Chinua Achebe at 82: “We Remember Differently” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have met Chinua Achebe only three times. The first, at the National Arts Club in Manhattan, I joined the admiring circle around him. A gentle-faced man in a wheelchair.

“Good evening, sir. I’m Chimamanda Adichie,” I said, and he replied, mildly, “I thought you were running away from me.”

I mumbled, nervous, grateful for the crush of people around us. I had been running away from him. After my first novel was published, I received an email from his son. My dad has just read your novel and liked it very much. He wants you to call him at this number. I read it over and over, breathless with excitement. But I never called. A few years later, my editor sent Achebe a manuscript of my second novel. She did not tell me, because she wanted to shield me from the possibility of disappointment. One afternoon, she called. “Chimamanda, are you sitting down? I have wonderful news.” She read me the blurb Achebe had just sent her. We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Adichie knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. She is fearless or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made. Afterwards, I held on to the phone and wept. I have memorized those words. In my mind, they glimmer still, the validation of a writer whose work had validated me.

I grew up writing imitative stories. Of characters eating food I had never seen and having conversations I had never heard. They might have been good or bad, those stories, but they were emotionally false, they were not mine. Then came a glorious awakening: Chinua Achebe’s fiction. Here were familiar characters who felt true; here was language that captured my two worlds; here was a writer writing not what he felt he should write but what he wanted to write. His work was free of anxiety, wore its own skin effortlessly. It emboldened me, not to find my voice, but to speak in the voice I already had. And so, when that e-mail came from his son, I knew, overly-thrilled as I was, that I would not call. His work had done more than enough. In an odd way, I was so awed, so grateful, that I did not want to meet him. I wanted some distance between my literary hero and me.

Chinua Achebe and I have never had a proper conversation. The second time I saw him, at a luncheon in his honor hosted by the British House of Lords, I sat across from him and avoided his eye. (“Chinua Achebe is the only person I have seen you shy with,” a friend said). The third, at a New York event celebrating fifty years of THINGS FALL APART, we crowded around him backstage, Edwidge Danticat and I, Ha Jin and Toni Morrison, Colum McCann and Chris Abani. We seemed, magically, bound together in a warm web, all of us affected by his work. Achebe looked pleased, but also vaguely puzzled by all the attention. He spoke softly, the volume of his entire being turned to ‘low.’ I wanted to tell him how much I admired his integrity, his speaking out about the disastrous leadership in my home state of Anambra, but I did not. Before I went on stage, he told me, “Jisie ike.” I wondered if he fully grasped, if indeed it was possible to, how much his work meant to so many.

History and civics, as school subjects, function not merely to teach facts but to transmit more subtle things, like pride and dignity. My Nigerian education taught me much, but left gaping holes. I had not been taught to imagine my pre-colonial past with any accuracy, or pride, or complexity. And so Achebe’s work, for me, transcended literature. It became personal. ARROW OF GOD, my favorite, was not just about the British government’s creation of warrant chiefs and the linked destinies of two men, it became the life my grandfather might have lived. THINGS FALL APART is the African novel most read – and arguably most loved – by Africans, a novel published when ‘African novel’ meant European accounts of ‘native’ life. Achebe was an unapologetic member of the generation of African writers who were ‘writing back,’ challenging the stock Western images of their homeland, but his work was not burdened by its intent. It is much-loved not because Achebe wrote back, but because he wrote back well. His work was wise, humorous, human. For many Africans, THINGS FALL APART remains a gesture of returned dignity, a literary and an emotional experience; Mandela called Achebe the writer in whose presence the prison walls came down.

Achebe’s most recent book, his long-awaited memoir of the Nigerian-Biafra war, is both sad and angry, a book by a writer looking back and mourning Nigeria’s failures. I wish THERE WAS A COUNTRY had been better edited and more rigorously detailed in its account of the war. But these flaws do not make it any less seminal: an account of the most important event in Nigeria’s history by Nigeria’s most important storyteller.

An excerpt from the book has ignited great controversy among Nigerians. In it, Achebe, indignant about the millions of people who starved to death in Biafra, holds Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian Finance Minister during the war, responsible for the policy of blockading Biafra. He quote’s Awolowo’s own words on the blockade – ‘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’ and then argues that Awolowo’s support of the blockade was ‘driven by an overriding ambition for power for himself in particular and for the advancement of his Yoruba people in general.’

I have been startled and saddened by the responses to this excerpt. Many are blindingly ethnic, lacking in empathy and, most disturbing of all, lacking in knowledge. We can argue about how we interpret the facts of our shared history, but we cannot, surely, argue about the facts themselves. Awolowo, as de facto ‘number two man’ on the Nigerian side, was a central architect of the blockade on Biafra. During and after the war, Awolowo publicly defended the blockade. Without the blockade, the massive starvation in Biafra would not have occurred. These are the facts.

Some Nigerians, in responding to Achebe, have argued that the blockade was fair, as all is fair in war. The blockade was, in my opinion, inhumane and immoral. And it was unnecessary – Nigeria would have won anyway, it was the much-better-armed side in a war that Wole Soyinka called a shabby unequal conflict. The policy of starving a civilian population into surrender does not merely go against the Geneva conventions, but in this case, a war between siblings, people who were formerly fellow country men and women now suddenly on opposite sides, it seems more chilling. All is not fair in war. Especially not in a fratricidal war. But I do not believe the blockade was a calculated power grab by Awolowo for himself and his ethnic group; I think of it, instead, as one of the many dehumanizing acts that war, by its nature, brings about.

Awolowo was undoubtedly a great political leader. He was also – rare for Nigerian leaders – a great intellectual. No Nigerian leader has, arguably, articulated a political vision as people-centered as Awolowo’s. For Nigerians from the west, he was the architect of free primary education, of progressive ideas. But for Nigerians from the east, he was a different man. I grew up hearing, from adults, versions of Achebe’s words about Awolowo. He was the man who prevented an Igbo man from leading the Western House of Assembly in the famous ‘carpet crossing’ incident of 1952. He was the man who betrayed Igbo people when he failed on his alleged promise to follow Biafra’s lead and pull the Western region out of Nigeria. He was the man who, in the words of my uncle, “made Igbo people poor because he never liked us.”

At the end of the war, every Igbo person who had a bank account in Nigeria was given twenty pounds, no matter how much they had in their accounts before the war. I have always thought this a livid injustice. I know a man who worked in a multinational company in 1965. He was, like Achebe, one of the many Igbo who just could not believe that their lives were in danger in Lagos and so he fled in a hurry, at the last minute, leaving thousands of pounds in his account. After the war, his account had twenty pounds. To many Igbo, this policy was uncommonly punitive, and went against the idea of ‘no victor, no vanquished.’ Then came the indigenization decree, which moved industrial and corporate power from foreign to Nigerian hands. It made many Nigerians wealthy; much of the great wealth in Nigeria today has its roots in this decree. But the Igbo could not participate; they were broke.

I do not agree, as Achebe writes, that one of the main reasons for Nigeria’s present backwardness is the failure to fully reintegrate the Igbo. I think Nigeria would be just as backward even if the Igbo had been fully integrated – institutional and leadership failures run across all ethnic lines. But the larger point Achebe makes is true, which is that the Igbo presence in Nigerian positions of power has been much reduced since the war. Before the war, many of Nigeria’s positions of power were occupied by Igbo people, in the military, politics, academia, business. Perhaps because the Igbo were very receptive to Western education, often at the expense of their own traditions, and had both a striving individualism and a communal ethic. This led to what, in history books, is often called a ‘fear of Igbo domination’ in the rest of Nigeria. The Igbo themselves were insensitive to this resentment, the bombast and brashness that is part of Igbo culture only exacerbated it. And so leading Igbo families entered the war as Nigeria’s privileged elite but emerged from it penniless, stripped and bitter.

Today, ‘marginalization’ is a popular word in Igboland. Many Igbo feel marginalized in Nigeria, a feeling based partly on experience and partly on the psychology of a defeated people. (Another consequence of this psychology, perhaps, is the loss of the communal ethic of the Igbo, much resented sixty years ago. It is almost non-existent today, or as my cousin eloquently put it: Igbo people don’t even send each other.)

Some responses to Achebe have had a ‘blame the victim’ undertone, suggesting that Biafrians started the war and therefore deserved what they got. But Biafrians did not ‘start the war.’ Nobody with a basic knowledge of the facts can make that case.

Biafrian secession was inevitable, after the federal government’s failure to implement the agreements reached at Aburi, itself prompted by the massacre of Igbo in the North. The cause of the massacres was arguably the first coup of 1966. Many believed it to be an ‘Igbo’ coup, which was not an unreasonable belief, Nigeria was already mired in ethnic resentments, the premiers of the West and North were murdered while the Eastern premier was not, and the coup plotters were Igbo. Except for Adewale Ademoyega, a Yoruba, who has argued that it was not an ethnic coup. I don’t believe it was. It seems, from most accounts, to have been an idealistic and poorly-planned nationalist exercise aimed at ridding Nigeria of a corrupt government. It was, also, horrendously, inexcusably violent. I wish the coup had never happened. I wish the premiers and other casualties had been arrested and imprisoned, rather than murdered. But the truth that glares above all else is that the thousands of Igbo people murdered in their homes and in the streets had nothing to do with the coup.

Some have blamed the Biafrian starvation on Ojukwu, Biafra’s leader, because he rejected an offer from the Nigerian government to bring in food through a land corridor. It was an ungenerous offer, one easy to refuse. A land corridor could also mean advancement of Nigerian troops. Ojukwu preferred airlifts, they were tactically safer, more strategic, and he could bring in much-needed arms as well. Ojukwu should have accepted the land offer, shabby as it was. Innocent lives would have been saved. I wish he had not insisted on a ceasefire, a condition which the Nigerian side would never have agreed to. But it is disingenuous to claim that Ojukwu’s rejection of this offer caused the starvation. Many Biafrians had already starved to death. And, more crucially, the Nigerian government had shown little regard for Biafra’s civilian population; it had, for a while, banned international relief agencies from importing food. Nigerian planes bombed markets and targeted hospitals in Biafra, and had even shot down an International Red Cross plane.

Ordinary Biafrians were steeped in distrust of the Nigerian side. They felt safe eating food flown in from Sao Tome, but many believed that food brought from Nigeria would be poisoned, just as they believed that, if the war ended in defeat, there would be mass killings of Igbo people. The Biafrian propaganda machine further drummed this in. But, before the propaganda, something else had sown the seed of hateful fear: the 1966 mass murders of Igbo in the North. The scars left were deep and abiding. Had the federal government not been unwilling or incapable of protecting their lives and property, Igbo people would not have so massively supported secession and intellectuals, like Achebe, would not have joined in the war effort.

I have always admired Ojukwu, especially for his early idealism, the choices he made as a young man to escape the shadow of his father’s great wealth, to serve his country. In Biafra, he was a flawed leader, his paranoia and inability to trust those close to him clouded his judgments about the execution of the war, but he was also a man of principle who spoke up forcefully about the preservation of the lives of Igbo people when the federal government seemed indifferent. He was, for many Igbo, a Churchillian figure, a hero who inspired them, whose oratory moved them to action and made them feel valued, especially in the early months of the war.

Other responses to Achebe have dismissed the war as something that happened ‘long ago.’ But some of the people who played major roles are alive today. We must confront our history, if only to begin to understand how we came to be where we are today. The Americans are still hashing out details of their civil war that ended in 1865; the Spanish have only just started, seventy years after theirs ended. Of course, discussing a history as contested and contentious as the Nigeria-Biafra war will not always be pleasant. But it is necessary. An Igbo saying goes: If a child does not ask what killed his father, that same thing will kill him.

What many of the responses to Achebe make clear, above all else, is that we remember differently. For some, Biafra is history, a series of events in a book, fodder for argument and analysis. For others, it is a loved one killed in a market bombing, it is hunger as a near-constant companion, it is the death of certainty. The war was fought on Biafrian soil. There are buildings in my hometown with bullet holes; as a child, playing outside, I would sometimes come across bits of rusty ammunition left behind from the war. My generation was born after 1970, but we know of property lost, of relatives who never ‘returned’ from the North, of shadows that hung heavily over family stories. We inherited memory. And we have the privilege of distance that Achebe does not have.

Achebe is a war survivor. He was a member of the generation of Nigerians who were supposed to lead a new nation, inchoate but full of optimism. It shocked him, how quickly Nigerian fell apart. In THERE WAS A COUNTRY he sounds unbelieving, still, about the federal government’s indifference while Igbo people were being massacred in Northern Nigeria in 1966. But shock-worthy events did not only happen in the North. Achebe himself was forced to leave Lagos, a place he had called home for many years, because his life was no longer safe. His crime was being Igbo. A Yoruba acquaintance once told me a story of how he was nearly lynched in Lagos at the height of the tensions before the war; he was light-skinned, and a small mob in a market assumed him to be ‘Igbo Yellow’ and attacked him. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos was forced to leave. So was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. Because they were Igbo. For Achebe, all this was deeply personal, deeply painful. His house was bombed, his office was destroyed. He escaped death a few times. His best friend died in battle. To expect a dispassionate account from him is a remarkable failure of empathy. I wish more of the responses had acknowledged, a real acknowledgement and not merely a dismissive preface, the deep scars that experiences like Achebe’s must have left behind.

Ethnicity has become, in Nigeria, more political than cultural, less about philosophy and customs and values and more about which bank is a Yoruba or Hausa or Igbo bank, which political office is held by which ethnicity, which revered leader must be turned into a flawless saint. We cannot deny ethnicity. It matters. But our ethnic and national identities should not be spoken of as though they were mutually exclusive; I am as much Igbo as I am Nigerian. I have hope in the future of Nigeria, mostly because we have not yet made a real, conscious effort to begin creating a nation (We could start, for example, by not merely teaching Maths and English in primary schools, but also teaching idealism and citizenship.)

For some non-Igbo, confronting facts of the war is uncomfortable, even inconvenient. But we must hear one another’s stories. It is even more imperative for a subject like Biafra which, because of our different experiences, we remember differently. Biafrian minorities were distrusted by the Igbo majority, and some were unfairly attacked, blamed for being saboteurs. Nigerian minorities, particularly in the midwest, suffered at the hands of both Biafrian and Nigerian soldiers. ‘Abandoned property’ cases remain unresolved today in Port Harcourt, a city whose Igbo names were changed after the war, creating “Rumu” from “Umu.” Nigerian soldiers carried out a horrendous massacre in Asaba, murdering the males in a town which is today still alive with painful memories. Some Igbo families are still waiting, half-hoping, that a lost son, a lost daughter, will come home. All of these stories can sit alongside one another. The Nigerian stage is big enough. Chinua Achebe has told his story. This week, he turns 82. Long may he live.

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This article was first published by Premium Times
213 Comments on Chinua Achebe at 82: “We Remember Differently” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • habba! November 24, 2012 at 7:49 am

    can this old man go and sit down? these are the kind of people that destroy countries! is it until Nigeria Ends up like Darfur that he would be happy? does he want the tribes to start killing each other? what kind of man is this. you better think critically before you support this mans ideas

    • FAB November 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Shame on you for being this ignorant!!

      • whatashame November 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

        Shame on those still beating on a dead horse. What does Prof Achebe and many others still living in the past want now? They want to separate and form their own country? They want the whole world to know how Yorubas hate them? Until Igbo people go find a better job, and focus on developing themselves and their villages, not just building big houses but actually developing it economically, they will continue to be their own worst enemy and die complaining about nonsense. I don’t mind people telling their stories but it’s a shame that Africans/Nigerians will fight each other instead of facing the real enemy and fight for important issues. I see how these ignorant Nigerians will praise, worship a white man who has a bad agenda for Nigeria/Africa, over coming together to develop the country. I guess, Nigeria will forever remain the failed country with some potentials. It’s rather pathetic.

      • FaceTheTruth November 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm

        @whatashame
        Is June 12 a dead horse? Why not if not, because Yoruba people mainly were killed. Who told you we are not developing our South East despite the Nigerian monster. Next year, a power plant divorced from government shenanigans would be on stream in Aba. Despite the fact that Obasanjo refused to locate a power plant in the South East after his master plan had power plants in other zones – even the fact that Enugu has coal did not allow him to situate the coal power plant in the master plan near Enugu – we are way ahead of Nigeria and the interference of politics.
        The white people you are talking about do not ignore their history or call talk of their history as beating a dead horse. The Holocaust is not denied by Germany that is why they are the most important economy in Europe. As long as we do not come to terms with crimes of the past Nigeria would remain the underdeveloped country you have resigned her to be. Let us speak up against evils done by our forefathers. No reasonable Igbo person blames any tribe for what Awolowo did. No reasonable Jew blames Germans for what Hitler did. They only make sure that the truth is not buried under a a smokescreen of blind admiration. Imagine if Germans only talked of what good Hitler did like providing jobs and improving the standing of Germans after the first world war. That’s what would have happened if the Germans won the war. Only the winners side is told when wars are fought.
        @Jo
        I will like to hear or read this comment from you when people talk about June 12 or Apo 6 or Ogoni 12 or ALUU 4. When your relatives are killed like animals and the females you know are gang raped by lepers, I would like you to talk about moving on like it never happened.

      • Whatashame November 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm

        @face the truth.

        I will repeat myself again, it’s beating the dead horse because Africans/Nigerians are notorious for only running their mouth but don’t want to move forward, they want to be stuck in the past forever and play the victim card. It’s time for action, not just sitting around talking. The Jews didn’t forget holocaust, but they came together to make something out of themselves. So, they just don’t complain over nothing. And, their situation is also different. Hilter was an evil man who deliberately killed Jews. The enslavement of Africans is another horrible thing but even Black Americans will have to move forward without forgetting where they came from. The problem here is, Igbo people refuse to take some form of responsibility in their own failure knowing full well that Mr Ojukwu wanted war for his own selfishness. When civil war takes place in a country, it’s specific people against the country, so expect the country to fight back. Another problem here is, Igbos want to always play the victim card, oh the yorubas don’t like us, the Yorubas want to kill us. Really? Yet, Igbo people are well traveled who have settled and lived well in Yorubaland with no major problem. There are many successful inter tribal marriages. The hausas who publicly say their hatred for the Igbo people are getting away with it but Igbos want to always attack the Yorubas because they know Yoruba people won’t fight back. And, Nigeria’s problem is not tribal conflict. Division is not the solution, but some backward Africans/Nigerians insist on that, knowing full well that division hasn’t worked well in any of these African countries who did it, these countries are left in shambles. My reference to White people is to make a point that Nigerians are busy fighting each other, Black people are busy fighting each other and are not facing the real problem. If Black people can’t even come together to develop themselves, how can you fight against major issues like racism, corruption, and come together to develop ourselves. If Nigerians can’t get along with each other and always want to cause unnecessary conflict, how can Nigerians tackle other necessary issues like Boko Haram, security, bad infrastructure, low unemployment rate affecting all of Nigerians. Whether Nigeria divide or not, the same issues will be the same. Dividing over religion is more understanding.

      • FaceTheTruth November 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

        @Whatashame
        The Jews also formed a country – you left that out – so that they would not be harassed again. I also think the Igbo should do the same. The Jews can defend their citizens in any part of the world, this would prevent any future large-scale targeted killings from happening.
        Yes it’s different because Nigerians are good people who frequently and “undelebrately” killed Igbo from time to time. Just like the Holocaust was not the first target killing of Jews, the pogroms were not the first targeted killing of the Igbo, only the largest. Read your history.
        If you actually READ anything about the war – it is unfortunate Nigerians never do, only the lies that their uncles and aunts tell them – you would know about the Aburi accord that was to prevent the war. Gowon reneged on this agreement. The country, Nigeria, was not fighting back. It was the Biafrans that were fighting back from Nigerian aggression. Nigeria declared the war, okay, not the other way round. Because Gowon did not expect the war to take long, he called his declaration of war a ‘police action’. Please for the good of everyone concerned, actually read about the history before commenting on it. People who lost relative would be deeply hurt reading the ignorance of what went on that is so prevalent. Please read Chinua’s book. Nowhere does he blame Yoruba people. He criticizes Awolowo. A criticism of Awolowo is no more an attack on the Yoruba people than a criticism of Hitler is an attack on the German people. It is insensitive to say talk about brutal killings, rapes and what not is “victim mentality”. Imagine if people say talk about June 12 is victim mentality, or ALUU 4. Or the Holocaust, or the killing of NYSC members in the North. Imagine if I hear a Yoruba corper was killed in the North and I say “stop the ‘victim mentality’, other people were also killed”. Please I know you are smarter than that.
        I am amazed when Nigerian or Africans talk about racism but say nothing about the fact that some landlords in Lagos refuse you if you are an Igbo man. We have enough racism in our society to criticize, the white man is not our problem. When the Irish and the Anglo Saxon (both white) are fighting do they say “let’s stop fighting ourselves and fight niggers instead”? No, they hash out they problems – peacefully or otherwise. Why do you think the Irish Free State (Ireland) is not part of UK, or Scotland is planning a referendum on independence. Many African states are a lot better divided than they would have been if they had stayed together. Ethiopia is doing better than it would have been if it was still with Eritrea, just like South Korea is in a better state than it would be if it was still joined, and ruled by a dictatorship, with North Korea. Those African countries that have not progressed have no one but themselves to blame. Those countries that can secede have the fortune of determining their destinies without foreign interference from the part that do not want to progress. If there is anything about nation building that is backward in Africans, it is thinking that the British who coupled Nigeria are gods. Even their own country has experienced secession and would experience another with Scotland.
        Northern leaders and South Western leaders – notice I said leaders not necessarily people – played important roles in the genocide. Read the contents of the website below:
        http://www.kwenu.com/biafra/quotes_1966pogrom.htm
        Igbo people are in the South West, yes. But they are also in the North, they are also in Ghana, Cameroon, UK, America, Russia, etc. The Jews are also in Germany, Iran, Poland, etc. I am sure, with all your talk on racism, you are not in Nigeria yourself. Why? Because you have a right to live wherever you choose. So do the Jews. So do the Igbo.
        Please if you believe talk of history is beating a dead horse then don’t talk about the slave trade or June 12 or your birthday.

      • whatashame November 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

        @facethetruth

        Emotions aside, let’s get real here. The mentality of Prof Achebe, Mr Ojukwu and many Igbos is Yorubas hate igbos and want to kill them. It’s beyond criticism, it’s saying things that ARE NOT NECESSARILY TRUE, but true to him mixed with all kinds of emotions. There’s no actual account with evidence of what ACTUALLY happened. And that mentality is exactly what I’m addressing. Many Igbos go around spreading lies and made up stories of how poorly they are treated in Nigeria by the Yorubas, and it’s a mentality that is PURE NONSENSE. I’ve read and heard many Igbos who say Awolowo deliberately made Igbo people suffer and killed them. This is a war story that there’s one side, another side then the TRUTH. I’m not disregarding the emotions of those who went through it, I’m just saying the injustice and victim mentality that Igbos carry around with them all the time needs to stop. MAYBE back then, there was some injustice going on but to insist that Igbos need to separate and form their own country right now because of how they are treated currently is ludicrous especially when there’s no major ethnic war going on at this point. You CANNOT compare the injustice that the Jews faced and are currently facing at this crucial time. Isreal is a promised land for the Jews, it’s biblical and it’s much needed because of the oppression and threat they face everywhere especially from the Arab world. Igbo people are not under that type of fear or oppression or threat in Nigeria. Infact, there’s no ethnic threat or injustice in Nigeria except for the religion conflict from the Hausas. Nigeria is all about rich vs poor, if you have money or connection you enjoy, if you don’t, you suffer like many Nigerians are right now. Maybe, there’s a preference but there’s no hatred. If a landlord prefers to rent out his room to a specific ethnic group it’s his/her problem. Igbos prefer their own people, Yorubas prefer their own people, Hausas the same, it’s human nature. Like I said, Nigeria needs to focus on other CRUCIAL IMPORTANT ISSUES. Division is mainly what ruined Africa. Africans are NOT CAPABLE of dividing and flourishing afterwards, let’s be realistic here. I don’t understand what difference it made that Eritrea separated from Ethiopia when they are the same people. Now, Sudan needed to separate because it’s a religion problem and other complex issues. Africa, wants to continue to divide and remain the poorest continent. Igbos demanding for their own state or country, do you think it’s going to be a rosy moment or what, it’s going to be another unnecessary bloody time. DON’T FIX WHAT IS NOT BROKEN.
        For now, I empathize but enough of this Igbos need their own state or country. It’s going to be ONE NIGERIA, and we will continue to deal with each other and hopefully focus on the development, growth, moving forward not backwards. Thank you.

      • FaceTheTruth December 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        @Whatashame
        I wonder why BellaNaija refused to post my comment. Anyways, here we go again:
        @Whatashame
        I like the qualification ‘not necessarily true’. There are lots of accounts and evidence of targeted killing of the Igbo. The attitude of Achebe is not that Yoruba hate Igbo but that Nigeria hates Igbo. Any foreigner looking at your comments and others on this site and various Nigerian sites would agree with him. If you are really interested in facing facts, I dare you to show all the comments here and other Nigerian sites to a foreigner and ask them if they perceive hate. Go on, try it.

        Watch the interview of the Northern premier by a journalist and pay particular attention to the part where he asked the premiere about the ‘obsession’ in the North with the Igbo. Visit the North and count how many times you are referred to as ‘yanmiri’ even though you are not Igbo. You have no proof that the stories of maltreatment by Yorubas or any other are made up. It is a fact that many landlords in Lagos (Read http://www.nairaland.com/685424/thou-shall-not-rent-igbo). A Yoruba journalist wrote in one of the dailies to warn others of Igbo taking over their land using the “guise of apprenticeship to bring their relatives to Lagos. Companies and institutions controlled by Yoruba ensure that they admit mainly Yoruba employees. Even Yoruba people would admit this. These are facts. The problem here is if it was a white man saying do not rent to blacks, you would not be talking about preferences and how it is their own business. Why? Because it affects you negatively. This is the reason we must secede so we do not have our people thinking like Nigerians. So we can fight against those who would say “why should we allow a Yoruba man to be our VC when they won’t do the same”. I thank God that the Igbo are still open-minded that is why Ibidapo-Obe is the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University, Ndufe-Alike, Ebonyi State (Read http://www.punchng.com/education/universities-are-named-after-cities-not-individuals-ibidapo-obe/). But as we continue in this failed state called Nigeria, this open-mindedness is under threat.

        The need to separate from Nigeria is not only because of the injustice they have and continue to suffer but also because of the need to prevent Nigeria from getting in the way of our progress. The mistake of our earlier political leaders is to believe Nigeria was workable as one country. It is clearly not. Do not be deceived that it is only the Igbo that wants secession. Maybe because you do not live in Nigeria but many Yoruba have expressed the same sentiment. Read Adeniyi suggesting we should return to the Aburi accord: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/01/lets-return-to-aburi-accord-adeniyi/
        Self determination is a God-given right. No amount of emotional vituperation against it would change that.

        What makes you think a ‘major’ ethnic war needs to happen for secession to occur. Is Catalonia going through an ethnic war? Or Scotland? Did Czechoslovakia go through war before it broke up. The Biafran do not and never wanted war. Secession is to prevent war. Maybe you were not in the country when OPC decided to kill every Hausa they could find in Lagos, but I was. And that wasn’t long ago.

        What makes you think that the Igbo is not under the same threat as the Jews. The Jews were under threat from Eoropeans with whom they have lived for years than Arabs. This is what a Northern magazine say of Igbo: “You can kill them easier than send them home. […] they are essentially parasites. They only serve as middle men, buying from A to sell to B.” If it was Yoruba that was described like that, y’all would be screaming secession.

        Do not fool yourself into thinking Nigeria is rich versus poor. It’s more than that. If someone decides to carry out a purge of the rich like the French Revolution,then you would start to hear “you killed more Yoruba than Hausa” or vice versa. When Bankole was being prosecuted, Yoruba Council of Elders went about saying “leave our Yoruba son alone”. Where is that case now.

        You say Africans are not capable of dividing and flourishing afterwards (I don’t know how to differentiate between this and the British Nobel Laurette that said Africans are not intelligent. I do not have any illusions that when the country breaks, poverty would disappear. I however contend that one region would not prevent another from prospering. Eritrea would not prevent Ethiopia from prospering. Success, to a large extent, is a choice. If you control your destiny, you cannot blame leaving your mother’s womb for preventing you from succeeding. If you do not succeed as an organically formed nation, you can blame no one else – colonialists, or other ethnic groups. The separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia is the reason you are not hearing of Ethiopia dealing with Boko Haram. They have failed to have a democracy, but this is independent of the separation and is even more likely in the long run due to the separation. The separation of Pakistan from India – both the same people – is the reason that India can choose to develop while Pakistan chooses Sharia and blasphemy laws. And please do not tell me they are different from Africans, India has bill of rights for cows for goodness sake because they think cows are holy. If anything, forced ‘unity’ is the cause of Africa’s problems.

        Nigeria IS broken and must be fixed. I do not think it is going to be rosy. It was not rosy for Singapore when they were forced out of Malaysia, but look at them now deporting Nigerians. We have to fight our own internal battles – Biafrans versus Biafrans that think like Nigerians. And let’s face it, Nigeria was founded on alot of lies and was engineered to move backwards. Nigeria was never a nation, it was a business venture that the British bought from Leverbrothers (the Niger Company). Let’s not let the lies we were told get in the way of facts. And the fact is that the Igbo, as well as other ethnic nationalities, have a right to determine their destiny.

      • FaceTheTruth December 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        @Whatashame
        I like the qualification ‘not necessarily true’. There are lots of accounts and evidence of targeted killing of the Igbo. The attitude of Achebe is not that Yoruba hate Igbo but that Nigeria hates Igbo. Any foreigner looking at your comments and others on this site and various Nigerian sites would agree with him. If you are really interested in facing facts, I dare you to show all the comments here and other Nigerian sites to a foreigner and ask them if they perceive hate. Go on, try it.

        Watch the interview of the Northern premier by a journalist and pay particular attention to the part where he asked the premiere about the ‘obsession’ in the North with the Igbo. Visit the North and count how many times you are referred to as ‘yanmiri’ even though you are not Igbo. You have no proof that the stories of maltreatment by Yorubas or any other are made up. It is a fact that many landlords in Lagos (Read http://www.nairaland.com/685424/thou-shall-not-rent-igbo). A Yoruba journalist wrote in one of the dailies to warn others of Igbo taking over their land using the “guise of apprenticeship to bring their relatives to Lagos. Companies and institutions controlled by Yoruba ensure that they admit mainly Yoruba employees. Even Yoruba people would admit this. These are facts. The problem here is if it was a white man saying do not rent to blacks, you would not be talking about preferences and how it is their own business. Why? Because it affects you negatively. This is the reason we must secede so we do not have our people thinking like Nigerians. So we can fight against those who would say “why should we allow a Yoruba man to be our VC when they won’t do the same”. I thank God that the Igbo are still open-minded that is why Ibidapo-Obe is the Vice- Chancellor of Federal University, Ndufe-Alike, Ebonyi State (Read http://www.punchng.com/education/universities-are-named-after- cities-not-individuals-ibidapo-obe/). But as we continue in this failed state called Nigeria, this open-mindedness is under threat.

        The need to separate from Nigeria is not only because of the injustice they have and continue to suffer but also because of the need to prevent Nigeria from getting in the way of our progress. The mistake of our earlier political leaders is to believe Nigeria was workable as one country. It is clearly not. Do not be deceived that it is only the Igbo that wants secession. Maybe because you do not live in Nigeria but many Yoruba have expressed the same sentiment. Read Adeniyi suggesting we should return to the Aburi accord: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/01/lets-return-to-aburi-accord-adeniyi/
        Self determination is a God-given right. No amount of emotional vituperation against it would change that.

        What makes you think a ‘major’ ethnic war needs to happen for secession to occur. Is Catalonia going through an ethnic war? Or Scotland? Did Czechoslovakia go through war before it broke up. The Biafran do not and never wanted war. Secession is to prevent war. Maybe you were not in the country when OPC decided to kill every Hausa they could find in Lagos, but I was. And that wasn’t long ago.

        What makes you think that the Igbo is not under the same threat as the Jews. The Jews were under threat from Eoropeans with whom they have lived for years than Arabs. This is what a Northern magazine say of Igbo: “You can kill them easier than send them home. […] they are essentially parasites. They only serve as middle men, buying from A to sell to B.” If it was Yoruba that was described like that, y’all would be screaming secession.

        Do not fool yourself into thinking Nigeria is rich versus poor. It’s more than that. If someone decides to carry out a purge of the rich like the French Revolution,then you would start to hear “you killed more Yoruba than Hausa” or vice versa. When Bankole was being prosecuted, Yoruba Council of Elders went about saying “leave our Yoruba son alone”. Where is that case now.

        You say Africans are not capable of dividing and flourishing afterwards (I don’t know how to differentiate between this and the British Nobel Laurette that said Africans are not intelligent. I do not have any illusions that when the country breaks, poverty would disappear. I however contend that one region would not prevent another from prospering. Eritrea would not prevent Ethiopia from prospering. Success, to a large extent, is a choice. If you control your destiny, you cannot blame leaving your mother’s womb for preventing you from succeeding. If you do not succeed as an organically formed nation, you can blame no one else – colonialists, or other ethnic groups. The separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia is the reason you are not hearing of Ethiopia dealing with Boko Haram. They have failed to have a democracy, but this is independent of the separation and is even more likely in the long run due to the separation. The separation of Pakistan from India – both the same people – is the reason that India can choose to develop while Pakistan chooses Sharia and blasphemy laws. And please do not tell me they are different from Africans, India has bill of rights for cows for goodness sake because they think cows are holy. If anything, forced ‘unity’ is the cause of Africa’s problems.

        Nigeria IS broken and must be fixed. I do not think it is going to be rosy. It was not rosy for Singapore when they were forced out of Malaysia, but look at them now deporting Nigerians. We have to fight our own internal battles – Biafrans versus Biafrans that think like Nigerians. And let’s face it, Nigeria was founded on alot of lies and was engineered to move backwards. Nigeria was never a nation, it was a business venture that the British bought from Leverbrothers (the Niger Company). Let’s not let the lies we were told get in the way of facts. And the fact is that the Igbo, as well as other ethnic nationalities, have a right to determine their destiny.

    • Changing faces November 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

      He may be old today, but guess what? It’d be your turn tomorrow. How illiterates like you are able to access the Internet is baffling. Pls go back to school, you need an education!

      • habba! November 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm

        you are the illiterate. clearly you are in support of this old tribalist. he is sitting back and laughing because right before he dies. he is giving nigeria his last words. words the DIVIDE! and not UNITE! he is dividing us. yes we killed, but now its boko haram that are the terrors in nigeria but now this man wants to add his own.

    • Iris November 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Did you read this article at all? This is precisely what she’s referring to. Before Chinua Achebe’s book came out tribes were ready to kill each other anyway! Open your eyes and your mind. Look at the facts of the war critically and stop using sentiment to run your mouth. There were casualties on all sides. We acknowledge the part everybody played and then we move on as a country, That is the only way we can move on. Everything else na wash. You’re here insulting Chinua Achebe for inciting trouble like tribalism hasn’t always been there *hiss*

      • Jo November 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        Acknowledge that from 1960-66 an Igbo man Nnamdi Azikwe was the President of Nigeria and Tafawa Balewa from Bauchi was Prime minister. January 1966 Igbo coup killed all leaders except Azikwe who was conveniently away in the carribean and the Eastern administrator. Are we surprised at the revenge coup of July 1966 led by Hausa Fulani with the accompanying pogrom. Then war broke out in 1967, and on both sides many died. Federal troops killed Biafran soldiers and vice versa. If the Awolowo led Yorubas are so evil, then why do Igbo continue to live amongst them in the Western part of the country, not to even talk of the millions of Igbos in the North. Ask yourself, why have the Igbo s not repartriated their money back east to develop Aba, Enugu, Nnewi, Onitsha to name a few? Every other ethnicity is evil and inferior, yet Igbo loves to live amongst them. If people like achebe, Adichie and other Igbo bigots continue to stoke the ambers of war, another terror will come. Hope you are in nigeria to witness it and not hide away abroad and pen hatred. Sub saharan Africans, Nigerians should learn to come together, work together and live together or else their future is bleak. Look at Achebe, sitting in Brown in the USA enjoying it and writing hate and incitement to war for his Igbo brothers back in struggling Nigeria. If he cares so much about Biafra, why is he not living among the masses and suffering lack of electricity, running clean tap water, roads, bridges, railways, Decent Schools and ths likes? Why did Achebe flee Biafra during the war along with his children? Maybe his conscience is bothering him and now he picks scape goats, the Yorubas who embrace the Igbo in cities of the South West. Look deeply into his wordas and you see written all over, PREJUDICE.

    • ugh November 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Really?!? People like you are the reason that Nigeria will never move forward. May God help this country.

      • habba! November 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

        oh hush up! its time to move on! he is holding on to the things he saw as a youth. its time for him to stop and sit down. what does he want? does he want ibo people to start their own country? jesus! i cant believe you guys are honoring this man! i have lost ALL RESPECT for HIM!

      • Mz Socially Awkward... November 25, 2012 at 1:07 am

        @habba, you hush up and hush quickly.
        Move on to what? Do you realize that whole segments of Nigeria don’t feel like they’re part of this country? And I’m not just speaking of the Igbo people. We fought a freaking war that has scarred the nationalistic impressions people have of their own country but nothing has really been done to reintergrate the country as one whole nation.

        However, recent events continue to reinforce the general Nigerian sentiment of hoping any arising national issue goes away without actually doing anything about it. Chief among many examples are: Boko Haram – if we continue to wish them to, maybe they’ll just stop tormenting people; the 4 young men who died in Aluu – no government interference in that one so far, maybe they hope the public will forget; the Dana Crash – we all know how that public inquiry ended up.

        Please let Chinua speak for his own generation and ask the questions they want answers to. This is how dialogue in any national setting can ever commence and at least his generation gives a s**t. Which is much, much, much more than I can say for my own.

    • Nma November 25, 2012 at 2:37 am

      (Edited)
      Did u even read the article ? U r such a dunce. Even if u didnt read the book, and read just chimamanda’s review and recount of what happened in the war, u’d understand that he has every right to write his account because many of what happened in that war are still blurrs to many of us that were born post-biafra. People wrote books on it (including my father) but those books were seized and/or burnt. Just like the Jews often discuss the holocust, black americans discuss slavery, biafrans have every right to share their own story too-especially when the story has never really been fully told-.

    • Nma November 25, 2012 at 3:08 am

      Amazing review/recount by Chimamanda! Very thorough and honest. Its fascinating the new things u keep learning about this war. Too bad there aren’t much (history) books thoroughly detailing the accounts of this war since books written by few(including my dad) were seized and/or burnt, but i’m glad there are people sharing their truths to help us understand better what really went down, as it has really been a blurr for many born post-war.

      The 20 pounds bit was such a slap on the face. Taking people’s many years of hardwork despite the ordeal they just endured, and the children,siblings,parents,friends they just lost, u’re just gonna give them 20 measly pounds?
      I remember how my mom would tell us how my granpa came home after seeing 20pounds in his account and broke down and cried. The family quickly went from living more than comfortably to barely managing for a while, and the worse is that his businesses and properties were all seized in Port Harcourt too. He really had to start afresh from ground zero. My paternal grandpa was already dead at this point but my 19 yr old dad’s young and budding business was also destroyed and he too was “compensated” with 20 pounds. On top of that, the books he wrote on the whole debacle were seized.

      I really wish this war never happened in the first place.

    • R November 25, 2012 at 3:50 am

      After reading Chimamanda’s poignant piece, I scrolled down to see this ignorance. I pray that God give you wisdom, otherwise you might never live to see this old age you seem to equate with foolishness

    • Toyin November 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      lol…seriously, in all due respect Chinue Achebe needs to find another thing to do. Why can’t he focus on the development of Nigeria, and actually fighting against foreigners but he wants to focus his old years fighting and causing tribal conflict. We get it, biafra war happened, and we all understand time to move forward. I see, some ignorant Nigerians/Nigerias will rather see the country turn into another Rwanda, somalia or sudan. Sad case

      • TellEm November 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

        Fighting against foreigners? Are we all not foreigners in Nigeria? Is the Yoruba or Igbo man in Sabon Gari (Strangers’ Quarters) not a foreigner? Don’t deceive yourself into thinking we can make progress by avoiding talking about the genocidal civil war. Is Nigeria ready for development? He has made many suggestions to the Nigerian leadership, most – if not all – were rebuffed.
        Scotland is planning secession, so are Flanders and Catalonia. We must talk about self determination in Nigeria if there is ever going to be progress.

    • nae January 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      lol you sound so ignorant and lacking in common knowledge AND sense. I would advise that you enlighten yourself before writing stupid comments such as the above.
      P.S – Chinua Achebe’s aim is not to insight war but to create awareness of a past one.

  • Temitope Adewoye November 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I was moved to tears as I read this. I was born in the early nineties,so I really can’t relate to this history, but I have heard stories from my grandmum an edo woman of how they hid their igbo houseboy in the roof during the war! If we do not confront our past as a nation then the hope for a new future nation would be very slim. Happy Birthday Sir Chinue Achebe.
    http://www.jeenager.com

    • Jo November 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      Who was Nigerias presiden in 1960? answer Nnamdi Azikwe 1960-66
      First coup in Nigeria was led by ? Answer 5 Igbo majors.
      Azikwe was conveniently away in the carribean during the jan 1966 coup, and the Eastern Administrator was also spared, but all other ethnic leaders were killed.
      July 1966 a revenge coup by Northern officers, with a pogrom against Igbos in the north.
      Awolowo was imprisoned by the Azikwe/Balewa led government in Calabar prison just before the outbreak of war.
      Ojukwu who led his Igbo people into a losing war is a saint who has no part in the outcome of the war and subsequent deaths, as Achebe wants to rewrite history.
      Majority of Igbos who left other areas to return to the East withdrew their money from the banks before leaving. The 20 pounds was for all, and if any Igbo could prove they had money in banks outside the east the money was paid. How many Igbos lost their homes in the South West? Yorubas did not steal any Igbo properties, even Ojukwu got his properties back because he had proof of ownership.
      Igbo work hard and are rewarded, but these minority who claim to be leaders want to lead them into darkness of war again. Achebe hides away in America, and so do his children while spewing hate to destabilise Igbo in Nigeria.
      If Achebe loves Ndigbo so much, why not live among them amd donate his millions of dollars to help those living in poverty?
      Read and research nigerian history rather than listen to cheap propaganda by failed Biafran apologists. These people want 1001 mini corrupt states in West Africa and worse still a Somalia with wae without end.

      • Okechukwu Ofili November 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

        Jo…you can’t cut and paste all you want. A coup igbo or hausa does not give anyone the right to kill 30,000 civilians from a single ethnic group.

        Round up the coup plotters, kill them if you want…but for God-sakes, leave their citizens alone.

        When Dimka assassinated Murtala, Obasanjo executed him (Dimka) and the other coup plotters. Life went on. Obasanjo did not round up Dimka’s tribe and start killing them.

      • Iris November 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

        Jo, please go and read WHY WE STRUCK, by Adewale Ademoyega. He took part in the 1966 coup. I think he’ll help clarify a couple of things about the coup for you. That is all I’m going to say.

      • Iris November 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm

        I forgot to add that he’s not Igbo – but I’m sure you can deduce that from his name – so unless you’re going to say he was taken to a mind control facility in Onitsha and brainwashed, there’s no reason for you to not read it.

    • Child of God November 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Temi dear,

      You are the most objective de-tribalized Nigerian ever. God made people like you for Heaven. Thank you for speaking the truth, irrespective of your tribal affiliation. You will live long and blessed life, AMEN!

  • molarah November 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

    One big WOW!

    I’m not even going to form like all I got from this write up was good writing style and analysis – reading this piece was a HUGE learning experience for me.

    #signs off still very speechless and deeply touched.

  • Temitope Adewoye November 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

    *on

  • i no send November 24, 2012 at 8:14 am

    long story my eyes hurt ..bella naija i will sue you for vision failure resulting from long story you will be hearing from my lawyers..okbye

    • yoyo November 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      if its pictures from events your eyes will not hurt O! My friend if you dont spend your time reading then how will you learn about your history? idiat ting dat!

  • Tosin November 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I like that hair she’s rocking. Shey na Janelle Monae abi na wetin? It’s fine.
    I wasn’t there during the war, needless to say, and I’m no historian. I haven’t done the research, unless you count reading Half of The/A Yellow Sun (I never can remember which). So not qualified to comment on a 60s war.
    But what I keep saying of the great Achebe is: come back home. If you love Naija so much, how can you bear to be away? Stop boning. Don’t be angry with us forever. When they give you national honours, try and accept. We appreciate the times you rejected the national honours, we know you’re too big for the silly thing, we know Nigeria is far from perfect, but accept the small show of love and appreciation. The truth is we are proud of your writing even if we haven’t even managed to read most of it. (You know how we run around chasing money and other trivialities, instead of seeking wisdom.)

    You predicted Nigeria’s comedies, you observed us, you told the world about us, told us about ourselves. I know we don’t listen. We don’t read. We keep repeating many mistakes. Over and over.

    But that does not mean you should be living in some oyinbo land till now. Ah ahn, it’s so cold there and we will give you a betta welcome here. Guaranteed. Ain’t no party like a Naija party. Chimamanda knows that. Soyinka knows that. Who doesn’t know?

    • Monica November 24, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Tosin, dont kill pezin! well said jor. life is too short to bone this much….

    • Shishi November 24, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Repeat after me: “I will stop being mediocre in my thinking”, “I will stop being a waist (sic)”, “I will stay away from ‘intelligent’ discussions or better still, keep my mouth shut, even if they think me a fool, lest I open my mouth and dispel all doubt”. Oya repeat!

      • Person pikin November 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

        Rotflmao!!!!

      • Monica November 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        get over yourself.

        Everyone is entitled to their opinion whether or not self righteous “intellectuals” like yourself think its “mediocre in thinking”……get off your high horse and take several seats….smh….cant stand people who try to ridicule and put others down masking behing humour….please…..

    • Mee November 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      No award has been given to him again and he refused.
      He has also stated why he refused the one OBJ gave him, and I’m sure it’s not his style to start begging for an award now. So pls spare him. Plus, he has been in Nigeria after the war and given his current special condition, I hope u understand now, especially as you go about writing it all over the net – Ynaija and here again.

    • Yoruba November 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      i looooove ur response ….witty yet full of truth.

      • Nwa-afor November 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm

        Why wont you love it, seeing as the name of the commenter is Tosin, your tribal mate. Whether she is saying what is wrong or not, make you blindly join in to support. Obviously the usual ofe mmanu syndrome. Msteeeew!!!

    • CovertNigerian November 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      If you were Achebe, you would probably not want to be “honoured” on the same stage as people like Tafa Balogun and the other criminals that are given national honours. I think it’s safe to assume that if a credible leadership or independent group offered him some honour in Nigeria, he would accept it. You should also know that part of the reason Achebe moved to the US in the first place was because of a lack of the quality health care he needed after his accident. I’m not certain, but I do believe he has expressed a desire to live his final years in Nigeria.

    • @Seun_Ajs November 24, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      U just read my mind!!! Achebe too vex naaa.. wetin?

    • Mazi Nwonwu November 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Tosin, make I catch you dia. lol. But you dey craze small o. Tru tru, the palle dey bone, but no blame am, the guy should be allowed to enjoy his life jor. Odiro easy.

  • Africhic November 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Chimanda, wonderfully written. We are still in Biafra mode in this country. No light or portable water . We are still being starved by the Government that’s supposed to lead us.

    • ao November 25, 2012 at 1:28 am

      Well said. The Nigerian government uses ethnic politics to divert attention away from their major failings: lack of infracstructure in many areas such as roads, lights, portable water, health care, education, etc.

    • TellEm December 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      I think you mean Nigeria Mode. At least, even during the war Biafra refined her oil and made some local technology unlike Nigeria.

  • Lolan November 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    No matter how they tried, we still rise

    • Dee Nina November 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      Simply stated and true

  • max November 24, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I am quite surprised Chimamanda put up this piece because it takes a bit of guts to review your icon’s work – whether it be good or bad. Big ups to you girl! Anyway, here is my take – before he is a literal icon, a writer of repute, a revered author etc etc etc, Chinua Achebe is also just a man giving his personal account of a war that lingers deep in the heart of many Ibos about a war that most of the world has forgot and some do not even know existed. For me personally, reading the book has been an interesting account of this history. Nothing more. Now I do not think that maybe some of his comments may be unbiased or fully objective but I think a good majority of it is true. I feel like when people are coming to the end of their lives, they feel the need to document significant issues in their lives and this is what Achebe has done here. Of course, in the present state of ethnic/religious tension that Nigeria is in, I do not feel that this may the kind of material people need to be reading because it will only further inflame these tensions but that is the only complaint I have about it. I believe everyone has the right to air their views and opinions and this is what this author has done. As an Ibo girl does this change my attitude towards my yoruba and hausa friends ? NO . Do I believe the biafran war is still the reason that Ibos are still so backward ? NO. But as I said, previously the man has written his PERSONAL view so lets allow him to have it. Saleh…

  • Ibinabo November 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I have read of the Biafran experience over and over again and have head takes of woe even from my parents who are from Rivers State. My uncle was imprisoned by the Biafran side for refusing to fight for them as he did not want to be part of Biafra. In any case, there’s a reason for history and we use that knowledge we have garnered to prevent things like this from recurring. Mr Achebe is a genius and I wish him many more years! God bless him.

  • annybaby November 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Chimamanda inspires me always…….such a fearless & beautifully written piece. Sir Achebe, Happy birthday mate( I’m 16th november too and yeah We’re born great! Lolz).

  • FAB November 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

    My dad lost 3 of his brothers to this war!! I have a little knowledge about what transpired during the war. We need to know more about our history to enable us know how to live for good in the future.

  • Joseph Olusoji Marsh November 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I read an account of the war once where the twenty pounds thing was mentioned. I am Yoruba And I was ashamed to admit that even then after reading that book. I truly thought my race was beyond such money grabbing and dehumanization…I guess I was wrong…but then again, I think its time people like chinua and adichie started looking more to the future and less at the past…they need to show that there is a better way than angst and tribalism…or risk ending up kid the black Americans, constantly living in past injustices and making no room for integration and forgiveness… My two cents…

    • lella November 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Your two cents are amazing. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks.

    • Frustration November 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      End up being like black Americans? I moved to the United States when I was 8 and for most of my life lived in white neighborhoods. I thought black Americans were lazy etc., until I went to college and began to learn about them. Have you heard about something called cumulative effects? 200 years of slavery takes a toll, on ones mentality, way of life, etc. In order to have a better future, one must resolve his or her past. Go ask a psychiatrist.

    • Jay November 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      If u don’t truly understand your past, it may be a bit difficult to chart the course of your future.

    • Pinky November 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      I think Joseph has a point. While it is important to review the past, history should be a ‘lessons learned exercise’, to discourage a repeat of injustices and inhumanity of man to man.
      Having said this, i have to admit that most accounts sell the Biafra story with a bitter and unforgiving tone; almost making it obligatory for a new generation to hate the ‘enemies of Biafra’, both real and virtual. It is one thing to learn the past, it is another thing to dwell and live in it.

      • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

        I know. You would think that Biafrans should be cheerful about recounting the horrors of rape, murder, looting and various injustices perpetuated by the Nigerian state to a dismissive Nigerian audience. Who woulda thunk they would be so bitter?

    • Free Spirit November 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      You can feel ashamed all you like……….but please do not cast aspersions on a whole ethnic group based on the decision you reached judging the actions of another man (Awolowo). Regarding the so called 20 pounds policy it is obvious something went wrong somewhere therefore a proper investigation is needed to find out who the guilty parties are and where the money went. According to the available public record, the £20 given was not used to replace people money; it was given to everyone who had an account to help them to re-integrate into soceity. A thorough investigation is needed to find out why government did not intervene when people did not get their money back from the private Banks. Did this have to do with the indigenization programs. Only an investigation would determine the guilty parties. (Private owned Banks, Government, Awolowo himself e.t.c). Please if your father grabbed igbo money. Do not assume that everyone elses father had a hand in it too

      • TellEm November 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm

        @Free-spirit
        Please notice that it is mainly Yoruba people that misinterpret the criticism of Awolowo as an attack on the Yoruba race. The main reason for examining Awolowo’s part in the war is to ensure that the story is properly told and not taken over by lies, the kind of lies that would have been the story had Hitler won. This way, repetition of history can be avoided. This is in everyone’s interest. It would be foolish to assume that only the Igbo should be worried about genocide. Imagine if Awolowo executed his coup plan, the story of the pogrom would be different. Be on the part of justice for the sake of your unborn children.

  • Yeoal November 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

    One of the paths to recovery is 2 look at issues fairly and objectively, no lies, no deceit. The Nigerian civil war is a sad reminder of the major flaws in the beautiful dream called ‘Nigeria’, a flaw that unfortunately has not been corrected.

    It is not enough making comments that are ethnically inclined or at it’s best biased.
    The scars that were left by the effects of the civil war can only heal when issues that led 2 d civil war in the first place are addressed.

    Unfortunately history may repeat itself if this does not happen…..Soon!

    http://www.yeoal.blogspot

  • truthbetold November 24, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Is this article about the civil war or Achebe’s birthday? Our Igbo folks are so fixated on this civil war and the lies they have chosen to believe even when the obvious is staring them in the face. Chimamanda has chosen not to be an exception. I wonder when they will do away with this defeatist mentality.

    • Jen November 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      You are as dumb as what you have wriiten! And how about the lies you have heard and gobbled in yourself if you couldn’t make a constructive criticism without sounding tribally biased. Get an Education please!

      • cynthia November 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

        Jen maybe you need to look at yourself and ask why you are throwing a personal insult at someone for politely expressing their view. Abeg mature.

      • Peace November 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm

        Take a course in courtesy as well.

    • FaceFacts December 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      If you knew anything about the war or the meaning of ‘defeatist’, you would not have posted this comment. I wonder why I don’t see comments like yours when we talk about the June 12 annulled elections. There is hope yet. Maybe when someone talks about ALUU 4 five years from now, you would tell them not to be so ‘fixated’ on it.

  • Yoruba November 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

    we will always love chimamanda, and hard as it is now, will continue to respect achebe. i doubt that chimamanda will read these comments, but whoever is her friend might communicate to her that she herself is a victim of her diagnosis, which is an ethnic interpretation of the civil war. we all remember differently. My generation, adichie’s, hardly knows the facts of the war, and those few who do, have all colored it with ethnic strokes. it is tragic that the conversation in ‘nigeria’, decades later, has not yet transcended ethnicity. it is our sad and un-confronted reality. no one can justify any of the 2 sides in the civil war. it was a mistake, on both sides, and it’s only lesson is that we must not repeat it.

    • Igbo November 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      It is easier for you to churn out stench-filled words ae you’ve written because you didnt have any of your family members massacred in the North. Clearly your fore fathers were not marginallised in Nigeria.

  • Naijapikin November 24, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for this Chimamanda….with writers like you, there’s hope for our generation. Happy birthday sir. You are an inspiration to many, many more years to you.

  • nancy November 24, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I wish we had more people like China Achebe and Chimamanda in this country. People are busy commenting on her hair style and all instead of the issue at hand. Which way Nigeria? Our so called future leaders are not interested in the past. How can we have future with zero knowledge of the past. I weep for this country and the so called future leader who are already more corrupt and ignorant than the present leaders.

    • chichi November 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks nancy…one of the few comments that made sense…the so called leaders of tomorrow dont know jack nor want to know about their country’s past…it is only in nigeria that you want to talk about a war and everyone screams tribalism..i attended high school in nigeria and the war was never discussed and i can say i didnt know much about nigerian history..im trying to learn more now…My ten year old cousin in england knows the history of that country quite well because they are being taught the good, the bad and the ugly…nigeria just sucks..yes i said it!!

  • True Patriot November 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Let him be. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches, he was there, saw it all first hand, a man of his status can be trusted to tell it all as it was. He sees the spirits of anguished souls as they plea for their stories to be told, the truth to be unveiled that their spirits may be set free, released at last to rest from the turmoil of being buried with none to cry a dirge. It all happened , let him speak before he joins them and is silenced forever. Achebe, jeis ike! Please,let him be.

  • chisomaga November 24, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Wow…my eyes hurt, u inspire me a lot dear chimamanda.It takes some guts to put dis up. My grandmother told me her bad experience during the civil war and I think History should be something to be kept and respected.not to instigate another war,crisis or fight but to know what caused the previous one and to avoid it reoccuring again…wishing Chinua Achebe more friutful years ahead

  • Soraya November 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    This is a beautifully written and well researched piece by Chimamanda- I am not Igbo but her essay really articulates the injustices that the Igbo people suffered both during and after the civil war. But fundamentally, Nigeria’s problems are down not just to the leaders of the country but also to its foolish people- our leaders are weak, corrupt, incompetent, lazy thieves because Nigerian people have not held them to account. We prefer to sit and mourn about our leaders but how many people are prepared (and I might add, brave enough) to go on a huge demonstration and stay out on the streets until our leaders capitulate??? How many Nigerians are prepared to demonstrate en mass for transparency, accountability and justice? How many Nigerians even know the country’s history? You only have to stroll through some of the comments written here to know that our people don’t know our history and don’t even care to know. I even had to come to the United Kingdom to do a master’s degree in History to know anything about our history because we Nigerians don’t value it. Achebe’s comments were negatively received when he voiced them but his comments, like his books (especially Things Fall Apart) contains important messages to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, language or ethnicity.

  • Teris November 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    “..bow in the presence of greatness..”
    Sections of this piece brought tears to my eyes. We “remember differently” is no mean description. I have sought answers on the genesis of our malaise, and found that everyone has a diff spin on the past. We ought then to use the facts and put ourselves in each others shoes, bearing in mind, too, that the “elite” and previleged have this awful habit of keeping the masses-unschooled in the dark and guessing.

  • Bambino November 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Coming back to read this…too long

  • omoibo November 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Great write-up, the biggest problem any nation faces is lack of knowing their own history. My family experienced the Biafran war & were very reluctant to talk about it because I think it was a very bad memory they wanted to put behind them. A lot of history that I now know about Nigeria was not taught in a class room. I proactively sort the info as an adult & thank goodness for Youtube because I have been able to watch so actual documentaries from the BBC archives & other media outlets that show actual footage of Nigerian history. Sadly, no thanks to the Nigerian government in preserving our history. I also think we as Nigerian have become intellectually lazy, please before you bite off my head please compare how many comments a post gets when it’s gossip & another post has to do with critical thinking. The Biafran war is part of Nigerian history whether or not we agree, and I plan on passing on this history to my kids because it is part of who we are. Again, great write-up

  • popoo November 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Well written Chimamanda. If any body feels bad write your own story.Happy bday Sir. May your days be blessed.

  • 123 November 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    We love Achebe n chi. Voices of the nigerian people.

  • kobi November 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    82nd hearty cheers to the greatest writer of African origin. Chinua Achebe.

  • sco-sco November 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I just have to say Chimamanda, once again as an author you inspire me. One day, there will be a young brilliant author who will have a similar experience like you had learning from your literary hero Achebe. Just want you to know that you are a literary hero…

  • kobi November 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    A weak man will always abuse instead of constructive arguement. Starving Biafrans and ceasing our properties thinking that we wont prosper, we are the Jews of Africa, we prospers everywhere we go. AWo and Gowon gave us 20 pounds.

    • Jay November 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      DANG!!!
      .

    • Free Spirit November 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      It is seizing not ceasing. Keep chest thumping and don’t go out and get an education. Mtscheew!!!

  • cathy November 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    i have to read this book

  • Hi November 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, nwa Abba. I thought Uncle Chinualumogu Achebe wrote a foreward on one of your published books?
    CCongratulations on your being wedded to Chief E Nwandu’s brother-in-law, and this particular write-up

    • Person pikin November 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      *coughs* thanks for this information!

  • nina onita November 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    truely we all remember differently, but it is by discussing and sharing those memories that we can find a common ground that can help us move forward. Yes we have inherited painful memories and like someone said before, we all have our own truths. I respect chimamanda ngozi adichie take on this. happy bday sir chinua achebe.

  • Beverly November 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    BOOM! I have an even greater respect for Adichie and Achebe. Truth hurts, it also angers.

    “Then came the indigenization decree, which moved industrial and corporate power from foreign to Nigerian hands. It made many Nigerians wealthy;” <<< This. Just the other day, a lot of commenters were going on and on about the Lagos elite and oh how wonderful, oh look, generational wealth – after an event and I was quite vexed because I thought; If only they knew at whose expense most of this ill gotten wealth came from.

    From a lot of the comments above I know a lot of Nigerians are not ready for the truth and would rather bury their heads in the sand. Sadly, I know Nigeria is just a powder keg, waiting…and I worry.

    • Mz Socially Awkward.... November 25, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Girl, that powder keg…. mmmhhmmmm… and Lord knows that I will not be there when it blows up. I agree about many Nigerians, particularly in our generation, not knowing much about our past and so-called generational wealth… it makes me sad, we’ve never really asked questions because most people just live for now and don’t give a damn. And yet we keep spewing these idealistic comments about “nation building”. What in goodness name are you building?? Nigeria is a country that has no foundation or proper national identity. All we have are fractures just running all over the place & greedy leaders running the nation into the ground.

    • Hairy Monsta November 25, 2012 at 3:13 am

      Will anyone join me to move the motion that the ostrich to replace the eagle as our national bird…?

      • Knotcentre November 27, 2012 at 2:02 am

        @Hairy Monsta, or rather a vulture to represent the true nature of our leaders, lol.

  • Gberegbara November 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    This Ojukwu person that Igbo’s love to hail and exhalt was a simple war criminal and war monger. His treatment of the minority tribes that these so called “Biafra” people were able to subdue was terrible. This is why I just laugh when unlearned Igbos talk this “oh they starved us nonsense” what was this bastard Ojukwu doing to the minority tribes in Akwa Ibom, Ogoni, and Ikwerre ( who Igbo has claimed as one of them for political reasons , smh lol )
    Let the Igbo people move forward and stop living in their embellished past. Carry go abeg jor!!!

    • omoibo November 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Ignorance is not bliss….

    • Nwaoma November 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      You are exactly what is wrong with Nigeria, no regards and respect for elders and history. May God grant you wisdom, open your mind, eyes and heart my dear. You will be shocked at the amount of knowledge you will garner and how far you can go in life. Your comments are very sad! Smh

    • Okechukwu Ofili November 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

      lol…another person with no facts. My Dad was in the Biafra war, Calabars and Igbo fought together.

      But you know the greatest irony…Ken Saro-Wiwa (Ogoni) did not support the war, he said he preferred 3 dominant groups and not 1 so he joined Nigeria. Several years later…Sar0-Wiwa called for the Independence of the Ogoni people after it was ravaged and wrecked and ignored. His call for independence was quashed by Abacha and ended up in his death…and did Nigeria protest his death? No…people kept quiet and moved on…

      • Naijapikin November 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm

        Pls tell them o… Too many educated illiterates on this blog!

    • FaceFacts December 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Trust me, the Ikwerre need the friendship of the Igbo more than the Igbo need their friendship. They are Igbo. They are surrounded with other tribes that hate Igbo and so it is not in their interests to identify themselves as Igbo, and I understand that. It is a tactical move. The real danger is when the Igbo start saying Ikwerre is not Igbo.
      It doesn’t matter. An independent Biafra would protect Ikwerre interests as well as Igbo interests.

    • FaceFacts December 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Trust me, the Ikwerre need the friendship of the Igbo more than the Igbo need their friendship. They are Igbo. They are surrounded with other tribes that hate Igbo and so it is not in their interests to identify themselves as Igbo, and I understand that. It is a tactical move. The real danger is when the Igbo start saying Ikwerre is not Igbo.

      It doesn’t matter. An independent Biafra would protect Ikwerre interests as well as Igbo interests. No matter where they choose to stay, in Biafra, in the Niger Delta or elsewhere, they are as much our concern as the Turkic speaking Uighurs in China are a concern for Turkey.

  • femmelounge November 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    All is certainly not fair in a war.

  • Vee November 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Beautifully written!

  • Shee November 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, we know she is a good literary writer, good luck to her. But she is kind of one sided in my opinion, other people died in this war when the biafran soldiers where advancing and conquering, people also died, Not JUST the igbo people that died. Please read the last part of her article again… she said The Nigerian stage is big enough, achebe has said his story meaning what, that people should come and say their own side of the story. Please the war has done enuff damage already, all this inciting and all, it s well. To crown it all, her statement that she is much igbo as she is nigerian…. has deep meaning. But anyway, God will keep us all together as a country.

    • Amdi November 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Is she not Igbo? will you still begrudge her of that…her ancestors were why should she be different? Live and let live…your ethnic chauvinism is so bad.

    • chichi November 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      umm, she clearly acknowledged the non igbo’s who were killed..go back and read..you are just biased…”Yes, we know she is a good literary writer, good luck to her”..lol..#shade..

    • Jay November 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Did u fully understand the part where she talked abt the blockade that starved the Igbo people. In any war, there are rules of engagement it’s obvious Achebe thinks these rules were not followed. But like Chimamanda said, all is fair in war,
      .

      • Hairy Monsta November 25, 2012 at 2:58 am

        She did not say that

    • Hairy Monsta November 25, 2012 at 3:10 am

      Have you read the book? No Igbo man or woman chose to leave the country we gave so much to help gain independence. It was a big dilemma: stay on and be murdered in your thousands with the government tacitly condoning it or retreat to your homeland? Maybe the Igbos should have just left in their millions to Ghana or Cameroun. The truth is that Nigeria is still being haunted by the injustices of the past we all chose to forget and like the puppy, we are doomed to keep chasing our tail.

  • Judith Pearce November 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Thumbs up to Chimamanda for such a reaction to this on g0ing discuss I think her arguments are balanced

  • KingsQueen November 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Surely we can move on from all this someday…

    • Okechukwu Ofili November 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

      yes we can…but moving on does not mean ignoring the past and forgetting that it happened.

    • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      I agree. After Biafra’s independence from Nigeria.

  • Okechukwu Ofili November 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I have not finished reading this thing….just 50% through. But all I can say is wow, great information and honest.

  • rep her November 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Wowww,too long an article to read,I luv to read,but scrolling from side to side using phone is not an easy read,couldn’t finish it

  • flychic November 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Chimamanda is simply brilliant! This is intelligently written and very intellectually stimulating.
    I feel really sorry about the injustice that the igbo tribe have had to suffer in Nigerian history. However, a war is exactly what it is; a war. It’s one of the most horrific, dehumanizing, destabilizing and unforgettable experiences a country or people can pass through. Here in Britain, the heroes who fought and lost their lives fighting for the country during the second world war are remembered so passionately every year and the memory of the second world war is still so fresh among the people. They can never forget.
    My point is that anyone who makes that final decision to go to war must be ready for the consequences, for the horror, for the injustice, for the loss and for the possibility of defeat and then decide if it is worth going ahead with or not. If it is worth losing everything. If you decide to go ahead, then dont blame Awolowo or anyone for whatever consequences are encountered. If it wasnt Awolowo, it would have been someone else. War is never pretty. That is why it is always the last option.
    However, the human race has been known to rise up from the ashes of worse tragedies even those wrought by the great forces of mother nature against which we are most times defenseless. So whilst we remember Biafra as a significant part of out history and respect the memory of all the lost ones across the affected tribes, the success or failure of the igbos as a tribe can not be tied to this event as an excuse at all.

    • lilo November 24, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      Ok. First off let’s clear the air since you are chanting the war is war mantra, and insinuating that Igbos protest too much since they “started” it.

      Nigeria declared war. Biafra did not. Biafra only declared secession from the Nigerian state when the lives of Igbos of easterners were not protected (hence the progroms).

      Repeat what was stated above.

      Read the article again, repeat my main point, and quit with the circular speak.

      • Free Spirit November 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

        Biko……the poster never said Biafra started the war. Stop showing your backside

      • Free Spirit November 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

        An illegal secession violating Nigerias constitution

      • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm

        The constitution also did not recognize Gowon’s govt. The legality of the secession may be debated but no one with as much as half a brain cell disagrees with the fact that the secession was just.

  • iamfascinating November 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    hmmn. may God help us all to have some more compassion,
    http://www.thestunninglady.blogspot.com

  • Wale November 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    War is war and it comes with collateral damages, the Ibos also committed atrocities; please let the matter rest.

    • Okechukwu Ofili November 25, 2012 at 8:44 am

      lol…that’s always the answer, forget the past move on. Forget that thousands were killed and starved to death, it was just part of war. Always easy to say when it does not affect you.

    • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      The only atrocity the Igbo committed is believe in one Nigeria. We must not make the same mistake again. We would wait out the end of this country. We would observe the migration of Northerners to the South West and the conflict that this would cause, and then take the opportunity of the chaos to secede. Meanwhile, we would seek international support for justice, reparation and referendum in the South East.

  • Shee November 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    @ amdi, u r the chauvinistic person and you chichi, i did not say she didnt acknowledge other peoples death, but the emphasis is more on the igbo’s. Every tribe suffered for it. Ojukwu himself why did he flee to cote d’ivoire after he had put so much people to tears when he realised the nigerian troop had recovered the captured territories. He was the moving force behind this divide, he allowed ppl’s lives to be wasted for nothing. May God help us all. the country was still trying to survive immediately after colonialism, then major nzeogwu executed tafawa balewa and ahmadu bello.

    • chichi November 25, 2012 at 6:00 am

      @ shee im not going to talk about ojukwu cause as far as im concerned, he was no saint…im confused as to what you want from this woman..she was talking about the biafrian war..who exactly do you think the emphasis would be on?..The hausas??..she talked about what happened to the igbos and touched on other tribes..so your criticism is baseless…Every tribe in nigeria really suffered from starvation and every tribe was given 20 pounds after the war ended…yeah, i hear you…Every tribe really suffered..Now you may have a seat..

    • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Nigerians like you begged for that first coup and welcomed it when it happened. A Yoruba man was among the planners. The Igbo have learnt from that episode – if the Western region is burning, let it burn.

  • Jo November 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Surprise surprise, another war revisionist. 1960 Nnamdi Azikwe was President of Nigeria in a government with Tafawa Balewa as Prime Minister. Azikwe could have held the powerful position of PM nor ceremonial President if he allied wit Awolowo as his Finance Minister. 1966 January a coup led by 5 Igbo Officers kills all important non Igbo leaders including Balewa the PM but “how convenient” Azikwe was vacationing in the Carribean and spared. July 1966 th Hausa Fulani retaliate and go too far with the pogroms in the Nort killing thousands of Igbos. Then Ojukwu secedes with Biafra, like the school boy if I cannot play at my own rules then I will take my ball away. 1967 -70 a horrible civil war. The bulk of Igbos who left for the East withdrew their monies from the banks. My Godfather was an Igbo doctor and I can vividly remember him packing his Mercedes with his family stopping at our house on his way out. Both sidesd were responsible for the subsequent terror unleashed during the war, but that is what you see in a war. Awolowo was a financial genius which his Igbo adversaries resent, if he pulled the Yorubas into a war ill prepared same could have been their fate. ojukwu should have thought about the consequence of failure before entering into a war he could not win. Even the Igbos lorded it over Port Harcourt as their new capital, yet the minorities of the oil belt suffered at their hands. Chimamanda Adichie an apologist for achebe should keep quiet and study history rather than talk sentiments over issues that are a fact. Check out the facts, look at the historical timeline and not spinned stories sold by people like achebe who was a prop[agandist for biafra and hopes he can destroy Nigeria. Unfortunately for achebe who is hiding away in America, Nigeria will remain one. Igbos have been integrated into the Nigerian family, but to get to the Presidency requires collaboration with other ethnic groups. This finger pointing and accusations of a single man rather than apportion blames equally to those who participated in killings on both the Fed and biafran sides would soothe old wounds. ACHEBE is an old fool trying to stoke the embers of war, rather than bring an emerging generation together. Nigeria if successful will help other BLACKS worldwide, since today all policies are dictated by White powerful governments who even dominate our national economy. Why break Nigeria into 1001 mini states with no clout all dependent on IMF, World Bank, EU, USA, Russia and China for handouts? How long can the oil last before we become beggars? The Achebes and Adichies of this world want to bring another war to Nigeria, but I say shame on them. I have never read Adichies books and will never, unfortunately I read Things fall apart while I attended Igbobi college in the 1970′s which tells how much Igbos were hated a few years after the civil war (Yes we read a work by an Igbo writer and the school had many students of Igbo parents with no discrimination). I will not read Achebes book and will make sure anyone I know stays clear of that bigots book. These war mongers who want a secessation of Biafra from Nigeria as a land locked state, because Efiks, Anang, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Ijaw, Uhrobo, Itsekiri, Edo, Ndokwa and many other ethnic minorities that Biafra wanted to consume and Igbocise will never join such a domination. And do Igbos think Port Harcourt will be handed over as their new capital? Beware of what you wish for, you may very well get your land locked biafra with T Orji as your President.

    • Okechukwu Ofili November 25, 2012 at 8:42 am

      “if I cannot play at my own rules then I will take my ball away.”
      …when 30,000 of your people are killed, it is not called taking your ball away. It is called defending your people.

      “Awolowo was a financial genius which his Igbo adversaries resent…”
      lol…if taking all the hard earned money of a person and giving him $20 is financial genius then I agree with you =) again make you study your history.

      Watch this video if you have time, it was done by Jide Olanrewaju so there should be minimal bias http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aFc4VrV-94

    • Jowo O November 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      If you actually read history from credible sources you would know that you are the revisionist. You left out the fact that Awolowo was in jail for planning a coup in that period. The coup plotters were not only Igbo, some Yoruba were among. See list:
      Coup Planners:

      Major, Chukwuma Nzeogwu – Igbo

      Major, Emmanuel Ifeajuna – Igbo

      Major, Chukwuka – Igbo

      Captain, Adeleke – Yoruba

      Lieutenant, Fola Oyewole – Yoruba

      Brigediar, Victor Banjo – Yoruba

      Major, Wale Ademoyega – Yoruba

      Lieutenant, Fola Olafimiha – Yoruba

      Lieutenant, A.N. C Azubougor – Igbo

      Lieutenant, A.A.O Egbikor – Igbo

      Colonel, Nwawo – Igbo

      Colonel, Cyril Iweze – Igbo

      Colonel, Nwajei – Igbo

      Colonel, Mike Okwechime – Igbo

      Major, Albert Okonkwo – Igbo

      Captain, Henry Igboba – Igbo

      Col.Trimnell- Anioma Igbo

      Col. Nzefili – Anioma Igbo

      Lt. Col Animam Keshi – Delta Igbo

      Col. Ejoor – Edo/Yoruba

      Major Alale – Ijaw

      You left the fact that Azikiwe could not trust Awolowo after he used tribal politics to cause cross-carpeting in Zik’s party by Yoruba elements. You ignore the fact that if Awolowo had gone on with his coup plan, the Yoruba would have suffered the genocide. You left out the fact that the so-called 5 generals wanted to make Awolowo president if they were successful, but their coup was thwarted. You left out the fact that the coup plotters were planning to continue what they started, with Ironsi the next target while Nigerians were planning to eliminate the Igbo.
      People keep saying the minorities “suffered” under Igbo domination when the fact is that they were hated for owning so many properties in Port Harcourt. Please tell me exactly what the minorities suffered. The Eastern Region was the fastest growing region of all the regions with Port Harcourt as the pivot. Since they expropriated Igbo properties as spoils of war, Rivers state has never developed. Are they not the same ones shouting marginalization when the North moved the same Petroleum Institute Ojukwu had plans to make in Port Harcourt? The same Adaka Boro that fought for Nigerians was killed by Nigerian soldiers. Please Read your history! And not only from Yoruba authors.

  • Ade November 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I could not much more agree with you as much as I disagree with you on this one Ngozi. I am a Nigerian, half yoruba(other half Delta) and one of the few people who had access to read your first work(As a student of Literature) barely before it was published. So I believe my response can be as neutral as possible.

    I strongly believe that your account of this war is fairly perspective AGAIN.I believe that Achebe is one of the greatest writers in Africa (if not the greatest: whom I will pick before any other African writer) and you, Ngozi, the sunshine of our almost dead modern day literature. Your work is remarkable and we appreciate you. However, Awolowo mentioned in this article, I will emphasize, is again a hero of his people and not what many Ibo think he is. It is sad to see that some of the truth you tried to show us, is hidden in some of the truth you refused to share
    An account, which I believe you strongly ‘deliberately’ ignored to talk about is that ‘Lagos’ was the capital (power house) of Nigeria at the time of this war and Lagos is also a Yoruba land. If we know military strategy at all, Igbos would need to conquer Lagos to be victorious in this war: Ibos would not have conquered Lagos without going through other Yoruba states and cities making these states “prisoners of war”(Military land domination tactics) which automatically would mean, Awolowo would have to sell his people to allow the Ibos win the war: this led to the Asaba Massacre(Awolowo disrupted Ibo plan to match towards Lagos) and what the IBOs call Awolowos betrayal of IBO people. What would have Ojukwu or any other Ibo leader do if we flip the coin the other way round? Allow another tribe take its people as prisoners of war in other to capture the seat of power? Common, lets be reasonably fair in our choice of truth.

    Agreements were made as at the time the Ibos decided to go to this war with Awolowo. One of the agreements were that Ibos would attempt to fight to conquer the north, drive northerners away, and not fight to conquer the capital power house(which is Lagos) and that agreement was broken by the Ibos (Ibos wouldn’t have won anyways without conquering Lagos which would mean conquering Yoruba lands leading to Lagos).

    To be honest, Ibo people are the most hardworking, commercialized people in Nigeria, the reason for this is because of how much nation building they needed to do to recover from the war. The war has had a positive commercial impact of the attitude of an average Ibo man.(Same way Jews are successful because they always have a mentality for working extra hard because they live in the midst of enemies). Again, Ngozi, you have chosen the path of selective truth in your article. As much as the war had many negative impacts on Ibos, it did have some positive impact on their development of business acumen.

    The tale of the Nigerian civil war is very perspective based depending strongly on who is telling the story but a 360 view of the war will be beneficial for the so called ‘facts’ that you try to achieve or portray. I just wish your article is neutral; however, it has only spoken the truth you want us to see.
    I believe in Nigeria, I love the Ibo people and I want us all to understand that WARS have deer consequences.

    • Okechukwu Ofili November 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Ade…study the history. I even implore to watch this documentary by a Yoruba man…Jide Olanrewaju http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aFc4VrV-94

      Awolowo was in prison in the East, Ojukwu released him from prison on the understanding that he would lead the western secession. He turned around and didn’t. Also the North were one of the first people to want to secede but the british told them otherwise, because Oil had just been discovered in the Delta. It was the oil that kept people interested in Biafra.

      Your talk about advancing to Lagos and all that was after the reversal. So you are talking the right thing, but using wrong time frames. Again watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aFc4VrV-94

      • ayo November 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

        i disagree with u on thr release of awolowo by ojukwu

      • ofilispeaks November 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

        Dear Ayo, if you say you disagree you will not change history. It happened, go and study it up…abeg.

      • Nwa Ada November 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        Bia,Ofili nwa nna daalu…I just spent the last two hours watching that documentary.I have papers to turn in…but it was two hours well spent.Thanks for directing me to the link….Although I have always known most of the things in it,it did shed new light on others.Nsogbu Nigeria erika!*deep sigh*

    • Mazi Nwonwu November 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      JESU CHRISTI!!!1

  • ayo November 25, 2012 at 12:46 am

    This is an educative piece from Chimanda about the Biafran war and the some actors involved in it. This should be incorporated into the school curriculum so that your Nigerians can have a well rounded knowledge about has happened in the past. I hope we can all try to move on and leave together in peace in one country.

  • LB November 25, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Okay now that he has reminded is of the past and we acknowledge that all of it happened, Yoruba pple were mean, WHAT NEXT? How is going to help the future? Teaching history in school of how one tribe killed the other is suppose to help how? You have told your story, held on to it for this long but how is this suppose to help is what I can’t understand, (any1 who can please help, I’m willing to learn) … I just think we sud move on.. Already it’s causing tribal issues here, I mean I’m Yoruba, schooled in north, best friend is Igbo, how is learning how my grand fathers killed in the past going to help me see my friends any better? Lets move on and be one please, I’ll rather teach my daughter of one Nigeria than how they massacred her Igbo or Hausa sister or brothers.

    • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Would you also teach your daughter how to forget about June 12?
      You ask what is next, FREEDOM is next. The truth would set you free. The truth would spur us to seek independence from stupidity, independence from lies, independence from ignorance, independence from Nigeria. I am sure after your faux patriotism about talking of one Nigeria, you would also save up millions to enable your child study abroad. But also condemn Achebe for staying abroad. Nigerians free yourselves from hypocrisy. The only reason you are this dismissive is because we are not talking about the killing of Yoruba people. I know your attitude to the subject would be different if we were talking about MKO. This is the kind of attitude that keeps Nigeria down. Imagine if other ethnic groups were this indifferent to the targeted killing of Yoruba people because it doesn’t affect them. Sadly that is the direction Nigeria is headed – to your tent O Israel.
      Let’s face the truth – we are not one people and would never be.

  • LB November 25, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Reminded us of*
    How is that going*
    Please excuse all my mistakes!

  • Hairy Monsta November 25, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Happy Birthday to you, Dede. May God continue to keep you for the whole of humanity. As for Adichie, please remain fearless and keep the flag flying.
    I just read the book and many of the comments just revalidate what many already know…Success attracts all kind of attention!
    Can anyone truly begin to justify the ‘rightness’ of Nigerians killing 2 million of their brothers and sisters? We screamed when we saw the video of the ‘Aluu 4′ lynching. Magnify that a thousand times over a 6-month period and re-live the horror that was the familiar scene in Lagos and Northern Nigeria with many Easterners at the receiving end. And this was even before the war proper! We recoiled at ‘Rwanda’ but refuse to acknowledge that worse happened here. Until we all begin to discuss and come to terms with our painful past, we might be doomed to a painful future. Will anyone join me to move the motion that the ostrich to replace the eagle as our national bird…?

  • R November 25, 2012 at 3:57 am

    I pray for a Nigeria where tribe is not an issue, whether it be career, politics or relationship related.

  • ogeh cynthia November 25, 2012 at 4:26 am

    i agree with chimamanda NGOZI ADICHIE, Chief Chinue Achebe wrote his book, he gave us an account of the war according to his memoirs… he may not be 100% accurate but he is 95% right.. we cannot sweep this under the rug… we must confront our past, understand why and work hard to prevent future occurances…

  • Tee November 25, 2012 at 4:56 am

    i was born in the mid 80′s in an era where Nigeria economic started to plummet. At school, we were taught some little history about the civil and coups that took place in the 60′s. Like many westerners, the name Awolowo used to be(is still) a revered name in my mind because of his policies and visions to liberate common Nigerians from poverty and his cause to promote betterment and education through the nation with his free education system. Awolowo to me, was an hero for all Nigerians and the only president Nigeria never had. I was so much espoused in this notion until a day i was in political discourse with some of my Ibo friends. i was praising Awolowo for his visions and policies when i was rudely obstruct by one of them, saying Awolowo was an evil man that he hated Ibo people. Their gestures and feelings were so abstruse to me, i asked why would they say that, he was a nice man and created free education for everybody. I was trying to educate them about what he has achieved for common men, little dis i know that what their parents told them about Awolowo was entirely different from what i was told. To avoid confrontation and destructive arguments, i resolved with myself that they were only saying that because he was not from their tribe. As i grow up and begin to hear different sides of the civil war, It became clearer to me while my friends and some others Ibo don’t see Awolowo in the same way as me. Over the years, if not two decades now, i have heard enough information about the biafra war that i could even give my on account of the war. But fact must be said, the decisions made during after the war were not fair to the Ibos. I used to resent Chinue Achebe anytime he made any comment against Nigeria especially when it has to do with biafra stuff even though I revere him so much for his achievements. Until when I got to hear some untold stories of Biafra, i started having a rethink, I got more empathetic to his feelings. I begin to understand the scars that the war left on him, and the Country presence dilemma would not let him forget Biafra just so given the current situation of things in Nigeria. Perhaps if the situation of things have improved he would had long forgot anything about Biafra but the way things are in Nigeria is just enough to make you shed tears, after many years and millions of lives loss to the civil war things still remain the same!

    I never understand how devastated the Biafra was until i traveled out of Nigeria when an old acquittance of mine from one the Caribbean country was telling me about the war. Another Friend of mine who should be in her 50′s told me that when they were younger her mother used to tell them not to waste their food because the Biafran children were in need food and dying of hunger and that it was a common saying when they were growing up. I tried to relate the situation to Darfur war film that i would have seen on BBC or CNN. It was then i begin to understand the resentments shown by my ibo friends toward Awolowo.

    All that being said, i think we can’t just continue to be throwing blame all around, Yes, Awolowo made some flaws in his policies as regards to the war and the aftermaths, If it ‘s true he made these policies because he hated Ibo or because of power taste, we dont know, onle God knows that, but the true is, he remains one of the few visionary men that Nigeria has ever had, atleast if not for the whole Nigeria but for his people he is a champion and Hero. While it is easy to blame him for the hunger cause to the Biafrans other sundry to the war must be blame, Ojukwu, the coup ploters and even Achebe in my view is not a saint as far as the war is concerned. We need to move forward, first, as a people, as neighbors and as Nigeria ( atleast for now) let’s stop living in the injustices of the past and forgive one another so that we can together champion the better cause. God bless Us! God Bless Nigeria!!

    • TellEm December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Many Igbo do agree that Awolowo was a populist leader with communist leaning. Some Igbo residents in the Western region say they benefited from his free education policy. Nothing is wrong with that. He would have gained more acceptance across Nigeria if he broadened his purview beyond the Yoruba. His whole reason for forming a separate party from the NCNC and the Omo Egbe Oduduwa group was because of his concern for Igbo domination. The Igbo who joined NCNC were not concerned of domination from anyone considering that Herbert MacCauley was essentially raised in the Western region.
      But we cannot be talking of moving on by forgetting the past and the evils he did. The cross -carpeting issue is why Nigerian politicians today also cross-carpet based on pecuniary interests. It set a precedence. The indeginised companies have been looted dry by the beneficiaries. The Odua company he set up has succumbed to Nigeria’s civil service disease and that is why it is not as profitable as it should be. His actions during the civil war were condemnable. Saying this should not be seen as an insult to the Yoruba but as the statement of fact that it is. We can only move forward if we acknowledge the mistakes of the past and resolve not to repeat them.

  • babe November 25, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Chimamanda , u inspire me..

  • word November 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Whoever wrote above dt pple who had proofs to show for their landed properties in the west, got them backwn they returned from the war, should go do their research properly. Maybe the Ojukwus n a few elites managed to fight, but majority met their properties taken over with only 20pounds to start life again. Now we understand why it appears ibos are Naija’s best hustlers. We just had to get back on our feet.

  • obianidi November 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Echi di ime .ta bu gbo.onye nd di…

  • yulo November 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Ethnicity is an issue in Nigeria and it will always be an issue.If tables were turned, the Igbos would have done the same if not worse. You may call be a pessimist but Nigeria is never ever going to get past tribalism.We are too invested in out ethnic heritage more than we are in the country as a whole.

    • ofilispeaks November 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      hmmm…dunno if Zik would have allowed them murder 30,000 plus people sha.

    • FreeDom December 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      The Igbo are not like you Nigerians. We are too busy minding our businesses and competing in a globalised world to be looking for who to kill because of the death of an unpopular leader. Why do you think we are not bombing oil wells though it seems like that is what the Nigerian state listens to – violence? Leave Biafrans alone you Nigerians, and stop seeking to hold them back and blame them for everything!

  • a hater! November 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    IGBOs, EBOEs, IBOs una story is na d same everywhere;
    HAITI,
    VIRGINIA Eboe slaves in d US (google dem n see 4urselves),
    BIAFRAN Ibos ( unending diverstating fate…FACT)
    2mention a few,
    As a Nigerian I think u guyz are some what DIFFERENT dan d Rest of us.
    So really every man was given £20…. ???
    So sorry 4all of ds ‘cos am kinda coming 2terms 2all Nigeria n indeed d world has done 2una tribe as far as History is concerned. But all ds com make una natural born HUSTLERS nah!
    *one of my Dads’ properties in Port Harcourt happened 2b owned ORIGINALLY by an Unfortunate IGBOman…sad sad*

    • Frustration November 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      What did you just write? After you wrote it, did you recheck it? What exactly is your point? What is it? Please. Go and take several seats. Just because you CAN comment, does not mean that you SHOULD. Absolute nonsense. If you don’t have anything intelligent to say, then don’t say anything at all.

    • FreeDom December 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      For your own sake, seek to return that property. Do not feed yourself or your children on blood money.

  • Bolin November 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    War!!! not a nice experience. was not born during the war but i remember when i was younger, my grandma used to tell us dat during d war, a lot of Ibos were killed (I’m Yoruba). She said d Ibos were recognised by asking them to prononce the word ‘toro’ which means coin. She said they pronounced it by saying ‘tolo’ and anyone that called ‘toro’ ‘tolo’ was automatically recognised as Ibo and subsequesntly killed. That being said i think the Ibos are still bitter about the war and we have to move past that if we want to succeed as a nation. Another reason Nigeria cannot have an Ibo president soonest is because people think if an Ibo is made president today, Nigeria will divide and the Ibos will go their seperate ways. The Ibos really want to leave Nigeria, even here in the UK one time i was just chatting with some Ibo clients who came to the law firm i work in and we were talking generally, then d discussion moved to boko haram etc, u could feel the venoms in the Ibos that they actually want to segregate from Nigeria and have their own country.

    • ofilispeaks November 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I doubt igbo’s will secede or want to secede. What a lot of people want is for history not to be ignored, we as a nation have to learn from history.

      Saying that people should forget Biafra and move on, is like telling people to forget MKO’s unjust death and also to forget Ken-Saro-Wiwa’s death. You cant, you have to remember it and you have to treat it like it happened. We too like to forget in our country. Even after what Ken Saro-wiwa did for the Ogoni people, they have not named one street after him, talkless of airport. O well….na so…

      • FreeDom December 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

        Let me emphasise, BIAFRA DID GET SUPPORT FROM CITIZENS OF THE WORLD BUT NOT THEIR GOVERNMENTS THAT WERE HUNGRY FOR OIL. These governments were democratic. This was why Harold Wilson increased the supply of arms to Nigeria as the elections drew near.

    • FreeDom November 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      There is absolutely no crime in a desire for self determination. Many European countries that are “moving forward” have history with secession and Nigeria will never make progress as one country. Imagine puting the English, French, Turkish, German and Arabs in one country. UK alone have regions that want to secede. You sef wey dey UK dey see say British and Scottish and Irish no dey jell. Na today wey yansh no dey for front?

      • Free Spirit December 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        I agree with everyone that is saying that history should be reviewed. I am also in agreement with anyone referencing Scotland, Sudan e.t.c as examples states that want secession but please I beg of you………..DO NOT SECEDE ILLEGALLY like Biafra did else you would not get support of most of the world. Scotland did not just decide to declare some wanton independent Scotland. They called for a referendum politically.

      • FreeDom December 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        It is highly debatable to say that Biafra seceded illegally. Biafra did not secede illegally anymore than Ireland did. Defending yourself against violence is not illegal. Going against legal agreements is illegal. Nigeria had no right to tell Biafra what was legal when they went against the Aburi accord.
        We are in different times now so I fully support the option of a referendum. We do not expect Nigeria to agree to this and that is why we court countries that identify with Biafra – like Ireland, Finland, etc – and countries that respect or claim to respect self-determination – like USA. Keep in mind that Biafra DID get support, not by governments hungry for Nigeria’s oil, but from citizens (with a sense of justice) of many countries, including Britain. I must congratulate you Nigerians for fighting their oil war for them. They can now sell you ammunition to kill Niger Deltans. As long as their installations are safe, they don’t care.
        We want out of the hell called Nigeria. Get your NNPC away from our oil wells, get your NPA away from our ports, get thee behind me satan.

      • Free Spirit December 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        If you understand how international law works you would know that you have no point when it ccomes to the question of the secession action being illegal. Biafra was not recognized by the U.N or 99% of the countries on earth. Did Igbos at the time deserve to get their Biafra? Yes!!! Could a Legal Secession be obtained at the time? Yes but it would have taken longer? Was the secession attempt by ojukwu legal? No. This has been reviewed by many legal experts both including igbo experts and they have mostly all come to thesame conclusions. Regarding getting the secession now, it is very easy to obtain secession from Nigeria if igbos really want it. Firstly, all divided political forces need to unite and speak with one voice. There are representatives of igbo in the House of rep and in many key position in the house. If they all came under one political party and lay their agenda for the constituents in the igbo region which includes taking the igbo out of Nigeria as their main issue. If they won the election massively. Nigeria would have no choice but to give them a referendum when the motion raised in the House as they can now prove they have the mandate of the people. It can be done only if you try rather than tribal bashing of other Nigerians. Good Luck!!!

      • Free Spirit December 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm

        Please study the Partition of Ireland. I am really trying my best to be fair and balanced. Give me one example of a secession in the whole of history that was just declared without going through international organisation or the countries laws. The only one that comes close is Yugoslavia. The countries won their bid for secession politically according to the countries constitution but the Yugoslavian governemtn refused to let them go before the other side declared secession. With the support of most of the world, yugoslavia could not invade croatia (10 days war). Even the UN placed an arms embargo on Yugoslavia. So give me one example comparable to Biafra legally.

      • FaceTheTruth December 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

        For the love of God, FreeSpirit, tell me what right Nigeria had to tell anyone what was legal? Were the mass killings and ethnic cleansing legal? What was legal about Nigeria’s decision to renege on the peace agreement? The war was never about legality and such nonsense, it was about political expediency and oil politics. Open your eyes for God’s sake. Do you think that Britain would be concerned about justice in their sphere of influence? Keep in mind that the independence movement was referred to as an “Igbo movement” at a point by some British civil servants. What should the Igbo have done, accepted the injustice and await the plan by Nigeria’s government to declare a state of emergency and invade the Eastern zone? After all the killings about which the government did nothing to stop.
        Please do not tell me anything about international law, it is offensive hearing someone say Biafra’s secession was illegal and blithetly ignoring Nigeria’s refusal to stick to the peace agreement and the political atmosphere at the time. This is why people hate lawyers, ignoring common sense for some legal jargons written by people who are not affected by the effects of the law. Who wrote the laws at the time anyway, nuclear powers, league of nations? Did the law allow Nigeria to play by her own rules while changing the goal post? Did international law allow ethnic cleansing? Please answer these qusetions before you start talking of the legality of Biafran secession. Under the condition that Ojukwu and Biafrans were operating, one would have to be a brain-dead fool to act differently. I wonder what makes you think Nigeria, that cannot stick to peace agreements would allow a peaceful secession in a democratic manner. Nigeria has not even gotten democracy right. Read about what happened in Bosnia when they voted for independence. You want seccessionists to unite under one party, that’s easy. But why is Nigeria arresting MASSOB members? They want peaceful secession, what’s wrong with that? I don’t hear of any Ogoni being arrested for declaring independence.
        Please also give me an example of a country permitting genocide in modern times being supported by the international community. A country that signed a peace agreement with one region and then reneges on it, then claims the moral or legal high ground. Biafra’s situation was different, it was part of a country that just won independence from Britain. Britain had the desire to continue controlling the country’s affairs, so they were willing to sideline justice for whatever they could get from it. And again let me spell this out, THE COUNTRIES YOU TALK ABOUT HAD DEMOCRACY and not a military take over. Was Ojukwu’s request for a referendum heeded at that time? Do you think anyone, Nigeria or Britain would have agreed to a referendum? They agreed to Aburi, but look what happened. And the Yugoslavia example took place long after the death of colonialism and empire. The sphere of influence BullSh!t was not at play.
        And please, read my comments, there is no iota of the “tribal bashing of other Nigerians”. Nigeria-bashing surely, every Nigerian nay African does that, but not tribal bashing.

  • analyst November 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    This is myopic view about the story of Biafra war written by Chidamanda who already we know from her description and praise to Chinua Achebe as her mentor. I will not be suprised that she is in support of Achebe phantom story. I am dissapointed in her despite the fact that i have listen to her on TEDEX giving speech and mentioning the name of Chinua Achebe without even hearing the name of Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laurette and great writer. It shows she is tribal and very myopic. I can tell you that you better redeem your image because you are just starting your career as a writer and you need to take counselling from the elder, if not you may loose a lot of people who already admire you.

    • ofilispeaks November 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      lol…when someone writes the truth they say she is myopic. But in all the long story you wrote above, you failed to state where she mis-spoke.

    • Free Spirit November 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      I heard Funmi Iyanda in her speech though. I do not believe she is a tribalist however, no matter how fir and balanced an human being appears we have all being doused with a bit of prejudice. I believe this matter exposes her prejudice.

    • free November 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

      With all due respect to Wole Soyink, Chinua Achebe is gifted and a better writer. I read things fall apart in primary school (read a lot) but could not finish The Lion and the Jewel when we read it in secondary school. Wole Soyinka’s style of writing is mostly compound and complex sentences. I didn’t do well in the class test on the novel because I just couldn’t finish the novel (I still remember the mad man of ilejunle, so I did learn something from the book…lol). Its not about tribe. I read “Time changes yesterday” by a yoruba author and loved it so much. I read it over 20 times especially when I am bored and will like to buy a new copy. So enough of the tribe thing. I used to read works by writers from different parts of the world as it gave me a glimse of how people from other cultures live. Soyinka may have won the Nobel prize but Achebe is the author after my heart. If you prefer Soyinka’s style of writing, good and fine (we cannot all like the same thing). I am also happy the way Adichie write too the way the sentences flow is very similar to Achebe’s style of writing). Have all her books and can’t wait for the next one.

      • Free-spirit November 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm

        We all have our personal preference!!!! And contrary to your preference the Nobel Prize organizers preferred Wole Soyinka to Chinua Achebe.

      • FreeDom November 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        @Free-spirit
        Also Wole Soyinka supported Biafra, standing on the side of justice and fairness, and was imprisoned for it. Read “The Man Died” by Soyinka.

  • weepin Biafran November 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    We shall overcome Nigeria someday… Seeking 4 an independent nation isn’t a bad idea. We do not need d Niger deltans dis tym. We will hustle to build our new nation oil or no oil. Y do nigerians hate us and yet they’d not let us be? Because they know we are hardworking. By 2014 we shall know!

  • Ola Tokunbo November 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    To Saint Chimamanda http://t.co/Tw6R2Sgd pls read thi

  • analyst November 26, 2012 at 1:24 am

    @Ola Tokunbo; i am in support of the piece and i hope she reads it.thanks for this piece, I hope she realize the mess she has put herself into. I thought she is a person that will listen to other story and not one side of the story and it is very obvious that she does not practice what she says. it is so unfortunate for her. I made some background check about and i discover that she is not a patriotic Nigerian but i will not go into that now. I will leave it for another day but i am totally dissapointed with this piece she wrote comparing to the same person that i listen to on TED. She is truly in support on only one side of the story.

    • chichi November 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      lmao..yall sound so desperate to discredit this woman..keep trying..@ analyst..read the piece and its a whole load of crap..

    • TellEm November 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      You are just as guilty. You support the side that committed genocide. How “patriotic” were many Yoruba after June 12? Does the piesce by Ola Tokunbo talk about the Aburi Accord that Nigeria signed to avoid war and then reneged on? Or the desire by some Nigerians, especially Yoruba leaders to reduce the number of Igbo and contain them.? Read this: http://www.kwenu.com/biafra/quotes_1966pogrom.htm.

  • Hi November 26, 2012 at 6:48 am

    @ nma: the Biafran War affected every Nigerian @ d time in so many ways, which can be healed thru God’s mighty intervention. :-) would The Biafran War become ur reason for being against certain pple’s progress in Enugu Town?

  • Ginika November 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    When I saw this article, I skipped it to come back. Then I saw one hundred and twenty nine comments and I started wondering what people could possibly be saying. This isnt a wedding post afterall and they draw the most comments (usually); until I read the article and read the comments.

    My comment is about the comments because making a comment about the article will do absolutely nothing. Talk is cheap, them no lie when they talk so.

    Such a hot topic!

  • Free Spirit November 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Anyone quoting the Geneva Convention of 1949 should please shut up and that’s including Adichie. I thought she was all about a fair and balance story however it seems that she has been unable to resist the innate desire to join the bandwagon. Please read the Geneva Convention of 1949 and understand why it cannot be applied to the starvation policy used against Biafra by the NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT (Geneva Convention 1977 however rectifies some of these loopholes). Let me make it clear that I believe that starvation as a weapon of war is wrong and I agree that Awolowo appears to be one of the key figures in the use of starvation as a weapon of war and I also agree to the POSSIBLITY that these decision taken by Awolowo where taken as a result of his ambition to become president (I am not the type to deny fact or logic as even the mans memoirs supports this). However, to go ahead and deduce that that his decision has anything to do with wanting the advancement of the yoruba is ludicrous and illogical; in fact it show that your tribalism to even make that connection.

    Paraphrasing Miss adichies own words when we decide to start telling a story from the middle then the story becomes incomplete. Since the beginning of time and even till today despite the Geneva convention, starvation has always been used as a weapon of war and no one in history has ever been successfully prosecuted for it (Starvation was used in world war 2 by the allied forces, Darfur, Kosovo, e.t.c. and of all the prosecutions none has ever been for starvation. Please ask yourself………. why?). ‘Starvation as a weapon’ was one of the main reasons the 2nd world war ended sooner than later which was awolowo’s reasoning according to one of his interviews and norm reasoning of his time period albeit in retrospect regrettable. Please tell the British that Churchill is less of an hero because of all the atrocities that can be credited to him if judiciously reviewed.

    However, what riles me up the most is when respected figures likes Prof Chinua Achebe and now my beloved ‘chimamanda adichie’ (read all her books) decide to tell history with one sided facts and the other side of history is conveniently painted with artful, pretty and colourful combination of words. How about you tell the Nigerian people about the other side with equal veracity……ojukwu’s decision to illegally secede, ojukwu’s decision to deliberately go ahead and prosecute a war he knew he could never win and a war he knew would at least cost hundred of thousands of igbo lives, ojukwu decision to refuse the chance of a land corridor to deliver aid to his starving kinsmen who where literally dieing right before his eyes, ojukwus decision to keep pursuing his propaganda war while his people died instead of negotiating for the survival of his own people, ojukwu’s decision to plan for only 3 months according to the mans memoirs before deciding to prosecute a war that would decide the fate of his people. What should we decide informed his decisions (Can I just deduce that his Ego led his decision to lead his people to genocide?). Let’s be fair

    There are simply two ways to take a territory protected by a country’s constitution (legally or militarily). Yes a people have the right to secede or determine their destiny but biafra did not go through the right channels hence the lack of support from 98% of the international community. I absolutely sympathise with the biafran cause and conditions that made ojukwu decide to provide a safe haven for all Igbos in the Eastern Region which I believe was the correct decision. However, the decision to secede illegally would not have been tolerated by any Nation in the world no matter how developed. Although I disagree with the respected Achebe’s portrayal of Awolowo, I have to agree that his ambition to become president of Nigeria affecting some of his choices but my point is the same can be said about ojukwu’s own selfish ambitions affecting choices he made before and during the civil war. In the words of Chimamanda Adichie, “the danger of a single story is not that it is not true, it is that it is incomplete and it robs people of their dignity”.

    • Changing Faces November 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      You can turn this epistle into a novel u know…. Sad thing is most of it made no sense! They don’t need your respect, they spoke the truth. Keep wallowing in your nonsensical chatter

      • Free Spirit November 27, 2012 at 12:36 am

        Well, my write up of is not for illiterate fools such as yourself who have done little or no research on the historical facts of the Nigerian civil war. Obviously I did not expect a word of it to make sense to a tribal jingoist either. So, keep wallowing in your ignorance .

    • TellEm November 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      You left out the fact that Ojukwu agreed with Gowon on the Aburi accord which was to avoid hostilities. Please research the war and do not leave out important facts. Ojukwu did not want war, Nigeria did. Nigeria reneged on the and planned to declare a state of emergency in the East, illegally created states, did not do anything to stop the killings, did not prosecute any killer. Ojukwu was left with no choice after Nigeria took all these actions. Awolowo said “the maintenance of the unity of the federation is not worth one drop of blood”. But that was before he was made Finance Minister.
      What did the Geneva Convention of 1949 say about mass executions or reneging on peace agreements? For goodness sake, no one said the demonic actions of Awolowo (and Gowon) was to advance Yoruba interests. Please re-read the book or give it to a neutral party to confirm – not another Yoruba supremacist. If anything, the policies founded Nigeria on a faulty foundation that makes everyone losers – where are most of the ‘Indigenised’ companies? Where are our Universities since tribalism – starting from UNILAG – started affecting appointment of VCs? Where is the civil service since after the civil war? Whatever gains that were made by the winners of the Civil War have all been lost.
      Read the links I have posted throughout the website detailing quotes from people who wanted the Igbo race exterminated. If you were in Ojukwu’s shoes, would you allow Nigeria control your food supply? Scratch that. If you were a mother would you allow a person who had expressed hatred for you and wants to kill you to give your child food? What is wrong is wrong. Few British people may criticize Churchill but don’t fool yourself into thinking that no one criticizes him. The use of the nuclear bomb on Japan civilian population is questioned till today. Why do you think that the son of the American president who made that decision apologized despite all the justification Americans have been giving over the years. Genocide was also an instrument of war since time immemorial, does that make it right? And please realise that Nigeria was the one that declared war, having reneged on a duely signed peace agreement. Where is the justice in that? Imagine if Britain decided to give Nigeria independence but reneges on that. If Nigeria was not an African country, in all likelihood, the world would have supported Biafra as the public opinions in all countries were on Biafra’s side. In the situation that Ojukwu found himself, only a FOOL would suggest he negotiated with a party that was unwilling to. Britain urged Gowon to stick to the Aburi accord but started supporting Nigeria when they saw Russia was supplying Nigeria arms. Cold war mentality made them do what they should not have done.

      That nonsense about Ojukwu prosecuting the war because of Ego or ambition is a myth. It was started by Gowon, whose ‘ambition’ prevented him handing over to a democratic government like he promised. No one who actually studied the war instead of relying on old-wives tales and gossips still believes this. No one in his situation would have done any different. No one would have expected the world to condone Nigeria reneging on the peace agreement and trying to declare a state of emergency in the East, UNILATERALLY. While I do not agree entirely especially with the recommendations of the German author – remember Germans still don’t like Jews – I would recommend that your research on the history of the war begins here:
      http://www.afrikanistik-online.de/archiv/2011/3042
      The fact that the Igbo identify with the Jews might have informed some of what he wrote. However, he dispels some of the lies even educated Nigerians still believe about the events that led to war.

      • Free Spirit December 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm

        I respect a lot of the points that you have made but as a result of time I would not be able to acknowledge my agreements and disagreements. You said Gowon reneged on aburi (its debatable but fine) but this does not give ojukwu the legal right to declare an illegal secession against Nigeria’s constitution creating an illegal state. For example, Texas is the only American state allowed to secede at anytime according to the constitution of their country. However, the Texas governor cannot just declare secession without going through the right channels which would probably include going through the state house of rep and state wide referendum. Regardless of what Texas reason is for secession, the american government would not tolerate an illegal secession of any state. However, like chimamanda said, we all remember differently so I hope we can agree to disagree.

      • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

        Gowon DID renege on the Aburi accord. that is not debatable. He also unilaterally gave himself the power to declare a state of emergency, which he was engineering in the east so he could invade anyway. Your Texas example is clearly irrelevant as the US govt would not illegally go against constitutional and legal agreements with its territories and expect them to play by their rules. It makes no sense to talk about “right channels” when the party you are dealing with is unwilling to abide by rules. Need I point out, America is a democracy.
        We can agree to disagree, but to paraphrase from the article, surely we cannot disagree on facts.

      • Free Spirit December 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

        Please study the American Civil War (it was not all about slavery you know). The south had some other legitimate reasons that showed that the majority government of the North had violated the constitution. Moreover, there is a clear difference between the treatment a coup d’etat and a secession in international law. A successful (illegal)coup poses the problem for the international world of recognition of the government (the country has already been recognised by all countries in the world). On the other hand, we have the recognition of an illegal country (e.g eriteria but they later won recognition in 1993 when they seeked a referendum politicallly). Two totally different problems. There has always been two ways in which teritory protected by a countrys constitution has been taken throughout history i.e Legally and Militarily. Never illegally

      • Free Spirit December 3, 2012 at 7:52 pm

        Awolowo included…….e.t.c. means anyone you would like to include on the Nigerian side however, do not forget to bring ojkuwu and his cohorts to the altar of justice. Tufiakwa, never in my life would I ever addressed as the person that would justify war or genocide (I am quite Liberal in my views) or hold brief for war criminals/heros of this world such as Churchill, Awolowo, Ojukwu, George Bush and so on but I am open minded enough to listen to both sides of the argument. I condemn all their actions and scream “not in my name” as loud as I can. However, my aim if you read all my write-ups on this blog is to put the debate in the accurate context. Now, I went to school in Lagos and I am very proud to have grown up with Igbos, yorubas, hausas, itsekiris, kanuris, efiks, annangs e.t.c and most of my best friends till today are all igbos. I can tell you categorically that this talk of Yoruba hate of igbos is not true. I am not a usual blog contributor but I enjoy reading opinions and I see a lot of the vitriol from both sides but I understand that you cannot use that to judge people for various reasons. E.g they may have personal probs in their lives, they may only be responding from hate they got from another person yesterday, they may be psychotic e.t.c. Biafra or not lets all love each other as I love my igbo friends and they have been there for me.

      • TellEm December 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        I wonder what makes you think that America is or was a model to follow. They also committed genocide – killing Aborigenes. Besides, they have a robust democracy with a good judiciary that can interprete the constitution. Any part of America that feels the constitution is being violated can seek redress just like they did with the Obamacare bill. Whatever the South of America was fighting for, it was not against the real threat of genocide like the case in Biafra. Your statement essentially implies that the legality of secession is determined by military might. I agree. Might is right after all. All that rubbish about seceeding through proper channels does not matter if you have backers supplying you weapons, and that is what the Biafran war proved. Ultimately, they(the British) needed their puppets in power and the pesky Biafrans would not give them what they want.
        For the umpteeth time, protecting your people from genocide is never going to be considered a war crime. The starvation of children started a long time before the “land corridor” gift horse was proposed by the Nigerian criminals. It was not clear whether the same corridor would not be used for Nigerian troop movement. Where is the sense in allowing the Nigerians to be able to send spies and poison the food supplied to the Biafrans. Self survival is not illegal, but I think willful stupidity should be. Ojukwu is a flawed man, I grant you. But it is willfully ignorant to suggest that his actions taken in the face of Nigerian genocide were war crimes. That’s like suggesting the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto committed war crimes. I would have no respect for Ojukwu had he agreed to anything with the Nigerians that gave them tactical advantage in a genocidal war. What idiot permits a feed-them-before-killing-them strategy by their enemies. Better starve than dine with the devil.
        Your best friend is Igbo, all well and good. That is irrelevant to the fact that Nigerian ‘heroes’ committed war crimes in fighting a proxy oil war. Please understand that criticism of Awolowo is not criticism of Yoruba. A lot of people, both on Nigerian and Biafran side have misinterpreted that. I do not believe that Yoruba people hate Igbo. That is too general. It is however silly to deny that many Nigerians, from all parts of the country, have a particular distaste for the Igbo (putting it mildly). This hatred is not based on any real or perceived injustice the Igbo or their ancestors did, but on the fear that, as one of my Yoruba friends put it, “the Igbo are too ambitious”. I am sure in your private conversations with other Yoruba people there is a ‘fair’ amount of time spent on talking about how ‘terrible’ or ‘dangerous’ or whatever the new qualifcation is the Igbo are, that is scarcely spent saying the same of other ethnic groups. I know, having lived in Lagos all my life, that this does not apply to all Yoruba or Nigerians but it does to many.
        Biafra Independence Movement is not meant to make us hate or not interact with each other as Africans, but to free us from the shackles that a country like Nigeria, founded on lies and the blood of innocents, prevents. It is to increase cooperation among neighbours, the type that ethnic rivalry in the Nigerian state prevents. It is to allow a people with a common philosophy determine their destiny as a nation, a real nation. It is to allow competing ideologies and philosophies existing side by side learn from each other rather than imposing situations and laws on each other. It is not just a hollow cry for justice to right past wrongs, it is a look towards the future with a despiration for progress on the African continent that would bring respect for Africans everywhere.

      • FaceTheTruth December 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

        Also read about the Irish War of Independence. That was what I was referring to. Nobody is talking about whether Ireland is legally divorced from UK or not.

  • tatafo! November 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Chei, my people have suffered. In the grand scheme of things, we’re better off than Congo, Rwanda and Liberia that have wars that have gone on for decades.

    But it is very important to remember what hating your fellow humans spawns

  • Janet November 27, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Chimamanda made a serious factual error. Blockades are NOT illegal under the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions explicitly allow them subject to rules. Whatever these rules are, they say that the delivery of food and relief materials must follow routes, times and means prescribed by the blockading party. In this case it means the Nigerian side had a right to specify that food could be delivered through a land corridor.

    It was not illegal.

    • Free Spirit November 27, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Thank you Janet ……My point exactly

    • TellEm November 29, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Such lies. Blockade of ammunitions maybe but not of food aid. The aim of the food blockade was to carry out the agenda of reduction of Igbo people which was expressed by many Nigerians, especially Yoruba leaders. Read here (http://www.kwenu.com/biafra/quotes_1966pogrom.htm). Read the internet and know how many Nigerians still talk about exterminating the Igbo.
      Click here

      • Free-spirit November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm

        Please go and read the document or if you dont know how to read, ask a lawyer to interprete it for you.

    • TellEm November 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      @Free-spirit
      I will not sink to your level in insults but I would like all those that justify genocide to also talk about Nigeria’s refusal to follow the Aburi Accord. I would like your lawyer to explain if the Geneva convention allows the Mass Executions that occurred in the parts of Biafra that Nigeria occupied during the war. And the rapes.
      Maybe when the crimes that Nigeria perpetuated during the war occurs to you or your family you would tell me about Geneva Convention. The starvation policy was directed at civilians. The air-raids were also directed at civilians. I don’t expect you to feel anything because you know nothing about the war cause you were not affected. Maybe when we talk about MKO Abiola you would be more concerned.

      • Free Spirit December 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        Please take off your rose-tinted glasses. I was only responding to your insult of the poster whom you called a Liar as I do not believe she lied. She only pointed out a factual misrepresentation of the Geneva Convention 1949 by the author. Secondly, I agree that a lot of the people that committed crimes of war need to be posthumously prosecuted (Benjamin Adekunle, Muritala Mohammed, e.t.c.). However, since we are judging everyone judiciously with the utmost veracity, sacred cows like ojukwu need to also be brought to the altar of justice for his crime. When igbo writers criticize awolowo and gowon for using starvation as a weapon to win the war, they should not forget to criticize ojukwu for using starvation as a weapon of war elongation. Finally,
        I am not the type to deny the genocide an injustice that was done to igbos during the civil war and I understand the grief because most of my closest friends are igbos but lets all remove our rose tinted glasses when we review history.

      • TellEm December 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

        I think you should also remove your rose-tinted glasses that lets you emphasize the weakness of the 194.. whatever Geneva convention and use that to justify the actions of the Nigerian side. You did not answer my question – what does that flawed document say about ethnic cleansing, an action the Nigerian side executed in the territories they seized earlier in the war? Please tell me how you would have acted differently if you were Ojukwu. There was real threat of genocide that he had to deal with – it would have been idiotic of him to surrender. Why did you not mention Awolowo among those you think should be posthumously tried? Does it make sense that you say starvation was legal and beyond reproach at that time so leave Awolowo alone, but try Ojukwu for the same starvation? Read the comments of several leaders of the West about their desire to decimate the Igbo race and read up about women raped in the Southern part, read about the woman who was doused with petrol and burnt for resisting rape, the men rounded up and killed in Asaba and get over your need to justify starvation and accuse Ojukwu for it. Only a Goddam fool would surrender to the Nigerians given all the occurrences. The Nigerian leaders started the war. They went against a duely signed agreement that was to prevent war. The only reason the genocide did not continue when Biafra lost was because of international pressure.
        I have always wondered why Nigerians talk so passionately about their hate for the Igbo but are equally passionate against their secession and it hit me. Nigerians need to keep the Igbo around so they can blame them for every thing that goes wrong. On blogs and forums you see them being blamed for not protesting the fuel subsidy removal. Some clown in the Gamji wrote that the Igbo were over procreating to make up for those lost in the war. Not surprisingly some clowns are saying Ojukwu should be blamed for the starvation. He should have agreed to a land corridor. If he agreed to such, the same creatures would blame him for facilitating the advancement of Nigerian troops through the same land corridor and allowing genocide.
        Remove the log from you eyes miss.

  • Bambino November 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I remembered ‘purple hibiscus’

  • Nonnie November 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    *to digress* I love Bellanaija…..Majority of its readers are Intelligent and widely read….You cant get these interesting comments from other blogs.
    On the article, I still think Nigeria has not learnt from the war, because the issues which led to the war are still prevalent in today’s society.. These days I fear to hope for my country… I really fear, because where we seem to be headed with the hate for each other, unpatriotic spirit, talk more of the corruption and greed……..God help us

  • Chukwudi November 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    A good prose from a good writer. The conclusions and deductions are incorrect and severely flawed,using Chimamanda’s words. The Nigerian ‘problem’ has a lot to do with the ‘treatment’ of the Igbo by the Nigerian system after the war. If you benefitted one way or the other from the Nigerian establishment either by cleverness or other ‘acts’ and became lucky to ‘escape’ to other climes to realise your potentilas, chances are that you will make this kind of conclusions that Chmiamanda has made on the Nigerian/Igbo issue.
    If you schooled in Nigeria, searched for employment in Nigeria, found work and worked in Nigeria, you will ‘see’ the magnitude of the what the Igbo people have seen and are still seeing in the country.
    Babangida’s very succesful effort to destroy the Igbo value system was a continuation of the war in a very devastating form.
    Chinua Achebe’s magnificient effort to write this ‘book’ at the age of 82 is not just born from the civil war bitterness/disappointment, it has more to do with the present condition of the Igbo people in this country – remember that he has rejected national honours from this country in recent past for this same reasons. To say that the way succcessive Nigerian governments has handled the Igbo issue is not the reason for our present level of non-development or under-decveleopment smacks of insincerity or ignorance or outright mischief from having gained fom the awful and morally corrupt nigerian system and feeling smart about it.
    It insults the intelligence of hardworking Igbos.

  • Anarchy November 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Just can’t believe that Chimamanda is faulting the editing of Chinua Achebe’s book. Pity. She is in no position to write about the condition of the Igbos in nigeria because she does not know. She has been disconnected since she left to succesfully realise her talent in wrinting in the US. If she was here Nigerian would have destroyed her and her ‘talent’ Or stunted it in a manne that she will not dream of winning all those awards.
    She comes home because of some efforts from an Igbo controlled bank to organise some literary programmes that requires her input.
    I think she should more circumspect because she is Igbo and grew up in this clime before ‘her kernel was broken by a benevolent spirit, she should not forget to be humble’. I believe she must have come across this proverb from the great man himself.

  • OLAYINKA AWOFODU December 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    ‘Ojukwu asked them(igbos) to withdraw all their monies from Nigerian banks, he exchanged them for Biafran Pounds, collected their nigerian passbook and burn them up.”… so the 20 pounds was still fair post-war.

    • FaceTheTruth December 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Yeah, right. Just like the June 12 annulment was fair. Maybe they should have left their monies in Nigerian banks so that you Nigerians can seize their money like you seized their property.

  • FaceFacts December 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Trust me, the Ikwerre need the friendship of the Igbo more than the Igbo need their friendship. They are Igbo. They are surrounded with other tribes that hate Igbo and so it is not in their interests to identify themselves as Igbo, and I understand that. It is a tactical move. The real danger is when the Igbo start saying Ikwerre is not Igbo.

    It doesn’t matter. An independent Biafra would protect Ikwerre interests as well as Igbo interests. No matter where they choose to stay, in Biafra, in the Niger Delta or elsewhere, they are as much our concern as the Turkic speaking Uighurs in China are a concern for Turkey.

  • whatashame December 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    @facethetruth

    I don’t know what planet you live in because you need to snap out of it into reality. Get real and logical here. Don’t only think of temporary solution but a long term which is what many Africans/Nigerians fail to do. They think of war, but don’t think of what to do afterwards, which is the reason the countries are left in shambles, even worse than before. Africans are a different set of people. I refuse to compare Korea, singapore or Ireland to Nigeria because it’s totally different mentality.Africans sure love to divide, no form of unity whatsover. Guess what, Korea divided into south and North, not into different tribes. Until Africans/Nigerians think of ways to progress instead of backwardness, and remain stagnant, that continent and Nigeria will forever remain stuck. Your mentality or mindset is VERY PROBLEMATIC BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT GOT AFRICA, NIGERIA TO WHERE IT IS NOW. When I said not necessarily true, I was trying to be nice. What I really wanted to say is, IT’S A BIG LIE AND VERY DELUSIONAL. First, there’s no hatred going on because hatred is a strong word and trust me, if that’s going on, different tribes in Nigeria won’t be living next to each other, they will literally kill each other off. And, the comments on here will be worse than that. Please, go and read about the difference between hatred, prejudice and preference. There will never be a perfect world where these different tribes will live perfectly among each other. Since, you want to keep crying about an Igbo being rejected a rent, I guaranteed you the same thing will be done if a yoruba rents a place in igboland. Igbos have worse stereotypes about Yorubas, they are more tribalist because I’ve heard and seen it more from them. Yorubas are very cultured, doesn’t mean hatred. And, if a yoruba prefers his/her own people, so be it. Igbos prefer their own people and talk bad about others. I dated an igbo guy, and when his parent met me, they thought I was igbo but once they heard Yoruba, they forced the guy to cut it off. But, I don’t go around saying igbos hate Yorubas because I understand that have preference but now there’s more successful intertribal marriages, which is good. So, let’s think of moving forward. And, this will be my last comment and will leave with this. PROGRESS, UNITY AND DEVELOPMENT is what Africa needs.

    • FaceTheTruth December 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      @Whatashame
      I do not see you facing facts or suggesting any long term solution to the pariah that Nigeria has turned out to be. Secession of Biafra IS a long term solution to Biafrans who want economic development. If you plan to engage in any debate about the future of Biafra or Africa as a whole, I would like to see LOGICAL arguments from you. Those who are willing to have educated debates can go here: http://www.dbee.me/profile.php?db=3940 . Please know that the owners of the site want INTELLIGENT debates and not the regular stupidity that attends any debate on secession in Africa.
      I have not mentioned anything that indicates I want war. I want a referendum backed secession. The only people talking about war are people like you against any mention of Biafra or any secessionist movement. The reason why the whole region recognized as Nigeria is in shambles is because it is one country whose local and foreign policies are more controlled by foreigners than Nigerians made with no permission of her people.
      You refuse to compare those other countries to Africa because you have unwittingly bought into the racist narrative that Africans are monkeys. I refuse to buy into that thinking. I think that Nigerians that want secession are not different from the Catalonians, Irish, Flanders or other countries anywhere in the world where people ask for fairness and justice. If you do not wish to compare Africans to Europeans or Asians, then why do you migrate to these countries only to complain about racism, but say nothing about the fact that if you are Igbo in Lagos, you will have a more difficult time getting accommodation or promotions in local companies. You complain about the racism you experience but say “Yoruba prefer Yoruba, Igbo prefer Igbo, anybody that does not want to rent his property to Igbo, that is his problem”. So yes, you live in a different planet and have a different mentality from me and experience a different reality, but sorry I do not intend to snap to YOUR REALITY.
      I never asked for Nigeria to divide into divide into different tribes. I am asking for Biafra. Any part of Nigeria that agree to be part of Biafra are welcome. Any that do not, fine. There are Ijaw who say that they would go with Biafra if Nigeria divides, there are those that say the opposite. That is the beauty of a referendum. The people choose their destinies for themselves and agree to what they think favour them. Either way the real Biafrans would choose Biafra.
      I see restatement of “not necessarily true” and am amazed how it transformed to “big lie and very delusional” after the fact. What is a big lie is the Nigerian state, and I find your mentality of accepting the lies to be delusional. Denying the real problems in Africa is what has got Africa to where it is today. Other countries in Europe have the same identity crisis that Nigeria and other African countries have. The difference is that instead of hiding their heads up their butts like Nigerians love to do and pretend that there is some sort of unity, they acknowledge the problems and address it. Scotland, for example, is virtually an independent state from Britain. Their have their own parliament and laws independent from UK and can print their own currency. Switzerland has rotational presidency to accommodate the various ethnic groups. Several countries like Belgium have multiple ministers for the ethnic groups that exist in the country. Nigeria was never one, that is why Awolowo formed his own party instead of joining the NCNC. That is why the same Niger Deltans that were complaining of Igbo domination, even though their area was developing and there was heavy investments by the Igbo, are the same ones complaining about a Yoruba plot to dominate their oil industry.
      Hate, Prejudice, Preference, forgive me if I am more willing to face reality than engage in semantic quibbling. Most of the active commenters here, it seems, do not reside in Nigeria so their comments will not be reflective of the position of Nigerians in Nigeria. The fact is that Nigerians live side by side each other but engage in violence when there is an opportunity. No one knew the extent of hate between the Kikuyu and other Kenyans until their elections caused violence. No one or very few understood the extent of hatred the Europens had for the Jews until Hitler came along. No one knew the extent to which the Hutus hated the Tutsis until the Rwandan genocide. All these groups lived “peacefully” alongside each other. Please actually ask or research before speculating that Yoruba get treated the same way in Igboland. This is the same type of thing that is said by Yoruba people who have never been to the east. No Yoruba person I know that have been to the East says the same thing. Two Igbo VCs were gotten rid of in Western Nigeria, but now nobody I know of in the East is complaining that Ibidapo-Obe, a Yoruba man, is the VC of an Eatern university. (Read http://www.punchng.com/education/universities-are-named-after-cities-not-individuals-ibidapo-obe/). This is why Biafra must live Nigerians, I don’t want Biafrans to start thinking like Nigerians. I want anyone who is qualified, regardless of their state of origin, to be a VC of any university or head any institution in Biafra. If you have seen tribalism from any Igbo, know that it is a reaction to the discrimination they suffer anywhere in Nigeria. They have learnt since the civil war and the dismissive “emotions aside” treatment it gets in Nigeria, they cannot trust Nigerians. Before the civil war, they settled anywhere they wanted and build homes and families in that place. They built none in the east. During the pogroms they returned to the east and discovered their error in not building at home. Why do you think that an average Igbo man saves and makes economic sacrifices to build in the east, before they build anywhere else? Because they are more aware of the people who rail against any talk of Biafra but ask them, “Why do you Igbo not stay in your South East?”. They are aware of the hateful stares they get and the discussion online of people who fantasize about seizing Igbo properties. Igbo intermarried more with other Nigerians before the war. The reason they are more reluctant to do so now is because of the effects of the civil war. It is not safe to intermarry with a people who do not feel concerned with your safety and wellbeing or do not take the institution of marriage as seriously as the Igbo culture does. The establishment of Biafra will see an increase of intermarriage anyway. Think of the much less trouble a Nigerian gets marrying a non-Nigerian African compared to marrying a Nigerian of a different ethnic group. The safety that an economically and militarily strong Biafra will give her citizens will encourage Biafrans to be freer with their associations and investments. That your former Igbo boyfriend’s parents refused you is not peculiar to the Igbo. Yoruba do that too. But in no case have I or anyone hear an Igbo refused to rent his house to a Yoruba for whatever reason. We bad-mouth each other, yes. I am used to hearing my Yoruba colleagues talking bad about Igbo. That is normal. Europeans bad-mouth each other too. That is not why I am asking for Biafra. I am asking for Biafra for the sake of justice, self-determination and development. Nigeria is firmly against the progress, unity and development you are asking for.
      Biafra, with her republican, welcoming, democratic and peaceful culture will provide the example for Africa. The superior culture of acceptance of our African brothers over the culture of stealing, looting and rewarding lazyness that Nigeria stands for shall ensure prosperity for Biafra and her people. Biafra is more than the hollow slogan of Unity and Hope, Peace and Progress – Biafra is the actualization of the African dream to stand on an equal footing with the global community. Biafra is God’s will and His will be done, Amen.

      • whatashame December 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        I said that will be my last comment but can’t ignore your false assumptions. First of all, you still haven’t given any LEGITIMATE, REASONABLE, LOGICAL reason why there should be a Biafra state. You are obviously speaking based on sensationalism and unrealistic ideology. You are passionate and emotional about something that happened years ago, and to try to relate the same situation to current day Nigeria, it makes no sense. Nigeria has evolved than that. You want to keep repeating the problems, yet you provide no EFFECTIVE solution whatsoever. Your solution is creating more problem. You keep pushing separation, division, and so quick to throw in other countries in without doing your homework. Anybody in their right mind, using their brain wisely will know separation, division is definitely not Nigeria’s solution to their problem. You are speaking of injustice that igbos face, injustice is everywhere. Within the Yorubas, there’s division and within Igbos, there’s also division that’s the world we live in. Your experience of igbo man being rejected rent is rubbish. I refuse to engage in such pettiness and backwardness. I will much rather focus on many Igbos who are given rent, lived and built their houses in Lagos and Yorubaland successfully with no major problem. I will rather focus on the successful intertribal marriages that I even have in my family. If you read my comment carefully, my point is Yorubas, Igbos, hausas have their tribal preferences and talk trash about each other. But it’s not major hatred. You say you are not speaking of war, yet you speak so passionately about Biafrans separating themselves from Nigeria, not think like other Nigerians, you are clearly speaking of more tribal conflict. You are obviously contradicting yourself and not even thinking before talking. So, to have a Biafra state, you think it will be as simple as, the true Biafrans, pack your loads and let’s go. You are NOT even planning for a long term solution. You will expect Igbos to have learned their lesson by now from Mr Ojukwu failed attempt. You think Biafra war was worse because of the many Igbos that died or lost everything, well guess what, pushing another Biafra state will lead to another failed attempt because it’s based on nothing tangible. I’m laughing at your BIASED, INACCURATE assessment of Igbos vs Yorubas. You are the problem, and I refuse to focus on such stupid stereotypes that divides us. If you did your homework again, you will understand that Hutus and Tutsis was instigated by outsiders. You are the one thinking Africans are monkeys because I never said that. Nigerians can barely manage, address simple issues facing Nigeria on a small scale. Nigerians/Africans are booksmart but many lack common sense which is the reason the same problem persists all over Africa. Corruption, greediness, not understanding what leadership is and what it means to run a community let alone a country. The same mentality runs in the mind of all Africans. The biggest problem with Nigerians is not about crying over Igbo being rejected a rent in Lagos, the biggest problem is Nigerians not speaking up and fighting against the corrupt government that has been ruling the country for years. The biggest problem is Igbos not facing the truth that Mr Ojukwu made a mistake and didn’t think of plan B. The biggest problems with Nigerians and Africans all over is people with mindset as yours, who will rather focus on pettiness and rubbish instead of other important issues.

      • FaceTheTruth December 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm

        @whatashame
        I have given lots of logical reasons why there should be a Biafran state. Let me summarise:
        1. Nigeria is not a nation, it was formed and is still maintained because of foreign interests. Nigerians never agreed at any point to live together.
        2. Nation states have the responsibility for the security of her citizens. Go to the North and say you are a Nigerian citizen and tell me the feedback you get after you are moved to “Strangers Quarters” (Sabon Gari). Nigeria has for a long time rewarded violence. I don’t want to go into how many active participants of the pogroms have been rewarded by the Nigerian state, but why are we talking of negotiating with Boko Haram?
        3. There are already many nations that are within Nigeria alone and several confederacies based on historical trade and cultural links. The Nigerian state arbitrarily lumps many nations that never interacted before colonisation.
        4. Smaller states are more suitable for Africa. When those smaller states can get their acts right without interference from other strange cultures, the surrounding countries can copy their system instead of denegrate it, the way Nigerians denigrate the republican leaning and independent mindedness of the Igbo by saying things like “they are always fighting” or “the do not have a king” even though this is similar to Western systems.
        5. Cooperation is easier between sovereign neighboring nation states than big nation states united by tyranny. This also enhances peace and the advancement of democracy. Case in point is the AustroHungarian Empire which, just like Nigeria, had dissatisfied constituent parts. They were a major cause of the first world war, their break up into Austra, Hungary and other countries has focused their attention more on development than having big-for-nothing empires. Nigeria should do the same.
        4. The Nigerian state has never served the interest of Nigerians. Foreign oil companies have more influence on the crafting of state policy than Nigerians do. Case in point is the Petroleum Industry Bill.
        Read my comments and yours. Yours sound more emotional than mine. Call my ideology sensational or petty or whatever else you want, but when you are done, provide a LOGICAL argument for why this country should exist. Read the article by Chimamanda, the Americans are also talking about their war that took place centuries ago. This is why they are developed and we are not. We forget the past too easily and do nothing to prevent past mistakes. This is the same African mentality that makes you not want to compare Nigerians with Europeans. I am not just complaining about injustice any more than you are complaining about racism, there would always me some level of injustice that everybody will experience. I do not expect other Nigerians to relate to the experience of genocide just like I do not expect the Europeans to identify with the experience of slavery and racism, simply because they are not experiencing it. I am a cold hard realist. And reality tells me a people that AGREE to a common destiny are better able to manage their differences and keep the level of injustice tolerated in their society to the barest minimum – case in point is Switzerland that has German, French, Italian, Romansh cultures and balances all their interests because they have AGREED to be together. There are better able to negotiate a deal or policy that benefits all. This has not been the Nigerian experience. When Southern politicians say they want something, Northern politicians always go against it, whatever it is, even if it benefits them – they are more concerned about their suspicion that the South is trying to “dominate” them. The fact is if you know anything about contemporary Nigerian politics, the 1950s/1960s fear of domination has not gone, even today. Why were there mass killings in the North when Jonathan won? You tell me.
        I talked about the Igbo man being rejected rent to point out a common hypocrisy with Africans who go abroad and complain about discrimination but say NOTHING about the discrimination their own people engage in. I could well have also pointed out the fact that Nigerians supported the xenophobic “Ghana-must-go” policy of Shagari – I don’t know any Nigerian that spoke against it – but now the same Nigerians are complaining that Ghanaian govt policy is targeting Nigerian business interests. My point is hypocrisy has a way of biting you in the ass. This is another reason why I want secession. I am against “Federal Character” and other discriminatory policies that Nigeria supports, I am proud a Yoruba is a VC in an Eastern university. I do not want the Biafrans to be infected with Nigerian xenophobia. I will be the first to shout down any Igbo man that says an indigene should be the head of any Biafran institution, but how can I do that if Biafra is still part of Nigeria and many point out, “well, that is state policy, how many Igbo would be allowed to head institutions in other regions?” I want a Biafra with a different culture of openness and the competitive spirit that the Igbo are known for. Facing reality is not petty, it is necessary. I understand that it is uncomfortable to speak against some types of discrimination that favour you, but I am willing to and will not tolerate lazy cop outs.
        The fact that you are talking about Igbo investing in Lagos “with no major problem” betrays the lies that Nigeria is a nation. What makes you think you are doing anybody a favour by “allowing” them invest on “your land”. If anything, it is the other way round. This “welcoming” attitude is more to the benefit of the economic advancement of Lagos than the South East. The jobs and capital provided by Igbo and other investors in Lagos is why Lagos is more developed now than Rivers state, despite the much better endowment Rivers state has. Rivers state seized Igbo property and scared other investors by that action. Do you hear Americans or Europeans talking about how they “allowed” foreign investors? They are begging for foreign investors no matter where they come from. This is how Singapore developed into a First World country – they have a higher GDP than Nigeria despite the fact that they are smaller than Amuwo Odofin local govt and have no oil!
        My relative is married to a Ghanaian, another a Jamaican, another a Japanese – some after they had unsuccessful marriages with Nigerian women, even Igbo women. Do we annex these countries for that reason. Of course not. In fact, intermarriage will increase. You would have a much easier time marrying a Cameroonian than a Nigerian of a different ethnic group. I know Igbo we feel more inclined to intermarry if they are sure their safety is assured. Talk about the increase in intermarriage among Jews after the establishment of the state of Israel. There is some difficulty in Jewish intermarriage – there will probably always be – but it is much better.
        Read my comment and notice where I mentioned “referendum”. It’s a big word I know but it has nothing to do with promotion of inter-ethnic conflict. It is a means by which you determine the will of the people on controversial topics. The purpose of the nation state is to protect the security of her citizens within her borders, and to protect their interests and security elsewhere. More Igbo people will remain out of Biafra than within, just like more Chinese are in Indonesia and Malaysia than Singapore. But their interests would be protected. What has the Nigerian state done about the “abandoned property” issue of Rivers state? This is where the precedent was set for people of Nigeria to think that being “allowed” to invest in their land and economy is a favor.
        The Hutu and Tutsi dichotomy was instigated by colonists, but the genocide was instigated by locals, same as Nigeria’s genocide – do YOUR own homework.
        I agree, Nigerians lack common sense, that is why they do not question anything, including their assumption of nationhood. “The British created Nigeria, they are white so they must be right”. Never mind that the British themselves are forming new breakaway nation states.
        Please speak against corruption in Nigeria instead of complaining in hushed tones in a faraway land. Speak against the corrupt actions of Bankole and respond to the Yoruba Council of Elders who say “leave our son alone”. Speak against Alameigsha and reply his Ijaw brother, Ansari Dokubo, who would ask you “are you hounding only Alams because he is Ijaw?” WE CANNOT FIGHT CORRUPTION BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ONE COUNTRY.
        Read first about the efforts Ojukwu took to avert war, read the websites whose links I have posted before commenting on Ojukwu’s attempt at secession that was rebuffed by Gowon and his government. Read about the Aburi accord, I have already had that argument on this site and clarified falsehoods from Nigerians who know nothing beyond gossips about that war, it would be too upsetting to have to go through that again. Knowledge is power.
        I dare you to actually defend your assumption on the “unity” of Nigerians and what the “unity” is based on. Name one purpose of nationhood that you think Nigeria satisfy. Please don’t tell me how Nigeria has potential, so does Afghanistan. Tell me HOW Nigeria plans to get there beyond complaining about the same things our fathers complained about.
        And lest I forget, I will address the “Yoruba are cultured comment”. I agree, but so are all Africans. That you bow down to your elders and I don’t does not mean I am less cultured because a free-born Igbo never bows down to anyone, bowing down is for slaves in Igbo culture, it does not connote respect in Igbo culture like it does in Yoruba culture. This is the kind of ignorance that I must address, maybe not from you – you may not have meant it the way it comes off – but to many other Nigerians who marry an Igbo and complain that they are not respectful to their parents. This kind of ignorance which many Nigerians do not try to rectify is why we are not a nation. A free-born Igbo bows/prostrates to no one, not your parents, not their bosses, not your king, NO ONE. We are republicans.

  • Uchenna OYALI January 3, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Well, I doubt whether the people that condemn Achebe for daring to tell his story ever read THERE WAS A COUNTRY. If they did, they’d be more reasonable and responsible in their contribution to the issue at stake. A shame indeed!!!

  • B. Gbemi January 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I think Chimanda was being disingenuous when she said Igbos feel they entered the war rich and emerged poor. What else did they expect? There is a price for instigating secession against all warnings! And no, there were many other options aside from full secession. Gowon as was the FGN then was open to some level of autonomy even if not full blown confederacy. These other options were not fully explored by both sides, and especially the side that had the most to lose! Ojukwu acted too brashily, and Igbos unfortunately paid a heavy price. But relatively speaking, Igbos did not fare worse than most other defeated entities in civil wars in history. Ask the southerners in the United States what it feels like to lose a civil war. In any case, the defenders of Awo can take comfort in the fact that Abe Lincoln is still called a baby killer in many southern USA towns today; war is bitter- it is the worst state of mankind.

    With regards to the First Coup, regardless of what you thought if it was an Ibo coup or not, one cannot but draw a direct link between that violence and the successive violence afterwards. Blood beget blood. I hope we’ve learned our lessons as we head to 2015. And yes, not all Igbos got the memo of Jan 15, 1966- neither can Awolowo’s perceived intent (which the man denied) be suddenly ascribed to a whole ethnic group like Chinua Achebe’s book did (power grab for his ethnic group my feet..when the man was jailed by an Igbo man on trumped coup charges!)

    With respect to history, we as a country must begin the hard work of becoming a true nation if we want to be developed; and that will require getting past the pettiness that the book of Chinua Achebe represents. I strongly believe that the book was not only poorly edited but it should not have been released. Sometimes, SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

    • TellEm January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Gowon was so open to autonomy that he agreed to the confederacy option of the Aburi accord. But he reneged on it. This was the immediate cause of the call for independence in Biafra. No one on the Biafran side started any war. The Northerners were the first in Nigeria’s history to call for secession, who killed them for it? What is disingenuous is to rearrange history and say the Igbo called for the war, it doesn’t even make sense. The option of peaceful resolution was fully exploited on the Biafran side but was dismissed on the Nigerian side.

      Abe Lincoln pursue integration with the South, Awolowo pursued punitive measures after the war against the Igbo, this is a key difference. The reasons for the Biafran and American wars are also different – America’s was based on legalism and economic fears while Biafra’s was based on the need for security against the background of ethnic cleansing and genocide (the first raison d’etre of the nation state is security after all and Nigeria did not offer that for the Igbo).

      There was a link between the first coup and the subsequent violence. There was also a link between the downing of the presidential helicopter and the Tutsi genocide, there was also a link between the feeling among Germans that the Jews supported the Allied powers and their loss of the first world war. There is also a link between stupidity and the justification of the genocides using the reasons given above for each case. Genocide is unjustifiable. Blood begets blood but why target those that have nothing to do with the killing, and even if this thinking works for anybody, why were the Yoruba not attacked? They took part in the first coup, Adewale Ademoyega was part of the planners. And nobody has ascribed Awolowo’s hatred to the entire Yoruba people, he would answer for himself in hell. And no, Awolowo was not jailed by an Igbo man, his sentence was delivered by Mr. Sowemimo, a Yoruba man who thought the evidence against Awolowo was too compelling for him to do anything other than sentence the Yoruba leader (read http://www.dawodu.com/awolowo6.htm ).

      No country can become a true nation if it does not acknowledge the evils of the past and resolve not to repeat them. Nigeria would never be a true nation because too many Nigerians are unwilling to acknowledge the evils of the Civil War. And no, silence is not golden – Europe and America were silent when Hitler was busy annexing neighbouring countries against international law, the world was silent during the Rwandan and Armenian genocides. Evil succeeds when good people say and do nothing, lies persist about Nigeria’s evils when no one challenge them. Achebe has done Nigeria a favour, but that is being frittered away and this is why Nigeria would fail to attain nationhood or prosper. Biafra would rise again and lead Africa forward.
      God Bless Biafra.

      • Uchenna OYALI March 2, 2013 at 11:34 pm

        Very many thanks for your comments… Self-deceit is the worst form of deceit. Another person’s corpse would always look like firewood. If these human beings crying foul against Achebe were affected, their story would be different. I am forever grateful to Achebe for taking the lead, once again, in showing us where the rain started beating us. An orator is so acknowledged if their audience listens to them. Anyway, the ear that hears is inside; the outer one is just for decoration…

    • Free Spirit March 23, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Well said Gbemi !!!!

      • TellEm August 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        Na. Just a bunch of obtuse words that don’t address the issue, or addresses it by avoiding it from B. Gbemi. Gbemi also needs to educate herself about the war. Nigeria instigated the war not Biafra. So I think SILENCE IS GOLDEN only for people like B. Gbemi.

  • Samuel March 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    This is a very articulate article.

  • Afam Evans March 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Having gone through all the comments here,i have come to the conclusion that “its either a lot of people don’t read or care to really know the account of what really happened due to the fact that they want to hid from the truth or beacuase of the simple fact that they don’t want to accept the truth”. Who imprisoned AWOLOWO? A YOROBA MAN. Who released him from prison? AN IGBO MAN,when even his own people abandoned him in prison.Who wrote the best tribute @ his death,the same man who realeased him.Some of the coup plotters were yoroba people and nobody called them ethnic bigots,they don’t even want to read the account of Major Ademoyoge’s account of the coup beacause they are still being giuded by their ethnic hatred.Forget about the past and move on with life as if nothing happened,why are they still celebrating june 12 in memory of Abiola.Was the january 15 coup enough reason for genocide to be carried out against a particular race of people even right in lagos your backyard,what effort did your fathers and elites do to stop it.Well prosterity will be the judge of all those involved.We have moved forward but the events that lead to the civil war is a part of history that will keep and always hunt Nigeria until we decide to accept the truth.For those castigating Achebe for his book,they should also castigate other people who wrote their memoirs and i pray, may they never have and enjoy the grace of age Acheba has of writting his memoirs at such a blessed and old age.

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