Biafrans are mystifying people who even live to tell the best tale under ‘persecution’ or hash conditions. This is a fact, not paranoia. Biafrans are majorly aversed, adaptable, versatile and enterprising people, multi-talented, business-orientated and well-travelled. In fact, for an average of every ten Nigerians seen outside the shores of Nigeria, six or seven are likely to be Biafrans and there is hardly any part of this world you will not see at least a Biafran. Outside Biafraland, Biafrans form the second largest population in every State in Nigeria (outside the indigenes of such a State). They are such highly travelled that it is widely believed that anywhere you did not see a Biafran across the globe, surely something is wrong with such a place.
The veteran American diplomat, Henry Kissinger, hit the nail on the head when he aptly observed that: “The Igbos are the wandering Jews of West Africa… gifted, aggressive, westernized; at best envied and resented, but mostly despised by the mass of their neighbors in the federation.” – Henry Kissinger.
“The Biafrans are people whose real and factual population cannot be easily ascertained or at best, whose population has been politically manipulated to undermine their demographic strength. I think it was same reason of deceitful manipulation that made Obasanjo’s civilian government to decide not to put the column or space for tribe (or language) in the flawed census that was conducted during that regime (1999-2007). Consequently, Biafrans whose population makes a substantial number of the people in their States of residence, were counted as populations of their host States and hence, helped to bring up the population of such places. Yet, the irony remains that at the end of the day when some gains come up, one is discriminated against as a non-indigene of the areas in question.”
During “Igbo Day” Celebration of 2005, Prof. Anya O. Anya in his keynote speech titled, “The Primacy of Political Power or Economic Power, Igbo Dilemma” said “There is an inherent paradox and contradiction in the lgbo-man’s place in Nigeria. On the one hand given his industry, his intelligence and his enterprise, the Igbo-man is a desirable gift to Nigeria and the stuff of which great nations and great civilizations can be built. On the other hand, given his presumptive confidence in his abilities and his unabashed hunger to succeed at whatever cost, he engenders fear and unwelcome visibility amongst his compatriots. His lack of subtlety, his drive to overcome and his insatiable ‘greed’ for material progress engenders resentment and often inexplicable, and perhaps, undeserved hostility in the host communities. His ‘loud’ style of life and the facility with which he can adapt to and adopt new ways can also be unsettling to foreign cultural formations that have come in contact with the lgbo including the colonial masters.
There is thus an underlying sense of conflict in lgbo presence in Nigeria. Only those who knew how small the population of the whole Nigeria was before the civil war will appreciate the fact that Nigeria really decimated the Biafran population, considering the number of people wickedly wasted in that senseless war. But to those other tribes that carried out the callous act against innocent Biafran population, one can only recite the lines of a popular philosopher, especially in these times of rampaging military/herdsmen massacre in Nigeria: “When they killed the Jews, we watched unconcerned because we were not Jews. When they murdered the Blacks we were still unconcerned because we were not Blacks. When they massacred the Asians we kept mute because we were not one of them. Then we saw the marauding murderers coming and we realized they were coming for us and we were not safe. That was when we knew that if we had collectively protested the killing of the Jews, the murder of the Blacks and the massacre of the Asians, we would all have been safe.”
Often and unfortunately repudiated or resented by most envious tribes in Nigeria, the Biafrans are a resourceful and resilient people; the Jews of Nigeria and the Japan of Africa. They have the capability of turning nothing to something, barren lands to bountiful harvests. In fact, the secret of success of Biafrans, who survive in areas where others make no progress, has made others to brand them different names such as: money lovers, and each successful Biafra man is seen as possessing spiritual or occultist power or a ritualist. Love them or hate them, there is no gainsaying the very fact that Biafrans are a visionary and highly enterprising people blessed by God but hated by few individuals especially in Nigeria.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media