow minds as leaders over the years and they have chosen to ignore the elephant in the room.a simple closure on the matter will go a long way,and by closure i dont mean forgetting.I mean telling the truths that led to the war,the roles played by the very young and poorly advised men who led Nigeria at the time.A monument/memorial to those who sadly died due to that avoidable war and apologies across sides,and if it were possible some measure of reparations.
    as for the current agitation by the Kanu character,its a charade caused by the constant failure of the Nigerian state to its citizens.Its this failure of government that will lead people to believe his insanity.This person asks for guns and bullets,i only wish he could take a trip to current theaters of war worldwide and genuinely ask himself if he wants to plunge people into that kind of catastrophe.
    One must also however remember that a people have a right to self determination,but the truth is,should Nigeria even contemplate disintegrating tomorrow,it will definitely not be into 3. The truth is there is no monolithic North,East or West anymore in Nigeria and as much as anyone would like to leave a union,such must also allow further self determination within its own ranks.
    As for me i prefer agitation for proper structuring and better governance,if we can reasonably achieve this two,a giant leap as a real nation awaits us.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is a serious issue, but I found myself chuckling all through. Zoo again? Lol...
    Well, personally, I am a proud Nigerian. Our different languages, customs and cultures is what makes us so unique. There is beauty in diversity.
    Let's set our eyes on the beautiful possibilities that lie ahead, and not keep turning back to the grief of yesteryears

    ReplyDelete
  16. Everybody talking of war..war..who said the biafra movement is all about war?, who said war is looming?..are you people God?..Cos he alone knows the end from the beginning. Now most people are asking for another vivid story of what caused the Nigerian civil war after achebe and adichie's account due to the fact that most of their story might be from one view point..That's okay but why are the other people not talking?.. What stops the likes of our former Presidents to tell their own view and account of what really transpired in the military then that caused the Nigerian civil war because most of them are still much alive..But who is fooling who here?.Nobody wants to talk just living extravagantly with the looted resources of our dear country Nigeria..See let me tell you so far as the igbo man on the street still feels marginalized in any administration/Government it reawakens his post-civil war stories heard from grannies,uncles and parents..Marginalization and loss of understanding was what lead to that war,tell them to tell you their story you will still get the understanding of what am saying..There is no war happening abeg make una talk another thing, there will be a dialogue and a conference to know which way forward about this biafra matter..Am a full feed igbo man anambra to be precise..Am proud of my tribe but I won't praise them when dey default..what dey just asked for is a review on this biafra issue..A dialogue or conference is a welcome idea with international representative to know their agenda if granted the said Independence.. That's my thoughts.. You re free to say your mind.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am igbo. I do not care about a biafran secession. It will never work anyways that's the truth. Besides,if it does work somehow, biafra will be worse than whatever obtains in the so cold zoo/nigeria. Quote me.

    ReplyDelete

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