Erstwhile National Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nduka Eya, has said the struggle for a Biafra republic began as a reaction to the spoken and unspoken language of the federal government which insinuated that Igbos were not part of Nigeria.
He said this while addressing journalists on the topical issue of the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War 50 years after the late Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu declared that the then Eastern Region had seceded from the rest of the country.
“Biafra came because they (Nigerian leaders) were telling us we were not part of the country. Today, 50 years after, we still cry to know if we are part of Nigeria. We want to be on our own,” Nduka Eya said.
According to him, it was only the Igbos that accepted the entity called Nigeria as put together by the colonialists but were taken aback when the pogrom was orchestrated in the North to wipe out the Igbo nation and take over their land.
The former Ohanaeze Ndigbo scribe added that the Biafra issue had been on the lips of everybody even as people had been reacting differently about it.
He further noted that the Biafra dream had been lost to international conspiracy until recently when Nnamdi Kanu revived the latent struggle.
He said: “Biafra was lost to international conspiracy. It included the entire old Eastern Region, now the South-East and South-South.
“But why the Biafra declaration in the first place?
“It was because the Igbo are the only Nigerians that accept the country the British put together for us and only the Igbo accepted it as a country of their own.
”The late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe fought for it all his life and had to wait for the North to be ready. He was a pan-Africanist.
“Then the pogrom came and the coup followed and instead of seeing the coup as involving every nationality, they saw it as an Igbo coup,” he said
On General Alani Akinrinade’s regret on the fight against Biafra, Nduka Eya said: “General Akinrinade is now looking in retrospect. He has found out it was not an Igbo coup. He now understands what Biafra was all about.
“Now, Akinrinade has seen it is true because of the self-determination agitations in some other places. He is seeing it too late. Akinrinade fought against Biafra.”
Nduke Eya finally urged “the Ndigbo to stay calm because Biafra is a constitutional issue.”