Biafra (was Re: Unita)

David Altman altman_d at
Wed Dec 29 19:17:01 MST 1999

João Paulo Monteiro wrote:

>I don't want to start a discussion on this. The ibo are one of the major
>of the nigerian nation, along with the yoruba and the muslim populations of
>North (haussas and fulani). Nambi Azikiwé, the father of nigerian
>was a ibo, as were many other past and future presidents of that great
>Nigeria has had many political problems of late but, for the little I know,
>would dare say systematic oppression of the ibos is not one of them. In
>tribalism and regionalism seem to be receding, as urbanization proceeds. As
>unfortunate episode belonging to the birth pains of a great nation (and
>suspiciously coincident with the discovery of the enormous value of its oil
>reserves), I say we should just put biafran secessionism to rest.

I'm somewhat more optimisic now than I was a year ago about the survival of
"Nigeria" as one country, but "tribalism and regionalism" in Nigeria seem to
be increasing, not decreasing (read my recent posting on the Oodua People's
Congress).  The major Nigerian newspapers all have websites which provide
valuable information on current events.  It might not be accurate to say the
Igbo are "systematically oppressed," but they have felt increasingly
marginalised since the end of the war, as have all of the non-Northern
ethnic groups, including the Yoruba.  Azikiwe was the ONLY Igbo President of
Nigeria (a largely figurehead post at the time).  The leader of the 1966
coup, Ironsi, was Igbo (soon to be assasinated).  There was an Igbo
Vice-President under the Shagari regime (1979-83).  Other than that, the
Igbo have been excluded from all important posts in Nigerian Governments and
the Army (the real source of power in Nigeria).  Your view of the Nigerian
reality is idealistic and inaccurate.  Read Nigerian websites & newsgroups
for a better picture!

>For what I know, Ken Saro-Wiwa had nothing to do with such a project.

Don't get me started on Saro-Wiwa!  Saro-Wiwa, to his eternal shame and
regret, supported the "Federal" side in the war, and look where it got him!
As they say, there's no honor among thieves.

David Altman

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