Emeka John Chigozie Emekesiri, the man who founded and nurtured Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, before it was hijacked, in this presentation to Igbo Congress at the 3rd Quarter Board / HOD Meeting, talks about the original plans of the body, how late former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, was impressed by their master plan as presented by late Vice President Alex Ekwueme, and how the plan failed.
He went back to history and revealed why General Yakubu Gowon reneged on the Aburi Accord, the role Ken Saro-Wiwa played, and the political mistake of Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who led the Biafran secession. The Imo State-born lawyer, pastor, estate surveyor & valuer, and management consultant revealed that the original plan of IPOB was to achieve a strong, united and well-developed Igbo nation in a united Nigeria before any other consideration. Read on:
On early struggle for self-determination by Biafran people
In the struggle for self-determination of the Biafran people, I am the founder, originator and vision bearer of the movement of Indigenous People of Biafra established by the authority of the Supreme Council of Elders of Indigenous People of Biafra under the leadership of late Igbo icons: His Royal Majesty, His Lordship, the Honourable Justice Eze Ozobu OFR; Dr Dozie Ikedife, OON; Brig Gen Joe Achuzia; and Chief Barr Debe Odumegwu-Ojukwu. Although these founding fathers have joined our ancestors, the struggle for self-determination continues on the same foundation they laid. Today, I will speak on what the Igbo people want and how they can achieve what they want.
The psyche of the Igbo society was destroyed after the war between Biafra and Nigeria. Before the war, there was orderliness and effective governance in the whole Igbo nation by the Elders of the land right from the Family Head to the Community Head. If you brought a large sum of money home without a visible source of income, the Family Head or Elders of the Village would invite you to explain how you made the money. If your source or sources of wealth and riches were questionable, they would ostracise you from the Village Meeting. They believed that good name was better than silver and gold. Their philosophy was “Ezi Afa Ka Ego” (good name is better than money). The youths who misbehaved were brought to the Village Square and flogged as a deterrent to others.
There was a strong foundation of godliness, morality, honesty, integrity, fear and respect for elders and constituted authorities in the land. Thus, there was orderliness anchored on effective leadership and followership in the Igbo Nation. The Igbo Union was the powerbase of the Igbo Nation where decisions were made in the interest of the entire Igbo people in Nigeria.
Today, the youths of the present generation have lost their bearing. They have decided to wander in the wilderness like sheep without a shepherd even though the old shepherds from the old generation are still alive and willing to guide the youths to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, most of the youths of today have become unteachable and corrigible.
The major problem in the Igbo Nation now is the spirit of rebellion among the youths. In fact, almost all Igbo organizations have split into many factions because of insubordination and rebellion. I have a bitter experience on this issue.
When I came into the Biafra Struggle, the first thing I did was to create an Organization under the Elders of the Land so that all the Biafran activists would be properly guided and protected. This was why I created the body known as INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA to represent all the remnants of the Biafrans not consumed in the war which Dr Dozie Ikedife abbreviated to IPOB in 2013.
Even though I created the movement, I did not make myself the Leader but only described myself as the Solicitor for Indigenous People of Biafra because I was the person who filed the case between Biafra and Nigeria.
The Honourable Justice Eze Ozobu was the Leader. Dr Ikedife was the Deputy Leader. Col Achuzia was the Secretary-General. In short, the Elders were in charge and the youths were obedient to their Elders. It was a glorious movement respected by the Nigerian Authorities.
Unfortunately, the person we put in our Media Department, who came from MASSOB and joined us, introduced the spirit of rebellion and insubordination in the Movement. He announced on the Radio that he had dissolved the Supreme Council of Elders of Indigenous People of Biafra and had become the leader and founder of Indigenous People of Biafra. He accused our Elders of being traitors and saboteurs. The Elders ostracised him and he created his own faction of Indigenous People of Biafra and registered it in the Company House in London as Indigenous People of Biafra Ltd. The same spirit of rebellion followed him and after some years, some of his followers also broke away and created their own faction. Now, there are many factions of IPOB.
The rebellious children did not stop there. They wanted to do the same thing to Ohanaeze Ndigbo. They applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja and registered Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly as a corporate organization. They announced that the original Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not registered. They described the original Ohanaeze Ndigbo as “Ohanaeze Ndioshi”. Unfortunately for them, they thought that the Nigerian Law is like the British Law. Their coup against Ohanaeze Ndigbo failed and their certificate was withdrawn by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
They did not know that Customary Law is part of the Nigerian Legal System and Customary Institutions are not registered. In fact, the major characteristic of customary law is that it is unwritten. Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a customary institution that does not exist on a piece of paper called Certificate of Registration. The Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Community know this and respect the Leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. It is a customary institution that remains valid even if Nigeria disintegrates just like the Nzuko Umunna of my village. I will not be surprised that one of these rebellious children may someday go to the Company House and register Nzuko Umunna Ltd and obtain a certificate of registration!
For the Igbo Nation to move forward and achieve its goals, we must have effective leadership and followership. This is why we have made it clear that Ohanaeze Ndigbo is the APEX Igbo Organization. Every other Igbo organization must become an affiliate to Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The membership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is automatic by birth just like the membership of the Nzuko Umunna of my village. You do not need registration to become a member of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Without disciplinary measures, there will be no effective leadership and followership. The rebellious children are emboldened by the lack of controls and punishments in the Igbo National Politics. They may think that nothing can be done to them. They may have riches and wealth and connections in high places but a pronouncement of ostracism by the Leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo against them will certainly subject their names to generational shame and opprobrium. I therefore advise the Leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to pronounce ostracism against the rebellious coup plotters as a deterrent to others. There must be discipline and orderliness in the Igbo Nation otherwise we shall not achieve our goal.