Background[ edit ] After a series of pogroms in which people from the former Eastern Region of Nigeria living in other parts of that country were massacred between and , the region seceded in and proclaimed an independent Republic of Biafra. A bitter war ensued as Nigeria fought to foil the secession of the oil-rich region. After three years of war and the loss of more than two million lives, the nascent republic lost its struggle for independence and was reabsorbed into Nigeria in January The leader of the republic, Oxford educated General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu , went into exile, but later returned to Nigeria in under special pardon. In Biafra adopted one of the most progressive national constitutions in Africa at the time.
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Today, as I look back over our two years as a sovereign and independent nation, I am overwhelmed with the feeling of pride and satisfaction in our performance and achievement as a people. Our indomitable will, our courage, our endurance of the severest privations, our resourcefulness and inventiveness in the face of tremendous odds and dangers, have become proverbial in a world so bereft of heroism, and have become a source of frustration to Nigeria and her foreign masters.
For this and for the many miracles of our time, let us give thanks to Almighty God. I thank you all the part you have played and have continued to play in this struggle, for your devotion to the high ideals and principles on which this Republic was founded.
I thank you for your absolute commitment to the cause for which our youth are making daily, the supreme sacrifice, and a cause for which we all have been dispossessed, blockaded, bombarded, starved and massacred. I salute you for your tenacity of purpose and amazing steadfastness under siege. I salute the memory of the many patriots who have laid down their lives in defence of our Fatherland. I salute the memory of all Biafrans - men, women and children - who died victims of the Nigerian crime of genocide.
We shall never forget them. Please God, their sacrifice shall not be in vain. For the dead on the other side of this conflict, may their souls rest in peace. To our friends and well-wishers, to the growing band of men and women around the world who have, in spite of the vile propaganda mounted against us, identified themselves with the justice of our cause, in particular to our courageous friends, officers and staff of the Relief Agencies and humanitarian organisations, pilots who daily offer themselves in sacrifice that our people might be saved; to Governments, in particular Tanzania, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Haiti.
I give my warmest thanks and those of our entire people. Our enemy has been unrelenting in his fury and has fought our defenceless people with a vast array of military hardware of a sophistication unknown to Africa.
For two years we have withstood his assaults with nothing other than our stout hearts and bare hands. We have frustrated his diabolical intentions and have beaten his wicked mentors in their calculations and innovations. Shamelessly, our enemy has moved from deadline to deadline, seeking excuses justifying his failures to an ever credulous world.
Today, I am happy and proud to report that, all the odds notwithstanding, the enemy, at great cost in lives and equipment, is nowhere near to his avowed objective.
In the Onitsha sector of the war, our gallant forces have kept the enemy confined in the town which they entered 15 months ago. Despite the fact that this sector has great strategic attraction for the vandal hordes, being a gate-way, as it is, to the now famous jungle strip of Biafra, and the scene of the bloodiest encounters of this war, it is significant that the enemy has made no gains throughout this long period.
In the Awka sector of the war, the story remains the same. The enemy is confined only to the highway between Enugu and Onitsha, not venturing north or south of that road. In the Okigwe sector, from where the enemy made the thrust that brought him into Umuahia, the situation remains unchanged, with our troops making the entire enemy route from Okigwe to Umuahia no joy ride.
In Umuahia town itself, fighting has continued in the township. In the Ikot Ekpene, Azumini and Aba sectors of the war, the vandals, whilst maintaining their positions in Ikot Ekpene and Aba with our troops surrounding them, have continued to suffer heavy casualties in their attempt to hold firmly on to Azumini. After the clearing of Owerri township and our rapid move towards Port Harcourt, our gallant forces are holding positions in Eleele town, in the outskirts of Igirita and forward of Omoku.
Across the Niger, the successes of our troops have been maintained despite numerous enemy counter-attacks. Our Navy has continued to support all operations along the Niger with good results. Our guerrillas have continued their magnificent work of harassing the enemy and giving him no respite on our soil.
I salute them all. In the air, the Biafran Air Force has made a most dramatic re-entry into the war, and in a brilliant series of raids has all but paralyzed the Nigerian Air Force.
The refinery in Port Harcourt was set on fire. And, more recently, three days ago, the Ughelli Power Station was put out of action. The brilliance of this performance, the precision of the strike, the genius of target selection, have left Nigeria in a daze and her friends bewildered. Another way of looking at this is that in four days of operation, the Biafran Air Force has destroyed more military targets than what the Nigerian Air Force has been able to do for two years. In cost, probably twice what the Nigerian air raids have cost us in military equipment and installations.
The only superiority left in the record of achievement of the Nigerian Air Force is the number of civilians and civilian targets their cowardly raids have destroyed. Proud Biafrans, I have kept my promise. Diplomatically, our friends have increased and have remained steadfast to our cause; and despite the rantings of our detractors, indications are that their support will continue. At home, our sufferings have continued.
Scarcity and want have remained our companions. Yet, with fortitude, we seem to have overcome th once imminent danger of mass starvation and can now look forward to a period after the rains of comparative plenty. Our efforts in the Land Army programme give visible signs all over our land of imminent victory in the war against want. Fellow countrymen and women, the signs are auspicious, the future fills us with less foreboding. I am confident. With the initiative in war now in our own hands, we have turned the last bend in our race to self-realisation and are now set on the home straight in this our struggle.
We must not flag. The tape is in sight. What we need now is a final burst of speed to breast the tape and secure the victory which will ensure for us, for all time, glory and honour, peace and progress.
Fellow compatriots, today, being our Thanksgiving Day, it is most appropriate that we pause awhile to take stock, to consider our past, our successes notwithstanding; to consider our future, our aspirations and our fears. For two long years we have been locked in mortal combat with an enemy unequalled in viciousness; for two long years, defenceless and weak, we have withstood without respite the concerted assault of a determined foe.
We have fought alone, we have fought with honour, we have fought in the highest traditions of christian civilization. Yet, the very custodians of this civilization and our one-time mentors, are the very self-same monsters who have vowed to devour us. Fellow Biafrans, I have for a long time thought about this our predicament - the attitude of the civilized world to this our conflict. The more I think about it the more I am convinced that our disability is racial. The root cause of our problem lies in the fact that we are black.
In , some 50, of us were slaughtered like cattle in Nigeria. In the course of this war, well over one million of us have been killed; yet the world is unimpressed and looks on in indifference. Last year, some blood-thirsty Nigerian troops for sport murdered the entire male population of a village.
All the world did was to indulge in an academic argument whether the number was in hundreds or in thousands. Today, because a handful of white men collaborating with the enemy, fighting side by side with the enemy, were caught by our gallant troops, the entire world threatens to stop.
For 18 white men, Europe is aroused. What have they said about our millions? What does Europe say about our murdered innocents?
Have we not died enough? How many black dead make one missing white? Mathematicians, please answer me. Is it infinity? Take another example.
For two years we have been subjected to a total blockade. We all know how bitter, bloody and protracted the First and Second World Wars were. At no stage in those wars did the white belligerents carry out a total blockade of their fellow whites. In each case where a blockade was imposed, allowance was made for certain basic necessities of life in the interest of women, children and other non-combatants.
Ours is the only example in recent history where a whole people have been so treated. What is it that makes our case different? Do we not have women, children and other non-combatants? Does the fact that they are black women, black children and black non-combatants make such a world of difference? Nigeria embarked on a crime of genocide against our people by first mounting a total blockade against Biafra.
To cover up their designs and deceive the black world, the white powers supporting Nigeria blame Biafrans for the continuation of the blockade and for the starvation and suffering which that entails. Knowing that these proposals would give Nigeria further military advantage, and compromise the basic cause for which we have struggled for two years, they turn round to condemn us for rejecting them.
They accepted the total blockade against us as a legitimate weapon of war because it suits them and because we are black.
Had we been white the inhuman and cruel blockade would long have been lifted. The mass deaths of our citizens resulting from starvation and indiscriminate air raids and large despoliation of towns and villages are a mere continuation of this crime. That Nigeria has received complete support from Britain should surprise no one.
For Britain is a country whose history is replete with instances of genocide. In my address to you on the occasion of the first anniversary of our independence, I touched on a number of issues relevant to our struggle and to our hope for a prosperous, just and happy society.
I talked to you of the background to our struggle and on the visions and values which inspired us to found our own State. Our enemies and their foreign sponsors have deliberately sought by false and ill-motivated propaganda to becloud the real issues which caused and still determine the course and character of our struggle.
They have sought in various ways to dismiss our struggle as a tribal conflict. They have attributed it to the mad adventurism of a fictitious power-seeking clique anxious to carve out an empire to rule, dominate and exploit.
But they have failed. Our cause is transparently just and no amount of propaganda can detract from it. Our struggle has far-reaching significance. It is the latest recrudescence in our time of the age-old struggle of the black man for his full stature as man. We are the latest victims of a wicked collusion between the three traditional scourges of the black man - racism, Arab-Muslim expansionism and white economic imperialism.
Playing a subsidiary role is Bolshevik Russia seeking for a place in the African sun. Our struggle is a total and vehement rejection of all those evils which blighted Nigeria, evils which were bound to lead to the disintegration of that ill-fated federation. Our struggle is not a mere resistance - that would be purely negative. It is a positive commitment to build a healthy, dynamic and progressive state, such as would be the pride of black men the world over.
The Ahiara Declaration of June 1, 1969 Is the Covenant, Road Map & Has Immortalized Biafra
Today, we bring you the second covering the Ahiara Declaration that gave birth to the Republic of Biafra among others. Enjoy it! The famous Ahiara Declaration drew quite some flak from not a few quarters, in Biafra. Depending on the angle of the various spectra, from which each war-weary Biafran viewed the document and on who exactly did the critique the Ahiara Declaration was as controversial, as it was mystifying. But then, as an Igbo saying goes, is it not when one has actually shot down a hawk and has its meat ready that one decides whether women should partake of the meal of hawk meat? How could any leader busy prosecuting a war of survival, be more concerned with who would finally own what oil well, even whilst the war still raged? Speaking with great passion during his enunciation of the Ahiara Declaration, Ojukwu had told the enthusiastic crowd to simply call him Emeka, as he tried to illustrate to one and all that everybody was equal in the struggle.
Ojukwu: The many shades of Ahiara declaration
The road led them to become the only democracy throughout the Middle East and crowned it with a sovereign nationhood on May 15th, Israel approached the United Nations, second time with their Bible in hand, told the world body that Jerusalem is their capital. Today, it has come to fruition — Jerusalem is now increasingly being acknowledged as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. God knew that without a written direction to guide his people on their way back to homeland a.