The indigenous people of Anioma, other wise refered to as “Delta North,” and the people of Delta Central and South (Urhobos, Isoko, Ijaw and Itsekiri), during an interactive session have expressed their deep grievances over Biafran forceful inclusion of the territories.
Reacting to the issue about unofficial inclusion of the people of Anioma, Delta central and South as part of IPOB, Sir Jonas Okondu Onwochei, asked to know who was responsible for the official “inclusion” of a group? ‘’Where can we locate the freedom fighters and who is in charge of the recruitment?”
Speaking further,if any of such body or individuals exists he said, “it must be made known however, that only the interested can be recruited. Otherwise it would be conscripting an unwilling partner into a blurred relationship. Love is not forced.
If there is any need to freedom fight, it must be a collaborative decision of all agitators or the aggrieved.”
In the modern world, according to him, it is often a situation that calls for a round table discussion, to strategize and agree on common grounds. Such that in the case of opting out of a Federation, they sit to pick an all inclusive but not imposed name.
Sir Onworchei insisted that it was dangerous to force an unwilling horse into a dangerous conflagration. Should such take place he said, “there must be revolt and sabotage. And it is also clear, there must be suspicion of domination of a tribe against another especially those that came up before the Nigerian civil war”.
In a critical evaluation, Onworchei in his opinion, considers the use of the name “Biafra” inappropriate in this era. He holds strictly that the word “Biafra”, belonged to Ojukwu era that was hastily arranged, which did not succeed as a result of forceful inclusion of unwilling neighbors. Thus, if there is need for a new country to exist he said, “it must not be Biafra as a nomenclature, else it might be another attempt of a core IGBO DOMINATION”.
Reacting to the question about the silence of non igbo speaking Deltans over the past years on Biafran forceful inclusion of the group, Sir. Onwochei insisted the silence was not consent, but was as a result of the confusing approach of Biafran agitation. He said, “Some people feel it is not ripe for a headlong method without exhaustive consultation. How can a young man take off from Britain and resurrect a defunct Biafran and start conscripting tribes into it without asking their opinions. Are these tribes dafts or dunderheads that can be manipulated by a god playinag upstart?
They can only consent if you have given them a convincing reason to do so. How are we sure the Igbo speaking Deltans want Biafra ala Nnamdi KANU? It is possible that some Igbos in the Eastern States may not be comfortable with Biafra agitation. Actualization of Biafra should be gradual to avoid pogrom. There should be a touch of civility and high sense.”
“Anioma people are not Biafrans. Let there be referendum today, you will be surprised to find 80 per cent of Aniomas voting against inclusion in Biafra. I am not guessing. Asaba massacre is no joke. No Anioma person wants a repeat to this forced inclusion.”
“Objectivity matters. Feel the pulse of the people. Take a look at the last sit at home command. From Asaba through Issele Uku, Umunede, Agbor, nay Anioma cities, towns and villages, it was business as usual, a convincing quiet demonstration of Biafralessness. This is not a paper tiger demonstration or social media agitation. We are talking of REALITY.”
Lamenting over identity crisis associated with the indigenous people of Anioma, Mr Kizito Emmanuel said, “All Nigerians call us IGBO and even the Igbo people call Agbor people (fake Igbos)”.
To drive home his points, he raised questions like: “Where do we stand? What assurance do Anioma people have that they will be better off in Biafra? Do the Igbo people see us as brothers or equals? Do the Igbo people need others living around the SOUTH-EAST to make up numbers?”
Recalling the history of Biafra event in the past, according him, Ojukwu failed because he did not consult other people and tribes. He wanted to dominate and rule the whole Southern Nigeria by force.
Awolowo had no choice but to support Nigeria because he was afraid of what Ojukwu would do.
Today, Biafra is on the agenda again, drawing maps without consultation. “We do not prefer Hausa/Fulani people but we are afraid of the man who is building a wall around our land without consulting us.”
Mrs Amaka Ejiofor, an indigenous daughter of Anioma, also expressed her position, saying that “those who have capacity to stay where they are not wanted, where they are considered as infidels to be hunted down as sacrificial lambs at the least provocation, killed at will, play second fiddle etc., can stay in Nigeria. I will rather go to where my humanity, life and worth and values are respected, where I have to contend with the scheming cunning craftiness , which am sure, there will not be oppression all the time.
Reacting to Anioma people identity crisis, Chief Odogwuowa empatically said “Anioma is not in Biafra, let a referendum be held today and l will be proved right. Who even told Anioma people that they will not suffer worse humiliation and marginalisation in Biafra, especially beyond oil. Certainly the lkas will remain in one Nigeria even if Biafra goes.
On the contrary, Mr Ephram Resp warns that people should stop spreading social panic over nothing. He said, if it is in the interest of Anioma people to join Biafra let them do, but if not, let them stay out. “That is their business and not the business of our kith and kin across the Niger.
Barr. Mike Ejiofor, former dirctor, States Security Service (SSS) and an indigenous son of Anioma people, said “the arguments on whether we are Ibos or Igbos will take us no where. Let me ask Anioma people, what language do we speak? Some people will say Enuani, Ika or Ndokwa. So these languages are Hausa abi?” Standing on the word of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, that considers “Sitting on the fence” as an offence, Ejiofor urge his people to take side as the Bible also said that if you are neither hot or cold you will be spit out.
He said “Don’t also forget that Late Chief Ralph Uwaechue and Col Achuzia Ohanaeze were once President General and Secretary General, of the apex Igbo organization of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. respectively Ndigbo. A word is enough for the wise. I am and we are Igbo people of Delta state.”
On a clearer note, he stressed his belief in one strong virile Nigeria where there is equity, fairness and justice. “I’m not taking a position yet he said, but I’m an Igbo man from Delta.” Nonetheless, his position on the debate about Biafra from Rondel, clearly shows that he is of the opinion that there should be a collective effort towards confronting the arrogance and oppression of the Hausa /Fulani oligarchy.