BreakingNews 2/7/16 - Map of New Biafra

[ Masterweb Reports: Osita Ebiem reports ] - Ikpa oke ani, that is mapping out the boundaries and ownership of lands, is an important function in Igbo society. In the process of doing this, a lot of factors are taken into consideration. Integrities and reputations of elders who are usually the judges and deciders are established or destroyed in land matters. Depending on how they handled land issues. Most other social functions are suspended on the days when lands are divided or contested land boundaries are scheduled to be settled and trees planted to permanently mark the extent of each contestant’s reaches and control. So, in Igbo society the people take geographical maps seriously. And if we are talking of Biafra where the Igbo are involved, (the Biafra in question is a supposedly geographical and political independent or self-governing sovereign state) then we must make every effort to define the extent and boundaries of this sovereignty right from the start. 

Most of us are familiar with the Biafra map of between May 30, 1967 and January 15, 1970 (the old Biafra.) But I wonder how many of us have contemplated what the map of the new Biafra will look like. In the old map many natural Biafran geographies were excluded such as Biafra lands on the west bank of the Niger. But we know the reason why. However, as most of us will recall, many of the best and greatest Biafran war generals and heroes were from the west bank. 

As we all know, the old Biafra and the Biafrans of old; the people who defined the first Biafra, did not have the luxury of time and knowledge which the new definers are privileged to have. The old Biafra was a child of circumstance which was thrust on the people by the exigencies of events and emergencies of their time. But we must acknowledge that these people performed so creditably well that some of us today have always wondered how they were able to do what they did with the little that they had. These people faced almost an entire hostile and unsmiling world, looked at it in the eyes, and did not blink. The reason is because they wanted to survive. The old Biafra in the face of all odds, became a modern model of self-defense and the best illustration of the principles of Self Determination. The old Biafra was the only option and the best option available to the people. To them Biafra was the only right thing to do. 

The old Biafra remains a study in excellence and an insight into how to translate dreams and impossibilities into realities because the best and the brightest of Biafrans rallied to make that Biafra possible. The best thinkers, the best technocrats, the best diplomats, the best scientists, the best engineers, the best craftsmen, the best artisans, the best military tacticians gave to the old Biafra everything they got and turned it into the best Black African’s can-do model enterprise. In tragedy, because the best of the people came together to work for the common good and for the honor of Fatherland, Biafra became a success and a pride that today fifty years after, continues to elicit memorable and nostalgic feelings.

But the truth is that we cannot dwell in the past and reminisce for eternity the exploits and accomplishments of generations past. At the same time, we must never discard or treat lightly the great achievements of our fathers and mothers. We must always stand on their shoulders and start from where they stopped. But each generation must fight their own battles and win their own victories. This generation cannot shy away from the noise of battles or shirk from the sight of blood and expect to win accolades and laudable historical memories from coming generations. And the truth is that this generation cannot expect to win and do great things if the best and the brightest of the people continue to shy away from this task of securing freedom and a homeland for the Igbo (an endangered ethnic and religious people) in Nigeria. So long as the best and the most honorable of us continue to abandon this duty to the less gifted and the not so honorable characters among us, then the battle will be stretched and Igbo honor and prestige will be diminished. In the end, if a geographical space and sovereignty is achieved, it would have become a pyric victory and the inadvertent creation of another Nigeria with a different name. 

Arapuru obodo ndi aru, obodo awo nke ndi aru. If we leave this task to the mediocre and the frustrated and uninformed, uncouth and undiplomatic activists and freedom fighters from among us, the ideals and lofty dreams of the new Biafra will become the playing field for the frustrated and the home of abhorrent mediocrity. Eventually it will become a homeland where excellence and impossible dreams are frowned at or even legislated as crimes because it is criminals and dishonest “intellectuals” who will become the legislators and the wielders of political power and authority. If the best among us should abandon this job to the less gifted as is, then the new Biafra would have been lost as the old Igbo society got lost when the Whiteman came and sold to the Igbo the idiocy of chieftaincy titles, igwe stools and that hollow mockery of human dignity and honor when every Igbo son and daughter began to refer to themselves as princes and princesses. 

In Igbo society today, there are more chiefs than the Igbo as the greatest struggle has become who will go by the biggest sounding titles. Every Igbo person today must prefix his or her name with Dr., Prof., Pharmacist, Architect, Engineer, Attorney, Barrister, MD., PhD., Chief, Igwe, Bishop, etc. in order to feel relevant and shore up their self-worth anchored on nothingness. The other purpose which the title mongering serves is to intimidate the less privileged among us. But while many of us scramble for more of these empty and social-creative retardant titles we should have at the back of our mind the saying that “every chief is a thief.” 

And this is historically and literally true. Historically, all those who received the European’s manufactured Warrant Chief and Igwe staff of office in Igbo land were the thieves, social pariahs, abani di egwu and all those at the fringes of the society who cared less about the people’s culture and values. Those were the people that the Europeans found useful to be able to intimidate the natives and extract from them maximum taxes and levies. The real custodians of the people’s traditional heritage and customs shunned those negative strange and disruptive emptiness. It was based on this rejection that the society which we inherited, is an Igbo society which had been turned on its head, standing shamefacedly in the midst of ill-gotten strange and unfamiliar ways. Ever since, the struggle has remained the cutthroat competition to launder those filthy dubious gains where falsehood is called truth while condemning in the same breath, the old and tested traditional principles of aka idi ocha, offor, ogu and ikenga. Our values and social norm became discolored because thieves were made to rule over us while men and women of integrity scurry and seek the paths of least resistance. Today, thieves (chiefs, igwes, Drs., Profs., Barristers, etc.) who have brazenly committed nso ani are allowed to bear rule and decide for the people what they should accept as rights and wrongs. Literally, to complete the destruction of the people, it is this kind of warped Igbo society that got subsumed into the greater Nigerian union. In the end it seemed to have made certain the final and eternal demise of Igbo’s real national and cultural identity. But by all means and at all costs, I think that the Igbo cannot afford to take this disease of hollow mockery of our true humanity into the new Biafra. 

In Nigeria excellence and best practice are not just discouraged, they are punished and sacrificed at the altar of federal character and quota system. And we must choose to either carry the practice over or discard those insidious destroyers of greatness, excellence and bigness at the threshold of the new Biafra.

The new Biafra is an emergency but the emergency we are confronted with today is completely different from that of the old Biafra. Therefore, based on what we know today and the realities of our collective experiences the map of the new Biafra must include all the autochthonous and contiguous geography of Igbo land. While excluding, in the interest of assuring our neighbors and cousins around us, all non-Igbo lands and territories. We must make effort to assure our neighbors that the Igbo do not covet whatever that belongs to others, neither do they desire to lord it over other people. The Igbo rather than being driven by imperial aggrandizement of Igbo geography have always been the withdrawing types who would rather maintain and preserve their cherished republican independent democracy than seek to expand their geographical reaches and political control of others. It is this spirit that made them to lose, sometime ago to overwhelming deluge of immigrants, most of the original lands which they held in the past. 

For this and for many other reasons we need to have a clear definition of the geographical map of the area we are talking about as the new Biafra. To do this, we need to produce a physical map that is based on none flimsy dreams but practical realities of who and where constitutes the new Biafra. 

To achieve an authentic new Biafran map we have to bear in mind some few basic facts. Firstly, we have to accept that by the re

html add here