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Alowes’ civil war account sparks off arguments on state of the nation

By Japhet Alakam

THE fulcrum of an intellectual work is to provoke discuss and that was what happened last week when people of like minds gathered for the presentation of a new book entitled,‘’How and Why the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War” written by Dr Jimanze Ego-Alowes.

• L-R: The author, Jimanze Ego Alowes, Eric Osagie, Mr Ugochukwu Muotto, Chairman of the occasion and Barr. Goddy Uwazurike during the book presentation
• L-R: The author, Jimanze Ego Alowes, Eric Osagie, Mr Ugochukwu Muotto, Chairman of the occasion and Barr. Goddy Uwazurike during the book presentation

The presentation which took place at Best Western Starfire Hotel, Ikeja opened a new vista as it afforded the audience the opportunity to deliberate on some of the major issues militating against the development of the country like the structural imbalance, issues that led to the Nigeria /Biafra war and its attendant problems and the possible solutions.

The book which has been dubbed as controversial re-evaluates the roles of major characters in the war and the events that followed, including Generals Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Yakubu Gowon, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Professors Wole Soyinka, Ben Nwabueze, amongst others. It focuses on the roles the regions and their lead personages played in the events  leading to the civil war.

And as would be expected it generated a lot of reactions from the audience as they tried to justify their stand on some of the issues raised after the two reviewers, Charles Ike-Okoh and Olakunle Abimbola who finished their review from different angles.

In his remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Mr Ugochukwu Muotto, who commended the author for the way he articulates his views in his books and columns described the forum as one that creates awareness within the Nigerian society. According to him, “writing creates an opportunity for upcoming people to know how we started  and where we are.” He however lamented that in civilised world people that write books are highly respected but it is not so in our clime.

In his reaction, Mr Eric Osagie, MD of Sun Newspapers said that the major problem in Nigeria is the tyranny of the majority. “When you reduce Nigeria into three and pitch every other thing around that is a tyranny.”

Osagie who described the book as a deep provoking taught said it is the author’s own way of saying how he feels and its left for others to say their own. He noted that “Nigeria is suffering today because we have failed to face the fact. Nigeria is a federation of the angry and when you have anger like this, it is time to sit down and talk, talk like a nation and leave ethnic sentiments apart. They should give Nigerians opportunity to talk,” he added.

He also observed that Nigeria is where it is today because Nigerians are not reading. If Nigerians are reading, things will get better.

On his part, Barrister Goddy Uwaruzike, who commended the author on behalf of Aka Ikenga for his incisive style of writing, in his characteristic way took out time to educate the audience about some of the happenings in the country. Uwazurike who is the President of Aka Ikenga, stated that the major problem with Nigeria is that Nigerians don’t read any more, we have relegated the study of History to the background and that is why we have problem. Pointing out that History is on trial and those of us who refused to read are victims of it.

Scholars and journalists

According to him, Nnamdi Kanu has been in detention unlawfully for months without trial, Biafra was fought for the purpose of record and Biafra did not attack Nigeria. He advised Nigerians to read books so that they will be in tune with facts.

The author, Ego Alowes, who confessed that he is worried that Nigeria is run on a fairly non inclusive basis, lamented that Nigerians are not talking and even when they want to talk they bring up intellectuals who are sympathetic to their caurse. He challenged scholars to speak and stand on the truth.  People should have the courage to speak, scholars and journalists should hold the government in check, stating that the failure to adhere to the Aburi Accord is barbaric.

Jimanze is the author of several books including the ‘’Minorities as Competitive Overlords”which has been critically well received as a major contribution to knowledge across the several disciplines of sociology, economics and history. Jimanze writes a popular and well-received column, The Turf Game for the Daily Sun newspapers.

The book launch was attended by the cream of Nigeria’s intellectual and journalistic elites, including  Eric Osagie, Steve Nwosu, Tony Onyima, Onuoha Ukeh, Barr Goddy Uwazurike among others.


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