USAfrica: Achebe is a man of courage for taking on Awolowo’s inhuman starvation policy

• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.comAchebeBooksCLASSmagazine (Houston) and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

 

USAfrica: Achebe is a man of courage for taking on Awolowo’s inhuman starvation policy.
By Okey Ifeachor.

Exclusive commentary for  USAfricaonline.comAchebeBooksCLASSmagazine (Houston)

 

USAfrica: Since the Nigeria- Biafra war (of 1967-1970) ended many of its actors have been reluctant to write what they knew about it. They concealed the truths they knew; truths which generations that did not witness the war desire so much to know. Some of the war participants have died and carried such information needed by the living

File pix: Biafra starving children at the “Medical clinic” in Mbaitoli near Owerri. reposted on USAfricaonline.com

to their graves. Consequently, knowledge is lost and vital truths of history are missed by the living. Nigerians may never know most of what they are supposed to know that would have helped in shaping the history and future of the country.

And, now, comes Professor Chinua Achebe, the writer of international repute,  author of the 1958 masterpiece Things Fall Apart, who decided to publish his latest book this September 2012 titled There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra.

He exercised the prerogative of putting pen to paper to unveil the truths on his mind for peers, the present generation and the ones to come.

Achebe was an adult during the Nigeria- Biafra war (of 1967-1970). He participated in the war. He played non-combatant role during the war on the side of Biafra. He, therefore, knew for sure certain events that happened in

Obafemi-Awolowo-file-pix

those dark days. They were recorded in the inner recesses of his being, the storehouse of all mortals.

Professor Chinua Achebe decided to take up the gauntlet and penned down what transpired during the war as he knew it, from his personal perspective. He did not want missing links of Nigeria- Biafra war to continue. Ever since the availability of the book to the public, the latent blood of tribalism and ethnicity flowing in the veins of many Nigerians has suddenly become very heated. Achebe’s factual reference to the crushing, genocidal use of starvation of Bifrans and food blockade policy spearheaded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo as a weapon of war that resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians including women and children has drawn the ire of many Yoruba people.

One does not begrudge them for stoutly defending their icon, Chief Awolowo who, no doubt, immensely contributed to the development of his region. However, one would have expected that in doing so Pa Awolowo’s defenders should have asked if what Achebe wrote was true or false?

Truth is that Chief Awolowo himself said that he was responsible for stopping food supply to Biafra territory during the war. That infamous policy which negated the Geneva Convention resulted in avoidable deaths. Millions of Biafran civilians including women and children starved to untimely death. Many children suffered kwashiorkor and died because of that policy. These truths were what happened as a result of Chief Awolowo’s inglorious food

blockade policy.

Chinua-Achebe. pix on USAfricaonline.com

Those making snide remarks about Achebe’s literary effort to document the truths of Nigeria- Biafra war should not dwell in biased realm. Emotional invectives will not obliterate the truth of what transpired in those bitter and dark days.

Some have also questioned the timing of Achebe’s publication of the book. They ask why it took him such a long time to write his memoir. In the literary world, there is no time limit for anyone to write a memoir. The literary icon has the poetic license to write his memoir anytime he so wishes. And he has done just that. Nigerians should thank God that Achebe will not go the way of his fathers’ with his knowledge of what transpired during the war as some principal actors had gone. He deserves our commendation and not our condemnation for enriching Nigeria- Biafra war history. All those who participated in that fratricidal war should also write the true version of their experiences.

The astonishing level of myopic defence of the indefensible Awolowo-led policy of starvation of women and children based on ethnic -tribal sentiment (such as reflected in Femi Fani-Kayode’s reckless insults against Achebe where the youthful Femi does not cite any facts etc) is all over the media. Instead of inquisition for the truth they pour abuses and show the dangerous precipice the “geographical expression” called Nigeria stands on. 

If the facts of history can be so vehemently challenged and twisted in favour of ethno-tribal interest, it follows that the hope for an indivisible Nigeria is bleak.
Writers are prophets and prophetesses. For now, it is not literary sin for one to write memoir based on reality of one’s perspective. Let all those pouring verbal venom on Prof. Chinua Achebe write their memoirs, too. But will they write the facts and historical truths like Achebe did?

USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale.

 

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Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChidoFacebook.com/USAfrica247 n Twitter.com/Chido247

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The greatest Igbo ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s great farewell in Aba. By Chido Nwangwu   http://usafricaonline.com/2012/02/28/the-greatest-igbo-odumegwu-ojukwu-farewell-in-aba-by-chido-nwangwu

USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).

I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.

To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.

We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood…. •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn.

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• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

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