The written request by The Interview was dated January 26, 2016, but that letter never really left the drawer, so it was impossible to get an interview with the founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike.
With the war of words between the so-called Arewa youths and the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, it seemed necessary to hear from Uwazurike who is apparently an old hand at the agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra.
We also thought it would be helpful to know his views on other burning national issues.
Persistent phone calls over a six-month period didn’t induce a change of heart in the Indian-trained lawyer, forcing recession of the matter into virtual abeyance. But we didn’t lose hope; somehow, we were confident it would happen someday. That hope paid off on Tuesday, August 8.
A few days earlier, the originator of Biafra resurgence, who has also created a new platform called Biafra Independence Movement (BIM), accepted a new request by The Interview, an opportunity which we grabbed with both hands.
“I have not done interviews for a very long time,” Uwazurike told us. “But I have decided to do this one because I think it’s important to set the records straight about some of the things that have been happening lately.”
As with most independence/freedom fighters, in the course of the struggle, nothing is cast in stone, so we had no illusions that the promise of an interview was a done deal; circumstances could bring about a change of heart, time or date adjustment, or even outright cancellation. So there was a huge, meritorious sense in seeking to bend the iron when it was still hot, as it were.
The Interview team set out for Owerri for what turned out to be an epochal encounter. It was supposed to be a journey of a few hours from Enugu, but it took quite a few more, following the now familiar gridlock, occasioned by the unimaginable dilapidation at the Lokpanta end of the Enugu–Port-Harcourt expressway.
As it turned out, Chief Uwazurike, who many believe should be speaking out about now following the widespread tension generated by the activities of IPOB and its founder Kanu, didn’t just acquiesce to the interview himself; he seemed to want it so badly.
As he himself would confess, he had kept quiet for far too long, thereby allowing a “small boy” on sabotage mission to flourish. He was now obliged, he said, to divulge the confidential information at his disposal for Ndigbo and Nigerians in general to know the truth.
The only matter he wouldn’t discuss in specific terms was his own family; otherwise, there were no-go areas. He took even the most difficult questions with candour and civility, and portrayed in unmistakable terms a man yet unwavering in his own beliefs, and obviously in the struggle for the long haul. His views are contemporary, red hot, and a must read. Enjoy…