The desire to create a distinct Biafran identity suffered a crisis of integrity recently when Ralph Uwazuruike, the revolutionary and leader of Massob was rumbled in a property deal in Dallas, USA. Such is the mockery of fate that an act of greed by controversial Uwazuruike was quickly uncovered by US State Department.
Uwazuruike left Nigeria on January 24, 2009 with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a guerrilla fighter. His plan was to meet the Biafran sympathisers in the US and in the process fine tune plans of getting an international lobbyist that will burnish the lukewarm image of the Biafran agenda and sell it to targeted interests inside the US.
The recruitment of an international lobbyist had been on the agenda of the Biafran Foundation since May 2008 but there was administrative delay in going public. To broaden its appeal, the Biafran Foundation later got Uwazuruike involved in its search for an international lobbyist.
Then intrigue began to beset the deal between the Biafran Foundation and Massob. Uwazuruike, on his part, failed to demonstrate a high degree of trust and moral robustness as later events revealed. It was alleged that the Biafran Foundation went ahead to engage a team of lobbyists and drew and agreement in the name of Biafran Foundation instead of the initial plan to use the name of Massob. Uwazuruike later got to know of the change of name and insisted that the agreement be reversed and be drawn in Massob’s name.
The foundation accepted his idea and a copy of the completed agreement was sent to Uwazuruike for approval. For signing, the Biafran Foundation arranged for Uwazuruike’s trip to the US. On getting his US visa in Nigeria, Uwazuruike began to rework his own agenda. First, he changed his contact telephone numbers. Secondly, he travelled to the US without informing any member of the Biafran Foundation about the details of his itinerary.
On arrival in the US, he abandoned the initial agreement forged with the Biafran Foundation and refused to see any of its members. Out alone in the cold and unable to secure an accommodation befitting a slumbering guerrilla fighter, he cried out and reached out for the very people he was hiding from.
Members of the Biafran Foundation rallied around Uwazuruike who had just walked in from a humiliating cold and accommodation was arranged for him in Baltimore. He was captivated by the beauty of Baltimore but was worried by his internal demons that had sinister agenda. In true Igbo hospitality, a fellow Igbo man volunteered to drive him to meet the lobbyist.
Uwazuruike refused. Instead he hired a company taxi on a US State Department 24-hour arrangement. Also, he would not allow any of the members of the Biafran Foundation accompany him to see, discuss and sign pre-arranged agreement with the lobby group. When he got into the office of the lobby group, he was at ease and brimming with childish confidence. He has perfected a near-perfect plan! But no way!!!
The lobby group, in line with policy and procedure, asked Uwazuruike some preliminary questions about his organisation. He sang like a well-fed parrot before he sunk into shame with a startling revelation.
A recorded telephone conversation of Uwazuruike with a house agent on a deal to buy a house was laid out for him on the table. The lobby group and the State Department later informed members of the Biafran Foundation that the man brought from Africa is a Nigerian scammer and not a revolutionary. When his plan to buy a house was uncovered, he hurriedly left US for the UK.
In the UK, he arranged for an emergency meeting with Igbo group at the Queen Mary University Hall and at the venue rained curses and accused the Biafran Foundation in the US of misconduct. Only recently, General Oluwole Rotimi, ex Nigerian Ambassador to the US, reportedly called the Biafran Army a collection of hungry, rag tag soldiers used as turkey shoot during the civil war. Unity minded Nigerians denounced the moral obloquy of the vocabulary deployed to describe the Biafran soldiers.
By this action, Uwazuruike has provided further ammunition and an intellectual pretext to carpet bomb the entire leadership of Massob as nothing more than a collection of clannish opportunists. Beneath Uwazuruike’s revolutionary gloss lurks a sophisticated schemer who has abandoned the true ideal of Biafra for its mythical alternative.