By Nwachi Kingsley
29th May 2020.
If you are passing through East-west road but deny your Eastern identity, you are living in denial. Before the war Late Elechi Amadi was a principal in Umuahia. The Ijaw agitation for marginalization is dated to their administrative center at Ahoada – the people of Ahoada and Ikwere (which they saw as Igbo’s back then)
The administrative center of Ijaws was Ahoada not Enugu. Enugu later became the capital of Eastern region. The earlier Ijaw agitation was not against Enugu but against Ahoada and Igweocha. The people of Ahoada – Ikweres etc – seem to be more placed in civil services than Ijaw people.
When oil exploration started in Olobiri, Ijaws started agitating for a better representative and infrastructural development because the entire available infrastructure was around Ahoada and Igweocha (Which is called Port Harcourt)
The agitation was boosted when the refinery was sited at IGWEOCHA(Port-Harcourt). Isaac Boro and others were angry having written to the then Eastern region government that on no account should the refinery be located outside Olobiri where the oil is being drilled. They argued that siting the refinery at Olobiri will bring infrastructural development to their people, seeing that Ahoada and Igweocha (PH) is being developed while Ijaw was just a swampy terrain with no meaningful infrastructure.
With the coal company in Enugu where the coal was located, and the refinery which he presumed should be located in Ijaw land taken to Igweocha (Port-Harcourt), Isaac Boro, a then undergraduate and student union president of UNN formed his Niger-Delta volunteer force and subsequently declared Niger-Delta republic.
In his declaration, he drew a red line against the hinterland’s today’s Rivers State of Ahoada, Ikwere etc. He made it clear that his Niger-Delta Republic is not for them. You can google his speech on the internet and read for yourself.
He was arrested after 12 days of his declaration and sentenced to death but Gen Ironsi instead chose to imprison him unlike Abacha to Ken Wiwa.
Another lie which needs to be corrected was that Gen Gowon released him. No, Gen Gowon never did, he stayed 11 months in detention under Gowon, having spent 4 month under Gen Ironsi before Ironsi was murdered. It was on the eve of the civil war that Gen Gowon negotiated with Boro to fight against the Biafra for his release and he agreed. He was then drafted into Nigerian army along his boys.
The question is, why didn’t Gen Gowon release him when he came on board as the new head of state? Why did he wait till the civil war broke out before he released him?
For the Use and dump tactics of Nigerian government, they didn’t spare him either, in 1968 when the Nigeria government thought they have used him to recapture Igweocha (PH) from Biafra troops, with fear that Boro and his group might plan re-declaration of Niger-Delta republic again, they killed him and disbanded his group who have aided them to work against Biafra. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu once said “if you serve Nigeria you will come back in shame”
It was after the war that Ijaws took over Igweocha (Ph) and chased out all Igbo speaking Ikweres, Ahoada and other hinterland river state and forced them to change their names. Umualo became Rumualo, Umuigbo became Rumuigbo, Nwike became Wike etc. it was in 1976 after the River State boundary was defined that Omoku, Ndoni, Ahoada, Elele, Etche, Obigbo etc began to get sense of belonging in river state.
Do you know that Igirinta people and other hinterland River state were also included in abandoned property things? Yes the ijaws chased them away too but they later reclaimed their properties when they denied their “Igboness”
The ijaws inhumanly conditioned Igbo speaking part of River State to deny their Igbo identity; in fact it was a law even down Omoku. Omoku even had to claim they are migrants of Bini, a claim some still hold even after achieving their aim. The irony of it all is that they have not cultural affinity to Bini; everything about them is Igbo, including their language. What a world!
When Akwa-ibom was created, and the hinterland River State became majority, the ijaw began their new face of marginalization agitation which produced the now Bayelsa State as a homogeneous Ijaw State In 1996.
All having been said, those are in the past. We need to form a united Biafra and win this war against our common enemy. Igbo man has no oil block in Ijaw, yet the richest tribe in Africa. Senator Ben Bruce attested to this on the flow of National Assembly In 2017. The international remittance of Igbos abroad is enough to build any strong economy. That’s how Israel and even China you see today built their economy.
IPOB has made it clear that Biafra will practice confederation. There’s natural resources and accompanied human potential in all spheres of Biafra territory.
Sometimes, am pressured to ask myself what makes these Ijaws who needed to be in forefront of Nigeria breakup chose to sabotage the efforts instead. My spirit keeps telling me that there’s something you people are not telling us. Truth cannot be hidden forever. God is God and will always be.
#SupportBiafra Independence today
Edited By Nelson Ofokar Yagazie
PUBLISHER: Offor Princewill A.