Vanguard: Major Headlines

Monday, January 15, 2001


Biafra remains worthy choice if ...—OJUKWU




THIRTY-ONE years after the end of the civil war, leader of the defunct Biafra, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu says Biafra remains a worthy alternative "if Nigeria is not better."

"I have carried a lot of blame for Biafra. And before you ask me, I will tell you plainly that if Nigeria is not better, then Biafra is a worthy alternative," Chief Ojukwu declared in a marathon interview to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Anniversary.

He said: "These are the things we have to look into. Certainly, when you compare death and Biafra, I will choose Biafra. When you compare strangulation to death and Biafra, I will choose Biafra. When you compare lack of reconciliation and marginalisation and Biafra, I will choose Biafra. When you compare the lack of economic enterprises in one part of the country, and discrimination to Biafra, I prefer Biafra.

Expressing disappointment over the socio-political situation in the country, Chief Ojukwu said: "We’ve gone through the year 2000. Like everybody in the world, we all had great expectations of that year. Ours was even more because it was the first year of true democratic practice. When I say true, I mean true in the sense that we all looked forward to better democratic practice; a truer form of democracy. But if you have to judge the year just gone by, I believe we have to look at it in a normal form, which is economic well being; social well being and political well being.

"Nigeria entered the year 2000 it was as though the country was pregnant and at a point of giving birth. I regret that at the end of the year, we would seem still, expecting the birth of something. The year 2000, in actual fact, was eaten up by internal squabbles. Year 2000 was eaten up by posturing on the part of our various leaders, without actually giving birth to policies that we can grapple with. In year 2000, probably more people had been killed on the streets of Nigeria than we have ever had under any form of government."

He reiterated his call for a national conference to discuss Nigeria’s problems, saying he would "personally be prepared in the next conference to lay on the table an Igbo charter where I would say to Nigeria, these are the sine qua non of our membership of the Nigerian federation. Take it or leave it."

Chief Ojukwu also spoke on the January 15, 1966 coup, the Aburi peace talks, etc.


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Vanguard: Transmitted Monday, 15th  JANUARY, 2001