SV: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS

There are still Igbo professors alive today that attended Awolowo's free primary school education in the then Western Region that extended to Asaba and Agbor. In fact, many Igbo that leaved in Western Region then attended Awolowo's free primary schools. If Awolowo was a fascist, he would have  prevented Igbo leaving in the Western Region from attending free primary schools in Western Region. Not even when Azikiwe and the NCNC accused Awolowo of depriving parents of their children's assistance in the farms by  compelling children to go to school, did he retaliate. He simply reversed the compulsory attendance to voluntary attendance for every child of school age. He was a true democratic socialist.

In 1962, Ayo Rosiji was removed as Secretary of the Action Group, under Awolowo's leadership, and replaced with Samuel G. Ikoku. A fascist would not have done that. Incidentally, Awolowo and Ikoku were persecuted by Azikiwe and Balewa led Federal Government. Released from prison after July coup 1966 by Gowon, Awolowo was made Commissioner of Finance to the Federal Military Government during the civil war. The two and a half year war was fought without the Federal Government incurring foreign debt to prosecute the war. After the end of the war, the Commissioner for Economic Development in the East Central State, Samuel G. Ikoku, stated in the Nigerian Daily Times of 22nd May 1971, that the Federal Government had made available 21.505 million pounds grant and 10.620 million pounds as advances and loans to the East Central State. It was part of the accumulated amounts saved for the East Central State during the war by Awo. During the Presidential election of 1979, Awolowo picked an Igbo person as his Vice Presidential candidate and when his opponents criticized him for picking a southerner as his vice presidential candidate, he told them that both of them were Nigerians. The President and the Vice President could come from the same village, he told Nigerians, and stressed that what mattered was their competence in office. The manifesto of the Unity Party of Nigeria led by Awo in the 1979 Presidential election contained the following: (1) Free Education at all levels. (2) Free medical services to all Nigerians (both curative and preventive). (3) Integrated rural development and (4) Full employment for all Nigerians. Awo lost the election but the supposed marginalized tribe became Nigeria's Vice President and the Speaker of the House.


My main interest in arguing for the veracity of a "negotiated end" or compromise based on pragmatic considerations is precisely to undermine the kind of hateful triumphalism that attends the false narrative of a conquest of the Igbo as the basis of Nigeria's contemporary political action - Obi Nwakanma.


Biafra of 1967 did not contain only Igbo ethnic group but several ethnic groups that fought on the side of Biafra. When shooting started in the Northern borders of the then Eastern State on July 6, 1967, the Federal Military Government declared it as Police Action to arrest Ojukwu and his rebel gangs. It was after Biafra's invasion of Midwest that the Federal Military Government declared total war on Biafra. All along, the war was against Biafra and their rebellious leaders and not against the Igbo as an ethnic group. There were Igbo who fought on the side of Nigeria against Biafra and even in Biafra, Dr. Chike Obi and Mokwugo Okoye were detained in Biafra throughout the war for opposing secession. Immediately after the liberation of Enugu, Anthony Ukpabi Asika was appointed the Administrator of East Central State. If the East Central State as it was then known was regarded as a conquered territory, a non-Igbo would have been appointed as the administrator. No Nigerian, official or private, has ever regarded the Igbo in Nigeria as a conquered people because of the outcome of the civil war, except in the imagination of a vocal small ethnic sheriffs like Obi Nwakanma. The claim of marginalization of the Igbo people as a result of the civil war is a fiction because beside the Presidency, there is no important office in Nigeria that an Igbo person has never held in Nigeria after the war. Moreover, there are as many illegitimate millionaires in Igboland as in other ethnic groups in Nigeria.


Dr. Obi Nwakanma seriously thinks that my excerpt from Obasanjo's book, My Command, that reads, "The discussion in that small room turned out to be 'negotiated settlement' and final 'peace talk' on the Nigerian civil war. ...//... By the time I left Amichi, it was getting dark," confirms his stand that there was negotiated settlement of the civil war and Biafra never surrendered. Since Obi Nwakanma lifted this excerpt out of context, I will quote the entire process that led to the expression, 'negotiated settlement' and 'peace talk' so that sobre minds can form their own opinions. 

'Now,' I said to Philip Effong, your broadcast did not go enough. To talk of negotiated settlement and peace talk in accordance with OAU resolution at this stage is not only unrealistic but ridiculous to the extreme. We have no time for that.' At that point Effiong suggested that we should talk privately together. We then went into a small room, obviously a bedroom, he with his staff officer Capt. Ben Gbulie and I with Lt.-Col Akinrinade who had been in Ben Gbulie's intake at Sandhurst. The discussion in that small room turned out to be the 'negotiated settlement' and the final 'peace talk' on the Nigerian civil war.

In the room Philip said to me almost tearfully, 'We are defeated people, what do you want us to do?' I assured him of his personal safety and that of his colleagues. I told him that the two conditions which were essential to the declaration of the end of the civil war as laid down by the Federal Military Government were - renunciation of secession and acceptance of the twelve-state structure within the context of one Nigeria (p. 125-126, My Command by Olusegun Obasanjo).

The worth of 'negotiated settlement' and 'peace talk' is determined by the inverted koma begins and close. It was not a negotiation and, in fact, Olusegun Obasanjo had no mandate to negotiate any peace talk with the rebels. And Dr. Obi Nwakanma cannot seriously mean that four people, Olusegun Obasanjo, Alani Akinrinade, Philip Effiong and Ben Gbulie negotiated settlement and final peace talk of the Nigerian civil war. Philip Effiong himself wrote on page 299 of his book thus, "It was at this Owerri meeting that Obasanjo asked if I would like to go to Lagos to finalise the surrender agreement and I said, without hesitation, that I would." Militarily viewed, the federal government was very generous to the rebels by not humiliating them after defeat. As for the castle in the air guerrilla warfare that Dr. Nwakanma said would have been unleashed by Colonel Joe Achuzia, the following account was given by Philip Effiong on page 296 of his book about Dr. Nwakanma's guerrilla fighter, Colonel Joe Achuzia.

"Colonel Joe Achuzia called with Bernard Odogwu of former Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and told me the story of how he, on his initiative, had made contact with the federal troops at Orlu following my broadcast. In view of the importance attached to rank by the Nigerians, he wanted me to allow him put on a brigadier's rank so as to command more respect and be more effective in his talks with field commanders he was meeting. It was a pure blackmail, but I agreed.

On Achuzia's contact story I was later given the correct version of what transpired by Dr. Ifegwu Eke, former Information Commissioner for Biafra. Achuzia, apparently, had run into an ambush laid by Nigerian troops and was caught by them and by a flash of quick thinking he told them who he was and that I had sent him to establish contact with them. He was then happily received and taken to their commander. It was at this stage that Achuzia appeared and Ifegwu identified him as one of his emissaries. Colonel Joe Achuzia who was going to extend guerrilla warfare throughout Southern Nigeria, according to Dr. Obi Nwakanma, was caught in an ambush laid by the Nigerian troops. Since Obi Nwakanma is a doctor we must believe him when he says mice are going to dig a pit in which an elephant will fall.

S. Kadiri





 




Från: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> för Rex Marinus <rexmarinus@hotmail.com>
Skickat: den 8 mars 2017 16:22
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Ämne: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
 


The problem for me here is that I do not know whether Salimonu Kadiri actually understands the meaning of "fascism." I would gladly engage him on this subject when he demonstrates an awareness of the that subject beyond its use as a catchphrase. Awo, for instance, was a fascist, and that is essentially why I disagree with his political ideas. I cannot be fascist. My main interest in arguing for the veracity of a "negotiated end" or compromise based on pragmatic considerations is precisely to undermine the kind of hateful triumphalism that attends the false narrative of a conquest of the Igbo as the basis of Nigeria's contemporary political action. Those who love to think about a "vanquished" Igbo do so because they love  to  imagine a world without a visible Igbo; a nation of "silent Igbo" who must not talk in order not to rouse a new generation towards a sense of institutionalized injustice that has characterized the Nigerian project, particularly against the Igbo since the end of the war. Conquered people do not talk they say, and must remain marginal as the consequence of their dare to fight a war in the first place. That is the precise basis of hate, and the kind of the distortion of history that compels vengeance. Igbo young men and women are very well read. Igbo intellectuals have written compendiously about the war. A vast body of war literature exists, and much of that narrative is available, even if Nigeria's education policy refuses to include it in the literary and historical education program in Nigerian schools. The movement for a new Biafra by a new generation is the result of a postwar policy pushed by the likes of Salimonu Kadiri that has required the marginalization and exclusion of the Igbo, that discriminates against them as a foundational national policy; that has enforced Igbo silence against atrocities meted out against them, and that has therefore inspired a need to return to the trenches to enforce the last treaty of nation because the Igbo understand that they have options. They are not powerless. They are actually too vital within the project of nation to be so easily squelched by the kind of falsehood rendered by the likes of Salimonu Kadiri.

Now, I do not know anything else that amplifies my own claim more than these statements excerpted from Obasanjo's book by Salimonu Kadiri: "The discussion in that small room turned out to be 'negotiated settlement' and the final 'peace talk'on the Nigerian civil war. ...//... By the time I left Amichi, it was getting dark." Inside it all lies the truth of the negotiations. So, how could I invent my own "history"? A "negotiated settlement" is quite clearly not the same thing as an " unconditional surrender."  The actual point however is that the various processes that led to Lagos, from Ojukwu's departure was orchestrated. Two plans were at play: the S Brigade and BOFF and the Commando Unit created by the Special Forces mercenary, Rolf Steiner were in place should the negotiation in Lagos fail. I am not saying anything new. As a matter of fact, Achuzia and Onwuatuegwu had to be sacrificed: Onwuategwu killed, and Achuzia kept in jail for ten years from 1970 to 1980. Obumselu exiled, and Ukwu I Ukwu coopted into Asika's government. It is its own story waiting to be told beyond the faux-triumphalism that the likes of Salimonu Kadiri loves to tell. Biafra had the capacity to extend that war beyond the formal frontiers by asymmetrical means had the negotiations failed. "No victor, no vanquished" suggested by Zik, and communicated through Ukpabi Asika, and voiced by Gowon as official policy was a pragmatic program that contained the activation of insurgency beyond the formal frontiers. But for that agreement, as I said, the Biafran war method would have shifted from Montgomerry to Mao. This is hardly a fascist argument, but one that affirms the pacifist sensibility in that policy. What is fascist is the revisionist, triumphalist impulse that seeks to radically re-interpret the discrete principles agreed on between the warring parties as largely charity extended to the defeated. The Igbo were not interested in a war of attrition. But they had options, and not to recognize those options is dangerous because it mines the gonads of war.
Obi Nwakanma



From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Salimonu Kadiri <ogunlakaiye@hotmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 2:50 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: SV: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
 

A Yoruba adage says : ÈGÀN KÒ PÉ K'OYIN MÁ DÙN. Literary translated it means, Derision cannot make honey bitter. The 2012 book written by Michael Gould on Lt. Colonel Adekunle's war efforts between 1967 up to May 1969 when he was replaced by a non-infantry Officer, Lt. Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo cannot reduce his military heroism. For non-fiction account of Lt. Colonel Adekunle's military prowess the whole world was caught aghast when he captured Bonny Island in a sea-borne assault that had ever been  carried out with amphibious tanks in Africa, on the 25th of July 1967. Bonny Island was the only sea terminal for the export of crude oil in Nigeria in 1967. When the Biafrans invaded Midwest in August 1967, he was recalled to rout out the Biafrans in the Delta area, a task he finished at the speed of light before he returned to Bonny Island. On October 18, 1967, Adekunle in another sea-borne assault captured Calabar and from there he linked up with the 1st Division of the Nigerian Army at Ikom, a border town to Cameroon. In February 1968, he led his troops to capture Afikpo, Ugep, Ediba, Itigidi and Obubra. In March 1968, Adekunle led his troops to capture Ikot Ekpene, Abak and Uyo. In May 1968, Adekunle's led his troops to capture Port Harcourt, the last sea port in the hands of Biafrans. Although the Staff Headquarters in Lagos, ordered Adekunle to pause in the military offensive, he defied the order and captured Aba and Owerri in September 1968. In fact, Chinua Achebe noted in his book, There Was A Country that by raining season of 1968, Biafra was surrounded in a narrow corridor around Umuahia (p. 209). When Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister of Britain visited Lagos in March 1969, he asked specifically to be taken to Port Harcourt to meet Benjamin Adekunle. The strong-willed and fearless Adekunle asked Wilson sarcastically, why he was in Nigeria to poke-nose instead sending troops to fight the then Rhodesian(now Zimbabwe) rebel, Ian Smith. Colonel Scott and Harold Wilson had warned Gowon not to allow Adekunle to finish the war as he might be dangerous to his regime after the war. Thus, Adekunle was starved of weapon supplies from Lagos as a punishment for defying order against military advance after the capture of Port Harcourt. Therefore,Adekunle was forced to withdraw his troops, in orderly manner, from Owerri which the Biafrans reoccupied on the 25th of April 1969. However, Adekunle's troops captured Umuahia on the 22nd of April 1969 contrary to Obi Nwakanma's assertion that Umuahia fell to the Federal forces on 27 December 1969. The re-occupation of Owerri by the Biafran army was used as a pretence by Lagos to change the war front commanders in May 1969, whereby Obasanjo replaced Adekunle. As far as Biafra war was concerned, Olusegun Obasanjo has claimed  gallantry for discovering a dead lion, but one should not forget the actual killer of the lion was Benjamin Adekunle.


After Owerri was recaptured by the Federal forces on the 9th of January 1970, Obi Nwakanma declared that Ojukwu summoned his Cabinet meeting. Obi Nwakanma wrote further, "The formal military option was exhausted, and it fell to two things; surrender his (Ojukwu's) leadership or begin the second phase of the war: while it was agreed that formal Biafran military positions had become largely untenable, Aghanya and Achuzia argued for the activation of the guerrilla phase. Various options were examined ..//.. Ojukwu knocked down these options. He was persuaded to leave...." If the formal military option for Ojukwu's Biafra was exhausted and the two alternatives left for them were either to surrender or turn into guerrilla fighter, on what historical fact did Obi Nwakanma base the assertion in his post of 3rd March 2017 when he wrote, "The Biafrans were not defeated in war, and did not go to Lagos to surrender without precondition ... The Biafrans had established the mechanism to enter the second state of the war - the guerrilla phase - should the agreements fail?" When was the decision taken to continue the war by guerrilla means after Ojukwu had knocked down that option? How could Ojukwu have been persuaded to leave when he had the power to reject all the options laid down to him? What precondition was given by the Biafrans before going to Lagos to surrender and who received the precondition?


Mr. N. U. Akpan was not only the Chief Secretary to the Biafran government, he followed Ojukwu into exile. In 1971, he wrote a book titled The Struggle For Secession 1966-1970, in which he narrated on p. 165-175 how Ojukwu and himself and others escaped from Nigeria. Here follows excerpts from the book. "The Governor (Ojukwu) had arrived at Owerri on the evening of Thursday, January 8 (1970), in a hurried flight from Madonna, forty miles away, his permanent residence since the fall of Umuahia. It had been a confused and panic ridden day for everybody. The Federal troops had crossed the Imo River at more than two points. And Imo River has always been regarded as the most effective natural barrier against the enemy. Shells were falling in Madonna. Early in the morning of the said January 8, we had been told that the Federal troops were twenty-nine miles from Owerri along Aba Owerri road. By noon they were less than fifteen miles away. I phoned the Commanding Officer, Brigadier Kalu, who told me that the situation was now hopeless and advised that any contingency plans made should be put into immediate effect. Later that afternoon Major-General Philip Effiong (Chief of General Staff, Biafran Armed Forces) called to inform me that Major-General Madiebo, the GOC of the Biafran Army, had told him that the army could no longer hold. It being a 'purely military matter', I advised Effiong to go and tell the Governor. Both of us agreed that the end had come. At seven o'clock that evening I drove from Owerri towards Madonna, but met the Governor and entourage some twenty miles from Owerri and so turned back and followed them. At Owerri I told him what I knew of the situation, particularly what Effiong and Kalu had told me. Although he tried to conceal his feelings I knew that he was worried.

He told me to contact  members of the Executive Council resident in Owerri to come for a meeting at midnight. He mentioned in particular, Sir Louis Mbanefo, the Chief Justice, Dr. M.I. Okpara, Political Adviser (who, incidentally had just arrived at Owerri that evening), Dr. Pius Okigbo, Chief Ekukinam Bassey and one or two others I cannot now remember. We met at midnight, and the meeting started with the Governor saying that we had fixed the meeting for eleven o'clock, and suggesting that we move to Ogwa now that we were so late...//.... The Governor opened by describing the military situation and then stressed the need for the 'leadership of Biafra' to leave for safety. After that Dr. Okigbo tried to elaborate. But it was clear that what was being said in tortuous verbiage was that the Governor had decided to leave the country, and I said so, drawing some signs of embarrassment from the Governor. Nobody had any objection to the Governor's leaving immediately. ... It was Sir Louis Mbanefo who suggested that it would be bad taste for the Governor to leave without giving some honorable reason to the people. He then suggested a broadcast saying the Governor was going out in search of peace...//... The Governor was still speaking when his wife suddenly came in from Arondizuogu and the Governor went out to meet her. Those of us who were sitting close to the door overheard the Governor reassuring his wife in a low tone that nothing could stop him from leaving the country. The Governor suggested a body of three persons, comprising of the Chief Justice, Sir Louis Mbanefo, as Chairman, with Major-General Philip Effiong and Mr. Iheanacho as members. It was the Chief Justice who spoke. He reminded the Governor that it was still a military regime, incompatible with the sort of commission or committee he proposed to set up. Sir Louis therefore suggested that one person, a military man, should be given full and personal responsibility, particularly at that critical point when everything hung upon military considerations. Mr. F.O. Iheanacho supported Sir Louis and the Governor then named Majo-General Philip Effiong as the 'Officer Administering the Government of Biafra' during 'my absence abroad in search of peace'.... The journey from Uli to Abidjan took five hours or so. We landed at a military airport at exactly six o'clock in the morning of Sunday, January 11, 1970. ...//... As soon as our plane touched down, Mr. Mojekwu turned to General Ojukwu and said with elation and a broad smile, 'We made it."  From the narratives of Mr. Akpan, the Chief Secretary to Ojukwu, it is crystal clear that no one persuaded Ojukwu to leave Biafra, and that he left after his army had been defeated. More so, there was no discussion about any guerrilla warfare at Ojukwu's last meeting with his Cabinet at Ogwa on January 9, 1970, the day Owerri was captured by the Federal troops. The discussion in that small room turned out to be 'negotiated settlement' and the final 'peace talk'on the Nigerian civil war. ...//... By the time I left Amichi, it was getting dark.


Quoting from a Michael Gould's account that was supposedly extracted from British Intelligence documents, Obi Nwakanma wrote, "...immediately Ojukwu fled the country, Effiong simply disappeared and it was left to others, notably the Chief Justice Sir Louis Mbanefo and Colonel Achuzia to broker peace. They were the ones to first establish contact with Obasanjo. Effiong actually had to be retrieved from Orlu to meet with Obasanjo and Co at Amichi." Once again, Obi Nwakanma has invented his own history of what really happened after Ojukwu had abandoned his soldiers into safety. On Monday, 12 January 1970, at 16:40:00 hours, the Officer Administering the Government of Biafra, Major-General Philip Effiong in a radio broadcast announced the surrender of Biafra. He stated among other things, "I am convinced now that a stop must be put to the blood-shed which is going on as a result of the war. I am also convinced that the suffering of our people must be brought to an immediate end. Our people are now disillusioned and those elements of the old government regime who have made negotiation and reconciliation impossible have voluntarily removed themselves from our midst.

I have, therefore, instructed an orderly disengagement of troops. I am dispatching emissaries to make contacts with Nigeria's field commanders in places like Onitsha, Owerri, Awka, Enugu and Calabar with a view to arrange armistice. ...//... I appeal to all governments to give urgent help for relief and to prevail on the Federal Military Government to order their troops to stop all military operations. May God help us all (p. 121-122, My Command By Olusegun Obasanjo, 1980; and also p.294-295, Nigeria & Biafra: My Story by Philip Effiong, 2007)."  Following Effiong's broadcast, Obasanjo sent message to his Brigade Commanders thus, "Philip Effiong today issued what amounts to unconditional surrender. Tactical movement will continue until every inch of 'Biafra' is physically occupied and all rebel soldiers disarmed. Troops will not open fire unless they are fired at. No change on ops order on treatment of POW and refugees (p. 123, My Command)."


What happened next was narrated by Obasanjo thus, ".... on 13 January, I made straight for Owerri, and from Owerri to Orlu. At Orlu I was told that Lt.-Col. Akinrinade and Major Tumoye had made contact with senior rebel officers and had gone to see them but no one knew where exactly they went. ...//... On reaching Uga airfield without seeing my two officers, I turned back. Very near Orlu I met a junior officer who claimed he knew which way the two officers had gone. He led the way while I followed. Soon we met the two officers feeling rather happy and elated and pleased with themselves. They told me they have just met with Effiong and a group of rebel officers and civilians and had arranged a further meeting with me for the following day. I insisted on being taken there and then to where these senior rebel officers were. .... On my insistence we all made for Amichi where we met Effiong in 'Biafran' Army uniform on the first floor of the house of Odogu, the head of 'Biafra's directorate of military intelligence. All the other officers were in mufti. I went unhesitatingly upstairs where all the officers whose colleagues we had been in the Nigerian Army stood gazing at me uncomfortably with fear and surprise. ... But Ben Gbulie, who as a junior officer had served under me in the Corps of Engineers and who had played a significant role in the January 1966 coup, came forward unobtrusively and congratulated me saying, ' Sir, that was high generalship. I feel proud of you.'

To break the ice, I put out my hand to Effiong and we shook hands warmly. I quickly followed this up by complementing him on his good looks in the 'Biafran' Major-General's uniform. ....//... 'Now,' I said to Philip Effiong, 'your broadcast did not go far enough. To talk of negotiated settlement and peace talk in accordance with OAU resolutions at this stage is not only unrealistic but ridiculous to the extreme. We have no time for that.' At that point Effiong suggested that we should talk privately together. We then went into a small room, obviously a bedroom, he with his staff officer Capt. Ben Gbulie and I with Lt.-Col. Akinrinade who had been in Ben Gbulie's intake at Sandhurst. The discussion in that small room turned out to be 'negotiated settlement' and the final 'peace talk'on the Nigerian civil war. ...//... By the time I left Amichi, it was getting dark. I met Lt.-Col. David Ogunewe who had been my senior officer in the 5th Battalion in Kaduna before Independence. He was one of the emissaries sent out earlier by Effiong to contact me (p. 123-127, My Command)." Again the assertion of Obi Nwakanma about Effiong's disappearance after Ojukwu fled from Biafra is totally false. In fact, Sir Louis Mbanefo was not around when Obasanjo and Akinrinade met with  Effiong and Gbulie inside a bedroom  for negotiated settlement and final peace talk on the Nigerian civil war.


The danger of Obi Nwakanma's Historical revisionism is that it is capable of indoctrinating the younger generation of Igbo youths with the spirit of hate and inciting them to become revengers. It was that type of historical revisionism Hitler did with World War 1 and the treaty of Versailles that paved way for the tragedies of World War II. It is fascism to distort history for the purpose of inciting people for a revenge war.

S.Kadiri
 




Från: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> för Rex Marinus <rexmarinus@hotmail.com>
Skickat: den 6 mars 2017 00:19
Till: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Ämne: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
 

In his on the spot report to the British government titled, "Appreciation of the Nigerian conflict" on 13 December 1969, just a month to the end of the war, Col. R.E. Scott, the Military Attache to the British High Commission in Lagos, that is, the British chief spy in Nigeria wrote the following: "The Igbo soldier has displayed latent military qualities which caused some surprise. This motivation stems from fear for survival which follows the daily tirade of propaganda pumped out by Ojukwu's information service. In sheer guile he has proved himself adept at infiltration and by doing so, has forced the Federals to use caution in their movements and to expend a disproportionate number of men on purely security and defensive tasks. With the Federal formations acting in isolation and lacking in co-ordination, the rebels tend to turn the traditional disadvantage any force has when operating along interior lines of communication to their advantage. Apparently this fundamental fact has never been fully appreciated by Federal planners, who consistently fail to move their three divisions in concert." As Michael Gould (2012) notes in his book The Struggle for Modern Nigeria (The Biafra War 1967-70) from which I've excerpted the previous, and the following: " "This is fact was borne out by the Federal Forces' inability to join up along the main road connecting Onitsha with Enugu throughout the war. As Achuzia said: "Because my troops found it easy to infiltrate with theirs, and the Federal's inability to co-ordinate divisional attacks, it was relatively easy to keep the divisions along the Enugu to Onitsha road apart." Owerri proved a typical instance. Federal troops had advanced, following the main roads, to Owerri and had successfully secured the town. However, because they made inadequate provision for protecting their flanks over lines f communication, Biafran troops were able to disrupt the supply lines to Owerri and indeed, much of the time, were able to capture armaments. Thus over a period of weeks they literally laid siege to Owerri leading to a final surrender of Federal troops. The Biafrans, however, were not ken on capturing the Federal troops, so they arranged for a safe passage of these troops, having first relieved them of arms and supplies. Pragmatic as ever, Biafra was in no mood, nor was she able, to feed and look after additional captured Federal troops, hence the decision to allow them to escape. The retaking of Owerri was a great victory for Biafra and a serious setback for the Federal side." As a matter of fact, Gould goes even further to say, of Benjamin Adekunle and the 3rd Marine Commando: "As he (Adekunle) admitted when he was given the task of recruiting, staffing, and training his Third Marine Commando Division, he invited prison officers and ex-prisoners to form the basis of his force - not the best people to turn into a competent fighting force. During the early stages of his campaign he enjoyed a considerable number of successful advances, after he overran Calabar. In May 1968 his division finally overran the strategic town of Port-Harcourt, after his capture of Abakiliki. By September he had taken Aba and in mid-September Owerri. It seemed that his advance was unstoppable. "he runs an area the size of Scotland with the authoritarian and arbitrary hand of a medieval king." Gowon announced )given Adekunle's successes) a further 'final offensive' to bring the war to an end. The reality was, however, that the war was not in fact running in Lagos's favour. In April 1968 Biafran troops overran Federal troops at Onne, Arochukwu and Aletu and then proceeded to take back Ikot-Ekpene, Oguta, and Enugu-Aku. In October there was  decisive battle at the town of Umuahia, when Adekunle's Third Commando Division lost two-thirds of its forces. By November his lines of communication to Owerri were threatened. The recapture of Owerri was probably the most successful action of the campaign by Biafran troops. Throughout the war, once Biafra had been put into a defensive position, she enjoyed certain strategic advantages. Not only did she know her own topography, she had the support of the local population. Federal troops tended to advance only on the main roads and did little to secure surrounding territories during their advance." (100-101).


I Have chosen to quote these independent and neutral sources to underscore the paucity and falsehood of Salimonu Kadiri's usual establishment bullshit.  It is the rehash of the formal narrative created at the end of the war to give foundation to the federal aims. The above gives a fuller picture of the field events. The following are clear: (A) Benjamin Adekunle was an incompetent and second-rate war commander whose brutality was common knowledge. By the end of 1968 he was exhausted and his advances stymied by the Biafran forces. His Third Marine Cmmando was a rag-tag force of prison clerks, ex-cons and other reprobrates from Ibadan, Lagos, and those surroundings, which try as you may you could not turn into a competenet fighting force. As a matter of fact Colonel Scott in his report described them as an army which "in its advance is the best defoliation agent." (B) The Federal forces could never maintain a solid supply line, nor secure wherever they captured. When they chose, if they had enough munition, the Biafran soldiers could always advance and recapture towns held by the federal troops, (C) Nigeria did not have enough troops to secure Biafra. They could not even link the road from Enugu to Onitsha right to the end of the war. Their hold on Biafra was always tenuous given that they held just the main roads and had no interior supply network or presence. Biafran soldiers could always penetrate and slip through Nigerian defences at will, and serious exchanges were taking place, called "Ahia Attack" at the various trans-border locations.  Onitsha, for instance, never really, fully fell into federal hands, and there was always exchange going on through the many old pathways only known to the locals who were masters of their topography at the interior.  To the very end of the war, Biafrans maintained battalions  behind all enemy lines. As a mater of fact, the capture of the Italian oil workers in Kwale in 1969 led by Nwabueze Nwankwo, later more well-known as a formidable Attacking Mid-field for the Rangers FC is one ca in point of Biafrans operating in the Mid west. The conditions for a guerrilla war was fully present, more so because the federal forces did not control the Biafran interior. This fact was made rather clear in the secret reports to the British government as late as the middle of December 1969.


 But let me also draw a  timeline to paint a little picture for the discerning reader:


August 1968: at the OAU peace talks, Azikiwe secures a guarantee, through his own formidable contacts for a return to the status quo ante based on the Aburi agreements, which in effect agreed to the confederal status an all the demands made by Ojukwu before the war. Ojukwu who was present at this talk in addis, however, consulted with his top advisers - Nwokedi, Eni Njoku, Mojekwu, and Mbanefo. Eni Njoku and Mbanefo convinced him, against Mbanefo's argument, not to accept the guarantees without the pre-condition of Biafran guarantee. It was an argument made in the backdrop of France's hint of a recognition of Biafra's sovereignty. This was possibly Ojukuwu's greatest blunder in that war: to disregard Azikiwe's diplomatc forays, who found his position as Biafra's ambassador for peace significantly untenable. The agreement which were to be ratified at the OAU annual conference that September in Algiers was subverted by this position. Azikiwe's position was further compounded by another important event. Early that September; on September 7 1968 specifically, Azikiwe, Okpara, Kenneth Dike, Francis Nwokedi, and Ralph Uwechue met with Jacques Focart, De Gaulle's  Chief Adviser on African Affairs at the Hotel Napoleon on Avenue de Friedland, Paris. Ojukwu had sent these men not only to secure arms for Biafra, but also Frances's diplomatic recognition. It was in that meeting that France laid its cards on the table: France would publicly recognize Biafra sovereignty only if the OAU recognized it. It was classic double-talk, and for an experienced diplomat like Zik, an indication of the unsustainability of Ojukwu's international policies, given his unwillingness at that moment, to accede to the principles of the compromise that Zik had secured at the OAU peace talks in Addis Ababa only two weeks previously. After that meeting with the French, he decided that he was no longer of use to Biafra, and did not return to Biafra. He left from Paris to London. That was also the basis of Ralph Uwechue's decision to leave. To use the word "abscond" for Zik by Salimonu Kadiri is obloquy and intended to mislead. It was a choice made from a strategic standpoint.

           That September following Azikiwe's departure, Aba fell and Owerri also fell.  5 months later on 10 February 1969, Zik addressed a press conference in London, advancing his 14-point peace plan. Three weeks later, in March 1969 Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister visited Lagos. Backroom channels were opened in London to arrange for his visit o Ojukwu in Umuahia, but it was later cancelled when Wilson decided to meet with Ojukwu only in any African capital; a move which Ojukwu rejected and closed down the possibilities of the meeting with the British PM. That May of 1969, Biafrans captured the Italian oil workers in Kwale, and began a concerted air campaign with the Swedish mini trainers that startled the world, and record some really devastating results; including its raid of oil intallations. On December 9, 1969, the British Defence Minister, Lord Carrington visited Biafra and Nigeria. This meeting is very crucial to what was to happen just within three weeks of this visit. On December 13, 1969 Colonel Scott, the British Defence Attache, who accompanied Lord Carrington to Biafra, issued his report. On December 15, a Biafran delegation arrived for the peace talk at Addis Ababa. On 27 December Umuahia fell. On 9th January, Owerri fell a second time. On 10th January, 1970, Ojukwu summoned his Cabinet for a strategy meeting. First, he had received intel from Biafra's rather well organized secret service, which had extensive reaches right up to the highest military and civil authority even on the federal side (as a matter of fact, there have been hints by people who had served at the highest levels of the Biafran intelligence that Dr. Sam Aluko, for instance, was a key Biafran operative for Ojukwu on the federal side; a  fact which I have neither fully confirmed nor been convinced by) within hours of its release of a British plan for a "final military onslaught" on Biafra. The formal military option was exhausted, and it fell to two things: surrender his leadership or begin the second phase of the war: while it was agreed that formal Biafran military positions had become largely untenable, Aghanya and Achuzia argued for the activation of the guerrilla phase. Various options were examined: moving the Biafran military and state headquarters to Equatorial Guinea; or even establishing a "Bush Headquarters." Ojukwu knocked down these options. He was persuaded to leave, and events rolled to a conclusion on January 12, when Philip Effiong announced the end of Biafra, and the mandate to seek reconciliation on the terms he outlined when his delegation arrived Lagos on 14 January. But note this, from Michael Gould's account taken from accounts from British intelligence in documents currently available in the British archives in Kews: "immediately Ojukwu fled the country, Effiong simply disappeared, and it was left to others, notably the chief Justice Sir Louis Mbanefo and Col. Achuzia to broker peace"(108). They were the ones to first establish contact with Obasanjo. Effiong actually had to be retrieved from Orlu to meet with Obasanjo and co at Amichi. Achuzia has said much of these in his interviews about those moments, and needs very little further elaboration. However, the point of this timeline is to note the period between Azikiwe's publishing of his peace proposal to the events & processes that culminated in the end of conflicts in 1970, even as the British as late as three weeks to the end of Biafra, were clearly aware of the on the ground strength of Biafra, and the possibility and implications of an extended guerrilla war. As it turns out, the 5 million pounds which the British promised and which she gave towards the rehabilitation of the East  never reached the East. The rest, I shall leave for the moment.

Obi Nwakanma






From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Salimonu Kadiri <ogunlakaiye@hotmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, March 4, 2017 4:43 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: SV: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
 

Obi Nwakanma is inventing his own history of the Nigerian Civil war to suit his ethnic biased mind. He wrote, "But the declaration of 'No victor, no vanquished' was not made as an act of charity, .... It came from pragmatic politics, and the result of the series of back channel negotiations from late 1969 leading to strategic collapse of the fronts in 1970 to allow for end of conflicts. The Biafrans were not defeated in war..." The Nigerian civil war should have ended in 1968 but for political intrigues in Lagos, against the Commander of Third Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Adekunle. The second in command to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Effiong, recorded thus, "With the fall of Calabar (17 October 1967), Itu, Uyo, and Ikot Ekpene (29 March 1968) the rest of the mainland (Igbo part of Biafra) was militarily threatened. Before this threat became imminent, I had strongly suggested to Ojukwu that as Ikot Ekpene was vital junction town, it should be strongly defended. All he did was to sarcastically remind me that in fact we should also put a battalion at Nnewi. After I received his sarcastic message, I did not mention the subject again. As it eventually turned out, the fall of Ikot Ekpene hastened the collapse of the Biafran 12th Division and, consequently, of Biafra. By September 1968, all the coastal towns in Ojukwu's Biafra were firmly in the hands of Federal forces through the military prowess of Benjamin Adekunle and in the Igbo mainland, Enugu, the capital of Biafra had been captured on October 4, 1967, Onitsha in March 1968, Aba and Owerri in September 1968. Although, Owerri was recaptured by the Biafrans on the 23rd of April 1969, the Federal forces had captured Umuahia, the new capital of Biafra after the fall of Enugu, a day earlier. Essentially, the enclave around Owerri, remained in the hands of the Biafrans as at the end of April 1969. When the final military push by the federal forces that cleaved the remaining Biafra into two in December 1969, there was no other alternative for the rebels than to surrender. A case of pure military defeat. The victorious Federal Government led by Gowon declared "No victor, no vanquished,'' which internationally was considered overgenerous to the rebel leaders who should have been tried for treason and war crimes.


In his manufactured history of the Nigerian civil war, Obi Nwakanma asserted that the real leader of the delegate that surrendered to the Federal government in Lagos, on 15 January 1970, was Sir Louis Nwachukwu Mbanefo. The document of the surrender, however, reads, "I, Major General Philip Efiong, Officer Administering the Government of the Republic of Biafra, now wish to make the following declaration: (a) that we affirm we are loyal Nigerian citizens and accept the authority of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria. (b) that we accept the existing administrative and political structure of Nigeria. (c) that any future constitutional arrangement will be worked out by representatives of the people of Nigeria. (d) that the Republic of Biafra hereby ceases to exist." It was signed, 15 January 1970, by Philip Effiong and was witnessed by Colonel David Ogunewe (military adviser to General Ojukwu), Brigadier Patrick Amadi (Commander Biafran Army), Colonel Patrick Anwunah (Staff Officer, Biafran Army) and Chief Patrick Okeke (Inspector General of Police, Biafra). This is not a case of commonsense but real sense to know that if Sir Louis Mbanefo had led the delegation of surrender to Lagos, he would have signed the surrender document. Mbanefo and Mathew Mbu were members of the Biafran delegate that surrendered in Lagos but they never signed the document.


Obi Nwakanma blamed the cause of the war on what he termed Gowon's renege on Aburi's accord, yet Decree No. 8 of March 1967 fulfilled all that were agreed upon in Aburi, except an additional clause that empowered the federal Military Government to declare emergency in any region of the country provided it was supported by, at least, two of the four military governors in the country. It is remarkable that three of the four  regions were in the South. Ojukwu rejected Decree No.8 and began seizure of Federal Government properties in the then Eastern Region. On May 26, 1967, Ojukwu summoned his so-called Eastern Region  Consultative Assembly urging them to grant him power to declare Eastern Region a Sovereign State after assuring them that no power in Africa could subdue the East militarily. On May 27, 1967, Gowon sliced the country into 12 states whereby, Eastern Region that contained other minority ethnic groups than the Igbo became three states. Before then Ojukwu had started recruiting only Igbo into his army because he could not trust the minority ethnic groups in his region. (see p.170, Nigeria and Biafra My Story by Philip Effiong).


Obi Nwakanma wrote, "By September 1966, in its own counter measure, Enugu 'captured' the Midwest, and was on its way to capturing Lagos and Ibadan..." He concluded that "Brigadier Banjo subverted the campaigns in Midwest." Lieutenant Colonel Victor Adebukunola Banjo was an Army Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers that had its workshop at Herbert Macaulay Street Yaba, as at 15 January 1966. On Monday, 17 January 1966, he summoned a meeting of officers at his workshop in Yaba to brief them about the military  casualties from the Saturday coup and openly declared that all officers from Lieutenant Colonels and above should step aside so that the Majors could complete their revolution. While he was addressing them, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Effiong confirmed that telephone rang and after Banjo had answered the phone, he told them that Ironsi wanted to see him at the Police headquarters, his temporary office. While Banjo was waiting to see Ironsi on January 17, 1966, he was arrested by Lieutenant Colonel George T. Kurubo and Major Patrick A. Anwuna. He was detained in prison by Ironsi without trial. On the 1st of June 1966 and shortly before the second coup, he was transferred to Ikot Ekpene prison in the then Eastern Region. After the July 29, 1966 coup, Ojukwu released all the Majors that were involved in the January 1966 coup as well as Lt. Colonel Banjo. Ideologically, Majors Nzeogwu and Ifeajuna as well as Lt. Colonel Banjo saw the Eastern situation as a great opportunity to fight against feudalism in Nigeria. They were all along  against secession.


Truly and factually, Banjo led the invasion of Midwest on August 9, 1967 and not September 1966 as asserted by Obi Nwakanma. In his radio broadcast from Benin, Banjo described himself as the head of the revolutionary forces of the liberation army. He said that his next objective was to liberate Lagos and the West from the Northern feudalistic control. He declared, "I am a Nigerian. I believe in the Nigerian nation and I am fighting for a Nigeria in which no people will be dominated by the other." He mentioned that he was unjustly detained by Ironsi after the Majors' coup of January 1966. Banjo was recalled from the Midwest by Ojukwu who handed him instruction to obtain clearance from Enugu before any future public broadcast or statement. Before Banjo was sent back to Benin, Ojukwu had appointed Major Albert Nwazu Okonkwo, an Igbo, as the Military Governor of the Midwest to replace Lieutenant Colonel David Ejoor, an Uhrobo . However, Banjo continued his military advancement towards Lagos and Ibadan until he was militarily defeated by the Federal forces at Òrè. As the Biafran forces retreated in disarray, the federal army retook Benin City on September 22, 1967.


About the end of the war, Obi Nwakanma wrote, "The formal collapse of the 'war fronts" was preludes to asymmetrical warfare had the agreements in Lagos brokered largely by Nnamdi Azikiwe's forceful backdoor diplomacy internationally from 1969 failed in Lagos which involved something of 'a palace coup' in Biafra that quietly eased Ojukwu 'out of the scene' in 1970." This is how Obi Nwakanma wants the end of the civil war to be but historical facts had it the other way. On the 7th of  September 1968, Ojukwu had sent a delegation led by Nnamdi Azikiwe to France to solicit for increased weapon supplies. The French realised that no amount of weapon could change the military misfortune of Biafra and therefore decided to retain the level of support. The Biafran delegate comprising of Azikiwe, Michael Okpara, Kenneth Dike, Francis Nwokedi and joined by the Biafran envoy in Paris, Ralph Uwechue, decided to cable Ojukwu that time was ripe to find a peaceful negotiation and to stop the suffering of the masses in Biafra. Ojukwu branded their request treason and stressed that Biafra's sovereignty was not negotiable. While Nnamdi Azikiwe absconded from the Biafran delegation to Paris and sought asylum in London, the Biafran envoy in Paris resigned with immediate effect. On August 17, 1969, Nnamdi Azikiwe visited Nigeria and when it became known to the Biafrans, there were demonstrations throughout the enclave of Biafra with Azikiwe's effigy being burnt and his mock funeral held. And on his return to London, he told the press on the 28th of August 1969 that Biafrans were being fooled to believe that they would be slaughtered if they surrendered. By December 23, 1969, the federal forces had cleaved the remaining enclave of Biafra into two and by 9 January 1970 the federal forces had liberated Owerri, one of the few remaining towns held by Biafra since April 25, 1969. With Orlu being bombarded by the federal troops from two directions on the 10th of January 1970, Ojukwu hurried to Ulli Ihiala air-strip and was evacuated by the French Red Cross Plane and landed at a military airport in Abidjan at 6 o'clock in the morning of Sunday, 11 January 1970. The war should have ended in 1968, but for intrigues in Lagos against Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Adekunle. Obi's imaginary 'war fronts' were concentrated around Owerri from April 25, 1969 and if Azikiwe's invented backdoor diplomacy were real, his effigy would not have been burnt in Owerri enclave on August 17, 1969 and mock funeral of him would not have been performed throughout Owerri enclave. The Biafran Army was defeated militarily and their military leaders signed a surrender document. That secret negotiations preceded Biafra's surrender is a wishful meny fit only for public consumption on the 1st of April.


Obi Nwakanma wrote about marginalized Igbo in Nigeria and chose 1984 to 1999 as the worst period. Ibrahim Babangida overthrew Mohammadu Buhari in 1985 and he ruled until he stepped aside over June 12, 1993 election controversy. It was not without reason that Ohaneze Ndigbo awarded General Ibrahim Babangida the Igbo traditional title of Ogugua Ndigbo. When Abacha slaughtered Saro Wiwa and the eight Ogoni activists, his Attorney General was an Igbo and the multimillion dollars major contractor for Nigeria's oil refineries was Emeka Offor. When Obasanjo took over in 1999, Emeka Offor continued to play similar role. I checked through all official positions in Nigeria at Federal level after the civil war, the only position a person of an Igbo ethnic group has never held is the President. Each of the five states in the Southeast - Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states - have received Revenue Allocations from the Federal Government just like all other states in Nigeria. The governors in the Igbo ruled states are millionaires just like their counterparts in other parts of Nigeria, while ordinary people they rule over are living in abject poverty and wants. At this early 21st century, I think it is time to look into the competence of officials  and their abilities to deliver on what is expected of their respective offices instead of being concerned with the ethnic origin of the officials. Practically, potable water, constant electricity, modern housing, functional hospitals, good roads and standard schools have no tribal marks. Nigeria is said to have up to 300 ethnic languages and if federal offices and appointments are to be shared on ethnic basis, I think, the Yoruba, the Igbo and Hausa/Fulani have had and are still having more than their ethnic share of the Federal appointments.

S.Kadiri  
 




Från: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> för Rex Marinus <rexmarinus@hotmail.com>
Skickat: den 3 mars 2017 14:25
Till: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Ämne: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
 

Here we go again. I do not know what Kayode J. Fakindele knows about the issue, but the declaration of "No victor, no Vanquished" was not made as an act of political charity, in as much as that fiction has been routinely retailed. It came from pragmatic politics, and the result of the series of back channel negotiations from late 1969 leading to the strategic collapse of the fronts in 1970 to allow for the end of conflicts. The Biafrans were not defeated in war, and did not go to Lagos to surrender without precondition as was made clear by the real leader of its delegation, Sir Louis Nwachukwu Mbanefo. The Biafrans had established the mechanism to enter the second stage of the war - the guerrilla phase- should the agreements fail. I should leave the details alone for the moment, but it is important that folks like Fakindele, who may not have all the facts, or may not have taken into account that the narrative of the civil war - the Biafra War - from my own end, is not a single story, to know in truth that the greatest blunder of the post civil war era was to break all the guarantees that assured the former Biafrans of full, unconditional re-integration. No sooner had they dismantled their defences than the Federal government carry out a triumphalist sweeping purge of the Igbo from the top of the civil and military service; impose a quiet containment policy that aimed at the economic strangulation of the Igbo areas of the old East, and create conditions that progressed, and by 1984, with the rise of the alliance of the young field officers of that war from mostly the North and West, led by Buhari, who took over power by a coup, further alienated the Igbo, wiping off whatever political gains they made in the four year break of civilian rule between 1979 and the end of 1983.


The roots of the current agitation for the restoration f Biafra can be traced to the military coup of 1984. From 1984 to 1999, the Igbo were in a political wilderness in Nigeria, and far more than any other era, saw themselves increasingly "marginalized" from nation. When Chuba Okadigbo first used that term in 1990 to describe the Igbo condition in Nigeria, that reality had become routine, and a new generation was paying attention, and living the reality of political and economic exclusion. They could see it all around: they would graduate top of their classes in the universities, and see their classmates get safe corridors to the cushiest jobs, while they either made do with the crumbs or had no crumbs at all. Of all parts of Nigeria, only the East, particularly the Igbo, had what may actually be the presence of "citizen soldiers" in good number: that is a large army of civilians with military training and with combat experience, who had circulated into civil life as teachers, doctors, university professors, traders, and so on. As they were aging out, they were also teaching their children, not only the art of war, but also the story of the last war. So, although the story of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war is not taught in Nigerian schools, Igbo children know their story. Igbo writers have documented the war very elaborately. Igbo have documents of their last meetings about that war. And because that war is, quite remarkably, the first war covered in the modern era on TV, footages exist; documents and accounts by international observers and reporters exist, and it is futile to revise it, or teach lies  as history, and I hope J. Fakindele would not teach his children historical lies because that would be terrible.


The Nigerian civil war began thus: the counter coup of July 1966 had started a pogrom from the military barracks that targeted the Igbo, and spilled unto the streets with the killings of Igbo civilians in the North and the West; the Igbo fled Eastwards for protection, and sought guarantees for their own safety from the Nigerian government which was not forthcoming. Odumegwu-Ojukwu sought political solutions, and this culminated in the meetings and the agreements at Aburi to create a confederal union as a means of easing the pressures. The agreements which were reached at Aburi were quickly reneged as soon as Gowon arrived Lagos, and a new set of policies imposed, which isolated the East. The last straw was the break up of the East with no input at all from the leadership of the East, and the subsequent mandate given by the Eastern Consultative Assembly to Ojukwu to declare an independent and sovereign state of Biafra. The result was that on July 6, with a two-pronged attack, Lagos began the war by attacking the East in what the Federal administration termed "a police action." By September 1966, in its own counter measure, Enugu "captured" the Midwest, and was on its way to capturing Lagos and Ibadan, and decisively ending the war, when Brigadier Banjo, the Commander of the Biafran forces leading the campaign subverted the campaign in the Midwest, and the Biafrans thereafter, lost the initiative, and from then engaged in defensive warfare given the limitations of arms. The formal collapse of the "war fronts" was preludes to asymmetrical warfare had the agreements in Lagos brokered largely by Nnamdi Azikiwe's forceful backdoor diplomacy internationally from 1969 failed in Lagos which involved something of a "palace coup" in Biafra that quietly eased Ojukwu "out of the scene" in 1970. It would have moved the Biafran strategy from the Montgomerry methods of formal fronts to Mao's method of shifting frontiers. BOFF and the S Brigade were already prepared, and were the lynchpins of that phase of the war. So, the Biafrans were still at the trigger in 1970, and the mistake of Nigeria was to think that it defeated the Igbo in war, and therefore could isolate and marginalize them as second-lass citizens in Nigeria. One generation could take it, but the next would not. It would be  wise for the likes of J. Fakindele to look a bit more closely before they make wild leaps about "No victor, No Vanquished."

Obi Nwakanma





From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Kayode J. Fakinlede <jfakinlede@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, March 3, 2017 2:25 AM
To: USA Africa Dialogue Series
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
 

‘No victor, no vanquished.”

This pronuncement, to me, is the greatest blunder of our civil war. I can almost say that it is at the bottom of the continued aspiration by a segment of our society for secession.

Of course, one could not have blamed the government of young Ganeral Gowon. It was reasoned then that in declaring that neither side won or lost the war, everyone would have learned his lesson and our nation would be at peace forever more.

What we see now is a blantant misplacement of historical facts and grotesque caricatures being made of those whose intentions were noble. But more importantly, we are seeing agitations where none should have arisen and from the side that was vanqished in the war. The factual victors, having remained silent for so long, are now being painted as carnivores and murderers.  

Anyone who was an adult during the civil war will definitely not wish another one on Nigeria. Lessons have been learned and honestly, not too many of these people agitate for secession or any form of upheaval, regardless of his tribal origin. It is those who were yet unborn or too young to experience the realities of war that would think it is child’s play.

But the truth is that they do not know better. They receive information, not history, from their parents. In most instances, while the intenions of the older ones may not be for agitation, a vanquished people will always tell a story of their mistreatment and their heroism in the face of all odds.

A factual history of the civil war must be taught in all our schools to all our children. This is not to put any segment of our nation down. It is reasonable because this event marks the singular greatest period when, but for providence sake, Nigeria would have disintegrated. Moreover, people badly informed of the mistreatment of their forebears are bound to react negatively to their perceived malefactors.   

This subject needs not be given a name that would be derogatory to any side. It can just be called ‘The Nigerian Civil War’. Therein all our young ones will learn as a subject matter: the events that led to the war; attempts to resolve the issues so war could be averted; who were the initial aggressors; who took part militarily in the war; who were the heroes; the parts played by our own leaders either in preventing or agitating for war; the parts played by others in trying to prevent war; how the war was prosecuted; how the war was brought to an end; life after the war; attempts to rebuild; the lingering issues arising from the war; the effects of the war on our present political life; important dates in the process; etc.

There is so much to teach our children and they should be properly and factually taught. Some smart person once said that whoever forgets the past is bound to repeat it, or something of that nature.

I rest my case

Fakinlede K

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