NewsReel July 29, 2013 - Chuks Ibegbu Speaks On Biafran War

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – Chuks Ibegbu, President, World Igbo Leadership, Educational And Cultural Council (WILECC) was on July 23 interviewed on many issues on the Biafran War (Nigerian Civil War) by Igbo Information Network; below is transcript of the encounter.


Q. You said that the Biafran war was the third world war and that Gen Gowon and the North were rebels? 


A. Yes, Gen Gowon is respected by me but he was a rebel. He led the rebellion against the government of Gen Aguiyi Ironsi. He used T Y Danjuma, Martin Adamu and Murtala Mohammed as decoy.  He was  the greatest beneficiary of the Northern rebellion. Again the Biafran war was more or less the third world war in the sense that the whole world  was involved in the war. Every super-power was involved. Unfortunately the major super powers supplied Nigeria with weapons. Biafra was feebly supported by France, Portugal and China.


Q. Why did Biafra lose the war?


A. Who told you that Biafra lost the war. They never did. Let me tell you , if not because some world leaders through President Houphet Boigny of Ivory Coast diplomatically removed General Ojukwu from the scene, the war would have continued till date. Biafra would have gone into guerrilla warfare. Some people do not know that several Biafran units were unaware that the war had ended and were itching to engage the enemy at different fronts even though the situation was getting confusing. Do  you know that some gallant Biafran officers refused to end hostilities until General Effiong pleaded with them on air because of the suffering of civilians. Biafrans were ready to go into guerrilla war but would that have been good for Nigeria today? The war would have been on today as in Sudan which just came out of thirty years of civil war with independence for Southern Sudan. Biafra was never defeated, but there was cessation of hostilities. That is all and that was why Gen Gowon declared NO VICTOR , NO VANQUISH.


Q.  Recently Col Usman Farouk in the book titled THE VICTOR AND THE VANQUISH  claimed that Biafra lost the war?


A. It is not true. Where was Farouk when the war was going on. He was a mere military administrator in the then Northwest Nigeria. He did not know what was happening at the war front. In any case he appears to be a vindictive writer unlike Isama.


Q.  You claimed that Gen Gowon and the North rebelled against Nigeria?


A. Yes, my highly respected Gen was a rebel leader . It was this rebellion and the killing of Gen Aguiyi Ironsi that largely led to the war. Even after that rebellion, they still went ahead to insist that the North must secede(Araba). So they were the actual rebels. If not for the British that told them to hang on, they would have moved to Kaduna to establish themselves and their Arewa Repblic.


Q. What was the miracle behind Biafra's resistance for three years?


A. Well, the ingenuity of Biafran scientists and the indomitable spirit of the Biafrans coupled with their genuine cause were the factors behind that. But of course , they had many obstacles that weighed against them. Do you know that Banjo's treachery at Ore cost Biafra its much expected victory that would have come in mid August 1967. Ojukwu's aim was for the gallant Biafrans to have their breakfast in the morning of 11th August , 1967 and of course Gowon was preparing to flee Lagos to Kaduna then. Banjo's treachery saved him.  He may have been captured live by the Biafrans if they had entered Lagos , though he may have run away. Anyway it is all history today.


Q. How do you think such experience will not happen again in Nigeria?


A. Justice, equity, honest leadership and respect for the views of others will prevent such tragedy from reoccurring but I am afraid the  way our politicians are going about it is disturbing. They are only looting and misruling the people. These were factors that led to the crisis of the 60s in Nigeria. May God help us.


Thank you Mr.  Ibegbu for finding time to grant us this interview.


[ Hon. Chuks Ibegbu can be reached by phone at  08035410176 ]


*Photo Caption – Hon. Chuks Ibegbu

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