I Was Not Expecting This, It Took Long For Biafra Consciousness To Resurface In Nigeria After 1967-70 Civil War –Soyinka

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Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka has narrated how he got into trouble with the Nigerian government when he said it could not defeat Biafra.

The literary icon said that, therefore, he was surprised that it took so long for the Biafra agitation to be resurrected as spearheaded by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Between July 1967 and January 1970, a civil war known as the Biafran War was fought between Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra, a secessionist state which had declared its independence from Nigeria in 1967.

The secession was led by Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka “Emeka” Odumegwu Ojukwu.

“So nothing surprised me at all, in fact, it surprised me that they took so long in terms of the Biafra resurrection to take place in terms of consciousness,” Soyinka said in a recent interview with Noble Nigeria.

According to Soyinka, it is a mistake for the Nigerian government to keep Kanu in detention since 2021.

He said Kanu had the right to pursue his cause for a separate nation of Biafra as “he was never accused of physically bombing any place or killing anyone”.

He said, “I said at the time and this is what got me into serious trouble, they felt that by making the statement, in fact, it was single out, that by making such a statement, I was trying to demoralise the federal side and actively promote the Biafran cause when I said and I wrote that ‘You cannot defeat Biafra’.

“And people took a very simplistic approach to understanding that; they thought I was talking about the battlefield. That is involved as well because when the people are determined, they are willing to sacrifice anything to preserve their identity when they feel they are on a righteous cause.

“It’s difficult to defeat them, yes. If there is any military defeat, it’s only temporary. The real issues remain unsolved. I mean, that is a lesson of history all over the world.

And so, when I made that statement, Biafra, that notion, concept and all that it involved, the antecedents and the present including the future, seeing what a people who were determined to go on their own, seeing what they could become, that is part and parcel of the cause and when you have that kind of binding combination of different causes, it is very difficult to defeat them and so Nnamdi Kanu represents that concept.……DÍSCOV£R MOR£

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