Before Biafra, there was the Niger Delta Republic led by Isaac Adaka Boro.
For a week and some days, Biafra has dominated public discourse, social media and media in general. Nigerians have been debating about the civil war, what led to it and if we have learnt anything. Biafra obviously dominates the headlines with the huge loss of lives.
Unknown to many the Nigerian Civil War wasn't the only war that happened in Nigeria. On February 23, 1966, Isaac Adaka Boro formed the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF).
The NDVF was formed 40 days after January 15, 1966, coup, the first military coup in Nigeria's history. Annoyed and disgruntled about the plight of the Nigerians from the South-South, Boro declared the Niger Delta Republic.
It was an attempt by the former police inspector to wrestle his people from the unstable Nigerian system that had sidelined his people in the grand scheme of things. On this day, the Niger-Delta seceded from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
"Today is a great day, not only in your lives but also in the history of the Niger Delta. Perhaps, it will be the greatest day for a very long time. This is not because we are going to bring the heavens down, but because we are going to demonstrate to the world what and how we feel about oppression… Remember your 70-year-old grandmother who still farms before she eats; remember also your poverty-stricken people; remember, too, your petroleum which is being pumped out daily from your veins; and then fight for your freedom" said the 27-year-old Boro on the historic day.
The rebellion did not last long. Isaac Adaka Boro and 159 men fought against Nigerian forces. The battle did not last more than two weeks as the NDVF forces were crushed.
Isaac Adaka Boro was arrested and almost executed. During the Biafran War, he was tasked by General Yakubu Gowon to fight against Biafra. Boro was an exceptional soldier who led Nigerian troops to key decisive battles and victories.
He never lived to see a unified Nigeria. He was killed in Rivers state on May 9, 1968, in mysterious circumstances.