Biafra: The Antics Of Fasoranti | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Biafra: The Antics Of Fasoranti

Posted: Mar 2, 2016 at 10:38 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Okpani Omeroko

Chief Reuben Fasoranti, leader of the pan Yoruba social-cultural
organization, Afenifere, granted a rather controversial interview recently,
which appeared in the Saturday SUN of February, 13th 2016. After reading
through the 2- page interview, I became disappointed and astonished. Reason
being that when the interview was promoted in the previous day’s edition of
the newspaper, I looked forward to reading the views of a great man.
Fasoranti should be nearing 90 years of age if not more, so I was expecting
an incisive and explosive encounter.

But I was dumbfounded to discover that the interview was rather worthless.
It was lacking in intellectual depth, it was drab, uninspiring, disjointed
and   historically   useless to say the least. To add salt to   injuring,
Chief  Fasoranti   made some provocative  statements, which proved  to be a
dilettante. He asserted that “Ojukwu was the man behind the war. He started
the war by taking up arms, thinking that he will win. His desire was to
rule one part   of the country, but he was over – powered. I think   he had
a misplaced ambition. He was well educated and well brought up, but after
his studies, he had a misplaced ambition which caused the war. He took up
arms against Nigeria. When he was overcome, he ran out of the country.”
These are the antics or rather the rantings of Fasoratnti, which constitute
the most bankrupt narrative regarding the causes of the Nigeria civil war
(1966-1970). If an Afenifere chieftain like Fasoranti can say this about
the Nigeria – Biafran war, then we have to do more introspection to find
out whether the man is mentally stable or not. I can give him benefit of the
doubt for now because I have never read him before now. I cannot say much
about his academic soundness. But all I know is   that such a shallow
analysis could not come from other well know Afenifere leaders like Ayo
Adebanjo, who to the best of my knowledge would have been more brilliant,
articulate and diplomatic in   the use of language and diction. This
Fansoranti is relatively unknown and should learn how to approach matters
if he is of such little erudition.

Now, to the issue at stake, Fasoranti needs to be reminded that Chukwuemeka
Odumeguru  Ojukwu  who was a Colonel in the Nigeria Army
before the 1966 crises  was not the cause of the civil war. Again, it was
not Ojukwu’s ambition to rule part of the country that led to the coups of
1966 and the pogrom against the Igbos in Northern Nigeria. Conversely, it
was the crises in the Western region   and the dangerous constellation of
forces led by rival actors, namely Chief Obafemi Awolowo and   Samuel
Ladoke Akintola that prepared the grounds for the 1966 conflagration.
Akintola had cemented his alliance with Ahmadu Bello which saw the Tafawa
Balewa federal government force a takeover of the western region through
declaration of state of emergency. Awolowo was accused of treasonable
felony (i.e he was accused of rebellion and of wanting to take over and
rule the whole country; not just a part of it as Fasoranti attributed to
Ojukwu). Awolowo was found guilty of treasonable felony and imprisoned.
Following the controversies surrounding the 1964 general elections and the
1965 census exercise, the country was headed for Armageddon. A detachment
of the Nigerian armed forces led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu (the five
majors) struck on the night of 15th January, 1966 to herald Nigerian’s
first coup detat. Ojukwu was not amongst the coupists. It was the counter-
coup of 29th July, 1966 and the Igbo massacre in Northern and Western
regions as well as the collapse of the Aburi Accord that led the Igbos to
embark on a self – determination struggle.

So, why do the Awoists (Afeniferes) always parrot slogans of wanting to restructure Nigeria or working towards true federalism when one of their top echelons habours such a wicked and dangerous world view about the Igbo self-determination struggle? What it means is that they don’t even understand the meaning of the national question which they talk about; or even if they do understand it, they are still prevaricating in their usual
game of self- deceit.

Why should Fasoranti insult Ojukwu and the Igbos for embarking on
self-determination struggle when he knows that it is the inalienable right
of ethnic nationalistic who are being oppressed to raise the banner of
self- determination, more so for a mega- ethnic nationality  like Ndigbo,
with a population of over 75 million. If South Africa, Egypt, Ghana,
Ethiopia etc can be independent nations, why can’t Ndigbo be when it is
more populated than these afore-mentioned states.