Thursday, 22 June 2017

54th birthday of Emma Okocha

(Born 22 June 1963, Asaba, Biafra: onye amuma ndiigbo)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

FOOTBALLER, sports administrator, journalist, freedom exponent, onye amuma ndiigbo, the courageous 4-year-old who, at the third month of phase-III of the Igbo genocide, survives the Saturday 7 October 1967 mass execution of  700 Igbo boys and men by a genocidist Nigeria military brigade commanded by Murtala Mohammed and Ibrahim Haruna and Ibrahim Taiwo in Asaba, twin Oshimili River port, during which most of his family and other relatives are murdered; author of Blood on the Niger (TriAtlantic Books, 2006), compulsory reference in the study of the Igbo genocide, carried out by the Hausa-Fulani/islamist-led Nigeria and its suzerain state Britain, which meticulously catalogues the savagery and aftermath of the Asaba execution.
Hundreds of other Igbo boys and men are also slaughtered by the Mohammed-Haruna-Taiwo brigade in several other towns and villages in this Anioma region of Biafra, west of the Oshimili, as  Okafor Udoka has shown (Okafor Udoka, “Lest we forget the genocide of Asaba”, Skytrend News, 6 October 2014). Ifeanyi Uriah, now 63, another survivor of the Asaba execution, recalls, in an interview with Udoka, the haunting memory of 7 October 1967:
I cannot tell this story without tears in my eyes … They [genocidist brigade] ordered everyone to come out to the [Asaba] town square … They were honest with us. They told us they were going to kill us. They took us to the mounted machine guns. Then it dawned on us that it was true. I was standing with my older brother at the edge of the crowd. He was holding my hand. He had always taken care of me. We shared the same bed. He was the first to be dragged away by the soldiers. He let go of my hand and pushed me into the crowd. He was shot in the back. I could see the blood gushing from his back. He was the first victim of the massacre. Then all hell let loose. I lost count of time. To this day, I live with the smell of the blood of my brethren that night. Even the heavens wept for the victims of this holocaust. Finally the bullets stopped (Udoka: 2014).
*****NIGERIA and BRITAIN murdered 3.1 million Igbo people or 25 per cent of Igbo population during the three phases of the genocide – 29 May 1966-12 January 1970. This genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa and the most gruesome and expansive genocide of contemporary history, inaugurated Africa’s current age of pestilence, and its phase-IV, launched on 13 January 1970 in which tens of thousands of additional Igbo have been murdered, continues till this day.  

The world could have stopped this genocide; the world should have stopped this genocide. The world can stop this ongoing genocide. To understand the politics of the Igbo genocide and the politics of the “post”-Igbo genocide is to have an invaluable insight into the salient features and constitutive indices of politics across Africa in the past 50 years.
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Alabama” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, McCoy Tyner, piano; Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Jazz Casual [Ralph Gleason], National Educational Television, KQED Studios, San Francisco, US, 1 November 1963])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

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