On Tuesday, 7 March 2017 15:05:04 UTC+1, Cornelius Hamelberg wrote:
Reminiscing a little about yesterday. In mind: Biafra, Ogbeni Kadiri & Obi Nwakanma
On 28/2/ 2017 this documentary was shown on Swedish TV : The Ghost Aviator : Carl Gustaf Von Rosen ("As a passionate aviator Count Carl Gustaf von Rosen in the most exciting and strange context. Ambulance Aviator in Abyssinia, air force chief in Ethiopia, a fighter pilot for Biafra in Nigeria's civil war, famine food bomber in Ethiopia. Hailed as a hero but also questioned, he follows his own conscience. A film by Birgitta Svensson, clipping Lasse Summanen")
A popular hero of Biafra: Carl Gustaf von Rosen
At the outset I had better be clear that in this one instance and in the given context, I take umbrage with Obi Nwakanma. I don't take kindly to Ogbeni Kadiri wanting to depict Zik of Africa as a scoundrel who "absconded". Other meanings of "absconded" according to the shorter Oxford.
In 1970-1971 of the post-Nkrumah era in Ghana, the country was still crawling with CIA and MI6 people along with the endless slew of visiting professors mainly from the US & UK in addition to the motley array of already on-the-spot research students researching strategic matters such as the military, trade unionism, cocoa-farm economics etc. You keep your ears to the ground and hear that even the Chinese and the Russians were there. I should have been in Ife (in search of Yoruba drama) but instead found myself at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra in early January 1970 waiting for my Better Half to join me. In the meanwhile the cafeteria, staff common room, informal socialisations among the expatriate and the local academic community including night-life in down-town Accra whether at the Ambassador or the Continental or at Kotoka Airport was rife with speculation about the Biafra War at last winding down to a peaceful conclusion. One can only wonder what kind of buzz was still going on in diplomatic circles about the Aburi Accord which had been arrived at almost exactly three years earlier.
I followed the Biafra War - albeit from a distance - from the very beginning to the very end in the company of fellow students Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, even listened to some nightly radio broadcasts by Emeka Ojukwu and was among the first to sign a petition for the release of Wole Soyinka soon after he was arrested and incarcerated - the petition was part of the international efforts speared by his good friend Professor Eldred Durosimi Jones
Today, as one follows the ping-pong exchanges between Obi Nwakanma (Biafra) and Hon. Ogbeni Kadiri (Federal Forces) one realises that to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat is not an easy feat, even if the magnanimous Gowon said about that war, that there was " no victor and no vanquished" , I suppose, in the sense that victory is nothing to gloat about because " No one wins a war, but everyone loses it"
Not even a visceral Biafra victory is yet in sight in this post-mortem of the past, of what/ of that which actually transpired, as Obi Nwakanma (Biafra) and Hon. Ogbeni Kadiri (Federal Forces) cross swords once more dear friends - talking - which means that - still living in the era of fake news and revisionist history in this case it's a revisionist history of the Biafra war that's being questioned. One must also be aware that more often than never, there are many aspects to a revisionist history, there are many revised stories - several versions within the continuum of the one narrative and so there are certainly MANY revisionist histories of the Biafra War . One has to be on high alert and aware as one wades through the kaleidoscope of details, battle dates. passing judgements, lapsed memory, inaccuracies, in this short exchange of cannon Obi's glaring mistakes, often, conscientiously and rapidly too, brought to heel by Ogbeni Kadiri , like the encyclopedia Britannica that he is and as an always reliable fact-checker presenting us with the real facts (which is not to say that the Encyclopedia Britannica itself is sometimes not a dossier that has its own propaganda values. At worst you can say that I'm biased in favour of my mentor Ogbeni Kadiri.
(This reminds me and this was only a few weeks ago that the same guy who had asked me to convey his warmest greetings to Ogbeni Kadiri - which I did (the guy is safely back in Africa now) and after all the evil things that he said about the culture of rape etc. suddenly, that evening, I heard his voice saying the following : "Sierra Leone is the most corrupt country in the world! " Palaver. At which point I asked him, "What about Nigeria?". He dismissed that with with an impatient wave of his hand, - as if Nigeria was small potatoes - the crest of the wave of beer frothing forth from the can which he was clutching with the other hand, still foaming around his mouth , some froth on his moustache, he sucked some more beer, cleared his eyes and said, in reaffirmation: "NO - it's Sierra Leone!" Now I thought that the man was drunk and suffering from a bad conscience about what he had said previously about the Fulani, was now trying to personally insult me. Obviously no bank manager in Nigeria had told him to hand over 50% of his savings in Savannah bank in £Sterling , so that his money would be transferred immediately.
"Why do you pick on Sierra Leone?" I asked him. Oh, in 1973 he was in Sierra Leone and at the Lungi airport just minutes before boarding his flight back to his beloved country, the Sierra Leonean customs office told him that he was overweight , was carrying excess baggage. So they weighed his suitcase one more time and lo it was less than 20 kilos. " You see?" - he told the airport official. He says that's when the airport official told him, raising his voice unpleasantly, : "That may be what the scale is telling you, BUT I AM TELLING YOU THAT YOUR LUGGAGE IS OVERWEIGHT BY 100 Kilos and YOU HAVE TO PAY! "
My friend says that it was at that point that he heard a voice from the loud speaker saying that it was the last call for boarding the plane and so he just grabbed his suitcase and ran as fast as he could towards his plane. I guess that the airport clerk must have been musing to himself that that foreign rascal got away, absconded with his suitcase...)
Obi Nwakanma will never cease to amaze me and that's why I'm still laughing although strictly speaking this is no laughing matter.
To make gross and misleading mistakes about simple dates and chronology does not augur well for the credibility of the bigger picture, the whole story. But, "to err is human" - and it is my opinion, that no one should have to face the death penalty for even deliberately telling the occasional transparent calumny, black or white - according to the colour hierarchy of the lies that people tell, "White lies" said to be the kind of lies that White people tell. Black people tell all colour of lies, all kinds. Son of God etc. N.B. There are also many truths that you won't find in any books
Even more ridiculous is this one point that I want to get at and I'm assuming that it was a fully conscious Obi Nwakanma and not a somnambulist that wrote the following : "I Have chosen to quote these independent and neutral sources..." So who do you think Obi Nwakanma is referencing as his " independent and neutral sources", if not Col. R.E. Scott, the Military Attaché to the British High Commission in Lagos, of whom Obi says "In his on the spot report to the British government titled, "Appreciation of the Nigerian conflict" on 13 December 1969, just a month to the end of the war, Col. R.E. Scott, the Military Attaché to the British High Commission in Lagos, that is, the British chief spy in Nigeria "
To Obi's credit he does admit the possibility that his most reliable source is the one he names as "the British chief spy in Nigeria" which leaves me wondering, then what about the British Ambassador himself, the British Naval attaché, and what about itinerant analysts like Michael Crowder (the historian) and the likes of Robin Horton our man in the Niger Delta ? If the criterion for an independent and neutral source is British diplomacy then Obi should stick to poetry. Back in the real world, has h did he ever hear about e. g. Graham Greene? 8 An intelligence officer in Sierra Leone during the Second World War? (There are many who to this day believe that Greene was not awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature because he was perceived as being too anti American) But back to my coup de grâce : so what independent and neutral status does Obi Nwakanma confer on Ojukwu's friend Forsyth ?
In his honour, Obi's point could well be that his "independent and neutral sources" are corroborated by one Michael Gould. Fact is that the devil also sometimes agrees. Didn't Tom Ikimi say on the BBC Hardtalk that Corruption is an English word, found in the English dictionary, they " invented" it. My short view is that Professor Kperogi should take note of this word
This was about Watergate : Let it fall Down
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