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Understanding the Word, “Biafra” – An Academic Exercise In Support Of the Unity of South-East and South-South


BY Russell Bluejack

The gumption to do this sprang from apparent misrepresentation, misapprehension, prejudice, disjointed supposition from some of our people down South. I decided to deliver this laconic lecture with a view to removing the cobweb from poor reading habit and brazen ignorance.

“Biafra” is a word which origin can be traced to a Southerner. Ojukwu wanted a neutral name and got that from a Southerner. I am worried that some of our people down South still think the word can be split into “bia-” and “-fra”. This is against the rules of morphology because words can only be dismembered into morphemes.

A morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit that is capable of independent existence and meaning. Each morpheme, being the smallest linguistic unit of any language, must be meaningful. Furthermore, the length of words is not a desideratum when it comes to dismembering. What I mean is that some words can be long, yet not splittable, for they are morphemes themselves. “Nigeria”, for instance, is a morpheme. You cannot break it into “Niger-” and “-ia”, since the latter means nothing.

In the same vein, “Biafra” is a morpheme, for it cannot be split into “Bia-” and “-fra”, two units that mean nothing on their own. The word is not Igbo, since we know it emanated from THE BIGHT OF BIAFRA AND BENIN. Our ignorant friends and brothers should note that “Biafra” is a non-splittable word. If you split it to have an Igbo “Bia”, what does the other linguistic unit, “fra” mean? We have to be wise.

I have just delivered a lecture for free. We should stop twisting facts. Biafra is a neutral word. Read and share widely. Ignorance must die so that the unity of South-East and South-South can be fully birthed. Thanks to my beloved mama Annkio Briggs for the inspiration and support.


Russell Bluejack is a revolutionary writer, thinker, tutor, and socio-economic and political analyst that writes from Port Harcourt.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer/author, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Headline News Nigeria.



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