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Asaba genocide…Prof Wole Soyinka and Archbishop Kukah’s interpretation

On the portals of the shrine

Before the presence of her messengers

Barbarians came to rile

The virgin daughters of the river

ONISHE, from strife always recaps

But never forgives her virgin rape

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

The goddess would stand between the sea and the land

Between Asaba and Onitsha

Between Ibokwe and the vandal killers of her children

The land shall shake and tremble

A terrible earthquake shall engulf the skies

And the waters shall bury the land

Elsewhere, in his rhythmical lines in worship of Onishe, the goddess of the Niger, D.C. Osadebay observed that, she was very beautiful, a woman of rare beauty, her shapely body very fair, her hair was dark and reached her waist. Her eyes were bright and her breasts were large, the mother of beauty, queen of purity and the guardian of our race and clan, Asaba, where the akwa ocha and the clothes are white. AKODI ONYIMA according to Osadebay had warned Asaba… Before the white men reached this land, Asaba men and women were like brothers and sisters. All cared for one another’s joy, quarrels were truly settled. Agreement was by word of the mouth and none denied others their rights. Now enmity and envy rule the homes and wicked minds contrive the fall of those who served their fellow men. Onishe according to Osadebay, predicted the war.

“Warriors shall come from the East and the West

Warriors shall come from North and South

Your land shall be a battle ground

And many shall die in a brutal war

Your houses shall be ruins and ashes

Your farms shall cease to yield their fruits

And mass starvation shall destroy

A hundred lives and many more

Confusion shall reign all over the place

And many shall rush and flee across

The Niger river to the East”

•See Last Dance on the Niger, Gomslam Books, 2015. Page 41

Elsewhere, F.C. Ntaba, the mad artist, in Ugo Chukwuedo’s Drama piece, The Dance of the Dead, also predicted the calamity that will descend on his community. F.C. Ntaba, a Prophet without congregation, a Nazarene without claim, beckoned on his people to run for their lives, declaring that Asaba was like death in the imploding match box…. “Onwu di na nkpo matches. Be careful of the coming rains of fire. The dumb call me mad and the insane. I prefer to be mad than to be dumb. Killing, raping, destruction and burning shall your be your portion.”

Before the vandal Second Division’s arrival, sons buried their fathers; few fathers buried few of their sons. In October 7, 1967, as predicted, Asaba became Bethlehem. The vandal army conquered Ibokwe land, ordered the Massacre on the Niger, the first black on black Genocide. Fathers buried their sons in thousands; sons buried their fathers in thousands. The women in trucks with their bare hands, tried to scratch the land and bury thousands of their fathers and sons. The termites without any invitation, the omnivores, pigs, the dogs, flying scavengers, ugly bald vultures rushed to table and in a few weeks, ate up the mountain of infamy, the Ogbeosowa Golgotha.

Osadebay who saw the Onishe, testified that the goddess was moving towards the River, walking in slow and solemn steps towards the sand bank and stopped at the water’s edge. She turned and spoke again to the Priest.

Chi ukwu’s decree shall come to pass

His laws are firm and must be kept by god and man

Whoever errs shall pay the price

His justice true and ever comes sooner or later to all creatures

But come it must and none escapes the consequences of his deeds

Prof. Wole Soyinka, and Archbishop Mathew Kukah had upturned the Asaba Genocide Colloquium into a two man lecture series. Unlike my uncle, Osadebay, they never encountered the goddess on the Niger. With the exception of Ogbueshi E.O. Okocha, who came all the way from Texas, the other panelists were overwhelmed by the positions taken by these two eminent Nigerian giant literati. The Nobel Laureate was disturbed that some few Asaba Apologetics who are totally ignorant of the laws and philosophies guiding the crime, and the human calamity defined as Genocide, could stampede Asaba into accommodating the crime against humanity. This is the horrific crime tagged AUSEISHEN by the Germans. On the other hand, the Greeks quirk from mass murder and refer to Genocide as MEGALI KATASTROFI. AUSWISHEN translated into English means, to “Wipe Out” and for the Greeks who speak English MEGALI KATASTROFI connotes “Mega Destruction”. Progressively, Genocide to the Zulu means MFECANE “The Grinding” and to the Kirundi of Rwanda, Genocide is IHONYABWOKO “To Make Extinct”. On the other hand, the Arabs call it Ckareal Kamay or “Group killing” which translated to Amharic describes the monster Armageddon as ZR MATFAT which in English is “Race Extermination”.

Soyinka explained that for a victimized community to utter the word forgiveness without first of all bringing the perpetrators to justice will amount to encouraging impunity and abdicating justice for the victims. The great Sagacious rather advised the puppets of this dangerous slant to retrace their steps and invite to Asaba, the ‘son and the wife’ of General Murtala Mohammed to reconcile with the living victims of the Genocide. He will prefer restitution before forgiveness. Like the Philosopher King, Poly Facilitator and Writer of Conscience, Jimanze Ego-Alowes, Archbishop Kukah who flew in, the same day and left early the next morning was perturbed that the Asaba people were going a little bit forward before the confessions of the perpetrators. Archbishop Kukah went forward and I quote, “As a Catholic, we advise that sinners will sin no more when we offer to hear the confessions of the sinner.” The people who put Asaba to the sword have not apologized…. so as a Christian, the Archbishop will not be like other Nigerians, who whenever they are confronted with challenges, would leave the solution to God. “The perpetrators who committed the mass killings in Asaba must be brought to justice. We can arrange for reconciliation between those Commanders with the victims. It is a long process to finding final closure to this story.”


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1 Comment

  1. Dr. Uche Kalu 19th October 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Isn’t it indeed a blot on the eschutcheon of humankind,that the name of that Fulani psychopathic mass murderer, a bank robber and a child rapist,Gen. Murtala Mohammed,who ordered and supervised that heinous massacre of innocent children and men on the 7th of October 1967 in Asaba,today graces our International Airport at Ikeja, Lagos?
    It is but a slur over the memories of the victims of that Asaba pogrom,a gross injustice and of course,a collective insult to us Ndigbo in particular and to all Nigerians with a bit of moral conscience,that the image of Gen. Murtala Mohammed today,desecrates our common currency.
    For a die-hard Biafran,a member of Biafran Army Officer Corps and a Veteran Biafran Officer on Reserve like me, that we’ve got today a rogue Fulani President,like Mallam Muhammadu Buhari ,gives me a daily headache and stomach pain.
    Here is a man who did take part in the “Revange Coup d’Etat of 1966,in which hundreds of innocent Igbo Officers and Men of the Nigerian Armed Forces were slaughtered in cold blood.
    He, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, our current President,did also command a contigent of the Nigerian Infantry of Vandal soldiers,who murdered thousands of unarmed and innocent Biafran children men and women,raped our women folks, daughters and pillaged our Biafran Fatherland for about three bloody years,during the Civil War.
    Oh yes! This bloody illiterate son of an undocumented Fulani cattle driver alien from Niger Republic,Mallam Muhammadu Buhari,does love to hate us Ndigbo with passion.
    Thus,in 1983 he overthrew a Democratic and a Legitimate Government of his Fulani kinsman,Alhaji Shehu
    Shagari,so that his Igbo Deputy,Prof. Alex Ekwueme should not succeed Shagari.
    Mallam Muhmmadu Buhari’s hatred and anti-Igbo actions are of course,well known and documented.
    I keep on wondering if there are some fucking Nigerians out there ,who would dare protest if we Igbos decide to evetually begin to take our pounds of flesh from those,who love to hate us Ndigbo,for what we are?
    The current Buhari’s led Government has simply singled out Ndigbo in its current campaign of extra-judicial killings by the Army and the Police,marginalizations, intimidations et al.
    Give us Ndigbo a break jare.Enough is enough!
    No to the status quo ante bellum!
    Down with Hausa/Fulani Islamic Hegemony!!
    All Hail Biafra,the Land of the Rising Sun!!!

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