Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Nze Francis Onuora, in an interview said that Biafra restoration is a must, says that those criticizing Biafra is ignorant.
The Igbos are clamoring for the creation of the Republic of Biafra. How do you see this?
It has been an old issue that dates back to 1967 which culminated in the Nigerian Civil War. Anyway, the people are saying they need freedom. In fact there is reason for everything in life, because the Igbos did not just wake up and ask for their republic. So, if you ask me, I would like to appeal to the Federal Government to listen to the demand of the Igbos. We have been fighting over this issue and I dare say that we should dialogue. In fact I see no reason why the Igbos should not get the Republic of Biafra they are clamoring for.
Do you think violence can solve the problem?
It has been a non-violence issue. There has never been violence because the idea is a non-violent act.
Don’t you think there is sharp division among the Igbos?
We have never been divided on this issue. We have always been together in pursuance of the struggle. We are not afraid for requesting for the Republic of Biafra. Though there may be individual differences even if people reacted in various ways, but I must tell you that Igbos are never afraid of pushing further. For example, the sit at home order carried out recently that was successful attested to the fact that Igbos are strongly united in this struggle.
Why do you think the Igbos want Biafra Republic?
In a democratic setting, the majority must have their way. I tell you the Igbos are one of the majority ethnic groups in the country, but the winner takes all mentality is a problem. Because we were defeated in the Nigeria Civil War that lasted three years, we are not getting our fair share of the national cake.
Like I said earlier, why is it that since after the Civil War, the Igbos have not tasted the number one seat? It is annoying hence because Igbos are being treated like second class citizens. In Igbo land, we struggle a lot because the average Igbo man is never a lazy man. We struggle to make it but you see others getting appointments on a platter of gold.
But the Igbos are occupying top positions in the present government. Don’t you think that should make them relax instead of agitating for another country of their own?
Earlier, I said that politics is a game of numbers. If you say that there are ministers of Igbo extraction in the present government, I would like to say how many ministers both the Yoruba and northerners have in the Muhammadu Buhari administration?
The fact is that Igbos have long been marginalised; enough is enough of the man’s inhumanity attitude. This is why the Igbos are not happy with the way they are being treated by their fellow countrymen.
Do you think the Igbos are being haunted for requesting for Biafra Republic now like in the past?
I remember vividly that it was the same marginalisation that brought about the coup that occurred in 1966. However, I must say that the Igbos were not the only people involved in the coup. Other people joined in the aborted coup. Remember that during this period, Igbos ethnic group was far ahead of other ethnic nationalities in the country. But after the coup, the exercise was described as “No victor, no vanquished.”
Sadly up until now, other Nigerians seem not to have forgiven and forgotten the matter. Igbos, are still regarded as the number one enemy of this country for the fact that they spear-headed the Civil War in which non-Igbos took part, because of this Igbos are being denied top positions, yet they want us to live together which will certainly not be possible. It is a known fact that 10 persons cannot oppress 20 people because it is on record that Igbos are the most populous ethic group in the country.
We have a lot of intelligent persons. So, why will people think that Igbos must be relegated to the background? In a democratic set up, there must always be agitation here and there. So it is not a new thing.
Don’t you think some of your Igbo brothers may be sabotaging the efforts of their people?
Even in the Scriptures, there was a Judas. There is no doubt about that because if you have the majority on your side, no doubt you will have your way, though it may take time. Mind you there is hunger in the country. So when some people without conscience are favoured they will surely be working against their people, but we are moving ahead.
So you think the Igbos can win the fight?
Yes, I am very optimistic that Igbos will succeed because they are strong and determined people. I tell you, we will achieve it and nobody can stop us. It is true that Igbos are specially made and can always stand the test of time.
If Biafra Republic is not created now, what further action are the agitators going to take? Some people are advising the agitators to exercise patience and wait for their turn to rule. What’s your reaction?
The fact is that the Igbos have made up their mind to govern themselves and there is no going back. One of the things people don’t really know is that the Igbos are gifted in so many ways. There are a lot of things we can do but under this present circumstance, it may be difficult because we (Igbos) are not encouraged.
If you take special view of the brains behind great nations such as America, Britain, Israel, Germany, you will find out that some Igbo men and women are involved. If we have Biafra Republic, a lot of innovations will come up. So, it is not about denying Igbo the presidency where such person will be caged and not given free hand to work. A typical example was ex-President Goodluck Jonathan who was not given free hand to operate and run the nation. Do you know that the North has 19 states whereas they are among the three majority ethnic group in the country?
Is this fair judgment? For instance, the National Assembly members from the North and South-West are more than those from the South-East. So, how do you balance the sharp difference if you are talking of equity? These and many others informed the agitation for the creation of the Republic of Biafra.