Against the background of the statement made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Biafra is dead and those trying to reengage the Federal Government forcefully on the creation of Sovereign State of Biafra, one of the participants in the 1966 coup, Col. Emmanuel Nwobosi,(retd), has said, in an exclusive interview to Sunday Telegraph, that it is still feasible but not by force.
Nwobosi, who was Obasanjo’s flat mate as Majors in the Nigerian Army in 1966, stated that though he could not fathom how the dream of a Sovereign State of Biafra would be realised, it is achievable.
He expressed optimism that Biafra will happen one day, possibly through a referendum. He said: “How it’s going to happen, I don’t know. I’m not a soothsayer.
But if you tell me that Biafra is going to happen by force of arms, I will say, forget it. I know that through history, people have been able to campaign for a cause through time, organised themselves so well that it lingers on and on.”
According to him, in most cases, it lingers to a point that some people will say, forget about it, while others will persevere. “I hear about Nnamdi Kanu and I have listened to the radio a couple of times and I will say it is not the kind of news you will want to hear every day, no. Everybody has something that will make them tick; some will hear it and feel that they have taken a cup of tea and are alright for the day but that’s neither here nor there,” he said.
On the possibility of the emergence of an Igbo leader to lead the cause, Col. Nwobosi said: “As Odumegwu Ojukwu died, people started clamouring for the next Igbo leader
One thing about leadership is that you cannot get it by taking titles and raising your hand. It doesn’t happen that way. You have to be accepted by the people. A leader emerges; you don’t force them on people. Sometimes, a situation creates a leadership.
“I don’t want to make it look as if we are hopeless. I have learnt something, when I was a cadet in the army. A Sergeant-Major used to teach us never to say that anybody is useless because immediately you say it, such person becomes a demonstration of a useless person to someone, who wants to see a useless person.”
He noted that the kind of leaders that the country has today are not the type the country and the region are yearning for, saying that a lot of people have scrambled for too long since after the war and still struggling to survive. He added that the types of leadership that the region experience today are not selfless.
Nwobosi also spoke about how the then Major Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a flat mate of his and Ifeajuna, escaped from participating in the coup. See full interview on Pages 20, 37 and 38.