Forty-sixty-year-old Mrs Lilian Obiechina, popularly called ‘Ada Ide’, is a native of Ogidi in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Her looks expose the doggedness in her participation in the struggle for Biafra which she told our correspondent was strengthened by what she termed by the ill-treatment of Igbo in Nigeria.
Obiechina said, “I was more of a Nigerian than an Igbo but as things keep happening, one keeps hearing news of what is going on and one watches one’s people being pushed to the wall. One then asks oneself ‘who am I?’ Are you more Nigerian than an indigenous person? I am Igbo.’’
“When you watch others, you see the northerners when they react or do their things; you see the Yoruba how they do their things and now you are sitting back watching your own people being pushed to the wall. You ask yourself, why are you not there? Why are you not where your people are?
“Getting to that consciousness spurred me into getting involved in what is happening to me as an Igbo woman. As an Igbo person, that was what actually motivated me into the struggle.”
She noted that if the Igbo got what they felt they deserved in Nigeria, there would be no need for struggle, adding “Why won’t we (Biafrans) govern ourselves – like other states that broke out of a larger country?’’
Obiechina, who adorned her hair with colourful beads, said there was nothing wrong for Biafrans to govern themselves within Nigeria.
“Is anything wrong with Biafra being an autonomous state from Nigeria? Why can’t Nigeria move on and allow Biafra to move on or any other indigenous people that want to move forward? Why?
“Must all of us be dragged together at Nigeria’s pace? How can somebody who has learnt how to crawl, walk and run wants to fly, and you that is crawling is holding the person down? Is that right? We want to govern ourselves; we, we want to man our place. We want to take charge of what is happening to us, whether we get it right or we don’t get it right, it doesn’t concern any other people.”
She explained that they were not after other tribes’ domains, stating that even if they were in Nigeria, there was nothing wrong in Biafrans getting what was due to them.
Strong for Biafra
According to her, harassment by security agencies emboldens her to do more for the Biafra struggle.
She said, “You actually grow a thick skin and you will even get to learn great strategies because you have met them this way you keep learning new strategies and improving. We are actually improving. The more they come, the harder they will fall because we keep improving and finding ways to engage whatever they throw at us.”
She stated that anyone in a struggle would only withdraw if he/she wasn’t aware of the reasons for the struggle.
“One can only chicken out in a struggle only if one doesn’t understand the reason for the struggle. It is when you don’t know why you are in a struggle that when you are slapped or your clothes thorn you will say you are no longer participating in it,’’ she added.