REMEMBERING OUR GREAT SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS AND INVENTORS, WHO SHOCKED THE WORLD BETWEEN 1967 AND 1970.

The intention of this post is not about Biafra, but to remind Africans that blacks can achieve unbelievable break throughs when we are faced with existential threats, we did it with Biafra and ebola. We either find our own solution or allow millions of our people to die of starvation or covid 19, the choice is our’s to make.

During the civil war, the Biafran military assembled a cast of core engineers, scientists, agriculturists, strategists, technologists etc to produce food, weapons, defence systems and equipment for civil and military uses. They also had the mandate to produce other useful items that would help the people to survive and to give the military a better chance to win the war. This group assembled under the RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION (RAP) unit of the military. There were many branches of this important unit including those who refined petroleum

The war lasted three years. It probably would have been shorter if RAP had not existed and if the resilient spirit of Biafrans was low.

The story of these geniuses, exceedingly inventive men and women who showed they were among the best in the world has been told in the last 50 years.

After the war, many of these scientists in RAP ended up in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Now some of the key people who were in RAP where:

Ben Chukwuka Nwosu, nuclear physicist, – he was the overall head of RAP,

Dr. Ekechukwu Willy Achukwu, scientist – he was in charge of RAP in Umudike.

Sylvester Akalonu, engineer, – he was part of the team that developed the Ogbunigwe.

Charlie Okafor, chemist – he was one of those who helped to name it RAP and the team that compounded solid smokeless rocket. The initial rockets fired had trails of smoke.

Ngozi Okafor, chemist Agu Ogan, biochemist – helped to design some of the weapons and some ANTIDOTES for any eventual chemical attack on Biafra.

Gordian Ezekwe, engineer – he was the head of the team that produced the explosive weapons and rockets, especially Ogbunigwe. The weapons development revolved around this soft spoken gentleman.

Clifford Ezeilo – engineer, specialist in thermodynamic, he worked on the rockets

Mark Chijioke, engineer – together with Ezekwe made solid fuel for the rockets.

C.O. Chiori, pharmaceutical scientist, Edmond Kaine, engineer – rocket and weapons design

Oleka Udeala, PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENTIST, HELPED IN CREATING PHARMACEUTICALS AND OTHER DRUGS AS WELL AS ANTIDOTES,

Ebenezer Ekechukwu – engineer, he was the prime mover for the creation of the salt lake in Uzuakoli. He helped to source the brine and salt cakes for that project.

Eddie Mbadiwe, biochemist, Martin Nwaji, CHEMIST, DESIGNED THE INCENDIARY WEAPON THAT BURNED THROUGH TANKS. FEMIT

Sam Agogbua, BIOCHEMIST, SYNTHESIZED WRITING INK FROM HERBS with FU Ekezie, Emmanuel Anosike, biochemist.

Chimere Ikoku, chemist – was the head of the Uzuakoli group of RAP

Fabian Ekezie, technologist – REARMED SPENT BULLETS, SYNTHESIZED VEHICLES FUEL FROM ALCOHOL AND CREATED LABORATORY GLASSWARE for the scientists and engineers. Also BUILT SILENCERS for guns with Agogbua F.N.C. Oragwu – NUCLEAR PHYSICIST, headed a unit in RAP and was at the core of PRODUCING WAR MACHINES for the military.

Willy Achukwu – TECHNICAL SCIENTIST WHOSE INPUT HELPED IN BUILDING Ogbunigwe

Fred Ozoh – CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGIST, ENSURED THE LABORATORIES ARE PRIME.

AFTER THE WAR THE PEOPLE OF THE EASTERN NIGERIA NOW SHRINKED, WERE DEVIDED ALONG STATE LINES AND THE PROFILING OF IGBO ETHNIC GROUP BEGAN. THE DEVIDE AND RULE PROCESS WAS IMPOSED IN THE FORMER EASTERN REGION.

IN ORDER TO GIFT THE UNITED NIGERIA THE INGENUITY OF THESE INVENTORS RAP MORPHED INTO PRODA

The Projects Development Agency was the idea of the then Administrator of the East Central State, Ajie Ukpabi Asika. It was set up under a state edict and had Professor J.O. C Ezeilo, an eminent mathematician and one-time Vice Chancellor of the UNN as its founding Chairman.

Dr. Ebenezer Ekechukwu was the first Director for a while before leaving for the US. He did well in providing leadership at those initial times. The draft document setting up the Agency had some deficiencies, key of which was setting the tenure of the Director. When the document was finally corrected, Ekechukwu’s term ended abruptly. When he left, Professor Gordian Ezekwe came on board to run PRODA as Director. NIGERIA REJECTED THEM OUT OF FEAR. That was the end of a golden opportunity for Nigeria to have industrialized so fast that we would have been far ahead of the so called Asian tigers and even China.

Of course, there were others like Engr. E.O. Kaine, Harry Okolo (eminent chemist), Vincent Iwenofu, Ferdinand Obodo (technologist) F.U. Ekezie and others from different ethnic nationalities in the Eastern region who contributed in no small way to help the process of defending the region against imminent extinction.

Finally to the memory of the great men who have gone the way of all flesh, I pray you to remember them, our fallen heroes: Gordian Ezekwe, Ben Nwosu, James O. C. Ezeilo, Ebenezer Ekechukwu (recently), Martin Nwaji, C.O. Chiori, Agu Ogan (recently), A.N. Njoku-Obi, Sam Agogbua, Fred Ozoh, Fabian Ekezie, Ferdinand Obodo of PRODA, Vincent Iwenofu etc.

Copied from Agunze Azuka Onwuka’s wall as written by Ken Ekezie whose father was a member of RAP and PRODA and edited by yours truly.

I had to highlight with CAPS the achievements of Nigerians of black skin within a space of 30 months, to remind us that this fear of Coronavirus that is about to kill a mulititude of our people with hunger and may irreversibly ruin our economy, can be kicked out if only the managers of this pandemic in our country will as a matter of urgency look inwards, try every possible local solution, don’t listen to WHO or their Oyibo cohorts, even they are more confused and petrified than us. We were abandoned during the ebola crises and we beat it to the admiration of WHO and the world, we looked inwards. Necessity as the saying goes is the mother of invention.

Ekenem.

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