By Eluwa Chidiebere Chinazu
May 29, 2020.
Biafra culture has a place and role for the ancestors. According to Nwala Uzodimma the author of Igbo Philosophy “The dead are with us,” there's a strong communion between the living and the dead in Igbo culture. The truth is that we cannot do away with them. They are foundational and institutional. They are the bedrock of our historical and cultural constituent. They are authorities, models and samples of our collective existence.
Just like in Christianity that has the 'saints' who play important role in their doctrines, Biafra has heroic ancestors. The saints are the living dead. They are dead physically but alive spiritually. To Christians, they play two major roles; intercession and role modeling. They are perfect examples of worthy Christian life. They are the Christian heroes – the church triumphant. They are celebrated annually on November 1.
In Biafra culture, the ancestors perform exactly the same role as the Christian saints. We must know that not all qualify as ancestor just like saints. It's a worthy honour based on merit as a result of good life and good death. Unlike the ancestors, evil men and women are banished into the evil forest at death. They are not buried in the land so that when libations are poured, they will not partake of it. The Ancestors are the cultural heroes, heroines and models.
On May 30, we commemorate the Biafran war ancestors – the heroes, heroines and models of the Biafran struggle for self-actualization. They found the way; we are to follow the way. In so doing, we honour them and their undying efforts. They made the ultimate sacrifice; it must not be in vain. They died a purposeful death and that purpose this generation must actualize.
We are not mourning them. No! They are alive and are with us. We are rather celebrating them for their courageous sacrifice. They offered more especially the children. They therefore deserve more. Shall we let their labour be in vain? Shall we let their sacrifices be in vain? Is their death too for nothing? How can they rest on when their sacrifices are yet to bear the desired fruit?
Commemorating May 30 alone is not enough. It's not enough to appease our ancestors. The struggle must continue in diverse ways. Each Biafran in his capacity must contribute and continue the struggle in whatever way one can. Our ancestors are not cowards; we don’t have to be either. They have shown the way, we must follow behind.
We are pausing on May 30 to celebrate the war heroes and heroines; to ponder over their commitment and ambition, their dedication and devotion to the struggle. Their strength and weakness. To prepare ourselves for the mountainous task ahead. For this task of Biafra freedom we must accomplish to appease the spirit of our ancestors, and to become the future ancestors.
Edited by Nelson Ofokar Yagazie
PUBLISHER: Offor Princewill A.