To accept subjugation is not one of the things an Igbo person will easily do. When they are faced with dire situations, they may choose death than to willingly accept subjection. That was why in 1803, during the slave trade, about 75 Igbo slaves rose in rebellion against their captors and committed mass suicide by marching into the waters of Dunbar Creek, instead of accepting to being slaves. The act was remarkable and signaled a powerful act of resistance and regarded as the first march for freedom in the United States of America. That site is historically known as Igbo landing at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia, USA.
Igbo people always resist being subjugated. It took the British army twenty-one military expeditions before they could surmount Igbo resistance. Igbo people are not ones that are defeated easily. It took three years and after employing hunger as a means of war to get them to surrender during the Biafra civil war.
Over the years, since the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates, so many riots that have taken place in Nigeria have taken the lives of many Igbo people. The 1966 pogrom against the Igbo led to the proclamation of the Republic of Biafra. Within the three years of the country’s existence, Biafra lost millions of her population. After the civil war, civil unrest had continued and Igbo people continued to suffer human losses.
Given all these deaths which World Igbo Congress has documented, the statement of Biafra or death by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is becoming destructive. Even though he may have made that statement in respect of his determination to push for the process of restoring the Republic of Biafra, dead or alive, but the statement in my view has become a basis for the radicalization of Igbo youths. Looking closely, it is a wish for death that if Biafra is not got, then, let death come even while trying. Given the historical mass suicide of the Igbo landing or the deaths that took place all these years including during the civil war, no society wishes deaths upon themselves. At no time in memory had Igbo people willfully take death upon themselves.
Igbo people do not take pride in taking life. Committing suicide is considered an abomination. They loathe death and celebrate life. The willful taking of life is an offense against the earth goddess. Discarding these values amounts to the radicalization in Igbo land today.
Since the Biafra or death statement, many of the Igbo young men and women have lost their lives. Some may argue that it is a collateral damage, or at best to build a case with the international community. Those who have died may not enjoy the new Biafra. Biafra should be for the living and not for the dead. If they died unjustly, and in the hands of fellow Igbo people, their cries will reach the gods.
At the time of the protestation against the injustice on Igbo people, it is more appropriate to preach hope, confidence and courage, and not despair, agony or hopelessness that will push the youths to commit injustice against the Igbo land they wish for her freedom.
Radicalization of the Igbo youths
It is not in Igbo character not to respect the time tested cultural values. Today’s youths have turned on the elders. Granted that some of the elders of Igbo have over time brought opprobrium upon themselves due to their conduct and inactions for the sake of the Igbo, it should not give right to some Igbo youths to publicly, threaten them with deaths or destruction of their property.
Threats of death and destruction of property are meted out on Igbo people on accounts of labeling one a saboteur and many Igbo people have come to see them as nothing.
The once sacredness of life, is becoming nothing for these youths who have been emboldened to inflict pain on those they consider saboteurs in the name of Biafra.
Biafra or death also means, that every Igbo person must agree to achieve Biafra nation, if not, will be seen as a saboteur and marked for destruction. It is absolutism with no space for dissenting views or opinions. It is oppressiveness and terrifying which no Igbo person will gladly accept. It means that every Igbo man must agree or risk being marked as a saboteur. This is wrong for the society that prides themselves by their value of fairness, justice and independence of thoughts while maintaining human rights, to want to succumb to such terror and radicalism.
It is wrong for the Igbo society and could take time to de-radicalize the Igbo youths and get them back to the ever admired culture of respect to life. It is wrong to decry injustice by Nigeria and then mete out injustice on the people you want to free. It will take committed efforts to bring back Igbo people to their ancient tested values or take a walk to self-destruction.
It’s only fair to share!… Subscribe also on Telegram