The minority people of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria are today found in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa States.
The regional system that was abolished on the 27th May 1967, when the then Federal Military Government under the leadership of General Yakubu Gowon created 12 States to effectively end regionalism introduced by the Richard Constitution in the 1940s.
The regional system divided the country into three regions namely the Northern, Western and Eastern regions with Lagos as the Federal Capital.
As a result of the agitation by the ethnic minorities in the Northern, Eastern and Western Regions for internal autonomy, the House of Representatives by an Act of Parliament created the Mid Western Region from Western Region in 1963.
Disappointedly, the ethnic minorities of the Eastern Region that had agitated for the creation of a Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers State under the aegis of Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers State Movement since 1953 were denied an opportunity by the Federal Parliament in 1963 when it created the Mid Western Region.
Also, the people of the Middle Belt that had vehemently advocated for the creation of the Middle Belt Region from the Northern Region did not also benefit from the gesture of the Federal Parliament in 1993 when it created the Mid Western Region out of the Western Region.
However, General Gowon on the 27th May 1967 divided these four regions into twelve States namely North Western State (present Sokoto, Zamfara,Kebbi and Niger States), North Eastern State ( present Bornu, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba States), North Central State (present Kaduna State), Kano, Benue-Plateau State (present Benue, Nassarawa and Plateau States), Kwara, Rivers (present Bayelsa and Rivers), South Eastern State (present Akwa Ibom and Cross River States); East Central State (present Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi States), Western State (present Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Ogun States) and Mid Western State (present Edo and Delta States).
The ethnic minorities of the old Eastern Region suffered heavy casualties (just as the Igbo people) in the North after the reprisal attacks that took place there as a result of the military coup of 15th January 1966.
Be that as it may, our leaders (the Udo Udoma, Okoi Arikpo, Chief I.I Murphy, Dappa Briggs etc) never supported the action of late Colonel Ojukwu on the 27th May 1967 when he declared the break away of the defunct Eastern Region from the Federation of Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra.
This resulted in a bloody civil war that broke out on the 6th June 1967 and ended on the 12th January 1970.
So I am flummoxed when some people are trying to exhume something that was buried almost 45 years ago by suggesting that Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States are part of the garbage they call ‘Biafra’!
Nobody should drag us into ‘Biafra’. Our leaders rejected ‘Biafra’ almost 48 years old when they irrevocably and unequivocally supported the indivisiblity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
We stand together with Nigeria now and forever! Nobody should drag us into this bogus ‘Biafra’!
We made our stand 48 years ago. We can decide for ourselves what we want at any point in time.
We totally and completely reject the attempt by some faceless anarchists and confusionists to drag us into the bogus ‘Biafra’!
Surely we know what is good for us! It is mischievous and an insult for some people to think that we will take back what we vomited 48 years ago!
We are not dogs but rational human beings! Only a dog takes back what it had vomited!
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