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Six Minutes to Freedom
 
 
Igbo Kwenu! This is Radio Biafra!
August 20, 1998


Ogene Indigbo Radio ["The Wednesday One"]:

Excerpts from message apparently originating with Mobolaji E. Aluko (maluko@cldc.howard.edu) and posted to soc.culture.nigeria by Ike Oguocha
(Ikechukwuka_Oguocha@engr.USask.Ca)--or is it the other way around? (I can never understand those headers).

"Igbo Kwenu! This is Radio Biafra"

Another pirate radio transmitting on 15.460 MHz surfaces to give voice to the aspiration of the Igbo people at home and in the diaspora," by Chukwujama Eze, Aug 3:

"Good evening. You are tuned and listening to 'Ogene Ndigbo' Radio in Washington. We are transmitting on 15.460 MHz at 19 metre band, shortwave. Here is the news read by . . ."

Well, not Okokon Ndem . . . Ogene Ndigbo what? The new pan-Igbo radio stn may not ring a bell to many Nigerians. True. After all, it is neither one of the numerous cash-strapped government broadcast stations across the cournty nor in the league of the new generation of private stations ruling the country's airwaves, as if keeping hope alive that the tortuous journey to press freedom in Nigeria may not have entirely been in vain. In a class uniquely its own, the premier independent pan-Igbo radio station is booming a weekly translantic transmission not only to Nigeria, but also to the whole world from Washington, D.C., the capital of the USA.

It is the brainchild of the Eastern Mandate Union, EMU-Abroad, a pro-democracy group of Igbos in the diaspora. According to Prof. Edward Oparaoji of Howard University, Washington, who is co-ordinating the radio project, the station will, at the early stages, be broadcasting for one hour every Wednesday with plans for a more regular transmission in the future.

With the benefit of state-of-the-art satellite technology combined with a powerful 250,000 watt transmitter, the pan-Igbo radio is programmed to be clearly received all over the world. Its strongest signal, says Oparaoji, will, however, be beamed to Nigeria, particularly Igboland.

Apparently taking a cue from Radio Kudirat International, a vocal pirate radio of exiled Nigerian opposition, the Ogene Ndigbo Radio is scarcely hiding the fact that the confounding political situation at home made its debut a child of urgent necessity. "We are alarmed at the rate with which our people are constantly bombarded with misinformation through government-controlled media in Nigeria, leaving them with no choice of an alternative viewpoint,"Oparaoji stressed. "We believe that a misinformed generation is a lost generation, and therefore we feel compelled to provide Ndigbo with alternative point of view to enable them make informed decisions for themselves and the generations to come." With the approval of Dr. Arthur Nwankwo, chancellor of Eastern Mandate Union, and EMU assembly, the EMU Abroad has been tasked with bridging this communication gap among the Igbo people.

According to him, "After a thorough evaluation of all vehicles available to Ndigbo at this time to achieve our objectives, EMU-Abroad came to the conclusion that radio transmission will be the most effective way to proceed." Ogene Ndigbo Radio broadcasts will, among other issues, bring to the fore the issues of Igbo marginalization in all facets of Nigerian government, lack of respect and protection for Igbo life and property in Nigeria, the role of Igbo leaders in championing the Igbo cause, lack or total neglect of infrastructures in Igbo land, the abandoned property issue, payment of reparation to Ndigbo for life and property lost during and after the Nigeria-Biafra war, restructuring of Nigeria back to a true federal state, restructuring of the military and other security forces and other contemporatry socio-economic policy issues. As Nigeria heads towards renegotiation, it is important that all unresolved thorny issues be made part of the pre-negotiation debate and Ogene Ndigbo becomes another vehicle to convey our ides," he emphasised.

Coming in the aftermath of the death of Chief Moshood Abiola, whose annulled presidential mandate has thrown up the urgency of the ethnic nationality question, not a few Igbos have hailed the advent of the pan-Igbo radio station to give Igbos a voice. "If we are dying in Nigeria, at least it will no longer be in silence," said Rogers Udem Okechukwu, a chemical engineer who said the radio station would fill the yawning vacuum being created by government-owned broadcast stations in Igbo states. "They are too preoccupied with govt propaganda that they are insensitive to the plight of the people."

Okechukwu is not alone. Igbos, still reeling from the excruciating trauma of the Biafra War after 28 years, cannot believe that they are not victims of a deliberate federal government programme designed to scheme the race out of commanding positions in national affairs. . . . This and other burning issues affecting the fate of the Igbo man are what the Ogene Ndigbo has set for itself the task to champion. If the pan-Igbo stn fails in its mission, it would not have been for want of goodwill, moral and political support from home. "It is one thing that Igbos in the diaspora have done that deserves the commendation of all well-meaning Igbo men," said Uche Anioke, a lecturer in Mass Communication at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Enugu. "What we lacked in the print media is what the radio station now wants to give us." Anioke spoke the minds of many when he observed that broadcast stations in Igboland are not serving the needs of the areas of their locations, due to obvious reasons of their ownership.

Those who control the affairs in the states they are located are non-Igbos. To that
extent, the emergence of Ogene Ndigbo is not only timely but commendable. Igbo Kwenu!
(via NU 1488)
 
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