Damian Opata, an emeritus professor of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), recently said he respects the Indigenous People of Biafra, but expressed reservations about the approaches adopted by the pro-Biafra group in pursuing their agenda.
Prof Opata, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stated this in an interview during the recent convention of Nsukka Journalist Forum held at Adada House, Nsukka.
He said, “I respect IPOB, and I respect their opinions, but I don’t think that the way IPOB approaches the issue of Biafra is the right way. Those of us of the new Biafra, I doubt if we knew Biafra! Biafra was known for ingenuity.
“Lt Col Ojukwu then, I was in St Theresa’s College, Nsukka, went about from zone to zone mobilizing people for the Biafran cause. Even students from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, came to address us at St Theresa’s to mobilise us for Biafra.
“There was a well-prepared ideological ground for people to accept Biafra. What ideological thinking has IPOB done to get people to key into their struggle? The Igbos are not the kind of people you impose your will on. Leaders must arise from the people, not by imposition.”
He said the current political setback of Ndigbo at the national level might have been caused by the Biafran war of 1967 to 1970. In his words, “It is a possibility that because we fought the war, we should be kept away from the plum office. The wounds have not totally healed on the side of those who fought for Biafra and on the side of those who fought against Biafra.
“But having said that, power is not something we wait to be given to us. Power is what we strive to get and we don’t get it by noise making. The insecurity in the South East is also a big problem.”