One body with many faces
Her portrait has so many faces, all mouths are talking, and there is disagreement and quarrel, then violence resulting in killing of the other. They understand themselves by their language and come together for action. They spoke more than 500 languages representing their tribes and groups. But someone has to be on top, to lead and govern others. Who should that be?
One Body! One Body! The mouths shout aloud. Is she really one? Can it be achieved? Discrimination, hatred, injustice, unfairness, inequality and grievance have taken over her body. Her beautiful body has been disfigured due to tribal, religious and language differences among all the faces.
The coup was planned and executed in January, 1966 by her military men to end corruption throughout her political system. The net effect only placed the military in power, while the corruption found a way to continue even today. In 1994 the civilians again took over.
Peace talk in Ghana in 1967 did not make a difference, and then a major part of her that speaks one language decided to secede and proclaim the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967.
A series of ethnic clashes emerged between her Northern Hausas and the Ibos and other Eastern peoples living in her Northern region, lasting for years. The war, which came to be known as the Civil War or Biafran War, lasted from July 6, 1967- January 15, 1970, after which they were reunified again.
Yes, it was the Biafran war because over 30,000 Ibos were killed in the North and nearly 1million fled from the North to their homeland.
I did not realize what really happened to her until I laid my hand on the 458 pages of novel. Her story has always been told by the elders and those who witness the war. All her body parts were involved. ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, provides context for these memories. The story of love and loyalty shared and hope of the young been torn apart by the war. The killing which started in the North; pregnant women were dissect and killed. Men and women were slaughtered with spare and knife.
She has celebrated her 50th birthday. "None of the problems that led to the war have been solved yet, they are still there. We have a situation creeping towards the type of situation that saw the beginning of the war." Ojukwu says.
Between 1994 and 2011, there have been at least 70 cases of violence in the North tagged as religious crisis. No one has ever been indicted or prosecuted for violent acts and her government has failed to tackle the menace.
One Body! One body! Yet discrimination is still on the rampage. “Omo ebo”, (ibo child), the middle age women at the school of Nursing addressed me, “I am sorry since you are not from this state, you cannot get the job. It is true we do not have a physiology lecturer but the state will not employ you, so don’t waste your time.”
Marginalization, believes the Ibo. Yes marginalization I say. The Ibo are believed to be immigrants from Isreal, so intelligent, ambitious and conscientious. They have immensely restructured sectors that have been poorly managed like NAFDAC, CBN, Military, Education, Finance ministry and others. They have high entrepreneur development which generates a lot of growth for Nigeria’s economy.
From 1960 - 2011, the north have ruled for 38 years, the west for 12 years and the east ruled for 6 months in between, but was killed. Now the seat has moved to the south-south. They are grieving, yet she is One Body.
Even now in 2011 the election is here and the north still wants the seat of power. They believe that is the only legacy left for them by the white men.
One Body! One Body! Yet the rule of law is not respected and obeyed. She needs to give opportunity to others to lead her entire body so as to beautify her body again.
Her leadership must respect the constitution of the country and rotate the seat of power to all zones so that everyone’s voice will be heard.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.