Mrs Lilian Obiechina, popularly called ‘Ada Ide’, is a native of Ogidi in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Her looks expose the willfulness in her participation in the struggle for Biafra which she told PUNCH she was strengthened by what she termed by the ill-treatment of Igbo in Nigeria.
Ms Lilian said,
“I was more of a Nigerian than an Igbo but as things keep happening, one keeps hearing news of what is going on and one watches one’s people being pushed to the wall. One then asks oneself ‘who am I?’ Are you more Nigerian than an indigenous person? I am Igbo.’’
“When you watch others, you see the northerners when they react or do their things; you see the Yoruba how they do their things and now you are sitting back watching your own people being pushed to the wall. You ask yourself, why are you not there? Why are you not where your people are?
“Getting to that consciousness spurred me into getting involved in what is happening to me as an Igbo woman. As an Igbo person, that was what actually motivated me into the struggle.”
“Why won’t we (Biafrans) govern ourselves – like other states that broke out of a larger country?’’
“Is anything wrong with Biafra being an autonomous state from Nigeria? Why can’t Nigeria move on and allow Biafra to move on or any other indigenous people that want to move forward? Why?
“Must all of us be dragged together at Nigeria’s pace? How can somebody who has learnt how to crawl, walk and run wants to fly, and you that is crawling is holding the person down? Is that right? We want to govern ourselves; we, we want to man our place.
“We want to take charge of what is happening to us, whether we get it right or we don’t get it right, it doesn’t concern any other people.”
“You actually grow a thick skin and you will even get to learn great strategies because you have met them this way you keep learning new strategies and improving. We are actually improving.
“The more they come, the harder they will fall because we keep improving and finding ways to engage whatever they throw at us.”
“One can only chicken out in a struggle only if one doesn’t understand the reason for the struggle. It is when you don’t know why you are in a struggle that when you are slapped or your clothes thorn you will say you are no longer participating in it,’’
“You come to that point that nothing thrown at you will make any impact on you. Many times, I was stopped by security forces on the expressway and asked to lie down. Even if they asked me to stand up later, I would tell them to let me be that I was comfortable that way.”
“Every man who is a husband should actually be at the front and his wife and children will line up behind him. This is all we have and I don’t think a man who is a man is fighting for himself alone. He is fighting for his generation and coming generations.’’
During the Interview Another IPOB Woman, Eberechukwu Anigbogu, popularly called Ada Biafra speaks.
“Biafra lived for three years as a Republic and we were defeated. When people said we didn’t lose the war, I quarrel with them. We lost the war and we became the weaker vessel because that war was not just fought between the Biafra people and Nigeria.
“Whenever I talk about Biafra and Nigeria, I will always tell people that God, the ‘Chukwu Okike’ gave us the land that is flowing with milk and honey. Without this land, Nigeria will not survive. Without the land of Biafra, Nigeria won’t survive. Why did we even come together? My people resisted the white people – the people that came to trade.
“They bastardised my religion, tradition and everything. They brought in a vague religion. They forced religion on us because they have the gun and they have the mirror. It was the gun and the mirror that they used to deceive my people. We resisted them when they came and they saw what we had.’’
“After the war, it was declared No Victor No Vanquished. It is better said than done because it was during that war and shortly after the war that they mastered a plan on how to subjugate us, on how to continue to rule over us till today.’’
“Since the bird that sang at the time still sings today, I have no reason to sit on the fence. Rather, I will try to see if there is anything I can do to liberate my people. That is why I am in the struggle . I will not stop; it is either two things – either I live the struggle and Biafra is restored or I die.”
“What happened last year in Imo State where women were arrested and detained for days in prison will not deter us from the struggle? Somebody like me and many others are not afraid. If you kill Eberechukwu Anigbogu, you will see another Eberechukwu Anigbogu.
“We were disgraced in Imo State. They stripped us naked but that is the good thing about the struggle. Have we stopped? We cannot stop.
“The majority of us have gone to prison in Nigeria because we said we want to go back. But we have not stopped even if they come here and want to kill us, let them kill us, new women will join the struggle and continue. It is either two things – they give us Biafra or they restructure and allow us to be.’’
“Have you forgotten the Aba Women Riot? Those women that started it had husbands.
“My husband supports me fully and I have told him any day I leave the house for protest or to say anything concerning Biafra and Nigeria just consider me dead. If I come home alive fine, but if not, no problem. He understands that and supports me.
“There is no going back because it is forward ever and backwards never. There is no going back until Biafra is restored,” she said.
Another Woman from Enugu state speaks;
“I will take you back a bit because some people disapprove of the term, Biafra. They link Biafra with the Biafran war. They have forgotten that Biafra existed even before the Nigeria/Biafra war.
“Biafra is a landmass stretching from Southern Nigeria. All those living there are Biafrans. Then somebody will wake up one day because there was Nigeria/Biafran war, and say Biafra has been wished away. We are indigenous people living in this area.’’
“In fact, it is a collective fight. It is a fight that everybody, except you don’t know what you are fighting for, should join. My children, everybody, they are all involved in the struggle because they know they are Biafrans.”
Another Igbo woman Mrs Emmanuel Speaks:
“I can tell you that only death can stop me from the struggle. Even in death, my spirit will continue to fight for the liberation of my people. I am not afraid of security forces. I am ready to die because of Biafra because its realisation will bring hope for the future of our children.
Those sharing the resources of the country will never allow restructuring to benefit Nigerians. In this kind of hopeless situation, what do you do?”
Another Igbo woman, Mrs Nwosu Speaks:
“I want the future of my children to be secured because as it is, there’s no hope for the younger generation. With Biafra, we will secure a better future for them.”
“My family is firmly in support of my involvement in the struggle and my husband is very supportive. He is an IPOB member and I usually encourage him to remain in the struggle. My spirit always tells me that my husband shouldn’t back out or we will mortgage the future of our children to oppression.”
“I am not afraid of arrest. Even if I am arrested, I will still come out of detention. Biafra is the heaven on earth we are seeking.’’