As the Igbo and brethren begin to take Maazi Kanu, the gboru-gboru of Radio Biafra seriously, it is important that Ojukwu’s leadership style that Kanu, no
different from most other so-called Biafra or Igbo leaders – Kanu, Kalu, Okorocha, Uwazuruike, Umeh, etc., subscribe to, be reexamined.
There is no better authority on Ohacracy than Maazi Uwechue under whose leadership Ohaneze completely embraced Ohacracy and as the President-General of Ohaneze, a template using Ohacracy (the collective servant leadership form of governance) for the creation of a progressive coalition of equals (SS, SW, SE, MB and so-called minorities in the core-North) was put in place.
Thanks to this coalition, the born-to-rule mystic was debunked; the Fulani finally exposed as one of the smallest minorities and for the first time since the so-called independence of the ‘British Birthed Abomination’ Nigeria power was wrested out of the hands of the born-to-rule even as their partner, the British government stood by helplessly – the template is still available. The paper tigers, the born-to-rule and its regressive coalition were brought to their knees without a shot or single death, the doing of Chi Ukwu Abia Ama (The God with ALL answers)!
The leadership of Ohaneze under Uwechue will in due time be known as the golden era of the now struggling organization. Uwechue was an ancient Igbo strategist. He understood that there are no Igbo Messiah but Messiahs (collective leadership or the image we see when each of us looks in the mirror; each individual stepping up to the plate to contribute his/her quota, no matter how big or small). He understood that Igbo owe us nothing but we owe Igbo everything.
There are very few true Igbo elders who were/are ready to stand on the truth, especially, about the treachery of Ojukwu, an individual who single handedly led Igbo and brethren back to Egypt and in the process converted these ethnic nationalities to slaves in their so-called country; Uwechue was one of a handful of these true Igbo elders, an elder who understood the meaning of the greatest philosophical equation of life, ‘eziokwu bu ndu, or truth = life’.
Below is a write-up of his true assessment of Ojukwu and his abominable leadership style that the current crop of so-called Biafra or Igbo leaders now embrace.
Uwechue’s bomb on Biafra
• The making of sensational civil war revelation
By ONUOHA UKEH
Elder statesman and President-General of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Chief Raph Uwechue, has sensationally revealed, in a book, how ego and quest for absolute control by Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu ruined Biafra.
He said, in the book, Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War – Facing the Future that Ojukwu adopted a maximum ruler posture, shunned advice as well as believed in his own judgment, factor, which he said, caused the failure of the breakaway of the Eastern Nigeria.
He said: “By keeping Ojukwu constantly enveloped in an atmosphere of superiority, it made him, as a matter of habit, distrustful and disdainful of other people’s judgment, impatient with their opinions and finally simply authoritarian.”
Uwechue had visited the corporate headquarters of The Sun some time ago and while fielding questions from a team of senior editors, he spoke about pre-independence Nigeria, the politics after independence, civil war and the country after the war. He had promised to send to The Sun copies of his book: Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War – Facing the Future, a revised and expanded edition of his previous book, Reflection on the Nigerian Civil War – A Call for Realism. The book was reprinted in 2004. True to his promise, the elder statesman sent copies of the book, which turned out to be expository.
Indeed, the 199-page book told the story of the first military coup in the country, the second military coup, the crisis after the second coup, the meetings to forestall a war, the secession of the eastern part of the country and the efforts to end the war. The book also has two epilogues, where the author analysed the fall of Biafra, in the topic: The Genesis of Failure and also there is the examination of government structure, in the topic: An Elastic Federal Union.
Reading Chief Uwechue’s book, we found The Genesis of Failure very interesting and, therefore, decided to reproduce it. The chapter talked about the things, in the author’s opinion, caused the failure of the Biafra Republic. He pointedly laid the blamed on Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who led Biafra. He said that Ojukwu lacked tact, never took advice, suffered what could pass for inferiority complex and was power drunk. In the opening paragraph of that chapter, Uwechue said: “It is a sad but instructive irony that Lt. Col Odumegwu Ojukwu, one of Africa’s one-time most brilliant political promises, was the man that led his own people with such a lack of ingenuity into what was clearly a foreseeable disaster.” He said that the personality of Ojukwu robbed off negatively on Biafra, adding: “It can be said for the Nigerian Civil War that the personality of Odumegwu Ojukwu more than any other single factor determined much of the course and certainly the character of the end of the Biafran adventure.”
The elder statesman said, in the book, that Ojukwu was ambitious and, therefore, paid attention only to the “politics of the war” instead of the security of the people he led. He said that owing to Ojukwu’s interest, two wars were fought with the territory of Biafra then: “The first was for the survival of the Ibos as a race. The second was for the survival of Ojukwu’s leadership.” He said that Ojukwu was more interested in the survival of his leadership at that time, which, he said: “Proved fatal for the Ibos” during the war.
The Ohanaeze chieftain said that if Ojukwu were smart enough to understand the politics of alliances in the country, Biafra could have survived. According to him, there was an opportunity for Ojukwu to align with the Western Region then, but he did not see the necessity for that. He said that this opportunity came when the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was released from prison by General Yakubu Gowon and he declared: If “the Eastern Region was pushed out of the federation, Western Nigeria would quit the federation as well.” According to him, Ojukwu should have taken that declaration as a cue and wooed the Western Region.
Uwechue said that another opportunity also came the way of Ojukwu to forge an East-West alliance when Awolowo visited Enugu, as Gowon’s emissary. According to him, what Ojukwu needed was to bring Awolowo to his side, but he did not utilize the opportunity and ended up describing the meeting as “ill-conceived child.”
He had revealed: “When on 7th May 1967 the Yoruba leader (Awolowo) came to Enugu at the head of a reconciliation committee, Ojukwu had a handsome opportunity to play his card. He missed. Dr. Michael Okpara, who still enjoyed popular support in Eastern Nigeria and whose friendship with Chief Awolowo had sustained the UPGA alliances, was not even invited to meet Chief Awolowo. After a hurried reception, Chief Awolowo’s delegation left Eastern Nigeria.”
He said that Gowon, understanding the way alliances worked in the country, had wooed Western Nigeria, first by releasing Awolowo from prison and second, by not only offering him an appointment, but also making him the highest civilian in the government as the vice president of the Federal Executive Council. According to him, by this appointment, there was an “unspoken understanding that Nigeria was his (Awolowo’s) as soon as the war was over and the army withdrew.” He said that this cemented the relation between the Northern Region and Western Region and, therefore, left the east in the lurch.
Uwechue said that within Biafra, Ojukwu alienated talented Igbo, using iron hand to establish his authority. Towards this end, he said that Dr. Okpara, former premier of Eastern Nigeria, was jailed as well as others. “These political figures were to remain out of favour and far from the corridor of power, except for their occasional utility as window dressing, such as posing for photographs with General Ojukwu or flanking him on ceremonial occasions,” he wrote.
He said that the same thing happened in the army, as Ojukwu suppressed officers and, therefore, had a “timid army tamed to unquestionable obedience.”
The elder statesman said that Ojukwu had the opportunity of using the diplomatic front to sell Biafra, but that instead of doing this he shunned advice, especially on the need for compromise. He said that when the war dragged, many eminent Igbo advised Ojukwu to asked for a confederal nation, which would keep Biafra within Nigeria and also give it adequate local autonomy, but this was not only rejected but also those who suggested it were witch-hunted.
He said: “The climax came on 7th of September 1968, just before the OAU summit meeting in Algiers. A number of anxious Ibos, including Dr. Azikiwe, former president of Nigeria, Dr. Michael Okpara, former premier of Eastern Nigeria (Biafra), Dr. K. O. Dike, former rector of Ibadan University and myself made a formal recommendation in which we told General Ojukwu that as Africa was sympathetic to the Ibo cause, but at the same time opposed to secession, he should use the opportunity of the Algiers meeting to seek OAU guarantee for a confederal arrangement, such as was agreed at Aburi (Ghana). General Ojukwu not only rejected this advice outright but also asked some of us to recant or resign. Dr. Azikiwe left Paris in disgust and went to London in voluntary exile. I myself chose to resign.”
Uwechue said that Ojukwu saw himself as a supremo during the war and only trusted his own judgment. In trying to explain why this could have been so, he said: “To this special development of his ego and the feeling of self-sufficiency was added the confidence acquired from an Oxford University milieu and from the fact of his father’s great wealth. Back to Nigeria, Ojukwu soon joined the army, where, as an officer, he got more accustomed to giving orders and receiving prompt obedience than meeting opposition and arguments.” He said that Ojukwu found himself always at the “giving end” rather than at the “receiving end,” adding: “By keeping Ojukwu constantly enveloped in an atmosphere of superiority, it made him, as a matter of habit, distrustful and disdainful of other people’s judgment, impatient with their opinions and finally simply authoritarian.”
The elder statesman concluded that owing to Ojukwu’s attitude, Biafra failed. He said that the failure was mainly a “political one,” which, according to him, “was, in turn, the failure of the leadership, which firstly, made a wrong tactical choice – outright secession – instead of manoeuvring appropriately for vital political alliances within Nigeria and exploiting in that context the numerous weaknesses of its opponents.” He said that by breaking out of the country, “the Biafran leadership abandoned the Nigerian field to those who had then only recently wrenched federal control from the Ironsi government, thus uniting various shades of political opinions in the country behind the new federal authorities, as had never been the case before in Nigeria’s political history, in defence of Nigerian unity.”
One might reach a different conclusion from Maazi Uwechue, since I for one believe that the ultimatum by the council of elders to Ojukwu that Biafra be declared was the right choice; it was its implementation and leadership style of Ojukwu that derailed that noble course.
The question that is yet to be answered is: Is there a better form of governance than Ohacracy, a form of governance that has proven to work for thousands of years. Since Ojukwu’s style of governance and to a lesser extent Zik’s style of governance, were complete failures, why should the Igbo continue with a failed system?
Biafra lost more than 3.5 million brethren during the Biafra Genocaust; millions more will lose their lives unless Igbo returns to the path trod by Igbo ancients – Ohacracy. Ojukwu’s style of leadership has failed Igbo and will continue to fail Igbo, Igbo must turn its back to all those who see them self as Messiah!
Igbo in Diaspora are yet to step up to the plate and begin to play their part for a peaceful separation while embracing the Jewish method on the Holocaust – no more silence but begin to tell the world and demand that they do something about the Genocaust (Igbo genocide and Holocaust). It is time for the Igbo in Diaspora to stand up and be counted.
Maazi Nnaemeka Mene Onumonu, Oha Ka (the People are Supreme), Member: IgboZaraIgbo