FOOL YOURSELF SOME MORE

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By Odi Ikpeazu. So, this professor of mixed Caribbean and Igbo origin has had her fifteen minutes under the lights. Good show! She has stood up to Queen Elizabeth and the British Empire, bringing them to their quivering knees, making them eat humble pie while she struts and frets her hour upon the stage, full of sound and fury, possibly signifying something, probably to be heard no more.

Can’t help thinking that she is a right one to call out Piers Morgan for clout chasing, she who cleverly identified her neo-Igbo audience and deliberately tailored her vulgarity to their peculiar new-fangled taste. So clever, she even siezed the opportunity to promote her status as a lesbian of top ranking, as result of which I have no doubt that she must now be having a leisurely pick of new-found sexy beauties.

Apparently these days, one cannot be of true Igbo blood if one does not adopt a toxic tongue in interaction with others or a caustic manner with neighbours, while reinforcing it with some convenient, self-serving historical revisionism.

The system of the ancient times everywhere, as we know, was informed by such primordial doctrines as ‘might is right’ and ‘survival of the fittest’. The big fish usually ate the small fish even in Africa, if not more so down here. Tribes took lands belonging to weaker tribes and that is just how cities and empires grew. The British Empire was no different in that respect from the Akkadian Empire or the Mongol or the Ottoman and so on. Similarly, the blue print was not different from that of the Ghana Empire, the Mali, the Songhai or the Benin and so on. It was aĺl pretty well smash and grab.

Even my own people of Onitsha, who migrated from Benin about three hundred years ago, on crossing the River Niger, met a settlement of fishing people there called the Ozee, took their land by force and displaced them upland to this day. Human beings were much nearer the state of Nature back then. But we love hypocrisy, don’t we?

We also love burying our heads in the sand and swimming in self pity too, forever looking for the speck in the eyes of others while a log of wood is buried in ours. And by the way, slavery wasn’t introduced to Africa by foreigners. It only took on a more efficient and industrial character but even so, would not have reached the scale it did without the active and indispensable participation of African middle men.

Slavery already thrived in Africa long before the Trans Atlantic sort and as a matter of fact, while it was abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and in America in 1865, still persists here to this day. In African societies, families still exist, who are slaves by lineage. I am an avowed Pan African but not that pointlessly toxic type that actually has no positive propositions for African emancipation, only just seeking fame and chasing dubious importance by making the most obligatory noises playing to the gallery in a theatre of virtual fools.

From the vitriolic logic of our dear Carribean-Igbo Professor, I am able to gather that Queen Elizabeth was somehow responsible for the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 and the subsequent loss of that war by the Igbo. By some convoluted reasoning of a possibly schizophrenic imagination, there was a conspiracy hatched in Westminster to perpetrate a genocide against the Igbo for what specific benefit I am at a loss to fathom.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I experienced that war as an intelligent boy, a straight-A secondary school student already and cannot submerge my hard-earned mental faculty to merely emotive sentiment, no matter the avalanche.

The basic reason for the loss of that war, was the inequality of the contest, the lopsidedness of the confrontation, a military matter of fact, which Major Ifeajuna made clear to Lieutenant Colonel Ojukwu in light of the fact that they were professional Nigerian army officers. His objectiveness however only earned him a place at the stake before a firing squad in the Polo Ground at Enugu as well as a place in Igbo revisionist legend as a traitor, monster and saboteur.

After the first few months of the war, it became obvious to the dispassionate on-looker that the so ‘Biafra Republic’ was on a shrinking mission, as the Federal Army ate it up from all sides, rendering it landlocked and making acute food shortage inevitable. I can still recall this very annoying official from the Biafran Ministry of Agriculture one day coming to our house to encourage us to experiment with eating Hibiscus flower leaves, telling us what underestimated food value it had. I hated him so much, I wished I could have shoved a whole plant of it down his throat, roots and all. Shortly after that, as Biafra shrank even further, I remember trekking thirty miles on empty stomach from Aba to Umuahia with a horde of other fleeing miserable refugees, while the constant scary sound of thudding mortar in the near distance urged us on.

Ojukwu had ample opportunity to stop the inevitable but with the romantic prospect of being the African Castro – a full beard and all – he declined to do so and of course the Federal Army was under no obligation to stop their advance.

The horrible pictures of my age mates starving from the malnutrition of kwashiokor, which should have moved our leaders to call off the stand off, was instead used as photo ops while the images were proudly dispatched to the Western media as evidence of our ‘gallantry and resilience’, foolhardy as it clearly was.

In the end, in 1970 precisely, Ojukwu set off on his famous euphemistic search for peace and all I could think of in exasperation was, despite the brazen corniness of his mission, why didn’t he do that in 1968? But somehow Queen Elizabeth was responsible for that. Bloody ostriches

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