The mention of the word Biafra I bet comes with fear, aggression, war, distrust for the Igbo man to the point of making the thought of an Igbo Presidency forbidden. These are more are caused by the many stories that have been told wrongly told, wrongly heard, read and misunderstand by different people. Parents might have told only about the war, the hunger that they faced, the bombardment and the killings of the Igbos. The children will have no choice but to believe these same stories, they will not see any reasons to find out more when their parents might have told them that this is what Biafra faced or what it means to them.
Over the years, the same stories that are largely definitive of war about Biafra have been passed from one generation to another. Nigeria and the non-Biafrans during the war have also gone further to tell their children that Igbos are evil, controlling, dominating rather than the progressives who desire better lives for themselves. The Yorubas and the Hausas find it difficult to say good things about the Igbos or Biafra when the discussions come up on social media or offline and informal gatherings. When two ethnic groups fight, it is the Igbo markets that feel the heat of the fires and the sparks of the guns they use. It looks as if we are on the receiving end not because we do anything wrong at these times but because the oppressors feel that we can withstand they heat of any aggression.
The war in Biafra might have ended but in the mind of the rest of Nigeria, we have the power to withstand any aggression because we survived a war. Our markets in Northern Nigeria can be burnt down without warning because they know they will always rise from the ashes. Our sons and daughters can be killed because over 2 million dead Biafrans did not stop us from becoming over 20 million within and outside Nigeria. Biafra has become a Nigerian story in such a manner that Igbos can be allowed to suffer the fate of that country within this present-day Nigeria.
On the other hand, and sadly so, the people who seek to resurrect Biafra are doing it on the wrong premises and further telling the aggressors that we only understand aggression by whatever means. Groups like MASSOB and IPOB and the rest of Nigeria that seeks to oppress them do not really understand what Biafra stands for. Biafra was founded on an idea that was documented and sealed with the blood of her countrymen and women. Biafra has become a struggle by virtue of the blood that has been shed but it doesn’t mean that we must achieve it by way of aggressive struggle. Biafra many do not know has a founding document that is still alive and captures that aspiration of any modern state and nation. From the Executive to the Police, the Ahiara Declaration is a document that captures the idea of Biafra, the country and the principles upon which that revolution began. It captures ideas that will be driven by the people and directed by leaders/servants not by way of violence or protests or anything devoid of the use of the mind.
Today, the idea of that country that was known as Biafra is being shredded in flames, we are being decimated as a violent folk seeking to dominate others when all we want is the opportunity to be free. Freedom to achieve our true potentials, freedom to unleash what we are made of, freedom to draw from our bloodline that can never die despite a vicious war and the freedom to live that other may also live without fear or pressure that Ndigbo might dominate them.
Biafra is not a country founded on the notion of war but we fought a war of survival. She was founded on timeless ideas that any people harness to become a great nation.