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How lecturers underdeveloped the universities (1)

The title of our discourse today is cloned from Walter Rodney’s incisive critique of the brazen exploitation of Africa by European powers entitled How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. But despite huge differences in the content of Rodney’s work and our analysis, there is a fundamental intersection: just as the developmental trajectory of Africa was adversely affected by contact with Europe, quality education in Nigeria’s public universities is steadily being eroded as a result of unwholesome attitude to work by an increasing numbers of university teachers.

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Nigerian history and the morbid obsession with national unity (8)

There is a deafening silence about the civil war in public discourse and we want to draw attention to it so that Nigerians can ascertain where the rain started beating them and take corrective measures to avoid being drenched by another downpour in future. Thus, in our analysis, you can replace ‘Igbo’ with the name of another ethnic nationality and ‘Northerners’ with ‘Southerners’ and my argument will still hold. The major point readers who might accuse me of unnecessary bias ought to bear in mind is that wickedness and injustice are morally reprehensible universally, and no genuine humanist should condone any of them no matter who the perpetrators and the victims were.

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Nigerian history and the morbid obsession with national unity (7)

Col. Ojukwu proclaimed the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967; but instead of Awolowo fulfilling his position to lead Western region out of Nigeria if the East secedes, he accepted appointment into Lt. Gowon’s Executive Council as Vice-Chairman and Federal Commissioner for Finance, and asked the Yoruba to support Gowon fully. Gowon was deposed by a military coup on July 29, 1975, exactly nine years after the revenge coup in which Ironsi, Fajuyi and scores of Igbo military officers were murdered. Anyway, during the war, Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro and other hardliners in Gowon’s cabinet enthusiastically supported starvation as a weapon of war against Biafrans.

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Nigerian history and the morbid obsession with national unity (6)

Furthermore, why would stoppage of the country’s drift towards “utter destruction” be something that would cause great disappointment and heartbreak to sincere lovers of the country? The truth is clear in this sordid episode, notwithstanding the afterthought Gowon inserted at the end of his speech. Lt. Col. Gowon and his co-conspirators from the North backed away from their original secession plan because it would be economically disastrous for the North without revenues derived from Southern Nigeria.

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Nigerian history and the morbid obsession with national unity (5)

Analysis of promotions in the army between January 15 and July 28, 1966, as documented in official records and well-researched historical sources, demonstrates that Ironsi was fair to all parts of the country. Allegation that he refused to punish Nzeogwu and others implicated and detained for the January coup because most of them were Igbo cannot be sustained; it is a mischievous falsehood peddled by half-baked historians to justify the senseless and bloodthirsty revenge coup of July 29, 1966.

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Nigerian history and the morbid obsession with national unity (4)

Although the visit was cancelled eventually, it did not prevent the Kano riots in which scores of Ndigbo were murdered. Therefore, it is very clear that during the colonial period and shortly after independence, the British colonialists were obsessed with maintaining what until now is euphemistically referred to as “One Nigeria” for her own neo-colonialist agenda, notwithstanding the centrifugal forces of ethnicity and religion pulling in the opposite direction.

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Nigerian history and the morbid obsession with national unity (3)

Balewa’s control of the national government placed the Northern region at an advantage over the other two regions because NPC, the party representing its interests, had power over federal revenue and other important national institutions. Expectedly, the NPC used its dominant influence to determine, in favour of the North, developmental projects to implement, where to site such projects and contractors that would execute them. Northern political leaders wanted power at the centre desperately out of conviction that the NCNC and AG, if allowed to control the federal government, would likely allocate more resources to the Eastern and Western regions at the expense of the underdeveloped Northern region.

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The new Neanderthals (3)

To repeat, many passages in the Holy Bible and Holy Koran prescribe intolerance against non-believers, although there are numerous texts in both scriptures that promote peace, love and solidarity as well. Therefore, it is incontrovertible that one cannot grasp fully the underlying causes of religious fanaticism in Nigeria without appreciating the role played by the “holy” scriptures in projecting the culture of religious exclusiveness.

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