- Speaking with the BBC, Philip Effiong Jr, whose father was the second-in-command to Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, made some revelations
- Effiong Jr also recalled the experiences of the civil war in Nigeria and said the country and its citizens had learnt nothing from the war
Philip Effiong Jr, the son of late Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu’s second-in-command in the civil war, has spoken to Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Effiong reportedly told Kanu that the latter was not getting it right in his fight to see that emancipation of the south-east and the declaration of a Biafra republic.
Effiong’s father deputized for Ojukwu during the 1967 civil war.
He faulted Kanu’s approach saying those agitating for Biafra were not carrying the minority ethnic groups along as they are making it look like a pure Igbo affair.
He reminded Kanu that these minority groups sacrificed during the civil war.
NAIJ.com learnt that Effiong Jr, who spoke with Hassan Arouni of BBC’s Focus on Africa, said: “I think there is something fundamentally wrong with their (IPOB) approach which is the fact that they have made it an Igbo problem.
“They bought into the propaganda that the enemy tried to sell and that propaganda is ‘the Igbo people are out to take over Nigeria and dominate the minorities that around them.
“Of course, minorities were extremely involved, died, suffered, and played major roles."
While relating his experience of the Biafra war, Effiong Jr said: “I remember the plane bombing; that is one thing that stands out. I remember the planes bombing and one having to run away from them.
“Enugu was shelled. I remember I was playing with my brothers with thought it was thunder at first.
“Then we realized shells were landing and the movements were just constant. I think we must have lived in at least five different cities during the war.
“Most of the outside world did not have an inkling of what was happening inside Biafra. Some did. And you have got to give credit to places like Ireland; the church made that possible.
“You know the Catholic Church has had a long philanthropic tradition and that helped spread the word.”
He said Nigerians were yet to learn anything from the war.
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“We are perhaps more divided that we ever where. First of all the war wasn’t about unity but it even divided us more.
“Even today, people can’t really talk about having friends from other ethnic groups.
“When you look at elections for instance or the fact that went and lived in a different state; there would be restrictions in the kind of positions I could hold.
“You find out that the concept of unity has not actually been realized," he said.
Watch the interview here:
NAIJ.com had reported earlier that the Emir of Keffi Shehu Yamusa on Saturday, July 8, warned Nigerians to desist from tendencies toward disintegration of the country.
Yamusa who made reference to the agitation for Biafra and the quit notice to the Ibos by some northern youths said the agitators were ignorant of the challenges of the 1966-1970 civil in Nigeria.
The monarch told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Keffi that agitations and threats for some groups to leave the North were not necessary, adding that the ‘country belongs to everyone'
Watch Nnamdi Kanu and his approach to the agitation: