Much more than a physical confrontation or “another African civil war”, as contemporary Westerners called it, the Biafran War was essentially an ideological struggle between Western neo-imperialism and raw African nationalism. Having dared to challenge the integrity of the political boundaries and demarcations imposed on Africans by their former colonial masters, Biafra’s secession and subsequent independence threatened the stability and legitimacy of the various European-imposed political structures and puppet governments throughout the continent. The audacity of an African people to challenge political boundaries that were imposed upon them by aged foreign men who did so while sitting around a table in a conference room in Berlin in 1884, was perceived as a direct assault against Europe’s grip and dominance of the continent.
Great Britain, Nigeria’s former colonial master, which had manipulated and organized its government to suit its future economic and political interests before granting its former colony “independence”, like France, another notorious neo-colonizer, which to this day has enchained several Francophone West African countries into its vicious cycle of economic and political dependence, bullying, and manipulation, perceived Biafra’s secession as a catalyst of what was called the “African Domino Effect”—the idea being that the division of Africa’s mega-state, Nigeria, would spark off a chain reaction of instability that would crumble many of the continents newly-independent countries.
Unfortunately for the Biafrans and for the Igbo, they were an exception to clause of the universal law that declared freedom and self-determination as fundamental human rights. Barred entry and prevented from airing their grievances before the United Nations on the grounds that only officially-recognized countries could do so, for nearly three years they single-handedly fought a Nigeria that was supplied arms and ammunition by Britain, the Soviet Union, and Egypt. As post-war investigations revealed, more bullets and ammunition were expended against Biafra by the Nigerian military than were fired in France in World War Two. Today, many of the issues arising from ill-determined political boundaries continue to plague African nations and contribute to violence, wars, and instability throughout the continent. If European ethnic groups such as the Croats, the Slovaks, the Poles, the Czech, and the Serbs deserve their own countries, what makes the Igbo, the Ewe, or the Kikuyu any different?#Igbohistory#BiafranAwarenessMonth