Mr. Fakinlede, maybe at this point, I should remind you to call me by my proper name: I am not "Mr. Marinus" - and I am not "Mr. Nwakanma" since I'm not a surgeon. I am Dr. Nwakanma, and I earned my plaudits, not honoris causa. If you prefer, it is simply "Obi Nwakanma" - and that too would be my preference. And I should let you know that part of the test of competence in the use of any language by which knowledge is transmitted is the test of "comprehension." I see, very clearly that you do not comprehend the thrust of my response on this Biafran question. One, I did not infer, suggest, or say that the Biafrans were "tricked" into anything. I said that the Federal authority's decision on the "no victor, no vanquished" declaration was not simply an act of charity, it was a "pragmatic" policy based on the reality of the situation, and the negotiations that had gone on leading to the end of the conflict. Agreements were reached and reneged. If you listen for instance, to Philip Effiong's statement at Dodan barracks in 1970, there was not a single use of the word "surrender" in his speech. He said, "we are returning to Nigeria, after removing the factors that has made reconciliation impossible. We accept the current authority and structure of the federal government, and on the premise that we shall all be part of the move towards the transition to constitutional rule and a new constitution." Not a single word about surrender. Words to that affect. And he addressed himself in his full rank as Major-General.
All the references I made regarding the Biafran soldier, and the possibility of a guerrilla war were not mine, but from neutral sources, including on the spot British intelligence field assessment. I do not know who would have won the war had the Biafrans chosen that option of guerrilla war, but clearly, and I did say this, the option for formal, conventional warfare had become untenable with the Federal Military advantages. Once Biafra began to fight a defensive war after Banjo's treachery in the Midwest campaign, it was only a matter of time for Biafra to be overwhelmed in a formal war. But had they been compelled to launch the guerrilla phase of the war, which had all the infrastructure already designed for it, the civil war may have led to different outcomes: Biafran sovereignty at the most, or a long drawn war that would expand beyond the Eastern frontiers to a Southern Nigerian frontier at the least. Urban warfare is far more complicated. Besides, as the British report indicated, the Federal Army was in no position to hold and secure captured fronts for a long period given the topography and advantage that the Biafrans were in their natural homes, and had proved with arms, to capture and recapture areas often held by the Federal forces. This is simply elementary tactical logic. Finally, I did not say that Biafrans released war prisoners mainly because they were kind - but from pragmatic considerations: they could not carter for war prisoners. By the way, I did not say it. It was from a source that I quoted. It is left or you to verify it.
I think you're far too invested in the idea of a "vanquished" Igbo. That seems to give you some erection. But where were you during the war when 15 year old boys from the East volunteered as soldiers to fight for their freedom? Did you see combat or are you one of those who "saw the war" from the sidelines, but who speak with such pontificatory eloquence and certainty about war and the "vanquished" that you read about in newspapers? Those who did not fight speak of war, and many of us who actually lived through it, either as war babies or child soldiers, or combatants talk with the kind of experience of that war that will not be available to you because you read about war in newspapers. The Igbo were not "vanquished" in war. I don't know if you actually know the exact meaning of that word you use with such gusto. But step back a bit from your sick triumphalism, and look, and listen to words other than that only inside your head, Mr. Fakinlede. As a matter of fact, an old friend and mentor mine just died: Ben Obumselu was Biafra's official war historian and recorder. I am not sure you met him, but it'd have been illuminating for you to have had the privilege of insight that should have given you a far more nuanced sense of the history of the civil war rather than your black-and-white narrative of the "vanquished" Biafrans which you like so much to believe just to stiffen your third leg.
Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 4:39 AM
To: USA Africa Dialogue Series
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: THE HISTORY OF THE NIERIAN CIVIL WAR SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
From Mr. Marinus'write-ups, I have garnered the following:
1. The decalration of 'No victor, no vanquished'made by Gowon to end the Nigerian civil war was made to save the federal side from certain defeat.
2. The Biafrans did not lose the war. They stopped fighting because they were tricked into stopping by certain negotiations to which they and Nigeria agreed, only later for Nigeria to renege upon it after the Biafran side already wrote a letter of surrender. Let us not forget that they were tricked into secession in the first place by 'Ali Baba'Awolowo. It wasAwolowo who made the pronouncement that if the East were to seceed, the West would certainly follow.
3. In the prosecution of the war, the Biafran soldiers clearly demonstrated more military dexterism than the Nigerian soldiers who were really no more than bumbling idiots and were getting snuffed out like Birthday candles.
4. Benjamin Adekunle's soldiers were a collection of touts, louts and never-do –wells; a highly indisciplined bunch who could not hold the candle up to Achuzia's fighting tornadoes.
5. As a matter of fact, the Biafran soldiers were more humane than the federal soldiers. Having captured a copious number of the federal soldiers, the Biafran soldiers let them go becuase the Biafrans were filled with the milk of human kindness.
6. It would seem that it was the Nigerian soldiers who were really dying and not Biafran civilians since the Nigerian soldiers chose to stick to the highways where they were easily snuffed out.
7. Ojukwu did not really flee the country. He was persuaded to leave, leaving Phillip Effiong in charge. Effiong, a non-Ibo simply disappeared, probably due to cowardise, only to reappear to sign the letter of surrender.
8. Zik, of course, did not abscond. He was only convinced that he was of no use to Biafra and decided to say away. Uwechue, Achebe and some other prominent Ibos probably had their own reasons – but not abscondence.
All in all, everyone, except the Ibos, had something unsavory to do with the Nigerian civil war, according to Mr. Marinus. The Ibos were wronged, and wronged and wronged again by all other Nigerians while they maintained their legendary equanimity until they were forced to respond or tricked into responding by others. The Biafrans, according to Mr. Marinus, with guerilla warfare would have overrun Nigeria had it not been that they were persuaded not to do so.
Let me say this, I have dealt with Ibo people from before the war till now. I have always found them to be gregarious, highly intelligent and not given to gulibility. The claims made by Mr. Marinus is only undermining the ability of the Ibos of that period to make independent decisions and the intelligence of present day Ibo's to use their brains.
It is no wonder those Ibos who actually saw the war are clearly reticent when the drums of secesion and of war are being beat by their youngsters. Certainly many of these have swallowed the hogwash being bandied by the modern day war mongers.
The history of the Nigerian civil war must be taught to Nigerian children and really, we Nigerians, the Ibos in particular, should make it a point to point it out to our young ones exactly what mistakes we made that led to that level of carnage.
On Friday, March 3, 2017 at 12:23:42 PM UTC+1, Kayode J. Fakinlede wrote:
'No victor, no vanquished."
This pronuncement, to me, is the greatest blunder of our civil war. I can almost say that it is at the bottom of the continued aspiration by a segment of our society for secession.
Of course, one could not have blamed the government of young Ganeral Gowon. It was reasoned then that in declaring that neither side won or lost the war, everyone would have learned his lesson and our nation would be at peace forever more.
What we see now is a blantant misplacement of historical facts and grotesque caricatures being made of those whose intentions were noble. But more importantly, we are seeing agitations where none should have arisen and from the side that was vanqished in the war. The factual victors, having remained silent for so long, are now being painted as carnivores and murderers.
Anyone who was an adult during the civil war will definitely not wish another one on Nigeria. Lessons have been learned and honestly, not too many of these people agitate for secession or any form of upheaval, regardless of his tribal origin. It is those who were yet unborn or too young to experience the realities of war that would think it is child's play.
But the truth is that they do not know better. They receive information, not history, from their parents. In most instances, while the intenions of the older ones may not be for agitation, a vanquished people will always tell a story of their mistreatment and their heroism in the face of all odds.
A factual history of the civil war must be taught in all our schools to all our children. This is not to put any segment of our nation down. It is reasonable because this event marks the singular greatest period when, but for providence sake, Nigeria would have disintegrated. Moreover, people badly informed of the mistreatment of their forebears are bound to react negatively to their perceived malefactors.
This subject needs not be given a name that would be derogatory to any side. It can just be called 'The Nigerian Civil War'. Therein all our young ones will learn as a subject matter: the events that led to the war; attempts to resolve the issues so war could be averted; who were the initial aggressors; who took part militarily in the war; who were the heroes; the parts played by our own leaders either in preventing or agitating for war; the parts played by others in trying to prevent war; how the war was prosecuted; how the war was brought to an end; life after the war; attempts to rebuild; the lingering issues arising from the war; the effects of the war on our present political life; important dates in the process; etc.
There is so much to teach our children and they should be properly and factually taught. Some smart person once said that whoever forgets the past is bound to repeat it, or something of that nature.
I rest my case
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