The Sardauna, Britain, Nigeria and the Igbo
SATURDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2011
Igbo tenacity, drive and relentless optimism to pursue and overcome life's challenges were acutely an affront to both the sardauna of Sokoto and British occupation sensibilities in Nigeria. This sardauna interview (video below) must have been recorded in the late 1950s/early 1960s - definitely after both the 1945 and 1953 north Nigeria-organised pogroms against Igbo immigrant populations in Jos and Kano respectively. Hundreds of Igbo were murdered during the pogroms and tens of thousands of pounds sterling worth of their property were looted and destroyed at the time. Each pogrom was carried out because of the Igbo vanguard role in the restoration-of-independence movement to free Nigeria from the British conquest and occupation. North Nigeria's sociopolitical leaderships, effectively British regional clients, were opposed to the restoration of African freedom. They, indeed, were disposed to the continuing British occupation of Nigeria.
As a result, the occupation regime did not apprehend or prosecute anyone for either the 1945 or 1953 pogroms and the outrages became the "dress rehearsals" for the 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 Igbo genocide when the Nigeria state (as a whole) with full Britain involvement, and others, murdered 3.1 million Igbo or one-quarter of this nation's population. Britain, nor indeed any of the other pan-European conquerors of Africa (France, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Germany), did not create a Nigeria, or whatever names these "Berlin states" in Africa are called, as precursor for African emancipation. On the contrary, the Nigerias of Africa are more of replicas of the enslaved plantations of the Americas (in the previous epoch of nearly 300 years) to perpetuate European control and exploitation of Africa and Africans in perpetuity.
The enslaved Igbo encountered this with unrelenting courage and defiance in the enslaved estates in the Americas (north, south and the Caribbean), as history shows, and wouldn't have it either at home! The sardauna interview should be part of History/Politics 101 course on Africa because it does tell one, in a nutshell, the "fate" of the Igbo in Nigeria that north Nigeria, with firm support of Britain, had, carefully, contrived right back in the 1950s. Except the Igbo people have signed up for a concerted suicide, they surely cannot see their destiny emplaced in this space of certain death.
This has been the cardinal lesson of the Igbo genocide. Thankfully, some Igbo who were still not sure of the long term implications of the continuing Nigerian occupation of their homeland (since 12 January 1970) have had a baptism of enlightenment since the video of the sardauna interview went viral just recently! Suddenly, historical records become opportunities for rare streams of conscientisation...