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On May 30, 1967, the then Military Governor of former Eastern Nigeria, Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared the sovereign state of Biafra in consonance with the mandate of the Eastern Nigeria Consultative Assembly. This declaration on that fateful evening marked the point of no return for the embattled citizens of former Eastern Region who felt betrayed by fellow Nigerians for the past one year. With the preemptive move by Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon, who had earlier decreed the dissolution of former regions and the division of Nigeria into 12 new states, the East was practically left with no other option than to secede from Nigeria.
The proclamation of Biafra was marked by wild ecstasy amongst the generality of Easterners who, for the first time in the past 12 months, felt that they have found something concrete to hang their future hopes on. Overall morale was sky high and the new nation was predicted to become the showcase of Black African ingenuity in all aspects of human endeavour.

There were spontaneous demonstrations in many population centers of the East during which hundreds of thousands of youths pledged to rise up to defend their newfound freedom if called upon to do so. This feeling of exhilaration was, however, short-lived because the Nigerian military junta in Lagos soon declared a national state of emergency and began amassing troops to invade the newborn Republic of Biafra.

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