Friday, 16 December 2016

How the Yoruba Lost the Biafra War

                 By Bayo Ogunmupe

       How and why The Yoruba fought and lost The Biafra-Nigeria Civil War is an interpretative book on the Nigerian Civil War. Built on facts of history, the book espouses a new epistemological system of analytical reasoning and cognition. It is an introspective objection to nigerian history as we know it.
       The author, Jimanze Ego-Alowes gives a chronology of the war as he believes it. First there was the Chukwuma Nzeogwu coup and the killing of non Igbo people. Second, the counter coup and the genocide instigated against the Igbo by the Yakubu Gowon regime. Third, there was a suspension of barbarism. Fourth, the Aburi Accord was instituted. Fifth, every party to the accord agreed to live together in a civilized manner. Sixth, Gowon regime reneged  on the Aburi accord, tearing up the agreement unilaterally. As a result, Gowon levied a genocidal war  against the Igbo.
       Thus, Ego-Alowes believes it was Gowon"s perfidy that plunged Nigeria into the civil war. So, that was how Gowon and the North chose to give up on civilized conduct. The author even cited instances where if it were Europeans or Americans they could never renege as Gowon did. But nigeria isn't the only country facing disintegration. Britain is not more secure. The difference is that instead of the use of force, dialogue and remedy are provided for community grievances.
       The United Nations principle of self determination applies all over the world contrary to the bogey of sanctity of national borders with which Britain terrorized Nigerians. When Britain was threatened with disintegration, Westminster responded, even if in panic with a grant of substantial political autonomy to Wales and Scotland.
       According to Ego-Alowes,it is, he insists the greatest good that befell Nigeria when Nzeogwu failed; and the greatest evil that blighted Nigeria  was that Gowon succeeded. Accordingly, all the evils that befell Nigeria today from Boko Haram, insurgency, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Niger Delta Avengers are traceable to Gowon's repudiation of the Aburi accord. It is however noteworthy that the Yoruba showed superhuman tolerance over the killing of their brothers in the Nzeogwu coup. He said that their tolerance was a supreme act of stateliness that one must salute and emulate.
       But instead of the path of peace, Gowon, prodded by Britain declared war on Biafra. During the war, a list of Yoruba actors was full of enthusiasm, as if the war was their pet project. The author asserts that Obafemi Awolowo and Colonel Benjamin Adekunle were so anti- Igbo that their speeches were filled with bile and ethnic hatred. While it may have been the sole purpose of Gowon to ethnically cleanse nigeria of the Igbo; it fell on Awolowo to give voice to it.
       After the war, the Yoruba gave the impression that it was for the sake of national unity that they joined the north to fight Biafra so as to bring the Igbo back to the fold. The truth according to Ego-Alowes is that the Igbo never opted to leave Nigeria. They only agreed to a new living arrengement promised by the Aburi accord.
       To bolster  Jimanze’s hostility theory, he related how Olusegun Obasanjo told the former governor of  Abia state, Dr Orji Uzor kalu, an Igbo that  Obasanjo told him that the Igbo should be grateful if they produced  a president of Nigeria a hundred years after the civil war. Apparently, Jimanze said, Obasanjo was mixing up  with his poorly informed interpretation of  of American presidential history.
        However, an aspect of Ego-Alowes’ averment is intriguing. He said president Muhammadu Buhari released appointments the same day The Punch newspaper published an editorial condemning Buhari’s parochial appointments. Furthermore, he said when Yoruba muslims are allowed to lead prayers in northern mosques, that is when we will know that true change has come. When Christians are no longer murdered in cold blood in the north, simply for exercising their religious freedom whilst the government turns a blind eye; that is when we will know that true change has come.

The events marking the break up of the Yoruba and Fulani alliance was heralded by the golden jubilee remembrance ceremony of Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, which was organized  by the Yoruba Think Tank. Some of its members include the literary giant, Prof Niyi Osundare, Pastor Tunde Bakare, General Alani Akinrinade, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi and the Ondo State Governor, olusegun Mimiko. They spoke with one voice in calling for the practice of true federalism in Nigeria as the pathway to prosperity for the country and her citizens.
       The inference from the recommendations of the Yoruba Think Tank is that in a country they jointly own and preserved from destruction by a fratricidal civil war; they are being deceived and swindled. But to be sure, the Yoruba was inattentive and suffered loss of focus. And when we add Prof Akinyemi's : the north is the defender of the status quo, and his earlier confession  in the Sun newspaper that the north cheated and exploited others with coups; then one can  understand how grim the Yoruba fugue and humiliation is.
       What was implied here was that the north single-handedly structured Nigeria after its own desires and self serving images. But the point is that the north did not have such powers before 1966, after which Yoruba went into coalition with the north. So, by default, Yorubas defeated themselves and handed the north its unearned super power status in Nigeria.
       According to Ego-Alowes, the humanistic openness  of Athenian Pericles is the heritage which made America the greatest nation on earth today. It is the absence of such openness that has rendered Nigeria impotent and backward, according to Ego-Alowes. Contrast this with what Bishop Hassan Kukah revealed and you imagine the viciousness the north are capable of. According to Kukah, tampering with the British arrangement caused the destruction of Nigeria.
       Moreover, the creation of states and local governments from Gowon, Murtala Muhammed, through Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha was a planned weakening of the tribes, making them subservient to the Fulani controlled federal authority. According to Prof Akinyemi, the present system of states and federal constituencies is an imposition  from a sectional elite that exploited its temporary grant of power to create an arrangement that is advantageous to it. So the current electoral architecture  of Nigeria by northerners was purposed to enslave others.
       All of that was perpetrated by the north under the nose of Yorubas, the co-winners of the Biafran war. How and why the Yoruba fought and lost The Biafra- Nigeria Civil War has 228 pages, three sections, 29 chapters, the Afterword and five pages of reference. It is in paperback;published this year 2016 by the Stone Press Limited, Lagos, Nigeria. 

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