A DAY IN BIAFRA.
Gen. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu_Ojukwu-speaks-in-Biafra.
A short story by Victor Onyiliagha
Exclusive & Special to USAfricaonline.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of Nigeria360, IgboEvents, UNNalumni, and CLASSmagazine Houston.
USAfrica: It was one of those days between the raining season and harmattan when the rain finds it difficult to fall. It will thunder and flashes of thunder that precedes the thunder will flash and flash and the rain expected to follow never comes and the rain makers whose delight was to disturb the market goers and the farmers in the wee hours of the morning become helpless.
But on this day it rained in mid November with violent flashes of lightening and ferocious thunder and a prolonged rainfall ever seen in November in a clime not known for keeping records.It rained and flashed in between like that kind of rain that leaves destruction on its trail from paths of thunder and as Chukwuka imagined ,when the rain stopped at late dawn, leaving a starched perfume of dusty red sand with hot earth in the air, an amateur rainmaker who forcefully called the rain has been struck dead by thunder.
Obinali called the rain with a rain stone he has just acquired from Ufuma to test its efficacy but an experienced rainmaker who does not want rainfall to affect a funeral ceremony had sent thunder to his hut.
Unknown to the hapless villagers, two Nigerian warplanes by an Egyptian and Mauritanian pilots were high up in the air with their Fighter and Bomber.
It was an orie market day.The previous day the Biafran leader has made his famous declaration at Ahiara to the great applause of his lieutenants, his people and even his enemies especially the saboteurs.
Yesterday, villagers had gathered round a transistor radio at Ogodo to listen to the queens English of the great freedom fighter.Majority of the villagers had wanted to listen to the broadcast live and swear never to depend on the many “radio no battery” that delight in peddling false war stories.One of them on his own in recent time declared the end of the war and made draft dodger to leave their hideouts and were arrested by war conscriptors to the chargrin of the village head.
On that day, Mmadueke was conscripted and was released becaused his “about turn” was “foward march” at the drills making the angry commandant to call declare him a stark illiterate and released him to go and attend to his farm and help in feeding the starving blocked Biafrans.
The familiar humming of the fighter made the villagers who had earlier hoped on a market day purchase of goods from Uburu especially salt which has become a rare commodity to stick to their huts.The militarised villagers have come to know that the scarry fighter paves way for the deadly bomber and waited.Its like throwing a stone up and don’t know when its going to land on your head. When the bomber came it made its targets easy as if the buffers and shelling machines at the village centre were shelling for nothing.
Three bombs hit the Nursery school and the makeshift health centre killing recuperating soldiers whose life anyway depended on their determination to see the end of the war and freedom.The bomb at the Health centre was heavy.It had landed with a loud thud and after some seconds exploded with a loud and dull bang that made the “radio no battery” call it Atomic bomb that will kill everybody with influenza. It was at the market that the bomb did immense damage and the villagers were extremely relieved that the market was not in session or else there is no household in the village that would not have had a share in the casualties list.From that the day the market was shifted to a shade of great trees nears St. Charles catholic church.Some beautiful villagers coming back from “Attack market” were caught by the fighter on their way back from Awka.
The luckiest amongst them were those who died instantly.It was gory and gruesome making Chukwuka the oblong head to make an obscene gesture with his hindquarters at Gowon and one Nigeria and broke into a song:
Ojukwu bu eze nke Biafra
Amuru ya na Aburi
Awolowo ya na Yakubu Gowon
Ha enweghi ike imeri Biafra
The first group to stir after the strings of bombings were the prisoners from the makeshift prison at St. Peter’s secondary school. They had come up all the way to the market square to burry two of their dead from kwashiorkor at the makeshift cemetery between Akpo and Achina.
The prisoners were extremely in a hurry for the corpes were in decomposing stage and never minded the ravaging planes up in in the air and one of them even dared the warplanes with his fist saying “what is this life anyway.Better die a prisoner in Biafra than a freeman in Nigeria”
Everything during the war was makeshift and the pangs of hunger was the common factor. Every economic activity centred around food. Wet food. rats, lizards, snakes and wild animals have disappeared far deeper into the forest, The tamed monkeys at Ezekoro stream has relocated to the wild forest of Otaru and recently a prison warder from Awka who had killed a sacred, royal python escaped being lynched by angry villagers and the warder remained eternally grateful to the village high priest for being alive to tell his story.
The newly transferred warder has protested his innocence because the pyhton according to him is a great source of protein like sardine and is edible in his village. ”it is called Ikputu in my village and I never knew its forbidden here.I never knew its forbidden here.I never knew.I swear”
The prisoners have finished burying their dead and the High priest has finished admonishing the warder for committing a sacrilege by killing the royal python as oblong headed chukwuka was preparing to hawk his cigarettes when it was announce “air raid” and everybody disappeared especially the young men but it was not that of an imminent air bombardment, Achuzie,the dreaded Achuzie and his “not for me not for my boys” fame has arrived from Uga for conscription.
All you will see in the market were oldmen,women and children. Ururu a village coward wondered if its not time for the afternoon wine tapping and disappeared but oblong headed Chukwuka waited. He has been longing to join the Boys company whose exploits he has heard from the “radio no battery” He has longed to see the dreaded bullet proof Air raid. If only he will take me. Maybe I will see the General himself.”Just to look to look in his face” . A new spirit is in him. The Biafran spirit and he broke out into a song again:
Agawalam ikwa mgbo na Uzuakoli
Agawalam ikwa mgbo
Baby mu ana ebe si mgbo
Atukwala mu n’isi
Baby isi mgbalaga?
Onye ga akwazi mgbo
Being under aged, I dusted my bicycle wheel and rolled it in motion and stirred it towards Mama Law’s house as pangs of hunger that has of recent become my companion rumbled in my stomach and rumbled more at the perceiving the aroma of rice and beans jollof at my approach to Mama Law’s house, her favourite and rebuked myself for tarrying long in the market and sat opposite Law and ate part of his food without washing my ‘craw craw’ infested hands and after waved bye bye to kwashiokor as it was announced that the people’s General had travelled to Ivory coast to get more arms….
At Ojukwu 2012 memorial in Dallas, USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu challenges the Igbo nation to say “never again” like Jews. The Ojukwu 2012 memorial event townhall keynote speaker, Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks Dr. Chido Nwangwu challenged and had the audience of almost 500 persons, Biafran war veterans, priests and Igbo teens chanting “never again” when he said: “I call on the Igbo nation, the Igbo leadership and the younger generation Igbo to draw a line in history, pledge a commitment and say ‘never again.’ The Igbo should learn from Ojukwu’s resolve and sacrifices during Biafra and say never again shall the Igbo be killed; never again will the Igbo and the world allow almost 3 million of their fellow Igbo to be killed. The Igbo must say, learn and live like the Jews did after the Holocaust inflicted by Hitler by saying ‘never again’ and protecting their own. Join me in saying ‘never again.” http://usafricaonline.com/2012/02/06/ojukwu-memorial-in-dallas-usafricas-chido-nwangwu-challenges-igbos-to-say-never-again-like-jews/
The pictures of the event are already on the African diaspora’s events mega-site www.PhotoWorks.TV http://photoworks.tv/ojukwu-memorial-event-dallas-pics-video-by-chido-nwangwu-usafrica
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