- Written by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba -
It is the Igbo’s turn to be magnanimous in victory. In a sense the Nigerian/Biafran war has finally ended in 2012 with the Eastern Region or Biafra victorious. It is the responsibility of the victorious party to show magnanimity. Those of us who fought in the war especially those of us who sang the war song:
Onweghi mgbe ike Gowon ga akari ike Chukwu
Onweghi mgbe ike Gowon ga akari ike Ojukwu
At no point would Gowon’s power be superior to God’s
At no point would Gowon’s power be superior to Ojukwu’s
We can claim, seeing that Gowon is sulking in a corner, as Gen. Ojukwu was receiving a hero’s burial, with representatives from around the world present, that history’s verdict is being rendered: that Ojukwu was right and that Gowon and Ejoor and Obasanjo and Ambassador Rotimi et al, were wrong on the war. That Ojukwu’s power has finally overwhelmed Gowon’s power as we predicted.
Gowon probably is thinking that he would never muster such outpouring of emotions when it comes to his turn to close the books. He will most certainly receive full military burial but it is not likely that his body would be carried to the 12 states he created or to the 31 states (36 – 5) that he ruled during the secession. Mr. Obasanjo probably has the same thoughts in his mind. Mr. Ejoor already knows that his body would not tour the old Midwest.
They must be asking what happened.
What happened was that they won the war but lost the peace.
Ironically they lost the peace because they failed to listen to the one man who they claimed to have loved and who they looked up to, Mr. Obafemi Awolowo. Go back and reread his speech at a Lagos Church where he outlined his plan to win the peace. If that plan, to rebuild the defeated Biafra had been implemented even half fully, the Igbo would have been beholden to Gowon and his Supreme Military Council. The Igbo would have forgotten the exiled Ojukwu and even if he came back there would have been no place for him to inject himself in Igbo life. When Ojukwu came back some of us nicknamed him Ogbaso 1 (Fast runner #1). But as the deprivation of the Igbo progressed, the crafty man was able, once more, to weave his way into the Igbo lives and that is where we are today.
The above statements are not intended to make the Igbo celebrate their eventual triumph with impunity for they face the same dangers that Gowon faced. They ought to announce with the same fanfare “that there is no victor and no vanquished” as Mr. Gowon did. But they will have to proceed to demonstrate that they mean it.
This can be done in many small and big ways.
By rededicating themselves to one Nigeria ideals as did the founding fathers led by Messrs Azikiwe, Mbonu Ojike, Michael Okpara, K. O. Mbadiwe, Akanu Ibiam, Louse Mbanefo, Osita Osadebe, Nwafor Orizu, B. C. Okwu, Mbazuluike Amechi, and other Igbo elders now gone and all those few still living.
The Igbo should desist from poking their fingers in the eyes of other Nigerians by over praising Ojukwu as I have seen in these past weeks. They ought to praise him; they ought to mourn his passing but as the Holy Book says “everything in moderation.”
The Igbo will need to claim what is rightly due them but in such a manner that it will not amount to the same thing as the twenty pound policy that bankrupted the Igbo. They must show understanding.
The Igbo should promptly reopen the closed markets and their business places, welcoming their customers with smiles and thanking them for their support.
They should publicly thank such men as Mr. Wole Soyinka who had suffered as much or even more than many an Igbo. Their support made this victory possible.
They must show understanding for Mr. Gowon, Mr. Ejoor, Mr. Obasanjo and those who could not bring themselves to Mr. Ojukwu’s party. The Igbo must ask themselves that famous Igbo question: “obulu onye?” (what if the shoe were on the other foot”), etc.
The Igbo will not be the only people who ought to manage the events of the past few months carefully. I have seen some of my colleagues in the Internet who have made it their day job to taunt the Igbo and Ojukwu. It seems to me that the Igbo bravado that I have seen recently is in direct response to those taunts.
Nigeria has been at the cliff for a long time and any small thing can push her down. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we do not push her over.
It will not take much.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba wrote in from Boston, USANo. of Views:2350