BIAFRA IS AN EL DORADO – Emeka Ugwuonye

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Now, relax and learn something new. I don’t know if you have heard of the place called El Dorado. It is a subject of vast literary works. Indeed, my regret is that Nigeria writers did not develop Biafra as literary team. Chimamanda did well with her Half of the Yellow Sun. But there should have been thousands of such works on Biafra.

El Dorado is a mythical place where many spanish explorers believed was a land filled with gold. And every explorer with imagination in the 16th century believed there was such a place. Many set out in search of El Dorado. The more they travelled the longer El Dorado became. Thousands of explorers and their crew died in search of El Dorado. It was always nearby. Just a few more miles and a few more channels and you will land in El Dorado.

But El Dorado never existed in reality. Yet, it was the target of many ambitions, many explorations, many efforts, much suffering, many dreams, many tales. People swore on El Dorado. People claimed they had seen it only that their boat sank and they drowned just as they were about to land on El Dorado.

El Dorado was a place that existed only in the imagination. Biafra is our modern El Dorado. It is powerful in our imagination. It can push us to want to go to war. We dream of a land filled with gold, beauty, progress, justice equity. But in truth, it does not exist. In fact, in common sense it cannot exist. Even if you give the Igbos a patch of land and tell them to make it their country, it will not be anything near the golden land of the rising sun. It will be a country struggling to ban Osu practice. It will be a country that will not respect the rights of women. It will be a country that will abolish registry marriages. It will be a country where a woman will be punished if she gives birth to a female child and rewarded if she has a male child. It will not be the land you dream about. But the challenge is that the Igbos will not have any patch of land to turn into a country.

So when I tell you there will be no territorial Biafra, I am not just trying to be difficult or to ruin your weekend. I am speaking to you as man with vast knowledge and experience.

Please try to study about El Dorado. You will be wiser.

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