Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Biafra: Ego-Alowes Sparks Controversy In New Book

A new book has again sparked an argument over the roles of leaders of various ethnic nationalities in the Nigerian Civil War.

The man who seems to have awakened the proverbial sleeping dog is scholar, critic and writer, Jimanze Ego-Alowes.

In his book, titled How and Why the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War, he puts the blame for Biafra’s loss on the doorsteps of the Yoruba leadership, especially the late Obafemi Awolowo.

His examination of the roles played by other key characters that included Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Yakubu Gowon, Wole Soyinka, and Ben Nwabueze, is also likely to raise dust, but the theory he propounds finds Awolowo more culpable.

The titles of most of the chapters of the 226-page book by Ego-Alowes, who had earlier authored works, such as Minorities as Competitive Overlords, Corruption in Africa: A New Diagnosis and Economists as Assassins: A Nigerian Connection do not betray the writer’s mood.

They include Biafra-Nigeria Civil War was a Pan-Nigerian Tragedy, How the Come Comes to Become, Did the British Force us?, Digging two Graves, Europe and the Greek Heritage, We Came together and shall Go together, An Accidental Imperium; Nigeria: The Accidental Empire of the North?, Strategy 101: Revenge not Policy and Distraction is Self-Ambush.

The drama that greeted the public presentation of the book spoke volumes about the way many readers are likely to respond to it. At the event held at Best Western Starfire Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, the two people that a pragmatic Ego-Alowes appointed to review the book took different positions.

The reviewers are Charles Ike-Okoh and seasoned critic, Olakunle Abimbola, a columnist with The Nation newspaper.

While Ike-Okoh conceded that Ego-Alowes’ position in the book was controversial, he did not really disagree with the writer’s. For Olakunle, however, Ego-Alowes went off the mark in his argument that the likes of Awolowo were to blame for Biafra’s woes.

Apart from the fact that the writer defended his position, saying, he was challenging scholars and other stakeholders to speak up against racial, historical and ethnic injustice, the Managing Director of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, swiftly mediated and brought a new dimension to the discourse. According to him, it is unfortunate that when such national matters are being discussed, the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba often carry on as if the minorities were of no consequnece.

Besides, Osagie defended Ego-Alowes as an angry man seeking to purge his mind and that of the society.

He said, “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 the opportunity to talk.”

The chairman of the occasion, Mr Ugochukwu Muotto, and other dignitaries that included the President of the Ikenga, Mr. Goddy Uwaruzike, commended Alowes for his effort.

Akeem Lasisi

Copyright PUNCH.

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