Why is Chinua Achebe Dragging Yorubas Into Igbo-Hausa Feud?

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  • Sunday, 7 October 2012
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  • Nosagie Nosa-Ero
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  • Chinua Achebe long awaited book on the Okjukwu led cvil war has caused heads to roll and led supporters of Achebe and the admirers of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo enter into verbal war.

    On Thuesday, the Guardian UK, published excerpts of the book. The book which focuses on Achebe's experience during the war brings down painful memories as well as explores the roles played by keymen who dictated the dimension of the war. Awolo happens to be one of the major actors of the war as Achebe graciously elucidates.

    Why is Chinua Achebe Dragging Yorubas Into Igbo-Hausa Feud?
    Image Credit: achebebooks.com
    Achebe claims Late Awolo used his power as Vice Chairman of the wartime federal cabinet to annihilate the Igbo as a race that stirred the dangerous situation.

    "It is my impression that Awolowo was driven by an overriding ambition for power, for himself and for his Yoruba people. There is, on the surface at least, nothing wrong with those aspirations

    However, Awolowo saw the dominant Igbos at the time as the obstacles to that goal, and when the opportunity arosethe Nigeria-Biafra warhis ambition drove him into a frenzy to go to every length to achieve his dreams. In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations."  Achebe wrote.

    This excerpt as published by Guardian has caused passionate debates on blogs and microblogs.

    In one of such blogs, Vincent wrote: "The Prof wrote a book about his Biafra war experience as he saw it. So, what's the big deal? If you don't like what he wrote, go write your own book. The problem is some Yorubas can't stand it when someone criticize Awolowo. Awo is almost a godlike figure among the Yorubas but still, he had his weakness. Quite honestly, anyone who wants to build any lasting relationship between the Yoruba and Igbo should not bring Awo into it because Ndigbo have no love for Awo just as Awo never loved Ndigbo".

    Ayo in our Facebook Page had this say; "It was Ojukwu who took your people to war prematurely. Not Awolowo. Ojukwu is responsible for the 2 million casualties. Not Awolowo. You guys call Yorubas cowards. How interesting. Awolowo never ran away. It was Ojukwu who ran away after 2 million Ndiigbos have lost their lives. Brother, you can't argue history. FACT." 

    Meanwhile, Afenifere has condemed Achebes remarks on Awolowo, describing it as an abomination.

    Secretary General, Afenifere, Bashorun Seinde Arogbofa, said, He has the right to live anywhere he likes but to start denigrating one of Nigerias founders and builders like the Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo is not only unfortunate but a great abomination especially when he knows that the man is dead and cannot defend himself.

    The things that bind us together in this country are already undergoing a great stress due to the economic downturn, poor management of resources, ethnic clashes, religious intolerance, unemployment, and nepotism among others.

    All peace loving Nigerians should talk with restraints, trying to find solutions to our problems and ignore if truly he had said all those things.

    What to know what I think? Stay put, I will have something to say soon.

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