Thursday, 31 December 2015

2016 – year of immense possibilities

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Undoubtedly, 2016 begins on a more optimistic note for Africa. 2016 will be a year of intense multifaceted peoples’ activities across Africa to terminate the continent’s genocide-state – particularly Nigeria’s, its ghastly prototype. The year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Igbo genocide when Nigeria and its British principal ally slaughtered 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation’s population.

Britain supported the genocide politically, diplomatically, and militarily because it was riled by the Igbo vanguard role to terminate 60 years of its conquest and occupation of Nigeria during the course of thirty years of the restoration-of-independence movement, 1930s-October 1960. Such was the gripping zealousness to “punish” the Igbo for this historic role that Harold Wilson, the British prime minister directing the genocide from London, was staggeringly unfazed to go on record that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, 1977: 122).

The Nigerian subalterns on the ground, indolent, toady and vindictively anti-African operatives, handsomely obliged their “massa”, slaughtering far beyond the grim target of 500,000 Igbo by 12 January 1970. Nowhere else in Africa nor indeed the South World, during the 1950s-1970s, does any of the seemingly departing European occupying-power in a conquered country effectuate the crime of genocide of a constituent people as a means of safeguarding its strategic interests subsequently as Britain’s sordid record in Nigeria shows. The genocide continues unabated since January 1970 with tens of thousands of Igbo murdered across Nigeria but especially in the north region including those massacred by the Boko Haram terrorists in the past five years. No other peoples in Africa have suffered such an extensive and gruesome genocide and incalculable impoverishment in a century as the Igbo.

The Igbo genocide is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It inaugurated Africa’s current age of pestilence. Africans elsewhere remained largely silent on the gruesome events in Nigeria but did not foresee the grave consequences of such indifference. Just as the Nigerian operatives of mass murder appeared to have got away without censure from the rest of Africa and the world, other brutal African regimes soon followed in Nigeria’s footpath murdering those in their countries considered “opponents” or “undesirables”. The haunting killing fields would subsequently stretch from Biafra to further genocide in Rwanda (1994), Zaïre/Democratic Republic of the Congo (variously, since the late 1990s) and Darfur/Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan (all in Sudan since 2003) and in other wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, southern Guinea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville, Burundi and north/northcentral Nigeria. The 12 million murdered in the latter bloodbaths would probably have been saved if Africans had intervened, robustly, to stop the initial genocide against the Igbo people.

African-centred states

Fifty years and 15 million murders on, Africans finally realise that there cannot be any meaningful advancement without the dismantling of the genocide-state. This state is the bane of African existence and progress but a treasure for its pan-European World creator in perpetuity. Africans on the ground are working tirelessly for the emergence of extensively decentralised African-created new states that halt the genocide and ensure full democratic participation and representation of all constituent peoples.  Already, 50 years since the first murders of the genocide were committed in north Nigeria on 29 May 1966, the Biafrans have written an extraordinary essay on human survival and fortitude, a beacon of the tenacity of the spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unimaginable brutish forces. Biafra is a realisation, a profound reclamation of that which makes us all human and part of humanity

It is within this context that the current heightened political developments in Biafra become intelligible. Since Friday 6 November 2015, hundreds of thousands of peaceful and disciplined Biafrans have turned their cities and towns and villages into panoramic freedom park marches, unprecedented in Africa, demanding the restoration of the sovereignty of their beloved Biafra, currently occupied by Nigeria, and insisting on the release of Nnamdi Kanu, Radio Biafra freedom broadcaster and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, illegally detained by the Nigeria regime. Biafrans are redefining the dynamics of the march for freedom in Africa. Biafra will be free.


This march will be intensified in 2016 and will have progressive, liberatory consequences across Africa.  The freedom movement should now embark on organising a binding referendum in which all electorally eligible Biafrans from its population of 50 million at home and in the diaspora in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world vote on whether they want to belong to the Biafra state, or Nigeria

Biafrans and all peoples of goodwill in the world will respect and accept the outcome of this democratic enterprise.
Sam Rivers Quartet, “Ellipsis” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 11 December 1964])

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