More Nigerians react to Chinua Achebe’s comment on Awo

Chinua Achebe | credits: achebebooks.com

Chinua Achebe
| credits: achebebooks.com

A few days after excerpts from Prof. Chinua Achebe’s latest memoirs, entitled ‘There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra,’ was published in the Guardian of London, the book is still the subject of what promises to be a long-drawn debate on the Internet and social media, particularly on the Facebook.

In the book, which focuses on the Nigerian Civil War, Achebe claims that former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.) and the late Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, initiated the economic policies that caused the deaths of over two million Igbo through starvation during the war.

The controversial paragraph from the book reads, “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.”

Many Nigerians who read the excerpts on the Internet appear to be sharply divided over the content of the book.

While some accused Achebe of whipping up ethnic sentiments and accusing Awolowo falsely, others have expressed the opinion that the writer has told the truth about the civil war.

In a contribution posted on the Facebook, Mayowa Akinsola disagreed with Achebe. He wrote, “I consider this statement from the highly revered literary icon an attempt at sectional revisionism. Where emotion and sentiment rule our judgments, the ability to say the truth becomes a problem. Many countries in the world had experienced civil war before, America inclusive, so what we experience during the civil war was not new.

“Let us forget about the incidents that led to the war, all the principal actors in that incident should be held responsible, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu inclusive.

“Awolowo was perfectly right when he said that everything in war was fair. War is not a child’s play, when you declare a war, a battle line is drawn, the result is always clear from the beginning, the game is either you win or you lose.”

Also reacting to Achebe’s claims, Jesse Adeniji remarks, “Awo didn’t massacre two million people. Nigeria did, especially those of the Northern extraction who felt Kaduna Nzeogwu and Ifeajuna killed their icons.”

But Olusola Solarin chose to confine all matters relating to the civil war in the dustbin of history. He says, “Achebe should live the rest of his life happy. Nigeria and the Yoruba are existential realities today.”

From: Punch

  1. Isaac Ezeakonobim Reply

    Because Awolowo is a yoruba man I know 95% of yorubas on this page must support Awolowos action even when it’s wrong .

  2. Ike Onwukanjo Reply

    My brother Akinsola, everything in war is not fair. That is the idea or war ideology of a sick mind. Case in point, during the Vietnam war, America had stockpiles of atom bomb also called nuclear bomb, but they did not use it even though the immediate use of it could have instantly ended the war thereby averting the mass and grave casualties America sustained from the war. War is actually not a child’s play as you rightfully said, but everything is not fair. War has rules, and party of it is that you don’t target children, and women. War is failure of reasoning, but it has rules. Rule of war

  3. Rasaki Idowu Reply

    But America used the atomic bomb on japan

    • Rasaki idowu Reply

      In short brief, I did not just say America used atomic bomb on Japan, what i say is reasonable and more than what posted,well that is just part of the politic of playing hatred game against the Yoruba by the Igbo, we don’t hate nobody our rightiousness would lift us above the evil game Igbo is planing against the Yoruba, i said Awolowo is not commander in chief of nigeria harmed forces at the time of the war,and he did not gave the advice to block foods from the mind of hatred to the Igbo,but to forstrate the rebels so that the war can end quick as a means to avioed the jenocide of Igbo by gun which would be more worse than food sufering that many Igbo survived because after the war they sart getting foods to live.
      I said he intentionaly influenc the payment of some maney to the Igbo, which never done in world history of paying sectional part some amont of maney after war, ivoiry coast is good example no maney was paid to Bate and the rest tribe that were the original land owner, but now oppressed by their alience. I said this money real help in the intergration of the igbo quickly which is the terject of the sage vissioner Awo, Awo hate no one Igbo stop talking bad of our love leader, let him rest in peace with the rest of our ancestors.

  4. Rasaki idowu Reply

    In short brief, I did not just say America used atomic bomb on Japan, what i say is reasonable and more than what posted,well that is just part of the politic of playing hatred game against the Yoruba by the Igbo, we don’t hate nobody our rightiousness would lift us above the evil game Igbo is planing against the Yoruba, i said Awolowo is not commander in chief of nigeria harmed forces at the time of the war,and he did not gave the advice to block foods from the mind of hatred to the Igbo,but to forstrate the rebels so that the war can end quick as a means to avioed the jenocide of Igbo by gun which would be more worse than food sufering that many Igbo survived because after the war they sart getting foods to live.
    I said he intentionaly influenc the payment of some maney to the Igbo, which never done in world history of paying sectional part some amont of maney after war, ivoiry coast is good example no maney was paid to Bate and the rest tribe that were the original land owner, but now oppressed by their alience. I said this money real help in the intergration of the igbo quickly which is the terject of the sage vissioner Awo, Awo hate no one Igbo stop talking bad of our love leader, let him rest in peace with the rest of our ancestors.

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