Published On: Sun, Jun 12th, 2016

Letter To My Biafran Friend! – By Abdulrazaq Magaji

My dear friend,
You may not believe it but you remain my friend for life. So, I am writing this letter to you as a friend and brother who is following the same road-to-no-where our elders once trod. After forty six years and despite the no victor, no vanquished mantra of the era, the pain, the anguish and traces of socio-economic dislocation arising from that misadventure remain. I am referring to the avoidable civil war that eternally laid Biafra to rest in 1970 during which an estimated two million Nigerians died. Even as I write, some people are still suffering its consequences.

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I am sorry to put it so bluntly but the only way to put it is that Nigeria has to remain one, united country. Professor Chinua Achebe captured the essence when he reminded the world there was a country. Yes, Biafra came into existence in May 1967 and ceased to exist from January 1970! This is a fact we must accept to move on. And, to move on is to build a great, united Nigeria where no-one will feel marginalized. As it is, we all have grouses, valid or otherwise, against the fatherland. Even the lecherous Boko Haram bandits reel out grouses against the fatherland! Very few people anywhere advocate a break-up of their countries as the way forward. No sane man cuts off the head to treat a headache!
 So-called well-wishers might have succeeded in pitching you against me. Whatever the case, let your own vision guide you so-called well-wishers guide you to self-perfidy! Nigeria needs you; we, your friends in Nigeria, need you! Use your vision as your guide to help the people of Nigeria. I ask that you be a true guide to them, and not to isolate them. You were a highly motivated Nigerian patriot who cringed from violence. Now, so-called well-wishers have overwhelmed you and injected so much hate into you! Deep down, you know we are better off as Nigerians who reject violence and embrace peace.

If what I hear is true, there has never been a common understanding among the so-called well-wishers, at home and in the Diaspora, in finding real solutions to the problems of Nigeria. Is that right? You should know because you have attended several meetings with these so-called leaders and well-wishers where the true vision and feelings of Nigerians, especially those of the youth, were never given any consideration. With your education and exposure and, considering your kind-heartedness, you must have proffered reasonable solutions which were spurned by so-called well-wishers who want your blood. Yes, there must be few individuals like you, my dear friend, who must have been labeled traitors for preaching non-violent approach to the national question.
I feel your pain, my friend! I feel your anguish! Let the time be now for you to feel some remorse about some of those terrible things you must have done in the name of actualizing a dream! I hope you never had cause to attack anybody in the process of your campaigns! Or, get ‘charged up’ by indulging in substance abuse. Or, go to the extent of contemplating or actually participated in killing! I ask these questions knowing you are a God-fearing individual but who could have been forced to do ungodly things!
Isn’t it strange that you can now attend meetings and campaigns where hate is always injected into people? As you know too well, there is no group that is deliberately targeted for mistreatment in Nigeria! None! You know this beautiful country very well enough not to characterize her as a zoo! You have travelled its length and breadth! And, during those trips, you saw poverty walking the streets of the far north just as you saw it in the middle belt. You saw abject poverty in the west just as you saw it in the Niger Delta area. So, if you have not done so, challenge the well-wishers who preach hate to embark on fact-finding missions outside the east.
You have to understand the antics of well-wishers in the Diaspora, dear friend! From their comfort zones, they call on young men (and women) to carry arms to resolve the national question. Now is time to preach that violence does not resolve disputes. Bullets do not discriminate in the choice of victims. Neither blood nor violence is the answer to anything. We must learn to use alternative methods to pursue any political agenda. For a fact, the so-called well-wishers in the Diaspora believe in violence option for reasons known to all!

The so-called well-wishers in the Diaspora live in affluence in Europe! Yes! There in Europe, their day-to-day striving is to live life of luxury. They strive for the best education, the best cars, the best houses and the best of everything. From their comfort zone, they occasionally sneak into Nigeria to pollute the mind of people through hate campaign such as: you are surrounded by enemies; the Hausa seek your extermination; the Yoruba are your mortal enemies; the Ijaw hate you; never trust the Tiv! It is time to refuse to let well-wishers pollute your mind!
Instead of seeking alternative paths to help families and friends to live better life back home, the so-called well-wishers in the Diaspora is inciting people to fight. When all people back home need are fishing rods, they are being taught to shoot and kill. All the well-wishers in the Diaspora need to do is to get people back on their feet and get them the basic needs. Not guns! Give them education. Not bullets. Let the people choose how they want to live without anybody forcing their views on them. This is very wrong!

Finally, my friend, never allow yourself to be a catalyst for some people to propagate hate crimes using names like IPOB, MASSOB and the like. It is time to think freely, respect the law and live freely and peacefully in Nigeria. That was the message of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. It was the message of Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Have I spoken well?
Magaji <> writes from Abuja; (+234-805-138-0793)

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  1. Garden-City Boy says:

    Nigeria became a fragile clay pot in 1966 after the awusa revenge coup and the pogrom. The genocide that followed in 1967 did not help Nigeria’s either. Rather it sealed the faith of the evil country and killed Nigeria dead. Nigerians could only wast 3million innocent lives, but succeeded in doing one thing: strengthen the Biafran spirit and resurrect a ghost that haunts it till this day..
    Ever since 1970, Nigeria became a huge corpse in a morgue waiting to be buried. The burial is now… or never. The fruits are hanging no lower than ever before. The funeral pie is ready and Nigeria must be buried…
    Wishful thinkers like Abdulrazaq Magaji can throw all the cold water the want on Nigerias funeral project, nothing will as they want,

  2. Just Me says:

    It is very pathetic indeed to read this. What do they take easterners for? Fools who would, in the name of reasonableness, get hoodwinked into slow, but sure early graves via sugar-coated meandering words of a con? Just so we let down our guards and continue to make ourselves and our resources available as sacrificial lambs on the alter of Nigeria for eventual annihilation?
    Is the northern and western agenda not clear enough? Is the motive for a one Nigeria not also clear? To conquer the south and dip the koran in the atlantic ocean, Was this statement/agenda not made and pursued and still being pursued? To plunder the East and use up all their resources to develop the west and north and the rest of Nigeria, and turn the people into slaves, as has been going on since the discovery of oil?
    What happened to the groundnut pyramids, the cocoa plantations, the tin, iron ore, bauxite, etc? Why were they abandoned to focus on other people’s resources?
    Did the regions not exist on their own before the misadventure of the colonial imperialists? If they had not come would there have been a Nigeria? Was Nigeria meant to be and we are having these monumental irreconcilable differences?
    If a people declare that they wish to leave an arrangement or association or union, is it not proper to let them go their way? Why persuade them with words and threats of impending doom and would actually carryout the mayhem on them to force them to stay where they do not wish to remain. Why, if not for what you exploit from them? If the above author is sincere, has he ever considered advising his own people to let those that wish to leave the country go. After all, universally, country formation is not by force. Has there not been countries, big and small, rich and poor that have broken up into self-determination? Why is Nigeria hell-bent on killing people who say they wish to go away?
    Why package this form of subtle threat letter? If Biafra is a misadventure and MASSOB, IPOB etc are evil, what have they done to be evil other than ask that their be allowed to go? Not satisfied with the pogrom of the civil war, someone is still reminding the Igbo people that they would still be killed for what? For demanding their fundamental human right of self-determination? And you brand their people who know better “well-wishers”, thereby creating disunity and division among the Igbos to weaken their resolve in their struggle?
    Why does the north and west so desperately want there to be a one Nigeria? What exactly is their goal in one Nigeria? What are they bringing to the table to foster a fair, equitable Nigeria? Are easterners well treated in Nigeria and they angle to leave? How many easterners are truly happy in Nigeria with the way Nigeria has been carrying on. Why play up emotional blackmail on your friend(foe), when on the other hand you are holding his people in economic, political and social strangulation? Do you think we are not aware that freedom is not handed to you? That you wrestle it out for yourself? Did South Africans not die in millions before they got liberated from the economic, political and social stronghold of Pretoria Apartheid? Since the earlier war wantonly waged on Biafrans ended, has the wanton, unnecessary killing of Biafrans in Nigeria ended? Has the reason for the agitation been addressed let alone resolved? What problem exactly are you solving by your letter to your friend? Prior to the arrival of the Avengers, did you deem it fit to write your friend? What was the utterances of the northern governors and your elites over the looming problem?
    The imperialists are long gone and you are desperate to continue where they left off. We say no! Germany had broken up before and came back together of their free will. Sudan has broken up despite its size. Many countries have broken up recently including USSR, Yogoslavia, etc. Your advice is akin to persuading the Igbos to wait and witness what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina where one part was taking it easy with civility while the other was preparing earnestly for war. Will you in all honesty say that the rest of Nigeria who lazily and freely depend on oil from the east are not not preparing to wage a serious war against the Biafrans, even as we read? But thank God you have warned us. The good news is that this is not the 60s. What obtains today in terms of warfare is not like the 60s when the Igbos wee senselessly massacred like you are boldly reminding us and the world watched or did not realize it. Little have you realized that there are now better ways to negotiate the break up of Nigeria, since your people have continued to refuse the quicker, easier consultations and entreaties we have been currying towards Nigeria since the end of the bloody senseless civil war. You are now inspired to write your friend this, which to me is a subtle threat couched out of your fear of the realities that Biafra may indeed be free at last, because you have seen the trend that is bringing Nigeria to a halt and on her knees without the loss of a single human life.
    Owners of the land simply want their land back. Keep your sermon. Let the people who want to go, just go peacefully while you can. But before then, ask yourself, if this oil was deposited in northern Nigeria, would there be a Nigeria today? Will they allow every other region draws from it and not even allow northerners own oil wells, with northern territories decimated and their people impoverished and polarized by the rest? Is it possible? Is it also possible to happen if the oil comes from the west?
    Have I answered well?

  3. Paschal Ukpabi says:

    So, the victims of Nigerian atrocities since 1939 is being told to remain in Nigeria, and offer themselves as a sacrifice to your marauding leaders and blood-thirsty brothers. Yes! You need us to be around to behead when your god needs Igbo blood for sacrifice. We are out. Go get a life. You may need us, but we don’t even want you. NONSENSE.

    • Chris Ukachukwu says:

      Paschal Ukpabi beat me to it. Abdul is blinded by the cliche and fallacy of “One Nigeria” while constipated by the mention of Biafra – which in his mind threatens the utopia and xanadu that is Nigeria. Let’s pause and digest the sense -or nonsense- it makes.

      Who in their right mind prefers Nigeria intact with all her dysfunction over a Nigeria that seeks to address and therefore rid herself of the dysfunctions and demons, so that it can actually thrive as one, or two or however many entities.

      Incidentally after hundreds of years of racial discrimination and maltreatment of the Black American, when Dr. Martin Luther King rose to lead the civil rights demand, both his “optimistic” Black American brethren and his white clergymen counterparts preferred that he wait and not rock the boat.

      The tragedy of this treatise by Abdulrazaq Magaji is that it lays bare the poverty of thought and morals by the educated class (who ought to know better) in Nigeria. The well educated Nigerian, handicapped by ethnic prejudices has not been able to objectively critique the propaganda he’s been fed from time immemorial about the Igbo (Biafran). He finds it convenient and easy to accept it hook, line and sinker and therefore run blindly with the fallacy that the Igbo is an obstacle to Nigeria’s unity. He equally buys into the cliche that Nigeria MUST be kept one. He has never asked why or retorted “Really?” neither has he looked at his journey within the One Nigeria experiment for upwards of 50 years to see if this is indeed the best Nigeria can do.

      Only a blind fool will preach to the Igbo/Biafran who has spilled his blood, forfeited his sweat and tears for Nigeria – without ever receiving any gratitude whatsoever. Only a simpleton will buy military “win-the-war” slogans and transmute them into policies and creed to live by.

      Nigeria is in an avoidable upheaval today not because of any Biafran initiative but squarely because of the misplaced priorities of the current callous, despotic administration that prefers to shoot unarmed marchers while running from armed insurgents. This sort of upside-down orientation of the country is what Abdulrazaq Magaji and co should be writing about, not drowning himself in the mirage of Biafra paranoia. If people like him don’t know that much, where is the hope for the poorly-informed guy on the street?

  4. Adamu says:

    Selfishness, Selfishness. No sense made.