Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - SV: THE BATTLE GOES ON

Femi Falana, SAN:

"On May 23, 1986, four young people were killed at the Ahmadu Bello University. I am saying this because somebody has said we are supporting this quit notice. Prof. Ango Abdullahi was the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University.

"When those students were killed by the police, he came out and said only four students were killed. That angered Nigerians, particularly Nigerian students, and there were protests. One of the universities where that protest was very successful was the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

"The man who led that protest was the late Chima Ubani. The state did not like that there was a national protest against the killing of students. The government did not arrest people in the North; they did not arrest students who were demonstrating in the West.

"The Babangida regime went for Chima Ubani and arraigned him and eight of his colleagues under a military decree that required that they be sentenced to death. I left Lagos and went to Enugu to defend those young men and we got them freed. When they returned to campus, the Vice Chancellor expelled them. Again, I went to court and got them freed.

"This story is important because a Hausa Vice Chancellor invited police and they killed four young Hausa people. Nigerian students protested and an Igbo young man led that protest in the East against injustice. There are lawyers in the east, but a Yoruba lawyer from from the west went to free them.

"So, we must look at those things that tie us together and not those ones that the ruling class are using to divide our people. Poverty is the same all over the country; injustice is injustice all over. So, there is no nation without challenges and there is no nation without problems. It is the ability of a nation to rise to the challenge that matters.

"Those who are talking about restructuring, many of them are talking in the air. We must concretise this now. You can't have political restructuring without economic restructuring. If you are talking about restructuring, you can't be selling the assets of the country to individuals.

"How can a serious nation be giving oil blocks to individuals when states are broke. You are not giving these oil blocks to states. States are not buying electricity companies. We have just been informed that what is owed to pensioners who have served our fatherland is N300 billion. Just this week, the Federal Government released N701 billion to those who bought our electricity companies. Initially, they were given N300 billion. That is over one trillion naira to manage darkness in our country. So, please, let us begin to ask relevant questions.

"On the national conference, don't be carried away because power is not given without a fight. Those who want implementation of the recommendations of the conference should be prepared for a struggle with Labour and with progressive extraction of the civil society.

"The most important recommendation is never touched by the ruling class. The most important recommendation is chapter two of the constitution that the fundamental objective of the state shall be made justiciable. In other words, right to education, right to health, right to unemployment benefits and living minimum wage, which are all set out in that chapter.

"Those who are talking of restructuring and federalism are not interested in these areas. But we must all remind them that the Awolowos, the Ahmadu Bellos and the Azikiwes of this world addressed social services for our people. That is no longer the case. So, please this talk about restructuring and federalism must be concretised.

"You can't be going to Abuja every month to take money and yet, you are talking of true federalism. True federalism means you must produce what you need in your area and then, we can ask everybody to pay."


On Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 4:41 PM, Salimonu Kadiri
<ogunlakaiye@hotmail.com> wrote:

Solomon Uwaifo has shared with us what he termed 'beautiful and well researched reply by Professor Nwala to the acting President and Obasanjo on Biafra.' This beautiful and well researched reply on Biafra by Professor T. Uzodinma Nwala deserves  proper scrutiny.


"January 15, 1966 coup was not an Igbo coup. It was a coup led by certain Igbo and Yoruba Officers, involving the active participation of soldiers from the North," Professor Nwala wrote. That is a half truth. There were two coups on January 15, 1966, one carried out by the Majors and the other by a Major-General and some Lieutenant Colonels. The national leader of the Majors' coup was Major Patrick Chukwuma Nzeogwu. He led the coup in the North and was assisted by Major Tim Onwuatuegwu. While Major Nzeogwu led the troop that killed the Premier of the North in Kaduna, Ahmadu Bello, Onwuatuegwu personally killed Brigadier Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun and his eight month pregnant wife in their bedroom. From there he proceeded to kill Colonel R.A. Shodeinde in his bedroom while wounding his wife fatally. In Lagos, Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna led the coup by kidnapping the Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Finance Minister, Festus Okotie-Eboh. While Ifeajuna killed Balewa, Major Christian Anuforo killed Okotie-Eboh. The same Major Anuforo killed Colonel Kuru Mohammed and Lietenant Colonel Arthur Chinyelu  Unegbe, the only Igbo person that was killed in the January 15, 1966, coup. Although Major Don Okafor was assigned the duty of killing Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari, he could not find him at home but as fate had it the Brigadier was found on his way to Dodan Barracks by Ifeajuna who killed him instantly. Lieutenant Colonels James Yakubu Pam and Aborgo Largema  were killed by Major Humphrey Chukwuka. Major John Obienu was to come to Lagos from Abeokuta Garrison with Armoured Cars to support Ifeajuna in Lagos but he betrayed them for Ironsi. At Ibadan, Captain Emmanuel Nwora Nwobosi killed the Regional Premier, Samuel Ladoke Akintola. Truly, Major Adewale Ademoyega was the only Yorubaman among the nine Majors that planned the 15 January 1966 coup. These were Majors Patrick Chukwuma Nzeogwu, Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Adewale Ademoyega, Humphrey Chukwuka, Donatus Okafor, Timothy Onwuatuegwu, John Obienu, Christian Anuforo and Chudi Sokei. It is noteworthy that Major Chude Sokei was assigned the role to kill the Premiers of the East and Mid-West Regions, Dr. Michael Okpara and Osadebay respectively, but according to Captain Ben Gbulie, Major Sokei suddenly turned to a pacifists that did not like to see bloodshed. As for Adewale Ademoyega, his role in the coup was limited to leading troops to seize control of strategic buildings in Lagos, including the Police Headquarters, Post & Tele-communication, and Nigerian Broadcasting corporation.


The second coup on the same day was that of Major-General Johnson Thompson Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, who all along had foreknowledge of the coup plan of the Majors through his inside informants, Major Donatus Okafor and Captain Ogbo Oji (see p. 125-126, Nigeria's Five Majors by Ben Gbulie). That was why when Major  Humphrey Chukwuka and his men were heading to the house of Ironsi in the morning of January 15, 1966, Ironsi had linked up with Major John Obienu at the 2nd Infantry Battalion in Ikeja under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hilary Njokwu to rally troops to quell and supplant the Majors. The Majors never planned ethnic coup but because of infiltrators and pacifists the execution and victims were ethnically lopsided. 


Professor Nwala stated, "That coup was foiled by Igbo military Officers." If Igbo military Officers led by Ironsi foiled the coup, the civilian regime should have continued after quelling  what Ironsi himself had called a mutiny by a dissident section of the Nigerian Army. The only legal and constitutional thing for him to do was to provide security for the Parliament to meet and elect a Prime Minister among members that controlled majority in the House. It is on record that the NNA (NPC/NNDP) that controlled majority in the House nominated Zanar Bukar Dipcharima to replace the missing Balewa while the UPGA (NCNC/AG/UMBC/NEPU) nominated Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe as their Prime Minister Candidate. The Acting President Nwafor Orizu foresaw the outcome of the parliamentary exercise and hinted the parliamentarians that he was not going to assent to their choice of a new Prime Minister. Ironsi himself tod the parliamentarians that he could not guarantee the loyalty of the Army unless power was handed over to him. Thereafter, Zanar Bukar Dipcharima and Kingsley Mbadiwe were made to sign a paper transferring power to the military. The 1963, Republican Constitution had no provision authorising the  Parliament not to talk of two of its members to cede government power to a non-elected body. Thus, Igbo Military Officers or Ironsi did not foil the coup rather they perpetrated their own coup and seized the revolution of the Majors. The way Ironsi ascended to power made his coup an Igbo coup.


Professor Nwala claimed, "Again the incursion into the Mid-West by the Biafran troops was not a quest for territorial grabbing by the Igbos. Ojukwu sent troops under the Command of Col. Banjo in response to Chief Awolowo's request for troops to help liberate Yoruba land from occupation of soldiers from the North. By the time Colo. Banjo got to Ore, the British had gotten Gowon to offer Chief Awolowo, Vice Chairmanship of the Nigerian government. Awolowo, therefore, asked Banjo not to proceed on his mission."


Professor Nwala is certainly inventing his own history to suit his own ethnic pride. On May 27, 1967, General Yakubu Gowon had sliced Nigeria into twelve States and soon after that, he invited civilians, including Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, Joseph Tarka and Okoi Arikpo to join the Federal Cabinet. The first Federal Executive Council meeting comprising of civilians and military took place on 12 June 1967. The war between Nigeria and Biafra began on July 6, 1967, almost a month after Awolowo had become Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Government. On 15 July 1967, Nsukka was liberated by the Federal Forces and on August 9, 1967, Midwest State was invaded by the Biafran Army, led on the surface by Lieutenant Colonel Banjo who in his broadcast to the people of the Midwest explained why he was arrested and detained by Ironsi since 17 January 1966, even though he was not among the Majors that planned the January 1966 coup. Ojukwu recalled him and strictly instructed him to get clearance from him before any future broadcast. If Biafra invasion of the Midwest had nothing to do with territorial grabbing, why did Ojukwu appoint Major Albert Nwazu Okonkwo, an Igbo, as the military administrator of Midwest to replace Lieutenant Colonel David Ejoor, an Uhrobo man? The mere fact that Awolowo was in the Federal Government long before the invasion of the Midwest by the Biafran Army contradicts the notion that Awolowo stopped further advance of Banjo troops from Ore after he had been offered a Cabinet post. The entire troops led by Banjo contained mainly of Igbo soldiers and officers. His operational control over them was minimal. The 2nd in command to Banjo in the Biafran second Battalion that he led was Lieutenant Colonel Festus Akagha. And according to the directive issued to them by Ojukwu, he was to move through Benin, Ore, Ijebu-Ode to seize Lagos. Ojukwu's 1st Battalion under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel Mike Ivenso was assigned to the Northern Sector from where he should move through Owo, Akure and seize Ibadan. The third Battalion under the Command of  Lieutenant Humphrey Chukwuka was assigned to the South, moving through Sapele, Warri to advance along the coast to launch a two-pronged attack on Lagos. Thus Banjo had no power to unilaterally stopp the advancement of Biafran troops from Ore to Lagos even if such request were to come from Awolowo to him. If it were true that Awolowo asked Ojukwu to send soldiers to help him liberate the West from Northerners, and if he no longer needed the liberators, Awolowo could not reasonably sidestepped Ojukwu who had the power to withdraw military action by turning to Banjo as Professor Nwala guessed. 


"How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as POGROM," Professor Nwala asked?

Besides Igbo world I am yet to get into contact with any part of the world that described the conduct of Nigerian forces during the 1967 to 1970 civil war as pogrom. I have indicated on this forum before that in the annal of history of war, Nigeria is the only country that invited a team of international observers, drawn from the UN, the then OAU, Britain, Canada, Poland and Sweden, to trail behind its troops at the war front and report on their conducts in prosecuting the war. Their reports exonerated the federal forces from all accusation of genocide against the Igbo. So which world is Professor Nwala referring to that had come to describe the conduct of the war as POGROM?


Despite the fact that Professor Nwala ought to know that hunger and deaths are inevitable consequences of war, he insinuated that the Federal government declared and applied hunger as a legitimate weapon of war against Biafra. Yet, it is an open fact that Ojukwu rejected the offer of Gowon to open an internationally supervised land route from Port Harcourt to send relief supplies to civilians in the Biafran enclave in 1968.


Hitherto, some Igbo, and in fact Kanu, have claimed to be Jews in Nigeria. It would appear that Professor Nwala has volta-faced by now equating the condition of the Igbo after the civil war to Germany after the 1st World War which led to the rise of Hitler, the precursor of the 2nd World War. Professor Nwala claimed that Hitler was displeased with the treaty of Versailles and that was why he started the 2nd world war, just as the Igbo are not pleased with the outcome of the civil war and are now striving for a new Biafra. As if directing the power holders in Nigeria to learn from how Germany was treated after the 2nd World War, Professor Nwala wrote, ".... the victorious side in the second World War padded their retributive actions with the Marshall plan." Firstly, the Marshall plan was to rebuild war ruined Western Europe and not just for Germany. Going back to Hitler's displeasure of the Treaty of Versailles, Professor Nwala failed to tell us what Hitler was displeased with in the Treaty. At a public rally on 30 October 1936, the Prime Minister of Germany, Herman Goering said, "In these four years, we Germans have tried to work to feed our people, although we have no colonies. Although raw materials are lacking, in spite of everything, Germany has become a land of peace. ... You know my dear fellow-country-men, and Fuhrer said this at Nuremberg, that in spite of all the increased security of our food supplies, not all our food requirements can be met in Germany, whatever efforts we make. In Germany there are 135 people to the square kilometre. In England there are 137 people to the square kilometre. For these 137 people to the square kilometre England owns a third of the world as colonies, and we own nothing! If we have a fraction of these colonies, then we should have no need to talk of a shortage of raw materials and a lack of foodstuffs. We have no colonies because they have been stolen from us (p. 16-17, The Nazi Conspiracy By  Emile Burns)." In the same vein, the German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, said in the German Reichstag on 20 February 1938 thus, "Our economic position is a difficult one, not because National-Socialism is at the helm, but because 140 people must live on a square kilometre; because we are not in possession of those great, natural resources enjoyed by other people; because, above all, we have a scarcity of fertile soil. If Great Britain should suddenly dissolve today and England become dependent solely on her own territory, then the people there would perhaps have more understanding of the seriousness of economic tasks which confront us. ...//... No matter what we may achieve by increasing the German production, all this cannot remove the impossible nature of the space allotted to Germany. The claim for German colonial possessions will, therefore, be voiced from year to year with increasing vigour, possessions which Germany did not take away from other countries and which today ... appear indispensable to our people (note 1. p.63, Peace With Dictators? By Sir Norman Angell)." The German colonial possessions which Hitler wanted to reclaim were South West Africa (present day Namibia) with 823,328 square kilometres land area, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) with 943,203 square kilometres land area, Cameroon with 475,500 square kilometers land area and Togo with 56,700 square kilometres land area. The aforementioned countries of Africa being claimed by Germany as colonies have, together 2, 298, 731 square kilometres land area which is almost seven times bigger than Germany with a land area of 357,041 square kilometres. Hitler took Germany to war and lost. Now that Professor Nwala is demanding that, after the Biafra war, the Igbo should be treated as the Germans were treated after World War II, he should remember that there was Nuremberg Tribunal that tried the German War Lords. Consequently, many of the German war leaders were sentenced to death while others were sentenced to life  or long term imprisonments. Since 1945, Germany remained a divided country until 1989. For Professor Nwala to equate the renewed agitation for Biafra with Germany's demand for colonial possessions after the 1st World War, is to approve the map of Biafra being circulated now as containing not only the Southeast and South-South but some territories in Kogi, Benue and Ondo States. Yet, the learned Professor had earlier averred that the Igbo invasion of the Midwest on August 9, 1967, was not a quest for territorial grabbing.


Professor Nwala asked, "When you took all their financial deposits in the banks and paid them only £20 (twenty pounds) what did you expect the result to be -pacification, conciliation or to have them permanently weakened?" All the bank operations inside Biafra  during the war were null and void and moreover the Biafran currency (pound) was illegal and not tenable anywhere in the world. For almost three years, Biafra was an enclave of starving citizens, therefore, the Biafran pounds were not printed on any real economic activities. It should not be forgotten that Nigeria prosecuted the war without borrowing a farthing from the outside world. Despite that, the federal government could still offer £20 social grant to the liberated Biafrans who requested for it. As of today, less than 30% of Nigerians have bank accounts which was even much more less in 1967-1970. Thus, it is dishonest and fraudulent to pretend as if all Igbo had bank deposit in Nigeria at the end of the war in 1970. I challenge Professor Nwala and his cohorts to publish names of those Igbo that had their deposits in Nigerian (not Biafran) banks reduced to £20 in 1970 and I promise that patriotic Nigerians will join hands with me to file suits in the courts to retrieve such money for their lawful owners. You say that the Igbo were permanently weakened economically but they have more millionaires and billionaires than other ethnic groups in Nigeria. That brings to mind the Yoruba rhetoric question that says, 'They say fowls lack teeth, but they eat corn and seep water, do those who have teeth eat stones? Those who claim to be economically oppressed and weakened are millionaires and billionaires, how wealthy are those who are not economically oppressed and weakened?


Professor Nwala asked, "When you murdered Professor Kalu Ezera and when you killed Col. Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what do you expect?" The role played by Professor Kalu Ezera, before and during the war is unknown to me but that of Colonel Timothy Onwuatuegwu is not at all obscure. According to Philip Effiong, all Biafran officers were ordered by Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo to assemble at Owerri on 24 January 1970 where he was to address them about their future. Conspicuously absent at that meeting was Col Timothy Onwuatuegwu and nobody could account for his  whereabouts. Effiong wrote, Reports later confirmed that the federal soldiers killed him while he was trying to escape into neighbouring Cameroon." Why was Onwuatuegwu trying to escape to the Cameroon when he was instructed to report at a camp in Owerri? How was he dressed, civilian or Biafran Army Officer's uniform? But while Professor Nwala is lamenting over the death of Colonel Tim Onwatuegwu let us reflect over other cold blood murders perpetrated by Onwuatuegwu on January 15, 1966 in Kaduna. The then Captain Ben Gbulie who was also at Kaduna and participated in the coup wrote in his book, NIGERIA'S FIVE MAJORS, thus, "Then, having burst into the master bedroom he turned on the light and found a stunned Brigadier Ademulegun lying in bed with his wife. ...//... 'What the devil', barked the Brigadier, flouncing out of the sheets in his pyjamas, a threatening edge to his deep voice. ' 'How for Christ sake did you get in here, Tim?' Meanwhile an equally shocked Mrs. Ademulegun, draped in a silk lingerie climbed out of their bed, and planting herself protectively in front of her husband, yelled 'what are you doing in here? Then she saw the gun but she was in no way frightened by it. ...//.. Major Onwuatuegwu squeezed the trigger. A bullet caught the Brigadier slap-bang on the chest. Mrs. Ademulegun dived, screaming, trying to shield her husband from the lethal lead. A second bullet also meant for the Brigadier hit her, ripping open her abdomen. Then as the couple reeled and slumped down to the floor, their attacker turned away and left them in a matter of seconds his two victims lay perfectly still in a large pool of blood (p.79-80)." Brigadier Ademulegun's wife was reported to be in her eighth month of pregnancy. Ben Gbulie wrote further, "Next, Major Onwuatuegwu and his party drove across to Colonel Shodeinde's residence a stone's throw away. Again, nobody challenged them as they gained access into the premises. The Major tried to force open the living-room door, but it was firmly locked. Some moments later, however, the COLONEL,THINKING HE HAD SOMEONE KNOCKING AT THE DOOR, CAME OUT TO OPEN IT - TO HIS COMPLETE UNDOING. ... Almost immediately, his second wife emerged from behind him, wondering what on earth was going on. Then the Colonel, without uttering a word, turned slowly, rather contemptuously, and started walking away. Major Onwuatuegwu opened fire. He fired twice, one of the bullets cutting the Colonel down, while the other struck his young pregnant wife, wounding her considerably but not fatally(p.80)." With those accounts I leave it to the conscience of Professor Nwala if the murder of Brigadier Ademulegun and his pregnant wife as well as the murder of Colonel Shodeinde in their bedrooms were less cold bloody than that of Colonel Onwuatuegwu. 

Before we, Nigerians, can talk about having the same father/motherland, we must first recognise that we all have the same fundamental human rights to good life and living. 

S. Kadiri                     


 


 




Från: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> för Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu>
Skickat: den 25 juni 2017 05:58
Till: dialogue
Ämne: USA Africa Dialogue Series - FW: THE BATTLE GOES ON
 


On 6/24/17, 10:53 PM, "Solomon Uwaifo" <so_uwaifo@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

    Many have read both the tepid platitudes of the Ag. President as well as the insipid pleadings by Obasanjo at the recent Biafra at 50 conference.  How many have read the beautiful and well researched reply by Professor Nwala at the same conference?
   
    Read on:-
   
    Paper presented at The Conference -
    MEMORY AND NATION BUILDING: BIAFRA 50 YEARS AFTER:
    A SOBER REFLECTION.
     By
     PROF. T. UZODIMA NWALA
     President
     Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF).
   
    Introduction.
    Before I thank the organisers of this Conference and pay my tribute to the Memory of my friend, late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, in whose Foundation Center this historic event is being organised, let me quickly dismiss certain lingering pernicious fallacies that have dominated all discussion about the coup of January 15, 1966 and the Biafra War.
   
    First, the Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, has alluded to the January 15, 1966 coup as an Igbo coup that, according to him, was replied by a Northern coup of July 29 1966.
   
    Let it be said loud and clear that that coup, namely January 15, 1966 coup, was not an Igbo coup. It was a coup led by certain Igbo and Yoruba Officers, involving the active participation of soldiers from the North. The aim, as has been stated again and again, by the leaders of the coup was to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was in detention at the time and install him the Prime Minister of Nigeria.
   
    That coup was foiled by Igbo military officers. Igbo political leaders and activists knew nothing about the coup.
   
    Again the Incursion into the Mid-West by the Biafran troops was not a quest for territorial grabbing by the Igbos. Ojukwu sent troops under the Command of Col, banjo in response to Chief Awolowo's request for troops to help liberate Yoruba land from the occupation of soldiers from the North. By the time Col Banjo got to Ore, the British had gotten Gowon to offer Chief Awolowo Vice Chairmanship of the Nigerian Government. Awolowo, therefore, asked Banjo not to proceed on his mission.
   
    General Yakubu Gowon knows the truth of all these things. And that is why the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) had written him and asked him to tell Nigerians and the whole world the truth about the January 15, 1966 coup and the Biafra incursion into the Mid-West.to stop all the lies against Ndigbo, which have been the basis of the burden they carry as a nation within the Nigerian Federation.
   
    Secondly, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Head of State and a frontline commander on the Federal side during the war, said that they (the Federal military leaders) conducted the war without any hate or vengeance because it was a quarrel between brothers.
   
    To this, one is constrained to ask a few pertinent questions:
   
    How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as POGROM?
    What about the policy that hunger was a legitimate weapon of war and so was justified in its application against the Biafrans?
    What about bombing of refugee camps, market places, churches, etc?
   
    Again, when Chief Obasanjo said that they, the victorious side, have been more magnanimous than the victors in the American civil war, where, according to him, those who lost the war never had a chance to be President of America until several decades if not a century later, I would ask him WHAT ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA? WHAT ABOUT NELSON MANDELLA?
   
    Such assertions rather than heal the wounds of the war, keep the wounds aglow, rather than reconcile pour raw paper of unjustified arrogance on the wounded hearts of the Biafrans. How can you genuinely talk about reconciliation with that kind o mind-set. The truth is that for General Obasanjo, the Biafrans are defeated people. Period!
   
     Indeed, before we can talk about reconciliation, we must accept that grave wrongs were done to the Biafrans, Before, During and Since the end of the war.
   
    Tribute to General Yar'Adua.
    NOW, Mr Chairman, Ladies and \Gentlemen, let me go on to thank the organisers of this Conference - the Yar'Adua Foundation and the six Nigerian Universities partnering with the Foundation; the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa who have provided support for this Conference - Biafra: 50 Years After.
   
    What is more, I would like to pay tribute to the memory of my late friend, General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua. I met him for the first time during the 1994-5 National Constitutional Conference. There we struck a friendship that would have born great fruits but for his untimely death. I personally escaped being arrested with him.
   
    General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, became a great democrat after the war despite his aristocratic background. He genuinely believed that this wobbly Federation could be given a dependable foundation. Consequently, he set out to recruit gifted compatriots to work with him for that purpose. What a great hunter of talent Shehu was!
   
    I remember two memorable moments in our interaction. One afternoon, after lunch in his house, we sat down on the sofa. I asked him
   
    "General why is it that when you are not smoking cigar (cigarette), you are chewing kola nut?"
   
    He answered me. I will not tell you his answer today. Wait for my Memoire that should be ready by my next birthday.
   
    At another moment, also after lunch with him and late Prof. Aborisade, we sat down on the sofa. Shehu said to me "Dr Nwala, let me show you why we Northerners are reluctant to relinquish political power".
   
    He brought out two volumes of strategic studies which he had commissioned some intellectuals to produce in preparation for the Constitutional Conference of 1994-5. I glanced through volume 1 which deals with the indices of power in Nigeria. I read the discussion, looked at the statistics and the graph, and shook my head, and said to myself this guy is a great political actor. I also reserve the details of what I read in that volume as well as our discussion for the sake of my forthcoming memoire.
   
    I saw those two volumes of strategic studies at the Library of the Yar'Adua Center when I visited there about two week ago.
   
    What is important in this narrative is that General Yar'Adua was avery sincere leader, he always spoke to me and to anyone in his political company from the bottom of his heart. He was sincerely in search of a genuine way forward. He was a man who knew that all is not well with the Nigerian Federation and genuinely sough the correct path to its healing!
   
    The point of the story is to reveal a bit of the life of this great political strategist, who if he had lived after that Conference, he and the powerful circle of comrades he had built at the Conference would have helped to see to a more liberal accommodating political order in Nigeria. Shehu was the darling of a liberal democratic movement that was emerging in Nigeria before he died. He was equally hated by what many of us call the hegemonist who have consistently aborted every opportunity to create a democratic political culture. It is the later who have consistently made it difficult to achieve a genuine reconciliation in Nigeria. It is these forces that have insisted on a Federation founded on the peace of the grave yard.
    Yes, General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua along with the compatriots he had worked to put together would have constitute an authentic force for reconciliation and national integration. He was a victim of the forces of hegemony.
   
    Post –Biafra Reconciliation – What Lessons?
   
    During the trial of Adolf Hitler after Germany and her allies lost the war to the Allied Forces, the following exchange took place between Hitler and his interlocutor –
   
    Interlocutor to Hitler: You were responsible for the Second World War?
    Hitler: No! The Versailles Treaties was.
   
    I believe this Conference has been provoked by the renewed agitation for Biafra. In that case, a similar question can be posed to the Biafra Self-determination Agitators in Nigeria today as to whether they are responsible for the renewed Agitation for Biafra.
   
     I imagine that the Biafra Freedom Agitators, just like Adolf Hitler, would emphatically respond NO! They would rather blame the present upsurge for Self-determination and Biafra and all its fallouts on all those leaders on the victorious side who, rather than pursuing the path of genuine Reconciliation, pursued the path of punitive retributions against those who lost the war.
   
    Unfortunately, as it was in the case of the defeated Germany that was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened, so do we find in the case of Biafra, that despite all the retributive measures against her people, Biafra and the Biafrans, have neither been pacified, nor conciliated, nor have they been permanently weakened.
   
    Unlike the Treaty of Versailles that exerted bloody pound of flesh on the side that lost the First World War, the victorious side in the Second World War padded their retributive actions with the Marshall Plan. And thus unlike the intended Carthagenian peace of the Versailles Treaty of 28 June 1919, the Marshall Plan brought a relatively permanent peace to Europe that withstood the shock waves of the cold war including the Cuban Missile crises.
   
    In pursuing the lessons of the retributive post-war treatment of the Biafrans, I would ask the leaders on the victorious side –
   
    When you took all their financial deposits in the banks and paid them only £20 (twenty pounds), what did you expect the result to be – pacification, conciliation or to have them permanently weakened?
   
    When you allowed massacre of unarmed soldiers and leaders even when they had declared their return to Nigeria, what did you expect? I mean when you murdered Prof. Kalu Ezera or when you killed unarmed Col Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what did you expect?
   
    When you killed and also buried alive thousands of innocent civilians in Asaba, was that a circus show?
   
    I escaped being killed at the end of the war through the mysterious intervention of my college mate, Mr Nwoguegbe from Asa in Abia State who was a member of the Nigerian battalion that overran my area on that fateful day of January 8, 1970. The solders had sent for me and when I arrived at Nkwo Mbaise their base, Nwoguegbe instantly recognised me and shouted Nkume! I responded Nwoguegbe! Despite being introduced to his commander, Captain Jibowu, the later took him to one corner, asking to be convinced why I should not be treated in accordance with the official instructions, namely to waste any such able-bodied young-man who may have been an actual or potential Biafra soldier. I was lucky. Nwoguegbe saved me, but several of my mates from my community were not. Cornellius Oguikpe, Michael Osuagwu, Efriam Chukwunoyerem, Echewodo Onwunali, all were murdered at the end of the war by the Nigerian soldiers.
   
    Yes, post-Biafra was not attended by any genuine efforts to seek reconciliation nor even to find out what led to the war. Rather, what we have witnessed is decades of vengeance, arrogance and conspiracy against Alaigbo and Ndigbo - Yes these are on record -
   
    Immediate post-war punitive massacre,
    Dismissal of some officers on the losing side, Reduction in rank of others,
    Dismissal of civil servants,
    Secret Execution of some officers (Col. Onwuatuegwu, Prof, Kalu Ezera),
    Abandoned property seizure of Igbo property,
    Punitive boundary adjustment,
    Closure of the Eastern Sea Port and Railway lines,
    Deliberate policy of encirclement of Alaigbo, Inciting Igbo outside Igbo heartland to reject their Igbo identity,
    Deliberate policy of exclusion from the governance and power equation i Nigeria,
    Deliberate policy of destroying Igbo businesses,
    Continued massacre, lynching of Igbos in many places in the North,
    Insensitivity to the plight of the IDPs of Igbo extraction who were initially the major targets of Boko Harm bombings and killings,
    No serious effort at post-war reconstruction and reconciliation.
   
    I strongly recommend to all those who care to understand how the Igbos view their predicament in the Federation to read the Petition of Ohanaeze ndigbo to the Human Rights Violations Investigating Committee of 1999. It is captioned
    The Violations of the Human and Civil Rights of Ndigbo in the Federation of Nigeria (1966-1999).
   
    President Obasanjo should speak to the nation now about why and how that initiative of his was aborted. A Truth and Reconciliation was a great idea, but just like all National Conference decisions meant to deal with the resolution of the injustices of the system. It was arrogantly dismissed and nothing happened.
   
    Biafra : A Collective Guilt
    Have we forgotten that Biafra was a collective guilt and that those who created the Nigerian Federation did so to satisfy their own agenda They designed a local a local agenda for the same purpose?
    Have we forgotten the cause of Biafra and the war? Have we ever come together to examine why Biafra?
    Obasanjo's Truth Commission and the Justice Oputa Commission were arrogantly dismissed and nothing happened.
    Who was the aggressor in that war?
   
    Aborted Efforts to Solve the Nigerian Problem
   
    What about several efforts to sit down and dispassionately examine the fate of the Federation and how to heal the wounds of the past. Several aborted historical opportunities for peace and stability, or a genuine democratic system include -
   
    Ibadan Conference of Sept/Oct 1966
    Aburi Accord.
    Abiola's election that wuld have set a precedent.
    1994-5 Constitutional Conference and the 1995 Draft Constitution, the best Constitutional Draft in the history of Nigeria.
    Conferences organised by Obasanjos regime.
    President Jonathan's 2014 Conference.
    Current Ferocious opposition to restructuring.
   
    Laying the Foundations for Genuine Reconciliation – The Biafra Initiative
   
    The Birth of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – A child of the post-war East Central State Youth Volunteer Services Corps (ECSYVSC) whose memo to General Gowon led to the establishment of the NYSC by the Federal Government. I led the delegation, as Chairman of the ECSYVSC, that delivered the Memoradum to the Federal Government on the eve of the first post-war independence anniversary, precisely on 30th September, 1970.
   
    In response General Gowon had given Dr Ukpabi Asika's Government £75,000 (Seventy-five thousand pounds) in appreciation of that historical initiative of the youth of Alaigbo. The great objective of that historical initiative as conceived by us, the youth of Alaigbo, was to forge a genuine instrument of national reconciliation and national integration.
   
    What has happened to the NYSC? Any credit to the initiators? Several attempts have been made by the chaps in the NYSC Foundation in Abuja to interview me in order to draw inspiration from the original mind that conceived the NYSC; each time they were discouraged from a follow-up.
   
    It was the same way that a former Governor had advised the Federal Government to create an institution to house the Biafra scientist. The answer was no!, because doing so would give credit to the Biafrans.
   
    The Road to Reconciliation.
    Not Restructuring but Renegotiation of the basis of the Nigerian Federation. Nigeria is a multi-national Federation. The task is to agree on the terms for a form of political union among these nations and mini-nations.
   
    Unless this is done, there would never be any stable Federation uniting all these peoples who are culturally, religiously and philosophically separate nations and mini-nations.
   
    Prof. Uzodinma Nwala
     President
     Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF)
   
    Sent from my iPad
   

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