…explains his non-violence agitation for MASSOB
Founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has said his relationship with the former Head of State of the defunct Biafra, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, started the Biafra struggle. Uwazuruike, who said he would soon explain his principles of non-violence agitation, said before he formed MASSOB in September 13, 1999, he had served Ojukwu’s interest for eight years, stressing that he would continue to serve the interest until victory was achieved. Speaking yesterday at his New Owerri residence while playing host to the Prime Minister of Biafra Internal Government (BIG), Chief Lambert, Uwazuruike said Ojukwu didn’t know he had a different agenda when he was asking him questions about Biafra and Ndigbo in general.
He said: “Ojukwu was not aware when I started the struggle for new Biafra; he was already overseas on medical trip to the United States. “I waited for him to leave the country before I started it because I knew that if I have told him, he would not have allowed me and if he said don’t do it, I would have to obey him because Ojukwu was a father to me. This was the real reason I redeclared the New Biafra in his absence.” He said when Ojukwu heard of the news in America that he had declared the struggle for the actualization of Biafra at Enyimba City in Aba, Abia State and hoisted new flag, ‘‘he felt betrayed because people might feel that he was the one who sent me, as people had already known us together.
“When he returned to Nigeria I went to the airport to receive him, but he showed me signs that he was not happy with me on this issue. When Ojukwu was about to enter his car, he drew me close to himself and said, ‘I want to see you in my house tomorrow’ “I just left my Agunlejika Lagos residence directly but if it was before I would have followed him to his house immediately. “Early morning of the following day, he sent his Personal Assistant, Chief Bob Onyema, to wake me up. When I went to his house that morning, the first questions he asked me was ‘what have you done? Why did you start up this again? Do you want people to start dying again?
“I told him that I didn’t let him know because I knew he would not have allowed me and I want to do it because I also knew that he was not happy with the continued marginalisation of Ndigbo in Nigeria. “I also assured him that people will not die this time around because I will be using non – violence philosophy as was propagated by Mahatma Gandhi of India.
“I told Ojukwu that it was because of Biafra that I went to India to study in other to understudy Mahatma Gandhi and his principle of non-violence. “After some days, Ojukwu invited me again to his house at Isi-uzo Street, Independence Layout, Enugu.
“He asked me to furnish him with the full details of my plans on how to actualise my dream of New Biafra without people being killed. “He told me that Ndigbo might not listen to someone ike Mahatma Gandhi, but someone with full agility, someone so strong and fearful, adding that Gandhi’s pattern for achieving independence might not work in Nigeria. “After explaining to him my plans and agenda, he understood me but warned me never to resort to violence no matter the provocations. “Even when Ojukwu was asked by journalists at Enugu about his relationship with Uwazuruike, MASSOB and Biafra, he said that he was in support of what we were doing, that we promised to remain non-violence.”