IN FEBRUARY 1975, 42 years ago, Agwu Okpanku, the celebrated cerebral Igbo columnist at the Enuugwu-based weekly, Sunday Renaissance, was detained by the genocidist Nigeria Yakubu Gowon junta occupying Biafra for publishing his high-profile essay entitled, “Killing Biafra”. Okpanku had unequivocally condemned the occupation regime’s fake cartographers and their British advisors for expunging the name Biafra from this strategic south coast’s complete historic Bight of Biafra name configuration. This was part of the regime’s carefully orchestrated expansive schema at denial of the 44 months-old Anglo-Nigerian perpetration of the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. Britain and Nigeria murdered 3.1 million Igbo people or 25 per cent of this nation’s population in what remains Africa’s most gruesome and devastating genocide of the contemporary age.
Okpanku’s “Killing Biafra” couldn’t be more engaging and appositely pedagogic for the feeble minds of genocidist operatives deeply riled by the vortex of a virulent anti-Biafra psychosis advanced by none other but a singular, critical cause: their staggering inability to come to terms with the fact that Biafra and its people Biafrans had existed several centuries before a debased British chief conqueror-couple in the early 1900s cavalierly coined the grotesque word “Nigeria” – from the root-word of an offensively racist slur on the African humanity, to so designate the constellation of states and peoples of this southwestcentral African region recently overrun by a rampaging British military.
As the self-assured columnist was led away to the Enuugwu detention cell after “Killing Biafra” hit the newsstands, it must have dawned on his gaolers, right through the chain of the genocidist high command in Lagos, that the great Okpanku had already secured the right to have the last word on this focus on the Land of the Rising Sun. Forty-two years later, is it any surprise the subject Biafra dominates the news cycle in Biafra and genocidist Nigeria right from conceptualisation, through content, and operationalisation… Agwu Okpanku, the thinker, projects!
(The New York Contemporary Five plays Don Cherry’s composition, “Consequences” [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Cherry, pocket trumpet; John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums; recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963])