Two pan Igbo groups have disagreed with the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chief Nnia Nwodo that the defunct Republic of Biafra was defeated.
Nwodo was said to have stated at the just concluded Dr Michael Okpara leadership and Good Governance lecture at Umuahia in Abia state that Biafra was defeated at the civil war.
The disagreeing groups, Igbo Peoples Congress and Igbo Aborigenes, however, argued that the war ended on a “no victor, no vanquished” note.
Spokesmen for the groups Obisiike Chidi and Okey Colbert noted that both sides of the war got tired and weak of the battle and itched for its end.
“Though Biafra was in bad shape then due to immense food shortages and ammunition, the spirit to fight on was in the Biafran troops. Infact several Biafran troops in the trenches were shocked to hear that the war had ended when they were ready to launch attacks on the enemy then. But they had to lay down their arms on hearing the message on Biafra radio from Gen Philip Effiong, Ojukwu’s deputy. Even though Uli Airport had fallen into the hands of federal troops then, Biafra’s other airports in the bushes were still functional then and they were ready to go into guerilla warfare.
“In fact some Biafran guerillas in Gabon and SaoTome and the Biafran Rangers that later turned into Rangers international football club at the end of the war were ready to recover all lost Biafran territory when the war ended. So Nwodo was wrong in his comment,” the groups asserted.
But in a sharp reaction, the deputy spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu noted that Chief Nwodo was misquoted.
“Nwodo did not say that Biafra was defeated. He could not have said so. He was misquoted. What he said was that Igbo Youths and Easterners should emulate the virtues of Dr Michael Okpara who made the old Eastern region the fastest growing economy in the developing world in the 60s and avoid anything that would lead into another civil war in Nigeria.
“He did not say that Biafra was defeated. Don’t forget that Nwodo fought as a lieutenant in that war and saw the bravery of Biafran troops despite all odds.
“I know also that the war ended in a stalemate. Nobody defeated anybody as both sides got tired and simply ended hostilities. The activities of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then Ivorian President Houphet Boigny, France and USA led to Ojukwu’s journey to the then Ivory Coast in search of Peace and his second in command Gen Philip Effiong simply halted hostility and announced the end of the war to Biafrans.
“You Know some Biafran units had not tested battle then and were itching to be engaged when the war ended so Nwodo was misquoted,” Ibegbu defended.