The quest for an independent Biafra nation is no longer a new subject to many. But many followers of the Biafra struggle and its community of observers may not know there are more than twelve pro-Biafra organizations agitating for freedom.

Apart from the now famous Independent People of Biafra, IPOB,  other pro-Biafra organizations such as Movement For the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra-MASSOB, Biafra Independent Movement- BIM, Biafra United Liberation Council-BULCO, Joint Revolutionary Council of Biafra -JRCB, Biafra Actualization and Defense Squad BADS and Biafra Revolutionary Organization-BRO are some of the variants of  Biafranism.

Each of these groups may differ in their ideology and methodology but not in their quest for freedom.
In general, these groups have more or less a coherent set of ideas that provide basis for organized actions to overthrow the imbalances of power relations that obtains in the “colonial enclave called Nigeria”. 

Words are  weapons, therefore words  are considered as instruments of war. In retrospect, Biafranism and its various ideologies, are in one way or the other a response to historical and/or religio-political utterances by mainly Northern political elites of Nigeria.
Recall that  the entity known as Nigeria today, existed separately before the 1914 amalgamation that joined southern to northern parts due to budget deficit in running the affairs of the Northern protectorate under the British rule. Since then  northern Nigeria has continued to be a British political apparatus of dominance.

In 1956, an 18 year old Muhammed Liman a Northern Nigerian high school student while responding to the topic on prejudice, said “I am a Muhammadan and I have prejudices too against Christians in Southern Nigeria…we often feel that Africa is for Muslims not for Christians”.

In 1965,  Ahmad Bello, former Premier of Northern Nigeria while responding to interview said ” The igbos are more or less a type of people whose desire is mainly to dominate everybody. If they go to a village, to a town, they want to monopolize everything in that area. If you put them in a camp as laborers, within a year, they will try to emerge as headsmen of that camp” He continued: “our people…are not alive to their responsibilities because we can see from our Northernization policy, that in 1952 when I (Ahmad Bello) came here, there were ten Northerners in our service here, then I tried to have it northernized and now all important posts are being held by Northerners” till date.
When asked if the policy of filling the posts with Northerners is a temporary or permanent one, Ahmad Bello said “…what it is, is a Northerner first, if we can’t get a Northerner, we take an expatrait…on contract, if we  can’t, then we employ another Nigerians, but on contract too…I foresee this is going to be permanent and will be rather dangerous… it might even lead to blood shed”.

These verbal weapons and other political incidence led to Nigeria’s Civil War of 1967 – 1970, where more than two million Igbos died.
There are Igbos who live in the current Delta state of Nigeria which was formerly in the old Mid West region and was not part of the original geographical definition of Biafra. So, In the actual sense, “not all Igbos are Biafrans and not all Biafrans are igbos”. The new Biafra is now tasked to ideologize on inclusiveness of every remnant of indigenous people of the old and the new Biafra, irrespective of their loci in the contraption. Nevertheless, the Igbos remain the dominant force in the quest for a Biafra nation.
All of the pro Biafra groups are committed to neutralizing the stronghold of the Islamic North, but the greatest challenge is their lack of unity of purpose and unified ideology.

The leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu , born in 1967 ,at the time in the geographical space of Biafraland, is a progenitor of pre-existing pro Biafra group, and has used his talent in broadcasting to outwit other pro Biafra groups, a strategy that makes him the influential new face of the struggle and caused tensions within certain Biafra proclaimers. Many commentators describe his broadcast style as insidious rather than revolutionary.
Kanu, who bears the same name with former Premier of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe, who protected  former Kenya’s freedom fighter Jomo Kenyatta during his persecution, could not enjoy protection in a country presided over by Jomo Kenyatta’s son, Uhuru. Under Uhuru’s watch,  Nnamdi Kanu was allegedly ‘kidnapped’ in Kenyatta’s Kenya. This coincidence among other sentiments, may have added up to earn Kanu a cult figure.

Nnamdi Kanu’s character can also  be compared to that of  the,  Tupac Shakur whose words were like catalyst that quickened reactions by stirring up the consciousness of people.  His personality and grandeloquence like Tupac,  have awaken the consciousness of many, to the Northernization and inherent Fulanization policies of the Islamic North orchestrated to conquer the entire Southern Nigeria.
Although Kanu’s radical approach may not be all-encompassing, some say he lacks “ideological focus”, but he speaks the language the Islamic Northern oligarchs easily understand and quickly react to. His vibrations also spark the minds that will change the world.

The ideological propagation of Gumism, an ideology consistent with the approach of Islamic cleric Sheik Gumi, will be difficult to overcome if the current tensions within the Biafra bloc lingers. Sheik Gumi and his sponsors’ uncompromising commitment towards Islamizing Nigeria by organizing, influencing, sponsoring, advocating and mobilizing powers at the very pinnacle of Nigeria’s policy makers and executors cannot be neutralized by comrade Uche  Madu’s MASSOB “Biafra of the Mind” whose approach is to sensitize the people and actualize the Biafra of the mind first. Again, Gumism will slump Emeka Emekesiri’s IPOB ideology of Biafrans as people with indigenous identity with no  defined territorial space.
Asari Dokubo’ s Biafra Customary Government portrays an ideology of using information, technology and if you like whistle blowing to propagate self-determination.

The various ideological  differences of these pro-Biafra groups who are in common pursuit for freedom are democratic features of pluralism that characterize the people of Biafran descent. Pluralism  will generate a broad-based participation and Inclusive economic and political institutions in the new Biafra. 
What is fundamentally missing at this stage is a lack of unifying philosophy and consensus to achieve common goal.
Since they all have a common enemy and fight a common enemy. There is need for all factions to put on their best behaviour especially when they come to a round table.
With Nnamdi Kanu’s trial ahead and with Biafra’s reputation getting bigger, all lovers of justice, peace and freedom irrespective of age, creed or ethnic inclination should fight against known killers and “would be killers” and to defend peace and justice!   
Through the exercise of human reasoning, all pro-ethnic groups should consider to cross-breed their inspiration and intellectual frameworks to build a common political, diplomatic, socio-cultural and technocratic components to defeat the intolerant common enemy.
“If you can make it through the night there’s a brighter day”

Byke Freeborn Humanitarian WorkerStudent, Development Studies, Lund University

Simon Ekpa

Simon Ekpa LL.M (Master of Laws) is a human rights activist, CEO, senior legal advisor at Ekpa & Co Oy, legal researcher, author, analyst, Finnish politician, Biafra agitator and a Finnish Military reserve.
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