JUST LIKE THE birth pangs of a woman in labour heralds the innocent cry of a new-born baby, so do the travails and committed struggles of any oppressed people herald the dawn of their freedom. This is the natural sequence of events in the integral calculus that create freedom. History cannot afford me any parallel where a nation has emerged from the womb of oppression into freedom without bitter struggle and sacrifice. In the entire history of mankind it has been a constant war between the lord and the serf; between the oppressed and the oppressor and between death and life. If we bring home this truism to Africa, when it is not the Mau-Mau Revolt in Kenya, it will be the Maji-Maji uprising in Tanganyika. In all these battles for freedom, men have had to die that others will live.
The fate of Ndigbo in Nigeria is not different from the dynamics that signal the end of an era and the birth of a new dawn. As a people, our lives would be worse than the lives of dogs in a manger if we fail to rise up and say to the Nigerian establishment “enough is enough”. If as a people, we should ever fail to pursue our legitimate demands and condemn the serial atrocities against the Igbo nation, we would cease to have meaning. The contradictions of the Nigerian state have compelled Ndigbo into coordinated demand for the state of Biafra and with each passing day, stakes keep getting higher.
The emergence of nations like Eritrea, South Sudan, Croatia, Czech Republic and the many independent Baltic States followed this pattern. Even more instructive was the emergence of the State of Israel in 1948. Time was in the history of Israel when King David, one of the most outstanding and successful kings of Israel asked a very rhetorical question. Faced with the conspiracy of the Gentiles David, in the second chapter of the Book of Psalms, asked: “Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying: Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us”. In verse 4 of the same chapter, David declares the response of such plotters against the Lord’s people. According to David, “He (God) that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them (those plotters) in derision”. But even after the Holocaust and with renewed anti-Semitism, the State of Israel had to choose between actions that pull down the Temple of Humanity itself rather than surrender even a single member of the Jewish family to the oppressors.
Ndigbo, like the Jews, have risen to say that we will no longer tolerate the continued cold-blooded murder of harmless and innocent Igbo sons and daughters by the Nigerian state under any guise or excuse. From 1966 to 1970, Ndigbo had to endure a genocidal pogrom orchestrated by hate and jealousy. If any person or group in Nigeria thinks that in 2016, we will sit idly by and watch a re-enactment of the macabre dance of 1966 in Igboland, that person or group must have his or their heads examined.
I say this because presently virtually every part of South-east and South-south has been taken over by combat-ready Nigerian troops. From Onitsha, to Enugu, Abakaliki, Umuahia, Aba, Owerri, Port-Harcourt, Calabar and other south-eastern cities, the swarm of these fierce-looking soldiers can be seen. This policy of military occupation of our political space has been code-named “Operation Python Dance” by the Buhari administration. The reason, I am told, is to forestall any breakdown of law and order an account of the continued incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB). While the sinister intention of this operation is not in doubt, what is curious is why the government has chosen the Yuletide to execute such infamy. Our political space has been significantly militarised by the Nigerian occupying forces. This has led to heightened tension in the south-east and south-south and crippled commercial and other economic activities.
According to the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army Enugu, Colonel Sagir Musa, “the prevalent security issues such as armed robbery, kidnapping, abduction, herdsmen-farmers’ clashes, communal clashes and violent secessionist attacks among others…” are the reasons driving “Operation Python Dance”. I consider these reasons naïve and pedantic. There is more to “Operation Python Dance” than meets the ordinary eye. The code name of this operation is in itself very ominous. It has both spiritual and physical implications.
On several occasions, I have had to state that there is a calculated attempt to Islamize this country despite our secularist pretensions. At each turn, apologists of the core northern establishment have dismissed such fears with a wave of the hand; whereas in reality this project is truly alive and well and is being systematically implemented. If this is not so, I want somebody to explain to me why the motto of the Nigerian Army is written in Arabic, which when translated into English means “Victory is from God alone”? Arabic inscriptions, the official and acceptable language of Islam, can be conspicuously seen on our N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes in a country that is supposed to be a secular state.
For us to fully appreciate the spiritual import of “Operation Python Dance”, it is important that we understand the significance of snakes in the Islamic faith. The Islamic understanding of the spiritual significance of snakes is directly linked to a bizarre and ridiculous assumption that snakes are evil incarnation of morphed jinn. In Islamic theology, jinn are regarded as free-willed creatures made by Allah from smokeless fire. A variant of these jinn known as Iblis disobeyed Allah when they refused to bow to Adam as Allah commanded. Consequently, Allah expelled Iblis from Paradise and called him Satan. Snakes are Iblis and representative of unbelievers or infidels. Large volumes of the Moslem Hadith declare Prophet Mohammad’s instruction to warn snakes three times and then kill them if they refuse to go away. Muhammad had commanded the killing of all snakes because they are “the devil” and the emissaries of Satan.
Since snakes are representatives of infidels in Islam, they are to be treated like infidels according to the Qur’an wherever they are found. Our people are regarded as Iblis among the Moslems and therefore should be eliminated on sight. This elimination, since the brutal genocidal pogrom against our people, has continued unabated in the north. For instance, in northern Nigeria, we have had instances where Moslems slaughtered and beheaded our people, the latest one being the beheading of an Igbo woman few months ago in Kano. These brutalities and bestiality in the name of religion have never ceased appalling the sensibilities of civilisation and one wonders why people should behave in this grisly manner. The answer, I dare say, can be found in the Qur’an. Surah 47:4 (Ali Translation) enjoins Moslems thus: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks; at length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly on them…”
It is in this context that “Operation Python Dance” should be understood. The people of south-east and south-south are regarded as snakes, that is, unbelievers and therefore must be eliminated. In recent history we read of the desire of the core north to dip the Qur’an into the Atlantic Ocean. If you take this as the imaginations of the mind, I urge you to think twice. My age and national standing impels me to warn our people of the impending journey to Golgotha. The emergence of this Buhari presidency is seen by the north as the only opportunity to implement this agenda because there could, and indeed will not be any other opportunity.
It is indeed worrisome that since coming to power in 2015, over 3,000 thousand people of southeast and south-south extraction have been murdered in cold blood for no other reason than peacefully demanding an independent state of Biafra or at least for a renegotiated and restructured Nigeria where our people would have unfettered freedom to externalize their God-given faculties. The latest militarization of the south-east and south-south by the Nigerian military has once more demonstrated the naivety of the Buhari government and its penchant to shed the blood of our people. In truth, Buhari’s brutal military assault on the south-east and south-south code-named “Operation Python Dance’’ can best be described as criminal and a full declaration of war against our people. This suffocating military operation has been programmed to last till January 2017. Until then, the south-east and south-south would remain in a state of siege by the Nigerian military, which has effectively transformed itself into an occupying force.
This military onslaught is the latest in the litany of atrocities so far unleashed on the people of the south-east and south-south in this country and a continuation of the northern establishment resolve to over-run our political space by force and impose Sharia law on our people. This evil imposition did not start today. It is rooted in history. But what is also rooted in history is that, as a people, we have weathered these storms. There is no doubt that in the present circumstances, we will overcome because that is our heritage as the sons and daughters of the living God. In the 19th century, the brutality and high-handedness of the Royal Niger Company (RNC) was vehemently resisted by our people especially during the Akassa war of that period. In 1929, our woman courageously fought against the draconian British tax regime. From times past, our people have always shown tremendous resolve to resist suppression and oppression from the enemies.
There is no doubt that the Nigerian establishment, over the years, has initiated several strategies to route us of our homeland to no avail. The events of the Nigerian civil war, doubtless presented the Nigerian establishment the rare opportunity to wipe us out in a planned genocidal program. Buhari was part and parcel of that genocidal pogrom. His brutality and cold efficiency in prosecuting the war against our people has been recorded on the pristine walls of time. Even after the civil war, we were further subjected to economic and physical genocide. Concerted and official attempts have been made to cannibalise demographic strength and present us as minority ethnic group. At each turn, we have come forth like pure gold. But let it be known to all the forces of darkness in this country, that time is coming, and now it is, when the scroll of the mindless iniquities committed against our people will be unfolded and all the persons who dealt with us treacherously will be judged.
It is the height of leadership idiocy for anybody to think that in 2016 the government could fiddle with the idea of re-inventing the earth-scorch policy of old, which was deployed to devastating effect in a choreographed plot to annihilate our people. General Muhammadu Buhari should be told in clear language that as his forebears failed woefully, so also he will fail miserably. I am not surprised with what Boko Haram is doing in the far-north. Irrespective of the interpretation anyone may adopt in explaining the bloodletting in the region of the country, I am persuaded that Boko Haram is God’s own judgment in avenging the gruesome killing of our people in Nigeria. The blood of our people which the Nigerian soil has drunk is crying out to God for vengeance. God’s ears are not closed nor His hands too short to redeem His people. The tide of this Divine judgment cannot be reversed by using “Operation Python Dance’’ to intimidate our people and cripple our economy.
That the present Buhari government has not been able to read that hand writing on the wall is a sign of the tragedy that awaits this country. Just like the handwriting appeared in the time of Belshazzar to pass judgment on Babylon, the same handwriting has appeared on the walls of Nigeria to proclaim that Nigeria has been weight in the balance and found wanting, and very soon the country would be divided among her ethnic nationalities. This is the truth staring us in the face. Yes! The blindness and revulsion against our people may not allow the present leadership to see or appreciate this imminent reality; but it is the reality all the same.
The truth is that you cannot force a woman to remain in a marriage that has brought her nothing but pain and misery; a marriage that has daily threatened her very existence and a marriage where all the pillars of trust have been destroyed. Even God Almighty himself permits divorce in matters of infidelity and lack of trust in any marriage. There is no denying the fact that the Nigerian contraption is a marriage of convenience; an “arranged marriage” package and delivered by British colonialism in the most treacherous circumstance is a settled historical truth. Though our people initially felt that in the course of time, some of level trust and confidence would be established, time and time again we have been led to the slaughter slab in a most unconscionable manner. We have watched our commonwealth lay to waste and our faith repudiate. We have known nothing than treachery in this marriage and therefore have come to the point of asking out. This divorce is sanctioned by the provisions of self-determination and international law.
The divorce papers have been signed and execution will soon follow. Not even a thousand “Operation Python Dance” can abort the new dawn so patiently waiting to be born. The Biafra agitation is not only legitimate; it is also active and well; and the coming referendum in the form of BIAFRA-EXIT, will signify a new beginning for our people. Let no one be in doubt of this.
*****Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo is a prolific exponent-of-freedom scholar, chair and publisher of Fourth Dimension Publishing, Enuugwu, Biafra, Africa’s most enduring and successful independent publishing organisation