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Sunday, 4 June 2017

BIAFRA: IN DEFENSE OF THE IPOB OATH: A DISPASSIONATE EXEGESIS

IN DEFENSE OF THE IPOB OATH: A DISPASSIONATE EXEGESIS

By Russell Bluejack

Publsihed by Family Writers

I write today as someone who is still concerned about our unity. Two days ago, I tried to allay the fears of our brothers and sisters down South concerning the modus operandi of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). I had to bring that issue to public domain so my brothers and sisters down South would not see me as being partial. Yes, I am so, so in love with my Igbo family; however, I would have failed in the upheaval task of uniting our sister regions had I not taken the complaints of my people seriously. The fear in our people down South centered on language and the Oath. I want to do justice to all of it today, so help me God - my own oath of allegiance.

What is an oath? An oath is a pledge, a hypothecation. It is a promise of commitment backed by law and made before an immanent or localized deity. An immanent deity is omnipresent (the Most High God - Chukwuokikeabiama in Igbo) while a localized deity is that resident somewhere definite, which moves only when commissioned by its servant. Whoever takes an oath is simply saying he is committed to a course/cause; he will not renege on his promise, and he acquiesces that there be consequences should he fail to keep it. Oath is so important that witnesses in Court are always reminded that they are under it.

THE OATH AND AN AGITATION

Every agitation is about something, and those that agitate need an internal mechanism or contrivance that will sustain it until the desired result is achieved. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is the brainchild of the agitation in the 60s, championed by Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu: an agitation that sought to exculpate the Eastern Region (not just Igbo) from the talons and claws of a Nigeria that derived pleasure in killing Igbo sons and daughters (remember the Kano Pogrom that birthed "Yamiri") and every other person from the East (Rivers, Akwa/Cross, Bendel which has been split into Edo and Delta all included). The Republic of Biafra, a name that was given by a southerner, HRH Frank Opigo, was the goal of the struggle. The struggle was laced with internal wranglings by some southern leaders, which eventually scuttled it. I am sure my readers are aware of the ignominious roles played by Jasper Adaka Boro, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and HRH Harold Dappa-Biriye.

The IPOB, championed by the young man who survived the lions' den, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is a reinvigorated agitation which ultimate goal is to restore Biafra. Having properly identified the cause of past failures (bearing in mind that MASSOB failed), the IPOB handlers decided to invent an internal mechanism - a methodology, if you like - that will sustain the tempo. The Oath administered in the name of CHUKWUOKIKEABIAMA instils the needed fear in members, and this fear ensures that acts of betrayal are kept at bay. Interestingly, even Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and foreign leaders most of whom are non-Nigerians were administered the oath. Wow! The Oath fosters the needed brotherhood, solidarity, integration, commitment, and vivacity among members. I am sanguine that leader Uche Macanthony understands me better now.

THE LANGUAGE ISSUE

The language adopted is English and Igbo. The Oath itself is administered in English, but the reference to the Almighty God is in Igbo. I understand that our people down South think it should be in a neutral language, but I also know that the language therein makes it an indigenous struggle, a departure from all sorts of colonial coloration. All the leaders I spoke and chatted with made it clear that the inclusion of the Igbo name of God indigenized (forgive my neologism) the struggle. I think it makes a whole lot of sense. I hereby encourage our people to work with the IPOB without reservation. Besides, the Igbo man is not a stranger to us, is he? The pledge of commitment, inter alia, has oiled the struggle for years. Let us support it the best way we can.

THE SUPREMACIST THREAT AND CALL FOR HOMOGENEITY

There are some of our Igbo brothers and sisters that think the struggle for Biafra, having met stiff opposition from our people down South, should be homogeneous. For them, the Igbo people in the South should desert others that destructive cum divisive politics has placed in other parts of Nigeria. This homogeneous call is against the Igbo concept of "Nwanne", a feeling of universal brotherhood (read my work "The Igboman and Globalization").

Next, our misguided advocates of homogeneity have failed to situate the origin of Biafra. After having a lengthy conversation with Douglas, an IPOB leader from Ijaw, I got to know that Biafra is the descendant of "Biafulor" an Ijaw word used, before the arrival of the imperialists, to describe a fishing region that always had tempest and that took lives. Biafra devoid of the South-South is an aberration, an apparition, a carcass, a shadow. Our homogeneous Biafra crusaders are not informed. They are inadvertently acting out the northern script. The North, knowing the damage the departure of the Igbo will do to the commercial life of Nigeria, will be pleased to have them leave with limited land mass devoid of seaport. We must be far- and foresighted in this struggle. A united South-East and South-South, along with other contiguous and distant annexes, will make Biafra the richest nation in the world. This unity will not come at the snap of the finger. Patience, understanding, seminars, town hall meetings, discussions, robust interregional engagements, tolerance, conferences etc are all mist to the grill of birthing Biafra.

Lastly, I think those who refer to the non-Igbo speaking components of Biafra as "minority" are whipping up the idea of DOMINATION in those down South. There will be no minoritization of any constituent, since the proposed operational system of government is CONFEDERALISM, according to which each constituent will control its resources. I think most of us do not even know what Biafra is about. I urge southerners to disregard the ignorant Igbo supremacists. They are miles away from what Biafra is. Biafra will give us all respite from wanton killings, prejudice, disintegration, and subjugation. Nigeria is phasing out, but Biafra is to be reborn. Biafra will bring the restiveness in Rivers State and the South-South at large to its abrupt end. All hail Biafra!
In conclusion, let those who wish to join IPOB take the Oath. Those who cannot, due to their religious stance, can continue to work for the unity of our region in their own way. If I were not a leader firing from the southern castellation, I would have taken the Oath. My profound reverence goes to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. He is a hero indeed. Thanks to all the leaders at Igweocha and all over the world for the calls and explanations. I forgive those that insulted me. We disagree to agree. Thanks to Kimberly Ada Biafra for the understanding. Thanks to our British lady for both the request and explanation. Thanks to Ozo Okwy Okeke for making out time to call all the way from Obodo Oyibo to explain and advise. Our unity shall come. Thanks to everyone that reads my work. May the Land of the Rising Sun come quickly. You can all say ISEEEEEEEE!
Russell Bluejack is a thinker, a revolutionary writer, a tutor, and a socio-economic and political analyst that writes from Port Harcourt.

1 comment

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