#BounceExclusive: Biafra, The Agitation And The Reality
From the outer part of the bar, you could tell the calibre of persons spending raw cash, with the sound sneaking out from the inner chamber.
The live band serenaded its audience with tunes that depicted praise and war, but there was no war unless it was already happening between the fingers of and teeth of some people who could afford more than a bottle of beer.
The aroma of the Isiewu could have woken up the dead. I could feel my mouth salivate even without being hungry.
They tell stories of an Igbo man that had against all odds made money and had remembered his umnunna.
Eze! Eze!! The band called out his name in praise.
He is a spare parts dealer at Ladipo market, a popular Lagos vehicle parts market. Someone has whispered to the band's lead singer that money has come and shouldn't be allowed to leave the bar without being spent.
As the music flowed, memories of how far the nation had coped with different ethnic groups brought together rekindled.
Not everyone seated here is Igbo but there seems to be a spirit that weaves Nigerians together regardless of religion or tribe.
The chilled bottles now looked half full and the laughter began to echo meters away. These people seemed genuinely happy. At least at this very moment if you walked in you could not differentiate who was Igbo or not.
Each time someone mentioned Biafra - there was a hesitant silence but I noticed these people preferred to speak of the good old days.
The internet and social media has made everything seem too close, too real, too quick. Patience was gone and the elements of surprise were vanishing.
The discussion was now open on the floor - "In the north, a coalition of northern youths had issued an 'Igbos must go' ultimatum, demanding that people from the south-east must leave the region on or before October 1 abi. So, let's say the people leave that place then what next?"
"A counter-ultimatum was issued in the south-south, a region considered as the gold mine of the nation, with militants requesting that Yoruba and Hausa indigenes in the region ‘must’ leave.
"Who is fooling who? The people issuing the threats are sitting in Air Conditioned rooms and shouting nonsense. We are here in Lagos working and paying tax and someone thinks he can blow a whistle and we will just stand up and march to East".
The much older audience who experienced the 1967 - 1970 civil war shook their heads vehemently disagreeing each time the word "war" was mentioned. For them anarchy is totally out of it.
Where are we now?
'Only poor people die during war, the rich man and his children always make out before the first bombs drop from the sky'.
But the chants of a band at the bar were enough to motivate a man high on alcohol to act in a way that was never envisaged by the self-acclaimed Supreme Biafra Lords.
It is a bar in Oshodi area of Lagos State, but there was something unique about it – each time the lead singer billowed out a new tune - Biafra was all every Igbo man with a second bottle of beer could see.
In their minds, thoughts of a nation free of corruption is possible. The dilemma however remains - the Igbo man's love for personal independence and money are legendary. For him success is not an ideology it must be physically represented for all to see.
They Want Truth
These men regardless of tribe has one thing in common - disgust for politicians. These men work with their hands - you could see the injuries sustained from small cuts to larger stitch wounds.
They wondered why politicians just sits down and cheat the majority of their common wealth.
The promises of the current government during campaigns that led to their victory in the 2015 Presidential election were all hinged on CHANGE.
"But the economy is finally our of recession", one said.
"Maybe in your house is where you are seeing no recession. Me, I am recession. Recession is my name. My house address is recession, my children play with recession, my wife's should is recession. Even my landlord greets me - Eku Recession!", another replied.
The sitation has moved from bad to worse, with a static minimum wage - 18,000 naira - chasing a different import cost for the most common staple food – rice.
These drums at this bar reminded Eze of his early days in the east, where ‘egwu ogenne’ was a serenade. He could dip his hand in his pocket and produce notes to appreciate.
With the waiteress bringing in another round - they agreed that Nigeria's unity is still an option and dialogue must be explored. We all have too much to lose.
They gradually shifted their attention from national matters to describing the backside of the waitress as she moved on to the next table.
They had hope in their eyes.