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Steps towards Biafra

Right up to, and through the 1990s, it was anathema to discuss Biafra openly. It all began with the end of the civil war in 1970 and the attempts by the Federal government to suppress and erase every sign of the conflict in the public mind, and revise the causes of the Biafran conflict in the historical records.

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America: The giant has clay feet

Segun Adeniyi’s just recently published book, Against The Run of Play, makes a very startling and disturbing revelation, one confirmed by the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan himself, that the United States government and the governments of the UK and France jointly interfered very directly to manufacture the outcome of Nigeria’s presidential election in 2015.

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Legacies of Biafra in London

And I think that one of the real strengths of Igbo culture is “Ita ukwa, jaa Eze” – to eat the roasted breadfruit, husk and all, and to bare one’s messy teeth thereafter. It is to position one’s self in things without artifice. It is the Igbo metaphor for denoting the primacy of truth-telling and critical self-appraisal. It is the strenght of a people who are not afraid to examine their own failures and weaknesses, accept their own failures and ugliness, in order to better reposition, and chart new courses.

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The South East/South-South meet in Owerri

I arrived, Thursday morning in London, for the “Legacies of Biafra” conference at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London. Part of the highlights of the program was the “Obi Nwakanma in Conversation with Olu Oguibe” event at SOAS on Friday afternoon, and my talk on “Okigbo’s War: Biafra and Afterwards” yesterday. More on this later. But on Thursday evening, as part of the opening of the events, was the showing of a documentary on the Asaba massacres, one of the most deadly events of the civil war. Again more on this next week, when I shall, I promise, give a fuller account of the conference at SOAS.

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