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Attempt at polarizing the Igbo society based on one’s stance on Biafra actualization is improper, unnecessarily divisive and ultimately harmful to the Igbo cause. Ndiigbo don’t all have to totally agree on any given stance on Biafra actualization before seeking practical means of collaborating on implementing key programs that can alleviate the dire condition under which our people eke out what they need to survive from day to day. For now, at least, the geopolitical entity called Nigeria is still the current address for the generality of Ndiigbo, irrespective of one’s inclinations about Biafra actualization. What Osondu Foundation and other likeminded groups stand for do not, in any way, contradict the possibility of emergence of a future sovereign Biafran nation. Rather, efforts made to find practical solutions to current problems by these groups shall enhance the chances of a viable and vibrant sovereign Igbo nation whenever its emergence becomes inevitable. ...... Dr. Nwosu

The article titled “Osondu, Others Must Support Biafra Actualization” (http://www.osondu.com/editorial/supportbiafra.htm) by Dr. Oguchi Nkwocha draws a clear line of demarcation that partitions Igbo survival struggle into two camps; one opting for “one-Nigeria” and the other for “Biafra-actualization”. For the purposes of the author’s argument, Biafra and Igbo nationalism or self-determination are meant as one and the same thing. He was quite assertive in his opinion that nothing short of a sovereign state of Biafra is capable of providing acceptable solution to Igbo dilemma in today’s world. He showed utter contempt for “the learned Igbo economic wizards” for prescribing “a one-Nigeria agenda as solution for the Igbo problem in Nigeria”. Apparently, the “one-Nigerianist” economic experts have failed to factor into their recommendation the fact that the oil which “comes from our own land” provides the major economic sustenance for Nigeria. In the author’s judgment, Ndiigbo shall exercise a free hand at utilizing the huge oil resources from a sovereign Biafran territory to solve most of its economic problems. The issue, therefore, must be Biafra actualization without which anything else done by Ndiigbo for their salvation is sheer waste of time and effort.

No one can argue against the desirability of fostering Igbo nationalism and self-determination within or without the context of present Nigerian state. Ndiigbo and Igbo value system have existed for millennia before the creation of Nigeria and shall endure long after the geopolitical entity currently labeled Nigeria has been radically transformed. It is thus easy to appreciate the position that Dr. Nkwocha and his group take as protagonists of unbridled Igbo nationalism and self-determination. The problem lies with the practicality of attaining any wish, no matter how desirable it appears to be. From present scheme of things, the desirable goal of Biafra actualization or Igbo self--determination may take years, decades or even centuries to attain. What should Ndiigbo do, in the interim, to address their survival needs in 2003 and beyond? I consider it important that individuals and groups that are genuinely committed to the Igbo cause should never gloss over or trivialize the existential imperatives of Ndiigbo, at any point in time, just for the purposes of winning a shallow short-term ideological or political argument.

Founders of Osondu Foundation are primarily focused on orchestrating an Igbo renaissance that shall culminate in restoration of status of parity with our peers and respect which Ndiigbo had in the pre-civil war era in Nigeria. This foundation recognizes the central import of Biafra in modern Igbo political history and has embarked on the execution of Biafra Memorial Project (BMP) as a veritable tool for harnessing the experiences of the Civil War for the benefit of Ndiigbo who bore the brunt of one of the worst African tragedies in modern times. Ndiigbo have shed blood for a cause that we all believed in so passionately during the Civil War but we fell short of the set objective before being militarily overwhelmed more than 30 years ago. Components of BMP include practical programs to help relieve hardship of handicapped and neglected Biafran veterans, establishment of National Memorial Day as a national holiday to remember sacrifices of the Civil War, preservation of major war theaters as historical sites and construction of monuments and museums. The goal here is to ensure that coming generations of Ndiigbo and other compatriots shall never forget the epoch that constituted a major watershed in our collective history. Contrary to misconception held by some, the BMP is designed to keep the flame of Biafra burning in tangible ways rather than bury it as alleged.

Beyond the BMP, Osondu Foundation is pursuing economic, sociocultural, political and environmental agenda that frontally address strategic interests of Ndiigbo in today’s world. Regional economic integration, as a central theme for opening the Nigerian Eastern Economic Corridor, has been seen by the Osondu group as the most credible platform for addressing economic needs of the former East which has been the domain of influence for Ndiigbo historically. Revival and preservation of essential aspects of our rich cultural heritage while eliminating the practice of obsolete ones, like osu system, have been the mantra of this group. Igbo political interests shall best be served by reestablishing regional solidarity, which was torn apart with advent of the Civil War. Most knowledgeable pundits agree that this initial but important step is the surest way of reasserting credible presence of Ndiigbo at the center of national governance. As we speak, the Osondu Foundation has collaborated in drafting a bill for erosion control and road maintenance which is now pending debate and ratification in state houses of legislature of the Southeast and elsewhere. Erosion coupled with absence of a coherent maintenance culture has been identified as the most important factor that devastate Alaigbo and its transportation infrastructure. Addressing these issues shall augur well for a more prosperous and confident Alaigbo.

Simplifying my support for Osondu Foundation as having been inspired only by its “one-Nigeria” stance is trivializing the seriousness with which this group perceives the real causes and thus the practical solutions to myriad problems that confront the average contemporary Igbo. Attempt at polarizing the Igbo society based on one’s stance on Biafra actualization is improper, unnecessarily divisive and ultimately harmful to the Igbo cause. Ndiigbo don’t all have to totally agree on any given stance on Biafra actualization before seeking practical means of collaborating on implementing key programs that can alleviate the dire condition under which our people eke out what they need to survive from day to day. For now, at least, the geopolitical entity called Nigeria is still the current address for the generality of Ndiigbo, irrespective of one’s inclinations about Biafra actualization. What Osondu Foundation and other likeminded groups stand for do not, in any way, contradict the possibility of emergence of a future sovereign Biafran nation. Rather, efforts made to find practical solutions to current problems by these groups shall enhance the chances of a viable and vibrant sovereign Igbo nation when its emergence becomes inevitable.

Okenwa R. Nwosu, M.D.
Upper Marlboro, MD
USA


Osondu
The Survival Struggle for Ndiigbo

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