Biafra News Today + Video – December 18 2017
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– Biafra News Today December 18 2017
Biafra: MASSOB attacks British Government over comments on IPOB, secession
The Comrade Uchenna Madu’s led Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has lambasted the British High commissioner, Paul Arkwright, for allegedly kicking against the restoration of Biafra.
MASSOB was reacting to Arkwright’s statement, saying the British government would not support secession or breakup of Nigeria.
Madu said in the statement that he was surprised that a learned man like Arkwright could make such a provocative utterance.
“Though MASSOB understands that Mr. Paul Arkwright is working for the interest of Hausa Fulani through the Nigerian government.
“Mr Arkwright who knows that Biafra agitators have right for freedom of speech should also know that self determination is guaranteed in the United Nations Charter on Human and Peoples Right to which Nigeria is signatory.
“MASSOB is doubting the credibility of the British High Commissioner in Nigeria. The world knows that Scotland is agitating for full sovereignty from United Kingdom but none of the Scottish agitators was arrested or killed by British government.
“Instead, they conducted a referendum to determine the wish of the people of Scotland.
“MASSOB wishes to warn Nigerian government of the consequence of spending millions of pounds on British diplomatic lobbies in order to frustrate the emergence of Biafra. Nobody can stop Biafra because God, history and humanity are on our side, Biafra revolution is indestructive.
“The Hausa/Fulani led Federal Government of Nigeria cannot stop us. Even Biafra betrayers working for our oppressors in Abuja cannot stop us because we are optimistic that Biafra referendum will come in 2018.
“MASSOB is advising Southern Nigeria politicians mostly the Igbo that there will no election in 2019,” Madu stated.
Dad wouldn’t have supported Biafra agitation – Sam Mbakwe’s daughter
Patience is the first daughter of a former Governor of Imo State, the late Sam Mbakwe. She speaks with GIBSON ACHONU about her father’s life and political career
I was a Commissioner for Industry and Non-Formal Sector in Imo State. Currently, I am the member representing Okigwe in the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board.
Would you say he had an influence on your career choice?
No, he was not the one who influenced my choice of course in the university. I say this because Dee Sam (as we fondly called him) did not force any of his children to study any course. He wanted me to study English and Music when I was growing, but at the end of the day, I did not. In summary, he was not tenacious about it.
How often did he visit you when you were in school?
As a loving father, he did the usual school runs, when time permitted. The one I can vividly remember was that on Fridays, he would pick us up (myself and my half-brother) and drove us to Kingsway stores where we shopped for the weekend. There, we also played some games. In my secondary school then, he visited us on visiting days and other days if he was in town. When I was in the university, he was in the United States but we used to talk.
I can still remember quite a lot of good memories. I recall that his children would stay around him, crack some jokes and eat with him whenever he came home in the evenings.
How did he punish any erring child?
Of course like a father, he would scold you, but he hardly used the cane. However, one thing was spectacular: after scolding you, he would still call you to advise you especially on the way forward.
How comfortable was his family when he became governor?
We were very comfortable. I would say that our family was above average class. I don’t want to use the word ‘rich or wealthy.’ The comfort we got was the one any government can provide. I say this because, sincerely, I didn’t see any difference between the comfort we had in our home and the one in the Government House. There was not much difference in lifestyle.
Did you enjoy any special treatment from colleagues at the time your father was a governor?
Definitely, the portfolio of my father as a governor came with special treatments. It is clear and obvious that people would like to associate with governor’s children or relations to get favour.
Did he guide you on the choice of friends?
Yes, he did. Every responsible father would be protective of his children and would want to know the kind of friends they keep. Every responsible parent would also like to give approvals of such relationships.
Did he create time for his family?
The truth was that owing to the tight schedule of a governor, he rarely had the time. This was because it was burdensome and onerous to govern the old Imo State. You will recall that the old Imo State comprised the present Imo, Abia and some parts of Ebonyi State. However, that didn’t mean he did not play his roles as a responsible family man.
How was life in the Government House?
Well, it was a bit hectic. This was because one had to get used to having many visitors.
How would you describe life outside the Government House?
Initially, it was rough. I say this because ours was not like we left at a due time because of the coup. For instance, we were harassed and detained. I was detained for nine months. I spent six months in the custody of the Department of State Service. The DSS was called National Security Organisation then. After leaving there, I was taken to the Kirikiri prisons where I lived for three months. Honestly, it was a very horrifying experience. It was not like one left the Government House for one’s home to rest. However, it took time to adjust to a normal life. My father was also detained for two and half years. This and more buttressed the fact that it took us time to adjust to a normal life.
What was your impression about governance when your father became a governor?
As a young person who was not exposed to politics, I did not know the nitty-gritty of governance as at that point in time.
Would you have wished he didn’t join politics?
Yes. This is because politics puts one in the public eye and it comes with a litany of pressures and demands. I wished he did not join politics and remained a lawyer/businessman. This is because he was doing very well as a lawyer and businessman. We could have spent more time with him, devoid of public attention.
What would you wish to change about your father if you had the opportunity?
I would have liked to change his kind-heartedness to a certain extent. He was too kind to a fault and trusted people very easily.
What were the challenges he encountered in his political journey?
I would not know the challenges per se because I was young at the time. Nevertheless, one thing was that he must have had some challenges as an aspiring and growing man, especially in the development of his career.
What kind of father was he?
He was a very loving father. He cared for his family, especially his children. He was over-protective of his family and children.
What was his favourite food?
My father was not too keen on food. He was not a gourmand. He ate anything to survive as long as it was good food. Remember, he was a military man. He was a Biafran soldier.
How did he relax?
He liked to sit out, taking fresh air and reading. He did sit out with his family members and friends to chat.
How close were you to him?
Well, it was a common knowledge that I was quite close to my father. I loved him and he loved me too.
What was his favourite drink?
He loved champagne and palm wine. But he was never drunk. He was always himself.
Did he inspire your interest in politics?
Yes, what I am today in the politics of Imo was facilitated by my father’s name. This was because of the type of politics he played. He played politics of service, commitment and selflessness.
Does being a child of a popular politician put any burden on you?
Of course, people’s expectations are quite high. Put in another way, their demands are enormous. Sometimes, they are very complicating.
How did he like to dress?
My father dressed simply. He was not fanatical about dressing. It may be surprising to tell you that he was interested in the dress code in vogue. He loved to wear his native clothes. But as a lawyer, he appeared in a suit whenever matters of professionalism and formality were at stake.
Have you ever seen your parents quarrel?
Of course, they quarrelled. The truth was that the quarrels never got physical.
Can you share a funny experience with your father?
I still remember a very scary but funny experience. It happened when he visited me in New York. We were working down the street on Downtown Manhattan, a very busy area. After showing him the Empire Building, a very magnificent edifice, I thought he was still walking down with me only for me to turn round and did not see him.
I was completely scared. I had to rush back, breaking in between people to look for him. Fortunately, I saw him preoccupied, gazing at the building. I asked, ‘Dad what are you still doing here?’ He answered, “This is an edifice. I wish I can carry this building like this and dump it in Imo.”
It was very funny because I could have lost him in the crowd.
Tell us his interests.
His major interest was to see people make progress. He enjoyed helping people to succeed in life. He hated oppression in all ramifications.
How sociable was he?
He was not a party or nightlife person. He however relaxed very well with his people.
Did he have a nickname?
The only nickname I knew was Dee Sam.
What was his view about politics in Nigeria?
His view about politics was that of service to the people. He tenaciously preached against people being in government for self-aggrandisement and enrichment.
What kind of music did he listen to?
He loved Oriental (Warrior) and Ebenezer Obey’s music.
Who were your father’s friends and role models?
Growing up, I knew he had friends like the now late Chief Collins Obi and the late Chief Evan Enwerem. But politics affected their friendship. I cannot explicitly state how the relationship started. Also, my father had as a role model, the now late Ngumezi of Mbieri, who played the role of a father and elder brother in his life. There was also the late Ahumibe. Politically, people like Nnamdi Azikiwe and Akanu Ibiam made positive impact on his life.
What can you say about your father’s contributions to the country?
He immensely contributed to development of the country and this has kept his name high. For instance, he was a member of the Constitutional Conference in 1978 and during the regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
He also served on several national committees. He solely championed the “Abandoned Property” cause in Port Harcourt. This was because he did not understand why an Igbo man should relinquish his property anywhere in the country, as assumed that we are one Nigeria. He contributed to the birth of Second Republic which made the military restore power to the civilians. He played a very prominent role, among other things, in the creation of the old Imo State from the then East Central State.
What was your father’s legacy?
His legacy was good governance. This has remained a yardstick in Imo politics. Politicians, especially governors say, ‘I want to rule like Sam Mbakwe’ and “I want to beat Mbakwe’s records.’
What do you think would have been your father’s view on agitation for Biafra?
He would not have supported it because he always wanted a one and united Nigeria after the civil war.
What would have been his reaction to the state of the nation?
He would have been disappointed with the slow pace and decay in development in the areas of politics, infrastructures and the economy among other things.
The Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, in Owerri, the Imo State capital, was renamed after him. Would you say the honour is enough for his contributions to the development of the state?
For me, I don’t think there will be anything that would be too much to honour my father for the kind of radical changes he brought into the war-torn military regime of the old Imo State. This was a man who had the vision of a state international airport in those days. Though I heard people say that money was contributed to construct the Imo Airport, he came up with the vision. He did not complete it owing to the strike by the military.
There is no honour too much for my father considering that in the area of economic development, his administration strived to establish an industry in every council area in the old Imo State. For instance, in Mbaise (Owerri zone) his administration installed the Raison Paint Industry.
In Orlu, there was the Paper Packaging Industry while in Okigwe (Avutu Obowo), there was Imo Modern Poultry. Also in Aba (Abia State), there was the glass industry with Umuahia playing host to the Golden Guinea Brewery as well as others.
Permit me to state that in the area of education, Mbakwe’s administration started the first multi-campus university and established the first state bank, called Progress Bank, where Imo citizens were given automatic employment provided their qualifications were okay. In the area of agriculture, Adapalm (now Imo Palm Plantation) cannot be forgotten.
In the area of hospitality, we cannot forget that he established a five-star hotel (Concorde) and upgraded two Imo hotels in Owerri and Aba.
My father’s administration built the first state radio and TV stations in the state, with very lean resources then.
What would be due as honour for a man whose administration assembled great men and women in his cabinet led by the late Prof. Enoch Anyanwu, a consultant with the World Bank?
What were the values he taught his children?
He taught us honesty, simplicity, humility and fairness.
What books did he read?
Like you know, he was a lawyer and by that alone, he read lots of books across disciplines.
Did your father share his dream for Nigeria with you?
Yes, his dream was to have a united country that is economically virile and sustainable, where Nigerians would be proud to identify themselves as Nigerians. He wanted a Nigeria, where citizens would come back home from overseas with ideas and concepts, as against the rise in brain drain.
What are your thoughts about Nigeria’s future?
The future of this country is bright, especially with the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari who I see as a tenacious and dogged fighter of corruption. The administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha has, in clear terms, manifested that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I urge every Nigerian to be patient, because most great nations passed through the challenges the country is currently battling with.
Your father earned the nickname, “The weeping governor” for crying while trying to convince the Federal Government to pay more attention to his state. How did you feel when they gave him the nickname?
Well, every nickname is a nickname. Like my father was given, I felt it was in a positive direction, for the good and betterment of the old Imo State. As far as every right-thinking and progressive Imo man was concerned, the nickname was not bad. Remember he was in the minority, on the platform of the Nigerian Peoples Party. He ensured that his administration earnestly earned the needed attention of the Federal Government. He was also moved by emotions as he was always emotional, when he visited sites with former President Shehu Shagari and seeing the conditions of the Ndiegoro people. There, he also cried bitterly. No Comments Yet