This isn’t how I intend to tell my story to the world, I’d prefer I stood on a podium in front of congressmen and woman speaking on the importance of Democracy like Abraham Lincoln did so eloquently, that has always been my dream, but rather I am in the back of a truck with men I’ve never met chanting songs of War and not the Country’s Anthem as patriotic men do.
You see Billy, the combat commander is meaner than your old Grand Uncle Steve, a tall well built robot looking man. We should be prepared and ready for battle in 3 days he says and Billy, I’ve never held a gun in my life but every household needed to provide a man for the Army and you are barely 3months old so I will be the only man going.
Dear Billy, it is the 6th day of July 1967, we got a radio message saying the enemy troops were fast approaching. I am scared, we all are. We weren’t given much information about the war we are fighting, all we know I we want out of Nigeria and The indigenous people of Biafra must have their own country. I am just a fisherman with a wife and 3kids! A man by my left said! I am just a blacksmith’s apprentice said the boy shaking next to the ammunition crates. Billy none of us were soldiers, none of us were skilled shooters, I thought I was the only one scared. We all are really scared.
Dear Billy, I should write your mother tonight because tomorrow i will be at the battle field with a rifle and my wit. I’ll have to shoot a man, then two,three,twenty and the list goes on, and I pray there’s not a bullet in my name. The truth is, these men we will be fighting are my brothers, my Nigerian brothers. I used to think we only fight for what is true and what we believe in, at least that was what the preacher said, but I am without a choice, I am here because I am a Southerner so I must fight for the Biafran course.
Dear Billy, I hope this meets you well. The battlefield is a wrong place to be. I was told “No man makes it home alive, he may still be breathing but he definitely won’t be the same”. I’ve seen grown men cry, I’ve taken lives I did not give. The dead man by my side must have had a family he hoped to get back to and and wife who would have wanted him by her side. I shot him Billy, right through the chest, his eyes locked on mine and his last words were “Go home to your family while you can”.
Dear Billy, we are at our hideout base at the deserted part of the qua river with 300men dead, 78 injured, barely any enough ammunitions to take us through another fight and an empty stomach and…………..
Billy, there’s been an explosion, our hideout is compromised. we’ve been ambushed and we are definitely out numbered.
Dear Billy, I recall the preacher saying “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword”. I am bleeding out here Billy, I can’t say, I’ve been an hero dear boy and I can’t say for sure if the war would end. All I can say is I tried to stay alive. Tell your momma she was right “the war wasn’t worth it” and tell them they lied “the war was for them and not for us. I’m getting cold Billy, Poppa loves you…..