This is the News Analysis segment of the Voice of Biafra International Broadcast.
For June 22, 2002
You have heard the news; now, the analysis…
Our people, in their prolific wisdom, always use meaningful and appropriate parables to deliver the most effective communication. So, today, we take you to the 1960’s: why? Because, our people say that if you cannot tell when it started raining on your parade, you will never be able to tell when it stopped raining. We are going to remind you of when it started raining on your party, and when you got soaked wet, so that you can decide when to get out from under the rain and dry out.
We are going to tell you this through the eyes and words of the US intelligence in Nigeria in the 60’s. There is nothing hidden about what we are going to share with you; as you may or may not know, many documents collected by the US government intelligent services are “declassified” after so many years, BY LAW, so that the public can have free and easy access to this information.
It was December 1964. This is how the US Department of State summarized the situation in Nigeria:
Washington, December 30, 1964.
The Situation in Nigeria
Both the Department and the acting Nigerian Ambassador (who is a personal friend) insist that press reports out of Nigeria (especially Garrison of the Times) picture the situation as being far worse than it actually is. That the country is passing through a serious political crisis, no one can deny…
…Very complicated African politics, in which tribes, religion and economics all play a part, are involved in the situation. The Northern Premier is at odds with the Eastern Premier in whose region large oil deposits have been discovered. In the heat of the election campaign, there have been threats of secession by the East; threats of violence “that would make the Congo look like child's play”; from the North; etc., etc. No one believes these threats actually will be carried out. What we are in for is a period of hard political bargaining which, when they emerge from it, should make the Nigerians more aware of the nature of the internal forces of the country than they now are.
As you can tell, the Press got it right even then: Nigeria was already in bad shape. But nobody wanted to believe it, especially those in the Diplomatic circles. Also, notice that the North was already threatening “violence that would make the Congo look like child’s play.” The genocide later committed by the North against Biafra was not an accident. It had been premeditated and well planned. Nobody believed the earlier threats. Then, after the genocide, nobody wanted to talk about it—as if it didn’t happen.
Then, on January 2 1965, this:
“…I haven't bothered you on Nigeria, on a simple premise that if nothing we should do no point in flapping. We decided to take UK's counsel, rather
than that of our Lagos man, and not propose any LBJ intervention…”
This will not be the first time that the British have swayed US government opinion and US action which might have benefited Biafra. The US has continued to acquiesce to the British government’s plans and actions in Nigeria, and we all know well how the British unabashedly favor the Muslim North.
Nevertheless, the CIA in an August 26 1965 concluded that:
“…The salient question for Nigeria is whether the federal structure can survive in the face of the many internal strains and tensions. The facts of geography and population assure that under the constitution, the federal government will continue to be dominated by the party representing the tradition-bound Moslems of the North, who are generally contemptuous of the South and unsympathetic to its problems. The southern regions, which are deeply divided along tribal, regional, and party lines, resent northern domination. Some southern leaders cooperate with the North in federal affairs realizing that only thus can they and their interest reap the
benefits of participation in government…”
So we see how Northern domination of Nigeria is enshrined in the constitution. We also see the other problems with the South that make the region ineffective in dealing with Northern domination of Nigeria.. Not much has changed, has it? Even down to the issue of Southern Northern Nigeria apologists, and those Southerners who collaborate with the North in a slave-Master role.
Of course, shortly after that, all hell broke lose in Nigeria. The first coup of January 1966, then the second coup. The US sources had this to say in a report July 31 1966:
“… Following July 29 army mutiny in western provinces Nigeria, former Army Chief of Staff LTC Yakubu Gowon (a northern Christian) announced on August 1 that he had assumed control of government at "request of majority members of National Military Government's (NMG) Supreme Military Council." Upon assumption of power,…Gowon referred to recent events Nigeria, noted cryptically that "base for unity not there"…”
One lie and one truth for Gowon. First, he “…was named to head the National Military Government (NMG) by northern Muslim officers and Army units after their coup of July 29…,” not at the request of the NMG.
But the one thing Gowon ever got right is his statement that the “base for unity [of Nigeria] not there.” Thereafter, the hypocrite, Gowon, sings a different song. His failure to stick with the truth has resulted in the continuing suffering of everybody in Nigeria today.
Here is information about Ojukwu role:
“…Following Gowon's assumption power, in an appeal for cooperation with law enforcement authorities, Eastern Mil Gov Ojukwu referred to Gowon only under previous title as Chief of Staff of Nigerian Army. Ojukwu said he not consulted regarding terms but had agreed to following conditions for “ceasefire” laid down by rebels:
that Nigeria be split into component parts and that Northerners and Southerners should be repatriated to their home regions. While stating his doubts that after events recent months, people of Nigeria could ever live together as members same nation, Ojukwu called for discussions among all sections Nigerian people regarding form of
future association of Nigerian people in accordance ceasefire terms. (NMG has subsequently denied it plans to partition country or resort to repatriation.)…”
We will always stand by what Ojukwu said then—36 years ago. Gowon and NMG continued to waffle. Today, even the West who joined the North during the Biafran War, has realized that a Sovereign National Conference is the way to go. Who can doubt the wisdom of Ojukwu or fault his vision—then and now?
How did the US respond to these developments?
“…Both US Ambassador Mathews and UKHICOM Cumming-Bruce have made strong representations in opposition to secession of any area of Nigeria. We consider such development would be major political and economic disaster for Nigerian people and severe setback to independent Africa. Approaches along similar lines being made by our Consuls in provinces…”
What a pity. Since when were the British interested in the independence of Africa, in the 60’s, especially considering that the British gave the ruling power in Nigeria not the Southerners that agitated for independence, but to the Muslim North who did not want the British to leave? Such hypocrites! The US sheepishly went along. Too bad. Later, both the US and the British were to use the concocted reason of Communist takeover in the East to justify their opposition to the secession of Biafra.
But, listen to this:
Telegram 55599 to Lagos, September 28,  reported that Palmer talked again that morning to Nigerian Ambassador Martins, emphasizing U.S. concern at a deteriorating security situation in the North and reports of reprisals against Ibos. He stressed the need to correct this situation or events might be set in motion that could force the East into secession.
The US clearly saw the true and justifiable reason for the secession of Biafra, because “this situation or events” that concerned the US in the above telegram did in fact get worse and did continue, as Northern Nigerians massacred thousands of Ibo and Biafrans and all Easterners were forced to return to the East—if they made it alive.
Next week, we will continue with this story.
We present this to you for your information. There are all kinds of people out there today, including even some misguided Biafrans, who would love nothing more than to revise history. Even General Obasanjo has tried; that, of course, was understood and predictable. Now, you can make up your own mind. You can be the judge as to whether much has changed with the circumstances and fortunes of Nigeria since 1960’s.
Biafra was the answer then. Biafra is still the answer today.
That’s all the news analysis for this week.
God bless and keep Biafra and you, until next week. VOBI broadcast continues. (Audio version part of weekly VOBI broadcast posted on Biafraland website, www.biafraland.com, follow the "Voice of Biafra" link)