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Soyinka Calls For Dialogue, Says Biafra Led Nigeria To Civil War That Killed Over 3 Millions

wole soyinka biafra

April 3rd, 2016 – Soyinka Urges FG To Be Diplomatic Says Biafra Led Nigeria To Civil War That Killed Over 3 Millions

Prof Soyinka recently played the role of a wise elder when he urged the FG go apply tact in dealing with the renewed call for an independent Republic of Biafra. The agitations which smouldered under the leadership of Chief Raph Uwazuruike and his MASSOB gained altitude with the emergence of Biafra Radio ,powered by a young Nigerian, Nnnamdi Kanu, who chose the United Kingdom as his second home. Biafra has refused to be confined to the dustbin of History.

The name led Nigeria to a Civil War that claimed millions of lives and destroyed infrastructure worth trillions o Naira. At the end of the 31- month old crisis, the belief was that what led to the bloodletting in the first place would never be allowed to germinate in the future. Forty –five years after, the cries are all over the South-East and parts of the South-South-geo –political zones. Soyinka was part of the story of the war. There were fears that he had sympathy for the Biafrans simply because some of his friends found themselves on the other side of the divide.

Chinua Achebe, Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chris Okigbo played active roles. The bonding spirit of the University College Ibadan, was so strong. Achebe did not go to the battle field with Rocket Propelled Grenades[RPG] and Small Machine Guns[SMG]. He was part of the Biafran Ministry of Information which could move mountains with words. Ifeajuna was part of the liberation of the Mid-West but was cut down by bullets on allegation of plotting to topple Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the Biafran leader. Okigbo was brave and joined the Army.

In an act that could earn a post humous medal, he tried to blow up a Federal Armoured tank with a grenade. He lost his life in the process. Soyinka did not fight in any of the major sectors but fight he did. He was detained by the General Yakubu Gowon government until the end of the war. While in jail, his father died and the writer was not allowed the tradition of burying his dad. It was in prison that he wrote The man died.

The Laureate therefore is in a vantage position to talk about Biafra and the way forward. His take is that anyone who believes that Biafra would be destroyed by sending a squadron of policemen to Onitsha, Aba , Port-Harcourt or Asaba should think twice. Prof. Soyinka’s alternative is dialogue in order to find out what the grievances of the agitators are and how to meet their demands even if halfway. His conviction is that Biafra cannot die. That is a salient point. The people who feel they do not want to be part of Nigeria anymore may change their minds if certain reassurances and guarantees were made.

And more should be done for the people of the South-East to feel they are part and parcel of the Federal Republic. This warning is timely. The nation cannot afford another Civil War. No nation has really survived two civil wars. Times are rough for our democracy as insurgency continues to ravage the North-East.

The economy is almost down on its knees and money meant for national development must not be wasted on another crisis down south. While we condemn any acts of violence from those who are free to make their points peacefully, we also advise that live bullets should not be used on innocent protesters and unarmed civilians.

The militarisation of the Sout –East should be discouraged. Nigeria cannot afford to fight on two fronts. Normalcy should reign in places where protests have been held. In Onitsha innocent citizens now live in fear because they are forced to raise their hands in surrender as they go through areas like Upper Iweka and Headbridge. Government while maintaining peace should also offer a hand of dialogue. The peace we enjoy in the Niger Delta today came because late President, Umaru Musa Yar’adua toed the path of jawjaw. That is the way to go and this is time to avert further crisis.

[First Published On Saturday Telegraph]



  1. jamoon (gbs forever)

    April 3, 2016 at 3:22 AM

    Buhari wants to destroy this country b4 he get older and die that’s why he uses excessive force on everything but he must be stopped.

  2. O'Nels

    April 3, 2016 at 3:46 AM

    Well spoken prof!

  3. Metu Nyetu

    April 3, 2016 at 4:15 AM

    When a wise man speaks, even ghosts listen because they must learn a thing or two. No enlightened individual would use a brutal force on any people protesting for their freedom. No enlightened individual would support Buhari’s uncivilized and tyranistic outlook and ferocious approach on this burning issue. It is only a capital FOOL who thinks he is wise that would call a people foolish for agitating for their emancipation.

    The entity in Nigeria should legally cease to exist by now. If a man who realised this truth and wishes to be on his own is foolish, then he is a superlative fool who wishes to continue in the union just because of the fear of change that he feels in his marrows.

    Weldone, Prof. Soyinka! They did not confer that title on you for nothing. However, I doubt what dialogue would do to the mind and spirit of this agitation. The resolve to realise Biafra is cast on a huge stone, which only a miracle could change.

    • Danison

      April 3, 2016 at 8:27 AM

      Good comment from Metu Nyetu

  4. fifelomo

    April 3, 2016 at 4:29 AM

    An elderly man with intellectual. Well spoken Prof.

  5. D Hunter

    April 3, 2016 at 5:37 AM

    Metu, may God bless you richly for that comment. The Biafra agitations is one interest that refused to die and that goes to strenghten the hope that it must come to pass someday. Bc whenever there is the CONSISTENCY of the fire of purpose, whatever is concievable is achievable.

    The FG is using all the weapons in their arsenal to surpress this urge but what they dont know is that the cries of the people is risen to God Who has the final say.
    If God could do it for the Isrealites after about 400yrs of slavery in the land of Egypt, someday somehow He will do it for us too.

    My strolling continues….

  6. sola olaniyi

    April 3, 2016 at 6:41 AM

    i agree with the prof on this

  7. John Emeka

    April 3, 2016 at 7:42 AM

    Well spoken…dey say xperience z d best teacher & wen d wise speaks d gods pay attention…z not everytin dat u achieve wit force and guns some re mostly gotten by appling wisdom just like soyinka said.

  8. Maryf

    April 3, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    Well said. You spoke like a father and only people like you can lead Nigeria perfectly well. Its unfortunate that the wrong ones are always elected to destroy this nation. Buhari is not trying at all.

  9. Danison

    April 3, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Where is that ***** @Omokehinde who believed that agitated Biafrans are ****. @Omokehinde are you ***** than Prof Soyinka ?

  10. tai

    April 3, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    why can’t prof Soyinka be Nigeria president. Not that numskull that he thinks he know what his doing and obviously he doesn’t. Mr waka, just dey waka everywhere. when people are suffering back home. stupid idiotic baffon.

  11. Ezeogu Marcellinus

    April 3, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    When a wise man speaks, fools hide there face.

  12. Olanrewaju

    April 3, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Prof Wole Soyinka is talking from and experience and he has a good point

  13. my lady

    April 3, 2016 at 12:55 PM


  14. my lady

    April 3, 2016 at 12:58 PM


  15. Amazon

    April 3, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    Now the Federal Government should just listen to this man if they don’t want chaos in this country

  16. obj

    April 3, 2016 at 6:43 PM

    RIP ******

  17. Omokehinde

    April 3, 2016 at 7:30 PM

    Professor Wolf Soyinka is a great Nigerian statemen that people should listen to whenever he has something crucial to say or adice for the nation. I fully agreed with the professor that there is need for dialogue on corruption, mismanagement, election fraud, looting, embezzlement, and bad governance that have rendered every aspect of Nigeria system useless, unproductive, and backward. The question I would have asked prof. Soyinka is why the Biafra agitation just immediately President Buhari assumed office? The Ndigbo call for succession should not be based on who is elected the president of Nigeria by majority of the voters? Are they going to be calling for Biafra if corrupt Jonathan had suceeded in rigging and manipulating the last presidential election results? The answer is capital “No” Why? Where was jobless Kanu Nnamdi and the passion for Biafra state during six disastrous years of president Jonathan in Aso Rock Villa? I just don’t understand this unnecessary agitation by few Ndigbo living in the Southeast region when more than 70% of business oriented Igbo people live outside their region in other parts of Nigeria? The Ndigbo are the only tribe in Nigeria with over 70% of her population living in Southwest and Northern region because of their quest for trade and commerce. No one is holding the Ndigbo from forming their Biafra state if that is their wish, but there is need for strong political base with strong economy to back it up in the Southeast region before it could be actualize. Afterall, the Western region was far ahead of the three other regions socially, economically, educationally, and in term of physical develpment and infrastructures before the independent in 1960. This is nothing but fact. The Igbos have to start investing in their region, they have to start gradually vacating southwest, and Northern region to move in to develop their homeland. This is the call that dumb people like Kanu Nnamdi and his supporters should making to their fellow Igbos instead of instigating one tribe against another tribe, instead of telling those uninformed Igbos lies and falsehood on his illegal radio Biafra, instead of begging his supporters for money to buy arms and ammunition to weigh another losing war against Nigerian government. No one will take the Ndigbo call for succession seroiuly as long as over 70% of them are still occupying their supposed enemies territories in Lagos, Edo, Kano, Rivers, Kaduna, Oyo, Ekiti, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Osun, Ogun and other non Igbo states. But we can live together as people in love and unity through true dialogues that are not based on hatred, tribalism, language, religion differences, cultural differences, and other evil sentiments that divide us as people of One Great Nigeria. We have made great progress as Nigerians since the end of Biafran war; we have married among ourselves, the Igbos have dominated Nigerian trade, import sector, and commerce of our dear nation for so long. If we have good leaders at all levels of government, Nigeria will become a great nation that benefits all the people regardless of individuals tribe, religion and language. But I still believe that we can live together as true brothers and sisters where everyone Nigerian has equal right under the law to live, prosper, and succeed in whatever profession, political position, and business opportunities.

  18. Oge

    April 4, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    When we Igbos love ourselves and become one, then and only then can we be taken serious! Where did the term “SABO” come from? I remember with shame how all Igbo senators tasted senate presidency when it was zoned to south east…

  19. Omevwe(I am)

    April 4, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    ALL of u drop ur finger, stop typiing & listen to Omokhinde…

  20. james

    April 4, 2016 at 2:55 PM

    A truthful person stays longer and in good health, prof Soyinka you will live long, I always pray for you that God in heaven will continue to give you good health and long life, you suffer for the oppressed people because you say no to genocide and Nepotism, you spend years in prison, but God will surely reward you for still living to continue to warn the Federal Government to go on dialogue with the people of Biafra and find the solution ones for all, you name will be written on gold plate because you are one among millions of Nigerians who can come out openly and say the truth, I will continue to pray so that you will live in good health and celebrate your 100 years birthday.
    God bless you abundantly prof.

  21. clifford

    April 5, 2016 at 4:16 PM

    omokehinde, It is great to have humbled you. I have always prayed and asked you to simply wish them well even in their foolishness. For your concern of leadership, commerce, economic and structural development, thanks when they get to the bridge they will plan….. Just wish the well. If need be try and fight for your own

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