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Friday, March 2, 2018


Achebe returns with long-awaited 'Biafra' memoir
Literaryworld: My role in Biafran war, by Prof. Chinua Achebe
Furore over Achebe's Biafran memoir
Achebe's new book controversy: Civil war hasn't ended -Okorie
Attack on Awo: Has Achebe gone too far?
Gowon, Awo behind genocide -Col Achuzia
My role in the civil war - Awolowo
Genocide, 'Biafran' culpability and Achebe's impressions

An article by CHINUA ACHEBE 

 It is my impression that Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself and for his Yoruba people - and he's being criticized for it.

..Almost 30 years before Rwanda, before Darfur, more than 2 million people – mothers, children, babies, civilians – lost their lives as a result of the blatantly callous and unnecessary policies enacted by the leaders of the federal government of Nigeria.

As a writer I believe that it is fundamentally important, indeed essential to our humanity, to ask the hard questions, in order to better understand ourselves and our neighbours. Where there is justification for further investigation, justice should be served.
In the case of the Nigeria-Biafra war there is precious little relevant literature that helps answer these questions.
Did the federal government of Nigeria engage in the genocide of its Igbo citizens – who set up the republic of Biafra in 1967 – through punitive policies, the most notorious being "starvation as a legitimate weapon of war"?

Is the information blockade around the war a case of calculated historical suppression? Why has the war not been discussed, or taught to the young, more than 40 years after its end? Are we perpetually doomed to repeat the errors of the past because we are too stubborn to learn from them?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines genocide as "the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group ...".

The UN general assembly defined it in 1946 as "... a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups".

Throughout the conflict the Biafrans consistently charged that the Nigerians had a design to exterminate the Igbo people from the face of the earth. This calculation, the Biafrans insisted, was predicated on a holy jihad proclaimed by mainly Islamic extremists in the Nigerian army and supported by the policies of economic blockade that prevented shipments of humanitarian aid, food and supplies to the needy in Biafra.

Supporters of the federal government position maintain that a war was being waged and the premise of all wars is for one side to emerge as the victor. Overly ambitious actors may have "taken actions unbecoming of international conventions of human rights, but these things happen everywhere".

This same group often cites findings, from organisations (sanctioned by the federal government) that sent observers during the crisis, that there "was no clear intent on behalf of the Nigerian troops to wipe out the Igbo people ... pointing out that over 30,000 Igbos still lived in Lagos, and half a million in the mid-west".But if the diabolical disregard for human life seen during the war was not due to the northern military elite's jihadist or genocidal obsession, then why were there more small arms used on Biafran soil than during the entire second world war? 

Why were there 100,000 casualties on the much larger Nigerian side compared with more than 2 million – mainly children – Biafrans killed?

It is important to point out that most Nigerians were against the war and abhorred the senseless violence that ensued. The wartime cabinet of General Gowon, the military ruler, it should also be remembered, was full of intellectuals like Chief Obafemi Awolowo among others who came up with a boatload of infamous and regrettable policies.

A statement credited to Awolowo and echoed by his cohorts is the most callous and unfortunate:

all is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don't see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder.It is my impression that Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself and for his Yoruba people. There is, on the surface at least, nothing wrong with those aspirations. 

However, Awolowo saw the dominant Igbos at the time as the obstacles to that goal, and when the opportunity arose – the Nigeria-Biafra war – his ambition drove him into a frenzy to go to every length to achieve his dreams. In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation — eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations.

The federal government's actions soon after the war could be seen not as conciliatory but as outright hostile. After the conflict ended, the same hardliners in the Nigerian government cast Igbos in the role of treasonable felons and wreckers of the nation – and got the regime to adopt a banking policy that nullified any bank account operated during the war by the Biafrans. A flat sum of 20 Nigerian pounds was approved for each Igbo depositor, regardless of the amount of deposit.

If there was ever a measure put in place to stunt, or even obliterate, the economy of a people, this was it.After that outrageous charade, Nigeria's leaders sought to devastate the resilient and emerging eastern commercial sector even further by banning the import of secondhand clothing and stockfish – two trade items that they knew the burgeoning market towns of Onitsha, Aba and Nnewi needed to re-emerge. 

Their fear was that these communities, fully reconstituted, would then serve as the economic engines for the reconstruction of the entire Eastern Region.There are many international observers who believe that Gowon's actions after the war were magnanimous and laudable.

There are tons of treatises that talk about how the Igbo were wonderfully integrated into Nigeria. Well, I have news for them: 

The Igbos were not and continue not to be reintegrated into Nigeria, one of the main reasons for the country's continued backwardness.Borrowing from the Marshall plan for Europe after the second world war, the federal government launched an elaborate scheme highlighted by three Rs – for reconstruction, rehabilitation, and reconciliation.

The only difference is that, while the Americans actually carried out all three prongs of the strategy, Nigeria's federal government did not.What has consistently escaped most Nigerians in this entire travesty is the fact that mediocrity destroys the very fabric of a country as surely as a war – ushering in all sorts of banality, ineptitude, corruption and debauchery.

Nations enshrine mediocrity as their modus operandi, and create the fertile ground for the rise of tyrants and other base elements of the society, by silently assenting to the dismantling of systems of excellence because they do not immediately benefit one specific ethnic, racial, political, or special interest group. That, is precisely where Nigeria finds itself today. 


  Achebe returns with long-awaited 'Biafra' memoir


Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe, often called the father of modern African literature, released his first major work in years Thursday with a long-awaited memoir centred on the war that nearly destroyed his nation.

“There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra” chronicles Achebe’s experiences during Nigeria’s 1967-1970 civil war, which saw his native eastern region, dominated by the Igbo ethnic group, secede as the Republic of Biafra.
The split came largely in response to massacres of Igbos in Nigeria’s north and saw Achebe, author of the revered novel “Things Fall Apart,” speak out forcefully in support of the move.
His memoir was released in Britain on Thursday and will be available in Nigeria shortly after, said publishers Allen Lane, a division of Penguin. Its release in the United States is set for October 11.
The tensions that ignited the Biafran conflict, which left around one million people dead, including many from starvation, are largely settled. Today, sporadic calls for greater Igbo autonomy have limited impact in Nigerian politics.
Experts, however, say a Biafra memoir from the 81-year-old Achebe is urgently needed in a country that remains deeply fractured on other levels, despie the book’s focus on events that happened more than four decades ago.
“Achebe is sustaining the debate on integration, on unity and on oneness,” said Dapo Thomas, a history professor at Lagos State University.
“Until there is a sovereign agreement from the peasants to the elite that we want to remain as one, we must continue that debate. A nation cannot remain comatose while these issues are unresolved.”
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 160 million people, groups around 250 ethnic groups and is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.
Though speculation persists over whether the country will eventually break up, many say such predictions are overblown.

Yet fault lines remain, notably between the north and south, a division that has had immeasurable impact on Nigeria since independence in 1960.
Religiously and ethnically divided communities in the so-called “Middle Belt” in the country’s centre have seen waves of clashes that have killed thousands in recent years.
– ‘Failure of leadership’ –
Beyond that, Islamist group Boko Haram is blamed for killing more than 1,400 people since 2010 in an insurgency which it says is aimed at restoring an Islamic state in the north and stripping power from the secular government.
During the Biafra war, “what we are finding is a new nation going through the pangs of nationhood,” said the writer and literature professor A. E. Eruvbetine.
“The truth is, in Nigeria here we are still going through the trauma of trying to forge a nation.”
Achebe strongly backed his native Biafra in the civil war and even toured to speak on its behalf. Echoes of the conflict emerge in his writing, including his collection “Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems.”
The octogenarian remains a towering figure in Nigerian and African literature, though he has been based in the United States in recent years where he has been a professor at Brown University in Rhode Island. He travels infrequently due to a 1990 car accident that left him in a wheelchair.
Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart”, about the collision between British colonial rule and Igbo society, remains a landmark work 54 years after its release.
“Just as we read Shakespeare, it’s not possible for any student in this department to graduate without reading the works of Chinua Achebe,” said the head of the English department at the University of Lagos, Adeyemi Daramola.

Earlier in his career, Achebe fiercely criticised Nigerian leaders, notably in his widely read 1983 essay “The Trouble With Nigeria”, whose first sentence is still often cited here.
“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership,” it reads.
Achebe has limited such commentary in recent years, unlike his great Nigerian literary rival Wole Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel prize for literature, who has stayed on the political front line throughout his career.
However, during January protests over a fuel price hike, Achebe issued “A Statement of Solidarity with the Nigerian People” that gained attention back home.
His legacy is secure in Nigeria but his absence has been felt, said Daramola.
“For Achebe to have been away for so long, we have indeed missed him.”

Literaryworld: My role in Biafran war, by Prof. Chinua Achebe

with Henry Akubuiro
Phone: 08070965586

*Achebe breaks 42-year silence in new book

When Achebe was writing his third novel, No Longer at Ease, he never envisaged that fiction would soon become fact in 1966, having predicted a coup in the fictional country depicted in the prose. Before it was released, the Nigerian military intruded into governance for the first time, and the blood of notable First Republic politicians, including the Prime Minister, Tafawa Belewa, and Sardauna of Sokoto, were spilled by the Kaduna Nzeogwu-led rebellion, which was misinterpreted as an Igbo coup by the North. Events wormed up to the catastrophic months later -a revenge countercoup led by northerners, plunging the nation into a three-year-civil war.

"The weeks following the coup saw easterners attacked both randomly and in an organized fashion. There seemed to be a lust for revenge, which meant an excuse for Nigerians to take out their resentment on the Igbo who led the nation in virtually every sector -politics, education, commerce and the arts," Achebe recollects events leading to the Nigeria civil war. Weeks after the July counter-coup in Nigeria, Achebe and his family, then working and residing in Lagos, were on the run. His Igbo brethren were being massacred all over the place, and he could have been killed, too, though he was the Head, External Broadcasting of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.

He eventually fled Lagos to eastern Nigeria, which was to become a break-away Biafran Republic. The civil war turned out to be an onslaught on Biafra, especially the Igbo, with supports from Britain, Russia (for economic interests) and other powers. The sound of death became an every-day down chorus, and survival for him and others was a diminishing probability, as the federal forces, with their superior firepower, went on rampage. Several times, he and his family came close to being killed, but luck smiled on them.

Four decades after the war ended, Achebe has penned his war-time experiences in There was a Country, A Personal History of Biafra, a new book just released by Penguin Books (USA) and described by the Nobel laureate, Nadine Gordimer, as having the "terse narrative grip of the best of fiction" and "a revelatory entry into the intimate character of the writer's brilliant mind and bold spirit".

Aside its Biafran overtone, There was a Country is many books rolled into one. On one hand, it is a coming age story of Achebe as he transited from boyhood to adulthood, including educational pursuits. On the other hand, it is an exposé on Nigerian history and politics, as well as an insightful literary testament. Achebe recollects the dark days of the Nigeria civil war with pains. On the heat of hostility against his Igbo kinsmen, he took a wise decision.

"I arranged to smuggle Christie and the children out of Lagos on a cargo ship from the port. Christie reports that it was one of the most horrendous voyages she has ever taken. She remembers the seasickness heightened on this particular trip as a result of her pregnancy. She and other refugees from the bloodshed were placed in a section of the ship that was in the open, without any shelter from the elements," he recalls. Achebe was the last to flee Lagos, and it was grudgingly, because he could not bring himself to accept that he could no longer live in his nation's capital.

"My feeling toward Nigeria was that of profound disappointment. Not only because mobs were hunting down and killing innocent civilians in many parts, especially in the North, but because the Federal Government sat by and let it happen," he writes. In post-colonial Nigeria, the Igbo, narrates Achebe, grew in leaps and bounds. That he attributed to self-confidence engeandered by their open society and their belief that one man is as good as another. Sadly, it was seen as domination, which must be checkmated, recalls Achebe -which aided the conspiracy and onslaught against them by other Nigerians.

Contrary to the allegation that the January 1966 coup was an Igbo coup, Achebe says the motivation was removed from ethnicity. In fact, Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo man, who was to become the first military head of state, was even marked for elimination by the Nzeogwu group, but put up a stiff resistance in Lagos, where he was based, which led to the failure of the coup in Lagos.

In embarking on a secession bid, Achebe writes that the Igbo were already pushed to the wall: "When we noticed that the Federal Government of Nigeria did not respond to our call to end the pogrom, we concluded that a government that failed to safeguard the lives of its citizens has no claim to their allegiance and must be ready to accept that the victims deserve the right to seek their safety in other ways -including secession."

The literary world and the academia, writes Achebe, were miffed by the Biafran disaster. Wole Soyinka was on the vanguard to make peace in Nigeria, which got him into trouble, however: "Soyinka's attempts to avert a full-blown civil war by meeting with Colonel Ojukwu and Victor Banjo, as well as with then Lieutenant Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, would earn him enemies in the Nigerian Federal Government and a 22-month imprisonment."

Fed up with the Federal Government's unsuccessful treatment of the Biafran issue, Soyinka, recalls Achebe, had to travel to Biafra in an attempt to appeal for a ceasefire to the hostilities. He was planning to set up an antiwar delegation made up of the intellectuals, artists, and writers from both sides of the conflict -and from around the world -to achieve his aim. But it was never to be because of his arrest and detention by General Gowon. In the Harmattan Season of 1968, General Ojukwu invited Achebe to a small political committee the Biafran Ministry of Information was creating.

Pleased with the committee's work, Ojukwu invited him further to serve in a larger committee, the National Guidance Committee, to create some fundamental principles with which the government and people of Biafra would operate. Headed by Achebe, it consisted of an impressive bunch: Chieka Ifemesia, Ikenna Nzimiro, Justice AN Aniagolu, Dr. Ifegwu Eke and Eyo Bassey Ndem, with Professor Emmanuel Obiechina serving as the secretary. The National Guidance Committee later produced the famous "Ahiara Declaration".

Achebe's service to Biafra didn't stop at the BOFF; he was to serve as a roving ambassador to the embattled new nation. He recalls: "In addition to working with BOFF, Ojukwu also asked me to serve the cause as an unofficial envoy of the people of Biafra. Being invited to serve by the leader of Biafra was both an important and satisfying opportunity, but it also came with great anxiety." The first trip he made in the new capacity was to fly to Senegal to deliver Ojukwu's message to Senegalese president, Leopold Sedar Senghor, and it almost ended in a disaster.

"During this particular flight, the pilot announced at about 20,000 feet that the plane was experiencing 'technical problems'. It was marked by a great deal of turbulence and sudden losses of cabin pressure. We were all experiencing motion sickness, some were vomiting, and all were stricken by a sense of impending doom. The plane was diverted to an airport in the Sahara, where we disembarked, changed to a Senegalese airline, and flew to Dakar." Worse still, Sam Agbam, who was accompanying him on the trip (an interpreter of a sort), vanished into thin air, and Achebe, who didn't speak French, was left to his own desert in the francophone country; yet, he persevered. Meeting President Senghor wasn't a stroll in the park.

The presidential aides were not convinced of his mission, and turned him away several times. He had to change his strategy, telling one of the aides who spoke English that he would like to present a copy of his latest novel, A Man of the People, to the president, who was also a renowned poet and literary aficionado. To that, the aide responded: "...You give me the book and poems and I will take it to him, and I am sure he will be delighted..." Days after he arrived Senegal, faced with impending failure, his tenacity finally worked, and Senghor surprised him with an invite sent with a limousine to come over at the Presidential palace.

"The next day, I had my audience with President Leopold Sedar Senghor, a very extraordinary man," writes Achebe. "I was guided along a stone path in the gardens of the presidential palace and up the grand stair case to a secluded room. The first thing that struck me was the loneliness. We were standing in a room in this huge mansion, I in my Biafran attire, Senghor in his French suit.... "Senghor regretted that I had spent several days in the country trying to reach him and apologized for the treatment I had received. Senghor was a profoundly adept diplomat, and he took on the business I brought: He glanced through the letter quickly, and then turned to me and said that he would deal with it overnight ....

Our conversation then turned to other things intellectual -writing, education, the great cultural issues of the day, including the movement he was spearheading called Negritude." Achebe also made an extensive trip to Scandinavia on behalf of the Biafran government. The Scandinavians had already made great humanitarian gestures to alleviate the suffering in Biafra. "I was also curious to visit the land of one of the most legendary of all Europeans who came to our aid -the Swedish aristocrat, Carl Gustaf von Rose. On this trip I visited Sweden, Finland, and Norway."

His subsequent visit to Canada was different from the rest; he was invited to speak about the Biafran tragedy by the World Council of Churches and the Canadian Council of Churches. He was also part of the Biafran delegation that attended the Kampala, Uganda, talks, which was one of the failed attempts to forge a peace between Nigeria and Biafra. Achebe was struck by the comportment of Aminu Kano, who was part of the Nigerian delegation.

"As the Nigerian delegation, led by Anthony Enahoro, espoused their resolve to "crush Biafra" unless there was a complete surrender, Aminu Kano seemed very uneasy, often looking through the window. This was a man who was not pleased with either side or how the matter was being handled. That meeting made an indelible mark on me about Aminu Kano, about his character and his intellect," he writes. In late 1968, together with other famous writers from the Biafran side, Cyprian Ekwensi and Gabriel Okara, he visited the United States as part of the extensive university tour to bring the story of Biafra to the mainly progressive American intellectuals and writers.

There, they met many American leaders of thoughts. In this book, also, Achebe offers a blow-by-blow account of miserable life in Biafra, the conflict having created a humanitarian emergency of epic proportions. Of particular interest is how Achebe's family had to run from place to place to survive, in some instances missing death by whiskers. It wasn't a surprise, therefore, when he travelled out of Biafra to England on a mission and he heard planes taking off and landing at Heathrow Airport, his first instinct was to duck under safe cover!

There was no dull moment in Biafra, nevertheless. Achebe and his bosom friend, late Christopher Okigbo (he wrote extensively about their relationships in this book -a relationship that started at Government College, Umuahia, and the University College, Ibadan), floated a publishing company, Citadel Press, Enugu, when the war started. Theirs was so close that when Achebe was sent on a foreign mission for Biafra, he handed over his family, including his pregnant wife, Christie, to Christopher Okigbo, for protection.

Homeless, Achebe left Enugu to visit his mother in the village, Ogidi, who was in the throes of death. Before enlisting in the Biafran army, recalls Achebe, Okigbo didn't inform him. Perhaps he would have discouraged him. So, when the news of his death got to him, the loss was overwhelming. Achebe writes: "Christopher fell in August 1967, in Ekwegbe, close to Nsukka, where his poetry had come to sudden flower seven short years earlier. News of his death sent ripples of shock in all directions. Okigbo's exit was totally in character. Given the man and the circumstance it was impossible for everyone to react to the terrible loss in the same way.

The varied responses, I think, would have pleased Okigbo enormously, for he enjoyed getting to his destination through different routes." A chapter of Achebe's new offering is dedicated to literature ("The Role of the Writer in Africa"), and it re-establishes Achebe as a committed artist. For instance, he declares: "The African writer who steps aside can only write footnotes or glossary when the event is over....

My own assessment is that the role of the writer is not a rigid position and depends to some extent on the state of health of his or her society. In order words, if a society is ill the writer has a responsibility to point it out. If the society is healthier, the writer's job is different." Affirming further, he says: "I believe that it is impossible to write anything in Africa without some kind of commitment, some kind of message, some kind of protest.

In my definition, I am a protest writer, with restrain. Even those early novels that look like very gentle re-creations of the past -what they were saying, in effect, was that we had a past. That was the protest, because there were people who thought we didn't have a past. What I was doing was to say politely that we did -here it is."


Furore over Achebe's Biafran memoir

For many years, renowned writer, Professor Chinua Achebe was in search of a vehicle to convey the anguish of the Nigerian civil war. Today, the godfather of African literature whose pen boot is lace with controversy, conveys his personal memoir of the Biafran Nigerian civil war in his latest work, "There Was A Country." Since the publication of the work, litany of criticisms have continued to trail issues raised in the book.
Vestiges of the over 42 years Nigeria civil war resonates like a phoenix from the ashes when renowned literary giant, Professor Chinua Achebe stoke the fire in his recent works, "There Was A Country," a personal recollection of his Biafra experience when the mantle still rages in wild fire.

The 333-page book chronicles how the Igbos were traumatised during the botched war that puts paid to their agitations for autonomy. The book, written in four parts relayed the personal experience of the writer through whose eyes events unfold.
Beyond all these, Acbebe threw up contentious issues which culminated, according to him, Nigerians' grand design to exterminate the Igbo people from the face of the earth. This calculation, Achebe posited was predicated on a holy jihad by mainly Islamic extremists in the Nigerian army and supported by the policies of economic blockade that prevented shipments of the humanitarian aid and food supplies to the needy in Biafra.

The celebrated writer queries why there were 100,000 casualties on the much larger Nigerian side compared with more than 2 million - mainly children - Biafrans killed.
The master prose writer heaped the catastrophy suffered by the Igbos during the civil war on the wartime cabinet of General Yakubu Gowon, spearheaded by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who, he accused of initiating diabolical policies. A statement credited Awolowo and eventually echoed by his team reads: "all is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don't see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder."
Beyond this mundane premise, Achebe held that at the end of the war, Awolowo and his cohorts compelled the regime to adopt a banking policy that nullified bank account operated by the Igbos. Consequently, a paltry sum of 20 Nigerian pounds was approved for each Igbo depositor irrespective of the amount of deposit.
However, to further pauperise the Igbos and strangulate their economy, the then Nigeria's leaders embargoed the importation of second hand clothing and stockfish which were the mainstay of the Eastern economy.

For most Nigerians,Professor Chinua Achebe has threw the 'Arrow of God' in his recent work, "There Was A Country", and things are "No Longer At Ease" and except otherwise, 'Things May Fall Apart," particularly, as he tried to decipher 'The Trouble with Nigeria" by building" "An Ant Hills of the Savannah." He, Achebe may not be "A Man of the People" if the Yoruba decides to take him serious word for word.
For the likes of Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Achebe's book has shown that the writer has pathological hatred for the Yoruba people. He dismissed the allegations against Chief Awolowo.
In similar vein, the factional leader of the Odua Peoples' Congress (OPC) Chief Frederick Fasehun expressed disappointment accusing Achebe of living in the past for attempting to exhume episodes of the civil war which ended almost 42 years ago.
Against this backdrop, Fasehun advised the Igbos to jettison without hesitation anybody who tries to remind them of their sordid past but they should rather concentrate and align with other ethnic groups to realise their presidential aspiration.
The national president of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shittima believed that Achebe's book, 'There Was A Country," remains a threat to the fragile peace the country is currently embroiled.

But for the Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, who accused the Biafran solders for ambushing the food and other aids sent to civilians in the Biafran enclave, also accused Achebe of being prejudicial against the Yoruba people.
Also elderstatesman, Balarabe Musa insisted that issues raised by Achebe are no more relevant again unless the Igbos have any score to settle.
The Professor Anya O. Anya led Ndigbo Lagos has described events that wrapped up the civil war as unnecessary particularly so, that the Igbos were forging an alliance and hammering solutions for the country's protracted socio-economic, political and developmental problems.
Ndigbo Lagos enthused that what was needed at the moment was sustaining the unfolding harmonious relations between the Igbo and Yoruba nations.
But the Chief Protagonist of the Nigerian civil war, General Yakubu Gowon stated that if there was no secession, Nigeria would not have the civil war. Awolowo was not the cause of the secession. Why then are they bringing him into this controversy?
The retired army General insisted that he and his team did what was godly possible to bring the war to an abrupt end and stated unequivocally, "we have no cause to regret what we did."
However, for some Nigerians, Professor Achebe may have introduced a new chapter in the political literature of Nigeria's democratic journey moreso, now that history as a subject is gradually disappearing from the nation's education curriculum.
Also, for others, it may be raw ploy to win sympathy for the Igbos in their zest and quest for political emancipation particularly as regards taking a shot at the presidency come 2015. Whichever views may be ventilated, the renowned writer has relayed his personal memoir.

Achebe's new book controversy: Civil war hasn't ended -Okorie
*Nigeria must apologize to Ndigbo -Ikedife


As controversy rages over Prof Chinua Achebe's new book, "There was a country", prominent Igbo leaders have taken sides with the literary icon. Those who spoke to Sunday Sun agreed that the celebrated author of "Things Fall Apart" was right in his memoirs on the Biafran war.
The new book, "There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra," recounts the 1967-1970 war when the Eastern Region tried to secede from Nigeria. In the book which is generating controversy, Achebe claimed that former Head of State, General Gowon(rtd) and then chairman of the Federal Executive Council, late Obafemi Awolowo formulated policies that promoted genocide against Ndigbo.

But defending the literary icon, the immediate past president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife justified the claims of Achebe saying that he is not surprised by reaction of some people because according to him, truth is bitter. He urged Nigeria to be repentant and apologize to Ndigbo for the atrocities committed against them during the Nigerian civil war.
"The facts are naked but only that truth is better. Igbos would not start another war but for Nigeria to move forward, she must acknowledge injustice done to Ndigbo during the war. "We all saw what happened in South Africa when Nelson Mandela took over after the apartheid regime in that country. They set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
That is what we need to do here. Ndigbo deserve an honest apology particularly from the major players in that unfortunate war". For former National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chekwas Okorie, " it is a general knowledge that the civil war has only ended in the battle field but it has not in reality". He added: "Go to the South East and you will pity the Igbo. All the roads are impassable and there is no federal presence. The policies of federal character and educational disadvantage are created to deter the progress of the Igbo people.

These are part of what Chinua Achebe emphasized in his recent book and some people are not comfortable with it. "But then, you cannot blame everything on the present government. What are the Igbo in the National Assembly doing? Our Senators and House of Representatives members are not making appropriate representation. They are there when the budgets are being passed, but they cannot make case for their people.

It is only through a right leadership that Igbo can assert themselves". He said that unless Ndigbo become ready to work together and organise themselves, none of their own would ever become president of the country. "If they say Kano has the largest people, go and find out the population of the Igbo there; they are in the majority. If they say Lagos has the largest population, go and find out the population of the Igbo in Lagos. They form the bulk of the population. But they have failed to use their enormous population for political advantage. "We must try and unite all separate groups to speak with one voice.

We must all come together and provide the right leadership like the one being championed by Orji Kalu and Pius Ezeife. You cannot negotiate with fragmented groups", he said. In his reaction, National Coordinator of a civil society group, Patriotic Alliance of Nigeria (PAN), Chief Maxi Okwu described Achebe as a renowned literary giant whose claims cannot be dismissed. He said that no detail in Achebe's book should be swept under the carpet regretting that the nation is at a crossroads at the moment.
The legal practitioner however cautioned that people should not read ethnic meanings into claims by the author and advised that the book should be treated on its own merit.

Attack on Awo: Has Achebe gone too far?

Renowned writer Chinua Achebe is not a man that runs away from controversy. In recent memory, his rejection of the national honours bestowed on him by Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan’s administrations became subject of national debate.
He is in the eyes of the storm, again.
His long awaited war memoirs ‘ There was a Country’ , became public last week and, as expected, Achebe is getting the hits for accusing the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of genocide in the book.
Below is thecontroversialexcerpt from the book:
"It is my impression that Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself and for his Yoruba people. There is, on the surface at least, nothing wrong with those aspirations.

"However, Awolowo saw the dominant Igbo at the time as the obstacles to that goal, and when the opportunity arose - the Nigeria-Biafra War - his ambition drove him into a frenzy to go to every length to achieve his dreams.

"In the Biafran case, it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation - eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations."

Reactions from the Southwest & beyond

Chief Olaniwun Ajayi, chieftain of the pan-Yoruba organisation, Afenifere,
"It is a great error, he never said anything about what Awolowo did to prevent the civil war,"

Ebenezer Babatope, former Transport and Aviation Minister

"While Achebe is free to write on any topic that suits his fancy, he has no right whatsoever to irresponsibly murder history by recklessly attacking a great leader like Papa Awolowo. Nigerians should expect detailed, honest, factual and objective replies to the Achebe nonsense after we have copies of the book in our hands."
"This is not the first time that Achebe will publish scathing attacks on Papa Awo. He did it in his book written about 30yrs ago titled 'The trouble with Nigeria'. The battle against falsehood has started."

Dr. Omolulu Olulonyo, former Oyo state governor

"It is unfortunate that Professor Achebe could label Chief Awolowo as a tribalist. Both Awo and Zik were members of the Nigerian Youth Movement.
"He cannot begin now to blame Awolowo for the war. Awolowo did not start the war; rather, he pleaded against it. The only thing that he said then was that if, by any error, the Igbo were allowed to leave the federation, Yoruba would also leave.
"The civil war was started by the Igbo. The Igbo, in the course of the war, killed many Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani leaders, including Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Chief Ladoke Akintola, Festus Okotie-Eboh and many officers, including Ademulegun, Maimalari, leaving out their own, like Micheal Okpara.
"Even while they were in government, (Ironsi's government), the Igbo spared no thought of freeing Awolowo who was then in prison. So, why should the man be now labeled a tribalist?".

Yinka Odumakin, Save Nigeria Group Spokesperson

"It is unfortunate that a great man of letters of Achebe's status has descended to the arena of Biafran propagandists who are always ready to sacrifice the truth to achieve emotional blackmail.
"He has betrayed his intellectual calling by joining in the circulation of low quality rumours against Awo. I had looked forward to read the book, but now I doubt if I would pick up a copy even if dropped at my gate."

Prof. Tony Afejukwu, an Itsekiri leader

"I find the foremost novelist lambasting of our iconic politician and impeccable leader, Chief Awolowo utterly strange. But why should we really be surprised? Even in death, Awo, our Awo, is still the issue. This being said, we must dismiss the illustrious novelist who must sell his autobiography! He needs to attack Awo for the book to make appreciable sale, an inroad in western Nigeria of solidly educated and civilized denizens. But his tactic will backfire if truly that was an intention of Achebe, our respected, Achebe, who with this unforgettable grudge of decades will lose a huge chunk of respect of, and from discerning minds.
"Now we must ask: Did he expect Awo to device a strategy for Biafra to defeat Nigeria? In any case, Achebe ought to promote peace, understanding reconciliation and love as a foremost novelist of Nigeria, Africa and theworld. he ought to be exemplary.

Join in the debate: Do you agree with Achebe ‘s portrayalof Awolowo or has the author gone too far?


Gowon, Awo behind genocide -Col Achuzia

…Says his coming book will lend credence to Achebe

A participant and apparent living encyclopedia of the events that led to the fratricidal civil war in Nigeria between 1967 - 1970, Col Joe Achuzia (Air raid) has joined issues with critics of celebrated novelist, Prof Chinua Achebe, who in his latest work "There was a country," blamed former head of state, Gen Yakubu Gowon (retd) and the Yoruba political leader, and vice chairman of the then National Executive Council, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, of formulating policies that led to the horrendous genocide against the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria.

Achuzia yesterday told Daily Sun that the duo were squarely responsible for the genocide, while dismissing critics of Achebe. Pointedly, he accused Gowon of playing the ostrich while brazen murders of his military superiors and massive genocide were being perpetrated under his watch. He also accused Awolowo of using his position after his release from prison to extract a pound of flesh from his perceived enemies, whom he believed, unwittingly, through the NPC/NCNC Accord (Northern Peoples Congress/National Council of Nigeria Citizens) contributed to his imprisonment.

Achuzia, who is putting finishing touches to his own civil war memoirs, said that when released, it would finally settle the issue, and put the duo in vintage position as prime perpetrators of the genocide of more than three million Easterners who were said to have died during the strife. He went down memory lane to exhume salient facts to buttress the professor's stand: "I landed in the country from overseas on the day of the July 29 coup. I had known the late Murtala Mohammed and knew he was one of those involved in the crises at the time. He met me at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos and arranged accommodation for my family and me for two days before we departed for Benin.

There was intense struggle for power between Murtala Mohammed and Gowon before and during the Coup. The middle belt who had more numerical strength in the army supported Gowon." He continues, "When Gowon took over, he relied more on Awolowo and the permanent secretaries - Allison Ayinda, Phillip Asiodu, in formulating policies. Immediately Awo was released from prison, which Ojukwu was instrumental to, thinking he had a friend, strong anti-Igbo sentiments welled up in the government. Unfortunately Awo never forgives nor forgets.

The events that led him to prison were never lost on him and somehow, the NPC/NCNC accord was the issue. He became the minister of finance and went after the Igbos through his policies. I was in prison when Gowon held the so-called security meeting that declared police action. The strategic studies institute was originally planned to be located in the Mid-West then. Gowon, at the meeting,directed that I should be released from prison and head the institute. The then head of prisons, Giwa Osagie divulged the information to the late Anthony Enahoro and Awo. He suggested that instead of sitting down in a house for the discussion, since walls have ears, they should drive about and talk in the car, so that his secrets would be secured. He forgot that the driver of the car was an Igbo man, who later ran to the superintendent of prisons at Kirikiri and squealled.
The prisons superintendent summoned me and asked the driver to narrate his story again. Thereafter, I demanded to see Barrister Okuzo and the late Chief Collins Obih of ACB (African Continental Bank). They came in the morning to see me and I narrated what I heard to them. Later, they reached out to the military hierarchy including Gowon. Four days after the incident, Osagie was sacked and it caused a lot of commotion. That was in 1970.

Achebe got to know about these and he reflected them in his new book. These two people were responsible for the formulation of policies and execution of the civil war including the genocide. When I release my own book which is in the making, many things will come to the fore. I remember that after the declaration of police action by Gowon, I urged those who used their position to unleash horror and death on innocent people, before and during the civil war, advising those that are still alive among them to seek for forgiveness and atonement of their sins against humanity.

Biafra warlord, Achuzia, dies at 90
Written by Theophilus Onojeghen, Warri
~Punch Nigeria. Tuesday, February 27, 2018.
Col. Joseph Achuzia, (retd.)

One of the few living civil war veterans and Biafran hero, Col. Joseph Achuzia, (retd.), has died at the aged of 90 years.

Achuzia, who is one of the soldiers who left the Nigerian Army to join the Biafran army in May 1967, died on Monday at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State.
It was gathered that the former warlord was sick before his passage.

One of his sons, Mr. Benedict Achuzia, confirmed his passage to journalists in Asaba, saying that his father passed on at 8am on Monday.

My role in the civil war - Awolowo

Shortly before the 1983 presidential election, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo fielded questions from a panel of journalists at a town hall meeting in Abeokuta. During the session, which was aired live on Ogun Radio, Awolowo defended his actions during the civil war, countering allegations similar to the one Chinua Achebe levelled against him recently.
Question: Chief Awolowo, your stand on the civil war, however unpopular it may have been to the Biafran, helped to shorten the war. Today, you're being cast as the sole enemy of the Ibo people because of that stand, by among others, some of the people who as members of the federal military government at that time, were party to that decision and are today, in some cases, inheritors of power in one Nigeria which that decision of yours helped to save. How do you feel being cast in this role, and what steps are you taking to endear yourself once again to that large chunk of Nigerians who feels embittered.
Awolowo: As far as I know, the Ibo masses are friendly to me, towards me. In fact, whenever I visit Iboland, either Anambra or Imo, and there's no campaigning for elections on, the Ibo people receive me warmly and affectionately. But there are some elements in Iboland who believe that they can maintain their popularity only by denigrating me, and so they keep on telling lies against me. Ojukwu is one of them. I don't want to mention the names of the others because they are still redeemable, but ....Ojukwu is irredeemable so I mention his name, and my attitude to these lies is one of indifference, I must confess to you.
I've learnt to rely completely on the providence and vindication of Almighty God in some of these things. I've tried to explain myself in the past, but these liars persist. Ojukwu had only recently told the same lie against me. What's the point in correcting lies when people are determined to persist in telling lies against you, what's the point? I know that someday the Ibos, the masses of the Ibo people will realise who their friends are, and who their real enemies are. And the day that happens woe betide those enemies. The Ibos will deal with them very roughly.
That has happened in my life. I have a nickname now, if you see my letterhead you'll find something on top, you'll find a fish done on the letterhead. Some people put Lion on theirs, some people put Tiger, but mine is Fish. And Fish represents my zodiac sign, those of you who read the stars and so on in the newspapers; you'll find out that there's a zodiac sign known as pieces, in Latin pieces mean fish.
So I put pieces on top, that's my zodiac sign being born on the 6th of March, well, the year doesn't matter, it's the day that matter. And then on top of it I write Eebudola. All of you know the meaning of that. You know I don't want to tell a long story but..................Awolowo school, omo Awolowo, ... started in Urobo land, in mid-west in those days. They were ridiculing my schools, I was building schools -brick and cement, to dpc level, block to dpc level and mud thereafter. And so the big shots in the place.."ah what kind of school is this? is this Awolowo school? Useless school" and when they saw the children.."ah this Awolowo children, they can't read and write, Awolowo children" that's how it started, with ridicule, and it became blessing, and now they say "Awolowo children, they are good people" no more ridicule about it, that's how it started, so the Eebu becomes honor, the abuse became honor.
And so when I look back to all my life, treasonable felony, jail, all the abuses that were heaped on me, to Coker Inquiry, all sorts, and I see what has happened to the people who led, who led all these denigration campaign, where are they today? Those that are alive are what I call Homo Mortuus- dead living, oku eniyan, that's what they are, those that their lives have gone.

So when I look back, I come to the conclusion that all these abuses which have been heaped on me all my life for doing nothing, for doing good, they have become honor, and so Eebudola is one of my nicknames. So I've cultivated an attitude of indifference, I've done no evil to the Ibos.
During the war I saw to it that the revenue which was due to the Iboland - South Eastern State they call it, at that time..East Central State, I kept it, I saved the money for them. And when they .... were librated I handed over the money to them- millions. If I'd decided to do so, I could have kept the money away from them and then when they took over I saw to it that subvention was given to them at the rate of 990,000 pounds every month.
I didn't go to the Executive Council to ask for support, or for approval because I knew if I went to the Executive Council at that time the subvention would not be approved because there were more enemies in the Executive Council for the Ibos than friends. And since I wasn't going to take a percentage from what I was going to give them, and I knew I was doing what was right, I wanted the states to survive, I kept on giving the subvention – 990,000 almost a million, every month, and I did that for other states of course - South Eastern State, North Central State, Kwara and so on.
But I did that for the Ibos, and when the war was over, I saw to it that the ACB got three and a half million pounds to start with. This was distributed immediately and I gave another sum of money. The attitude of the experts, officials at the time of the ACB was that ACB should be closed down, and I held the view you couldn't close the ACB down because that is the bank that gives finance to the Ibo traders, and if you close it down they'll find it difficult to revive or to survive. So it was given. I did the same thing for the Cooperative Bank of Eastern Nigeria, to rehabilitate all these places, and I saw to it as commissioner for finance that no obstacle was placed in the way of the ministry of economic planning in planning for rehabilitation of the war affected areas.

Twenty pounds policy
That's what I did, and the case of the money they said was not given back to them, you know during the war all the pounds were looted, they printed Biafran currency notes, which they circulated, at the close of the war some people wanted their Biafran notes to be exchanged for them. Of course I couldn't do that, if I did that the whole country would be bankrupt. We didn't know about Biafran notes and we didn't know on what basis they have printed them, so we refused the Biafran note, but I laid down the principle that all those who had savings in the banks on the eve of the declaration of the Biafran war or Biafra, will get their money back if they could satisfy us that they had the savings there, or the money there. Unfortunately, all the banks's books had been burnt, and many of the people who had savings there didn't have their saving books or their last statement of account, so a panel had to be set up.
I didn't take part in setting up the panel, it was done by the Central Bank and the pertinent officials of the ministry of finance, to look into the matter, and they went carefully into the matter, they took some months to do so, and then make some recommendation which I approved. Go to the archives, all I did was approve, I didn't write anything more than that, I don't even remember the name of any of them who took part. So I did everything in this world to assist our Ibo brothers and sisters during and after the war.
And anyone who goes back to look at my broadcast in August 1967, which dealt with post-war reconstruction would see what I said there.

Starvation policy
Then, but above all, the ending of the war itself that I'm accused of, accused of starving the Ibos, I did nothing of the sort. You know, shortly after the liberation of these places, Calabar, Enugu and Port Harcort, I decided to pay a visit. There are certain things which I knew which you don't know, which I don't want to say here now, when I write my reminisces in the future I will do so. Some of the soldiers were not truthful with us, they didn't tell us correct stories and so on.
I wanted to be there and see things for myself, bear in mind that Gowon himself did not go there at that time, it was after the war was over that he dorn himself up in various military dresses- Air force dress, Army dress and so on, and went to the war torn areas. But I went and some people tried to frighten me out of my goal by saying that Adekunle was my enemy and he was going to see to it that I never return from the place, so I went.
But when I went what did I see? I saw the kwashiorkor victims. If you see a kwashiorkor victim you'll never like war to be waged. Terrible sight, in Enugu, in Port Harcourt, not many in Calabar, but mainly in Enugu and Port Harcourt. Then I enquired what happened to the food we are sending to the civilians. We were sending food through the Red cross, and CARITAS to them, but what happen was that the vehicles carrying the food were always ambushed by the soldiers. That's what I discovered, and the food would then be taken to the soldiers to feed them, and so they were able to continue to fight. And I said that was a very dangerous policy, we didn't intend the food for soldiers. But who will go behind the line to stop the soldiers from ambushing the vehicles that were carrying the food? And as long as soldiers were fed, the war will continue, and who'll continue to suffer? and those who didn't go to the place to see things as I did, you remember that all the big guns, all the soldiers in the Biafran army looked all well fed after the war, its only the mass of the people that suffered kwashiorkor.
You wont hear of a single lawyer, a single doctor, a single architect, who suffered from kwashiorkor? None of their children either, so they waylaid the foods, they ambush the vehicles and took the foods to their friends and to their collaborators and to their children and the masses were suffering. So I decided to stop sending the food there. In the process the civilians would suffer, but the soldiers will suffer most.

Change of currency
And it is on record that Ojukwu admitted that two things defeated him in this war, that's as at the day he left Biafra. He said one, the change of currency, he said that was the first thing that defeated him, and we did that to prevent Ojukwu taking the money which his soldiers has stolen from our Central bank for sale abroad to buy arms. We discovered he looted our Central bank in Benin, he looted the one in Port Harcourt, looted the one in Calabar and he was taking the currency notes abroad to sell to earn foreign exchange to buy arms.
So I decided to change the currency, and for your benefit, it can now be told the whole world, only Gowon knew the day before, the day before the change took place. I decided, only three of us knew before then- Isong now governor of Cross River, Attah and myself. It was a closely guarded secret, if any commissioner at the time say that he knew about it, he's only boosting his own ego. Because once you tell someone, he'll tell another person. So we refused to tell them and we changed the currency notes. So Ojukwu said the change in currency defeated him, and starvation of his soldiers also defeated him.
These were the two things that defeated Ojukwu. And, he reminds me, when you saw Ojukwu's picture after the war, did he look like someone who's not well fed? But he has been taking the food which we send to civilians, and so we stopped the food.

Abandoned property
And then finally, I saw to it that the houses owned by the Ibos in Lagos and on this side, were kept for them. I had an estate agent friend who told me that one of them collected half a million pounds rent which has been kept for him. All his rent were collected, but since we didn't seize their houses, he came back and collected half a million pounds.
So that is the position. I'm a friend of the Ibos and the mass of the Ibos are my friends, but there are certain elements who want to continue to deceive the Ibos by telling lies against me, and one day, they'll discover and then that day will be terrible for those who have been telling the lies.
Genocide, 'Biafran' culpability and Achebe's impressions
By Olufemi Sogunle -Sogunle lives in Lagos.

IN the maelstrom of reactions to Chinua Achebe's new book, among is a noteworthy opinion that Achebe's book presents us with an opportunity, perhaps for rational enquiry into some of the events that led to the rise and fall of 'Biafra', and its aftermath. It seems that to further understand Achebe's position; the viewpoints of other persons mostly of Igbo origin may be examined.

ABC Nwosu has alleged there was pogrom, genocide and mass starvation of innocent children in Nigeria in 1966 and in 'Biafra' from 1967 to 1970. Undoubtedly and most regrettably, children suffered from the effects of the Nigerian Civil War while the blockade of 'Biafran' territory was a reality during the Nigerian Civil War, but it is grossly unfair and inaccurate for anybody to give the impression that the starvation of children was a deliberate policy of the General Yakubu Gowon-led Nigerian Federal Government and for Achebe to have amplified his baseless and queer impression that Chief Obafemi Awolowo sought to exterminate Igbos in order to improve the fortunes of the Yoruba people.
Achebe has consistently had kind words for Aminu Kano in both The Trouble with Nigeria and in his biography authored by Ezenwa-Ohaeto, where at page 138, Achebe recollects an encounter with the Nigerian delegation at a conference he attended in Kampala, Uganda, as roving ambassador of 'Biafra'.
He states: "I remember very well seeing Aminu Kano on the Nigerian delegation sitting in front and looking so distressed. This is one of the strongest impressions the man made on me, compared to people like Chief Anthony Enahoro who was leader of the delegation swaggering as conquerors, and even Asika. Aminu Kano seemed to be so different; in fact, he seemed to be looking out of the window. While his colleagues were speaking arrogantly and bent on our surrender, Aminu Kano was calm and in pain".

The well-orchestrated pogroms in the North in 1966 during which thousands of Igbos and other southerners were slaughtered were, to say the very least, indefensible, and deserved redress. Chuks Iloegunam in the very well researched book, Ironside (the biography of Maj.-Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi) details in pages 172 to 183 the pogroms in northern Nigeria. He states on page 175 that "People have been hard to convince that Mallam Aminu Kano played a principal role in organising the genocide perpetrated against Ndigbo in 1966, simply because of his position as a politician of the Talakawa or common folk. And these doubters include those who readily believe the complicity of politicians such as Adamu Ciroma, Umaru Dikko, Suleman Takuma, Mamman Daura, Inuwa Wada and others. But (Iyorchia) Ayu is right in mentioning him, as a notable party to the bloody conspiracy. This fact was confirmed by Hajia Gambo Sawaba, one of the foremost women politicians in Nigeria and a member of Mallam Aminu Kano's defunct Northern Elements' Progressive Union (NEPU)...."  Perhaps Achebe, who is only human after all, has a major problem with his impressions and is better suited to writing fiction and fantasy rather than analysing reality.

A well-publicised statement that ''It would appear that the God of Africa has created the Igbo nation to lead the children of Africa from the bondage of ages by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, president of the Pan-Igbo Federal Union. (The West African Pilot of July 8, 1949) and another that "Igbo domination of Nigeria is only a matter of time"- Charles Dadi Onyeama, a prominent Igbo lawyer (later jurist) and member of the Central Legislative Council, 1945. (Pg. 204 ''Ethnic Politics In Kenya and Nigeria'' by Godfrey Mwakikagile), together with the flawed execution of the Five Majors' coup, the perceived triumphant attitude of Igbos after the coup, the alleged 'Ibonization' policies of Ironsi, and the notorious Decree 34, certainly created suspicion but cannot justify the unrestrained and calibrated violence unleashed in reaction against Igbos and other southerners.
But given the regional sensibilities and ethnic fraught politics of Nigeria, it is important to note the opinion Bernard Odogwu (Head of Intelligence, Biafra) expressed before the 'return match' coup of July 1966 and later published in No Place to Hide - Crises and Conflicts inside Biafra; "First, I ask myself this question; 'What will be the position as soon as the present mass euphoria in welcoming the 'revolution' in the country fades away?' There is already rumour here within diplomatic circles that January 15 was a grand Igbo design to liquidate all opposition in order to make way for Igbo domination of the whole country. What then is the Igbo man's defence to this allegation in light of the sectional and selective method adopted by the coup plotters?
Although sitting here alone as I write this, I am tempted to say that there was no such Igbo grand design, yet the inescapable fact is that the Igbos are already as a group being condemned by the rest for the activities of a handful of ambitious Igbo army officers; for here I am, with the rest of my Igbo colleagues, some thousands of miles away from home, yet being put on the defensive for such actions that we were neither consulted about, nor approved of. Our northern colleagues and friends now look on us Igbos here as strangers and potential enemies. They are now more isolated than ever before. Their pride is hurt; and who would blame them?

Secondly, I ask myself the questions posed to me this afternoon by my colleague; What would I do if I were placed in the position of the northerner? What do I do? How do I react to the situation? Do I just deplore and condemn those atrocities or do I plan revenge? I do not blame the northern chaps for feeling so sore since the events of the last few days. They definitely have my sympathy, for it must have been shocking to say the least, for one to wake up one fine morning to find nearly all one's revered leaders gone overnight. But they were not only northern leaders as such, and I am as much aggrieved at their loss as any other Nigerian, northern or otherwise. I am particularly shocked at the news that Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna personally shot and killed his mentor, Brigadier Maimalari. My God! That must have been Caesar and Brutus come alive, with the Brigadier definitely saying 'Et tu Emma' before collapsing..." 
"...As for the new man at the helm of affairs, Major General Aguiyi-Ironsi, he too like the majority of the Majors is an Igbo, and that has not helped matters either..."
"...Granted that he is such a good soldier as he is reputed to be, the question is: 'Are all good soldiers necessarily good statesmen? Again, how well prepared is he for the task he has just inherited?' I do hope that he is also as wise as he is reputed to be bold, because if you ask me, I think the General is sitting on a time bomb, with the fuse almost burnt out. We shall wait and see what happens next, but from my observations, I know the present state of affairs will not last long. A northern counter-action is definitely around the corner, and God save us all when it explodes."
'Major General' Alexander Madiebo, the Commander of the Biafran Army, in the informative and comprehensively detailed book; the Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War, at pages 46 to 50, relates how he obtained advance information about the planned pogroms of 1966 and accordingly briefed Aguiyi-Ironsi in the presence of Mobolaji-Johnson (then governor of Lagos State), to no avail. Aguiyi-Ironsi labelled Madiebo a rumour-monger.

Ironically, the February 1966 coup had been widely celebrated, even in the North, but after the selective execution came to light, together with the failure to try the coupists, and unsuitability of Aguiyi-Ironsi's policy decisions, especially Decree 34, were noted, northern reaction became, in the Nigerian context, inevitable, inasmuch as the actual fighting troops of the Nigerian Army were predominantly northerners.

1 comment:

Banking Jobs said...

One of the things I have learned from this igbo genocide of a thing is; Ndigbo has suffered a lot and we need independence we don't want to stay in this country.


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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