Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

 

Land of the Rising Sun 

Land of the rising sun suddenly overtook war cries as the sounds of war cries faded in the horizon. Many former easterners now Biafrans saw their new nation as the land of the rising sun. They saw the sun rise every morning and they felt good. Never mind that many didn’t care or bother about how it will set at every sundown. The sun was now shinning brightly on the young Republic, or so we thought. Soon, the brand new citizens of a new nation state will have to defend their indirect decision to accelerate from crying for a war to fighting the war. The new nation was born on 30th May 1967, three days after the creation of 12 states; three in the eastern region – East Central State with the capital in Enugu, South Eastern State with the capital in Calabar and the Rivers State with the capital in Port Harcourt.

The new country of Biafra took its name from the Bight of Biafra (the bight is a broad bay formed by an indentation in the shoreline of the western coast of Africa; an arm of the Atlantic Ocean). Thereafter, the new secessionist government in Enugu revealed the new Biafran flag (photo: above) with three colors parallel to each other – red on top, black in the centre (with half of a yellow sun in the middle of the black) and green under. For me as a small boy, it was a sight to behold – the green white green of my former country Nigeria was now history, kaput, gone forever, or so I thought.

Biafra . Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe . Zik

Biafra also introduced her own national anthem in the journey to statehood and independence from Nigeria. Land of the Rising Sun was chosen by the secessionist government for Biafra’s national anthem. The tune was adopted from Sibelius Finlandia. Land of the Rising Sun is also a name of Japan and the Biafran national anthem should not be confused with Japan’s own national anthem coined by the Imperial Japanese Empire and known as Kimigayo. From uncle Goddy who was an avowed Zikist, I got to know that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (photo: above) coined the words and wrote the Biafran national anthem on the prodding of Emeka Ojukwu:

The lyrics of first stanza of the Biafran national anthem –

“Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish 

Beloved homeland of our brave heroes

We must defend our lives or we shall perish

We shall protect our hearts from all our foes

But if the price is death for all we hold dear

Then let us die without a shred of fear”

Drums of war

From discussions and general information floating around the university campus after the declaration, I came to the inevitable conclusion that the declaration of Biafra was caused by the amalgam of negative forces in Nigeria, viz., corruption, tribalism, nepotism, political conflicts, the first coup, counter coup, the pogrom, the federal government’s inability to say sorry and assuage Igbo feelings, Gowon’s renege on Aburi and the sneaked 12-state structure combined to lead to the secession of the southeastern province of Nigeria as the self-proclaimed Republic of Biafra. Meanwhile, trickles of wounded victims of the pogrom, who managed to sneak out of the northern region were still arriving the new republic of Biafra as it was born, too soon.

Ojukwu . Biafran Head of State, during the Biafran-Nigeria war, 1968

Gen. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Biafran Head of State | 1968

The question I posed to my uncles, friends and anybody who cared to listen to a boy in 1967 was: is this a vis major? A vis major is an act of God; or a force majeure; inevitable accident; or unavoidable casualty. The other questions I asked again were: is Biafra a natural and unavoidable catastrophe that interrupts the expected course of events? Will this declaration result in great loss and misfortune? Will the Biafrans be affected by the irremediable calamity that attends and accompanies all wars? At the declaration ceremony on 30th May, 1967, was Biafra insured against the acts of God? Questions! But alas, I didn’t get answers; or maybe the answers I got did not satisfy my curiosity. Nevertheless, I braced for the worst.

Biafra coat of arms

At this time, critics of Biafra observed that the loss of human life was directly attributable to the separationist attempt and that if, indeed, the saving of life was paramount with Biafran leaders, the simplest and sanest method would have been for Biafra to abandon its secessionist campaign and thus forestall any further taking of life. That was rubbish to my ears at the time and I detested such criticisms. A conflict loomed in the horizon. On the day of the declaration, the sun rose on the new republic without the wherewithal to maintain law and order talk less of waging an internecine war mutually ruinous to both sides, as Nigeria united against Biafra.

This impending conflict as it loomed was the result of economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. Again, uncle Goddy and his co-discussants said there was an international connection to all these and he said that when he spoke to uncle Okwudi in America, he confirmed what he had always known, that the dangerous involvement of the British, Dutch, French and Italian oil companies whose battle for the rich Nigerian oilfields started this scramble for the soul of either Nigeria or the newly created Biafra. The result of this scramble was not really manifested but what was manifestly obvious was that these white men couldn’t care less who wins the war so far as they are allowed to prospect for the black gold and cart away the spoils of war. In the end, just before the war started, they settled for Nigeria, taking sides with the enemy of Biafrans; and Biafra was left all alone to battle against the odds on all fronts.

To be continued …

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There Was A Time . Book Cover 01.Culled from: THERE WAS A TIME | Author: Nnamdi Ebo  |  Published by africagenda Publications  
ISBN: 978-978-50804-3-8  | 1st Edition 2013
Buy the book, THERE WAS A TIME |  Click  Bookshop
Nnamdi Ebo | [email protected]
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