The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are the inhabitants of some parts of the present day Middle-Belt, old Mid-Western, and the entire old Eastern regions of the contraption called Nigeria. The population is estimated to be approximately 65 million.
According to Chapter A9, Article 20 of federation of Nigeria constitution, “all peoples shall have the unquestionable and inalienable rights to self-determination.” Based on this, IPOB is on the mission to secure and restore the independence of the sovereign state of Biafra through a nonviolent and diplomatic approach, with the aim of conducting a peaceful referendum.
IPOB seeks to protect and advocate for the rights and fundamental freedom of the remnants of Biafrans forced to scatter all over the world in search of freedom, liberty, justice, equity and fairness. She also promotes human rights advocacy and protection for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in other parts of the world, who are facing persecution and oppression. IPOB’s ultimate objective is to build a nation on a foundation of love, trust, mutual respect and transparency. We aim to build a nation where every citizen is allowed and encouraged to attain his or her maximum potential, by having unprecedented engagement in language, culture, religion, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The nonviolent approach of IPOB is almost second to none in the history of civil right movements and freedom fighting. The Biafrans’ belief in the sanctity of life made them the only group of people in history that never initiated war or conquered nations. This culture of life preservation influenced IPOB’s approach in her quest for freedom. Despite the unending provocation, merciless killings and cruel massacre of her family members by the Nigerian government, IPOB has never fought back or retaliated. IPOB has remained systematic and methodical in her approach to nonviolent agitation for total freedom and independence.
The first step in this methodical nonviolent movement was the enlightenment and unity campaign among Biafrans all over the world. The leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (peace be upon him), is often referred to as “supreme leader” in recognition of the enormous work he did to actualize this unity. It is believed that this unity is the first of its kind since the end of the three year(1967 to 1970) gruesome genocidal war, 50 years ago. The approach was to set up IPOB family units all over the world according to the residence of participants. Then through the use of a bidirectional hierarchical structure known as “command and control,” a well-organized network was created for smooth flow of instruction and information.
Mass education and reorientation of both Biafrans and non Biafrans were initiated through self-sponsored Radio/TV Broadcasts (Radio Biafra London and subsidiaries). Other mass education tools include, recorded music tracks, videos, CDs and tapes. Massive campaigns through Social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagrametc.), and Print media (Magazines, Newspaper, Bulletins, Fliers/Hand bills, Souvenir etc.), were also embarked upon. The goal of this is to make up for years of lack of Biafran history, and the correction of years of lies and propaganda against the Biafran people. This gross injustice and intentional wickedness against the people of Biafra went to the extent of a well-orchestrated removal and obliteration of Biafra from the world map.
Another tool is the tool of civil disobedience, through peaceful protests in over 120 countries, where IPOB is officially registered and conducts her businesses legally. Mass and organized boycott of Nigerian elections, voters’ cards (PVC), other goods and services in Biafra land is also used. The incessant intimidation, arrests, killings and general violation of the freedom of speech and freedom of association of Biafrans on peaceful protests by the Nigerian occupational force in Biafra land made IPOB to resort to the use of “Sit-at-home” and “no movement,” order as a modified form of general strikes and protests.
In the fight for freedom, whether through costly and gruesome wars or nonviolent approach, parties eventually get to the table for dialogue and negotiation. Therefore, when opportunity presents itself, IPOB sends high powered delegates to diplomatic meetings of interest.Diplomacy and Intelligence is a modern and better way of communication between nations, hence IPOB engages this tool whenever necessary. Often strategic and well targeted meetings, presentations and exhibitions are also organized.
Whether through violent or nonviolent means, freedom fighting is a very expensive and capital intensive project. However, nonviolence seems to be a cheaper and more civilized option. All activities of IPOB are sponsored by noble male and female Biafrans through mandatory monthly contributions, occasional levies for specific targets and sub-projects, donations from well-meaning Biafrans and freewill donations from non Biafrans who are sympathetic to the Biafran cause.
Biafrans are generally very spiritual. They believe so much in the power of a Supreme Being, who they collectively refer to as the Almighty God, the Creator of the entire universe, who desires special relationship with humans (Chukwu Okike Abiama). As a result, prayer and at times abstinence from food and pleasure (fasting) is a very huge part of this nonviolent struggle. The Biafrans believe their God fights for and defends them; hence it’s common practice for them to hand over their enemy or enemies to this God for justice to be done.
In conclusion, although the nonviolent method of freedom fighting may seem very slow to the victims of inhumane treatment of the Nigerian government, it is actually more efficient and relatively more economical, having eliminated the mass causality and the huge humanitarian crisis which are usually associated with bloody wars.
Dr. (Mrs.) Ekwy Simon-Okube
(IPOB Member and State Coordinator: Kentucky)
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