From Ashes of War: 1966 Revisited

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Emmanuel Chigozie Osuchukwu; published by Creativepeople Nig. Ltd; AD 2012, pp 201

I thought Chinua Achebe has rattled Nigerian sensitivities with his recent book, ‘There was a country’ until I read Emmanuel Osuchukwu’s ‘1966 Crisis and the Evolution of Nigerian Politics’. The book is insightful and did not spare any punches in discussing vital aspects of Nigerian history and politics.

The book includes an excellent historical reconstruction of the traumatic events of 1966 and how they contributed to the current political malaise in Nigeria. The reader will enjoy the way Chief Osuchukwu traced the origin of Nigeria’s contemporary problems to the unresolved and obfuscated issues that erupted in that crucial era.

In the introduction, Osuchukwu maintained that the country bequeathed to us by our founding political fathers in 1960 ended in 1966 and contemporary Nigeria is the construction of a sectional military cabal. Hence his assertion that 1966 remains the most eventful and traumatic year in Nigeria’s political history.

.The first part of the book dealt extensively with the largely unspoken massacre of the Igbos. It concluded that the 1966 massacre of the Igbos was a conscious and deliberate event initiated and perpetrated by highly politically motivated individuals of Northern Nigerian origin.

He argues that the massacre was deliberately under played by the Federal Government of Nigeria but given its huge significance in the evolution of Nigerian politics, the book started with an exhaustive analysis of the phenomenon. Political leaders, policy makers, agents of social control will find this book an invaluable resource and will certainly benefit from the detailed analysis of the remote and immediate causes of the massacre.

The book does a wonderful work in examining and exposing the insidious role of ethnicity in Nigerian politics and equally the role of the military in exacerbating Nigeria’s political problems as initiators and active participants in the killings of 1966.

The second part of the book dealt critically with role of the military in Nigerian politics because the military undoubtedly occupies a per-eminent position in the evolution of Nigerian politics.

According to the book the murderous intrusion of the Army into the Nigerian political space in 1966 ironically benefited the military establishment. From 1966, the Northern geo-political zone of the military won the power game and proceeded to maintain unchallenged political supremacy.

Many readers will find the third part of the book very interesting. It took a novel approach and looked at the future of Nigerian politics. It maintained that since the creation of the country as an independent state in 1960 and particularly since 1966, the people of Nigeria have never been lucky to freely elect a government with a truly nationalistic and people oriented focus.

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