By Jarlath Uche Opara
I received a call Thursday morning inviting me for a meeting in one of the hotels around town. I tried finding out who the person was and the purpose for the meeting, the voice I heard at the other end of the phone very edifying to my ears and would want to hear it over and over again.
Are you Jarlath Opara? Yes I am, I replied. I read your piece on Gowon: “Before you say goodbye” and would like us to have a conversation around it. For seconds I couldnt alter a word and my breath in palpitation mode.
It took the voice of the caller to nudge me into consciousness. Within those seconds which were like eternity, my mind crisscrossed through so many things. It was then I realised how far the brain of a human being can process multiple of thoughts within a split second.
Of course I agreed to meet with her ,even when my mind wasn’t settled about the real intention of the caller.
That write up “Gowon: Before you say goodbye” Had already received wide circulation. Many have either called or sent me email commenting and commending it. To some I should do a part 2 of it, linking whatever that is happening to Plateau State as a dire consequence of the Gowon’ roles in the Nigeria/ Biafra war.
So, at this point I wasn’t sure if the caller was one of the admirers of the piece or one that would unleash a scorpion whip on me for the write up or worse still was mere hiding behind the piece to perpetrate her hideous intention.
Either ways I was poised to meet with her and the tell the story thereafter if alive.
Around 12noon I got to the hotel for the meeting. I was asked to meet with a certain receptionist who would bring me up, to the room for the meeting. Very scary scenario anyway. If I had my way I would have backed off . But at that point it would obviously smack cowardice to back off. Whatever happens, I was ready to contend with it , I thumped my heart as I followed the receptionist like a lamb to the room.
As if our movement was monitored, immediately we got to the door, it opened seemlessly .Standing in front of me was this Rev. Sr. In her late forties. She wore a mufti with a white veil on her head. Her smile which exposed her white teeth relaxed my already intensed mind. At least her disposition didn’t from my assessment portray deviousness.She ushered me in and bidded the receptionist goodbye.
Stepping into the room, the interior arrangement, the coziness and the cute ambience it exuded, very awesome. Your are welcome Mr. Jarlath.
Make your self comfortable as we wait for others . At this point, I realised it wasn’t going to be a twosome meeting, but a much more expanded one.
Within fifteen minutes three men walked in, distrupting the Nigeria/ Biafra war narration my attention was glued to. One Benue man, one Jos man and the other one from Taraba. By the way Sr is from Anambra state. Is that Jarlath? One of the men enquired from Sr. She answered in the affirmative. We exchanged pleasantries, shared some juice wine, as we discussed the reason for the meeting which Sr. facilitated.
Would you in retrospect join the Hausa Fulani to unleash such genocidal massacre on the Igbo? This was a very audacious question from Sr to the three young men at the middle of our discussion. It was later that I discovered that she actually was doing an international funded post Nigeria/ Biafra war assessment and wanted an honest assessment from these three tribes that played major roles in the war who from statistics are as marginalised as the Igbos.
From what is presently happening in Nigeria, the dynamics of political power play, the distribution of national cake and those under the pains of fulani insurgency, one wouldn’t count these three states out. They have suffered in greater measure blood shedding from the knifes and arrows of the Fulanis who over fifty years ago used them as wiling claws to fight the Igbos unjustly.
Presently Plateau isn’t breathing fresh air. The rate of killing amongst the Fulani and the Christians are gory and disheartening. Same, during the tenure of Governor Ortom was the reality of Benue people. Taraba State of course are not spared.
Those they eat in one plate, drank from one glass, danced and clinked glasses over the fall and decimation of Igbo race have turned to feast on them .
What would be the feeling of Gen Gowon, watching his people hacked down in cold blood by same people he led to war against the Igbo? Could it be a case of the chicken has come home to roost and the evil that men do lives and stares them at the face?
Of all that were discussed and the robust critical ventilation of thoughts and concerns, what left me and Sr. with tearful eyes was the descriptions of the Igbo race by those three men.
“Until the Igbos begin to see themselves in such an illumined light of fearfully made, resourcefully designed, invincibly and irrepressibly calibrated,they would continue to get dwarfed by the psychology of the post civil war defeat of being second class. In reality they are the first class citizens. They make things happen, very ingenious and “creatively wizardry”.
According to them, the day the Igbo will realise and awaken to the realities of who they are and their pivotal position in making Nigeria great and maximally deplore it, the rest of the tribes would know how vulnerable they are without them.
“No tribe would go through what Igbo tribe went through over fifty years ago and survives it , a near annihilation scenario and still very impressively relevant in the scheme of things, in same country that cut their legs, their hands and their intestines, thinking they would die”.
The man from Plateau said amidst deep silence and tears on almost all our eyes ” I wish Gen. Gowon would listen to this call to apologise to the Igbos for the curelty of the war that battered them and cut short the life of many young people who probably would have today become the messiah we are all looking for.
Rising from that meeting and listening to those three men speak, it became very clear how blinded Gen. Gowon was as it concerns the real stuff the Igbos were made.
What manner of a tribe would rise so rapidly and became the fear of others after going through what they went through?
What tribe would go back to where their properties were confiscated, with just a paltry sum, rose to become dominant in number and in wealth? Creating panic and self insecurity among the seeming Victors?
Sadly the Igbo have not come to terms with the reality of who they are. Their destiny, their innate giftings from Chukwuokike, re-creating quality of such gifts wherever they find themselves, porous, arid, dry, sandy etc. A tribe that doesn’t rely on circumstances to survive, from inside they blossom, making an unfavourable situation very profitable.
Until the rest of Nigeria realise this awesome potential of the Igbo tribe, they will continue to grapple,looking for socio political and economic stability in vain.
If Gowon had seen this about the Igbo race, may be he wouldn’t have allowed his claws to be used to fight who “Chukwuokike” had blessed.
To those who were both accessory before and after the fact in this generational genocide against the Igbo race, you will collect yours one after the other soon.
***Jarlath Uche Opara Jarlathuche@gmail.com
-February 2, 2024 @ 9:40 GMT|Tags: Jarlath Opara