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.

 

Reactions to breakaway! Or Secession!!

After reading Ojukwu’s speech on the Declaration of Biafra, I discovered that the part of the speech that appealed to me and will remain memorable in my mind from when I was eleven years old was the part where he announced his name and the transition from Eastern Nigeria to Biafra, which I reproduce below:

Having mandated me to proclaim on your behalf, and in your name, that Eastern Nigeria be a sovereign independent Republic, now, therefore I, Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority, and pursuant to the principles recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf and territorial waters, shall, henceforth, be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of ‘The Republic of Biafra”

Photo above: Biafra’s Chief Justice, Sir Louis Mbanefo (center) swearing in Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu as the Head of State of the Republic of Biafra | Secretary to the Biafran government, Chief N. U. Akpan (right) holding the colonial microphone | May 30, 1967.

I was freaked out! I couldn’t believe it; me! Nnamdi, a Biafran? I am no more a Nigerian? Questions a small boy couldn’t answer, wow! Wonders shall never end. I remember asking uncle Goddy uncle, are we Biafrans? And he said yes! It was a resounding YES!! On July 6, 1967, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) changed its name to the University of Biafra, Nsukka (UBN). I remember going to town with my friend Chukwuka and as we came back to the campus, lo and behold, the old signboard had disappeared. In its place standing like the tower of Babel, was the new shining signboard proclaiming the University of Biafra at the big gate to the university.

I was dumbfounded to say the least. Many changes followed suit in the wake of the Declaration of Biafra. Richard Ihetu popularly known and called Dick Tiger was one of the greatest fighters to come out of Africa. He became a two-time undisputed world middleweight champion and helped keep boxing alive during the 1950s boxing industry recession. He earned an undisputed Light-Heavyweight world championship. 

In 1962 he won the world middle-weight boxing championship. On May 20, 1965, he floored Rubin “Hurricane” Carter three times and won a unanimous 10-round decision. Tiger took on Gene Fullmer and won the world’s Middleweight title by decision in fifteen. Later in a rematch he drew in fifteen and in the rubber match won by knockout in seven rounds. Tiger was an “in-house fighter” at New York City’s Madison Square Garden and had been banned by the Nigerian government because of his involvement in the Biafran movement.  Previously Dick Tiger had the appellation Dick Tiger of Nigeria. After Ojukwu’s declaration of Biafra, he changed his appellation to Dick Tiger of Biafra.

The world’s reaction to the declaration of Biafra was mixed. Nigeria’s former colonial master, Britain was taken unawares. They didn’t see it coming which is one of the ironies of colonialism. How can the Britishers not see it coming when they sowed the seeds of discord ab initio? It was the British that compressed Negroid peoples of different tribes, nationalities, cultures, religions and social orientation into a geographical expression of statehood. They forced them into an unholy union in the 1914 amalgamation Nigeria of bickering nabobs of negativism with the intention of taking the black gold. And when they came, they surreptitiously anointed the people with the least resistance to their machinations.

The rest of the west including America shied away in deference to their cousins in the pitiful little island (a la Adolf Hitler). America only knew the extent of the declaration when it degenerated to a full blown war of attrition. It later became the first modern war to be televised with Americans watching sick, naked, hungry and listless children with protruding stomachs for the first time.

Ojukwu . Gen. Odumegwu Ojukwu. Biafran Leader & Nwafor Orizu, behing him

Photo: Biafran Gen. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (saluting) | & Chief Nwafor Orizu, (right) one of Ojukwu’s advisers & former President of the Nigerian Senate | pic – 1967

Soon after he declared the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967 and on the same day, Ojukwu appointed the first Director of Ordinance of the Nigerian Army (1963); who had relocated to the eastern region: Obong Philip Effiong (Nigerian Lieutenant Colonel) as the Chief of General Staff of the Biafran Armed Forces; his second in command and a political First Vice President of Biafra. He also elevated himself to General of the Peoples’ Army in 1967 and later promoted Philip Effiong to the rank of Major General as the war progressed.

Many believed that the elevation of Effiong was done to allay the fears of the Eastern Nigerian minority tribes who had now become Biafran minority tribes. Then 34 years old, Ojukwu was popularly and fondly hailed “POWER” by Biafrans and he struck a pose seating regally like the French General Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), never mind that Napoleon was nicknamed Little Corporal by the French people.

In newspapers, magazines and a picture sold in Biafran markets and shops, he sat cross-legged, smoking his ubiquitous 555 cigarette in a Napoleonic pose. I bought one of those pictures of our leader as he had become and I cherished it. Ojukwu was a man imbued with charm, charisma and he had a soft voice for a man his size. Before I heard him speak as I saw more of him in pictures, I expected to hear a deep baritone voice.

I remember during his radio broadcast declaring the Republic of Biafra, I asked Basil is that Ojukwu’s voice? When he answered in the affirmative I won’t say I was disappointed, more like taken aback by the apparent mismatch of the voice with a towering six footer; with broad shoulders and an awesome beard to match. Whatever I thought of Ojukwu’s voice at that time was irrelevant, as the Eastern region of Nigeria had seceded from the geographical expression known and called the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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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