By: Kenneth Kaunda Adamu
In the wake of the Nigeria’s Civil War almost five decades ago a mistake that could well be hounding us all now was made. That mistake was in not addressing the emotional facet of the survivors, who no doubt suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PSTDs). The blame won’t go to anyone because the body of knowledge available to the world today were not the same fifty years ago. This failing however has implications for what is today unfolding about the defunct Biafra Republic, which was the root cause of that war.
On the 50 th anniversary of the declaration of Biafra, there is a pocket of vehement persons that continue to wallow in the past, longing for a failed republic that didn’t materialize even on the wanton shedding of the blood of millions and cannot materialize with the shedding of the blood of millions more. The brutality of that needless war left survivors traumatized arations later, are partakers of the traumatic experience as epigenetics is fast proving.
In the article, “Can Trauma be Passed on through our DNA?” Jonathan Davis wrote that “Intergenerational Trauma is the idea that serious trauma can affect the children and grandchildren of those who had the first-hand experience, due to living with a person suffering from PTSD and the challenges that can bring. What’s new is – thanks to the emerging field of epigenetics – science is discovering that trauma is being passed down to future generations through more than simply learned behaviors.”
These phenomenon that has received more attention in the last ten years has focused more on “holocaust survivors passing the effects of trauma to (their) children and grandchildren”. The survivors of the Nigerian Civil War must similarly passed the trauma of that war unto their children which would in part explain the hatred some of the youths of the southeast extraction have for the country today.
In addition to whatever trauma they carry in their DNA is the exposure to a wide array of hate communication. Such poisonous communication abound especially in this era of the internet and social media where the comment section on any story about Nigeria becomes a trollfest of Igbo people calling the country a zoo and other Nigerians dismissed as animals. It does not matter that these “animals”could be the landlord providing the commentator shelter for rent, the employer that makes it possible for them to earn their daily bread, or even a potential future spouse.
But while the transfer of trauma through DNA or being brainwashed with hate speech could explain some of the deviant attitude towards the country, both concepts combined do not explain the mass delusion and irrational choices that guarantee self destruction that these people are embracing not just as individuals but as a bloc. A clear indication of this addiction to self destruction is the sit-at-home ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
For an ethnic group that only recently made the mistake of voting a losing presidential candidate as a bloc, one would expect that the Igbo business owners would avoid taking steps that amount to acting in bloc, in this case shutting down their businesses on the instruction of IPOB and MASSOB. It amounts to economic suicide similar to the earlier political suicide.
It is understandable that those that shut their businesses were coerced into doing so by fighters of the two groups. But this is where they should have risen up to challenge what is practically a vocal minority that is dictating for the entire southeast zone. They should ask themselves what life would be like if these rabble rousers had their way and revive another ill fated Biafra Republic. The people should ask themselves why they have close down the sources of their daily bread when those issuing the directives have businesses that raked in hundreds of millions of naira in Kano, Abuja, Lagos, London and other world capitals. They should be afraid of what their fates would be when they become too poor because of regularly shutting down to support other people’s causes.
This fear should be heightened by what has so far been seen of their Supreme Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who has so far proven to be a sociopath dictator surrounded by psychopaths. Pictures of him since being freed from detention usually depict a demagogue, often adopting a benevolent posture over his subservient followers who must kneel down. His articulation of what the region needs betrays a man that has lost touch with the realities of the time he lives in; he speaks of a Nigeria that is not working as if the governors of the southeastern states are sourced from among other enthnic nationals.
More worrisome than the draconian closure of poor people’s businesses is IPOB/MASSOB’s resoluteness in going to war at any cost. The sit-at-home order from both groups was likely intended to trigger another round of confrontation with the military or the police and consequently be the catalyst for the start of another war. Anyone in doubt of this should trail the container loads of weapons that the Nigerian Customs Service intercepted in December 2016, February 2017, May 2017 in addition to those that likely passed under the radar. Incidentally, only Kanu had done fundraising from fellow Igbos for the sole purpose of buying arms and munition.
The sabre rattling over the defunct Biafra Republic, the increasing militarization of what should have been an intellectual agitation, the discovery of arms shipment and the deafening silence of the Igbo elite should cause concerns among the poor people of the southeast who would end up as canon fodder when IPOB/MASSOB activate the next phase of their nefarious plot.
It is time to recognize that enough is enough in this wasted attempt at reviving a decommissioned project. This is why the real people of the southeast should not only distance themselves from these trouble makers but should also call them to order. Where they fail to behave, the people should rise up against them before innocent people are again taken down a destructive path. One round of traumatic DNA is enough to pass on to the future generation, it is a wonder if any ethnic stock would do well if it passes double traumatic DNA to its offsprings.
K. K Adamu is a forensic psychologist and contributed this piece from Lokoja, Kogi State.