Awo, Achebe: Who are the real enemies of Nigeria?


As I read through my copy of this book, I feel like sharing my views on the lingering worthless altercations and unhealthy arguments it has triggered in the polity.

Achebe has written his personal account of the civil war and it remains his personal view. Many may agree with him, many others may not. I find it ridiculously disappointing and most unfortunate that young people are joining this fray being stirred by some of our elders who, with due respect, used sectional politics to set our country on a retrogressive path.  To me, the hullabaloo about this book (that many of the people causing the sickening controversy are yet to read) is entirely unnecessary. Pa Awo (of blessed memory) is a great man and will remain so (at least in my perception) no matter what anyone says, writes or feels; Same goes with Prof Achebe. I do not expect anyone who did not experience the war on either of the sides (Nigeria or defunct Biafra) to confirm or dispute the content of Achebe’s book. Whatever Awo did or didn’t do during the war is now history. He will always be remembered for being one of Africa’s finest leaders. Achebe will also be remembered as being one of Africa’s finest writers.

I don’t think there is any account of the civil war that everyone will agree with. More so, I don’t think the history of the war should determine how I should relate with hundreds of my good friends of other ethnic groups and vice versa. It’s 42years after, we have moved on. Should we forget the history, No. As young people, we should rather learn from whatever mistakes our elders and heroes made to ensure that there’s no repeat of such thing. Calling Achebe or Ndigbo names won’t achieve that.

Similarly, belittling Awo’s great achievements won’t do same either. People should choose whatever story they want to believe but using it to sow seed of hatred will do Nigeria no good. My take is that neither Pa Awo nor Achebe is our problem now, it is those people who use their (in)actions to fan embers of disunity and hatred that we should be scared of. They are the real enemies of Nigeria.

My focus is on young people because behavioural change among the elderly is almost impossible. Additionally, the youths are the ones who will outlive the consequences of whatever negative seed sown today and therefore should not join in sowing such seeds. Rather, let’s see what we can learn from our beleaguered history, and then use them to build a better country for our children.

May the soul of Pa Awo continue to rest in peace. May God bless Prof Achebe. May God bless all lovers and promoters of a more peaceful, united and prosperous Nigeria. And may almighty God continue to bless our dear country, Nigeria.

Pa Awo

Prof. Achebe


About Laz Ude Eze

A public health physician, health systems consultant and an advocate for good governance, health equity and social justice. Authored the book, "A Companion to Practical Pathology" and founded HAPPYNigeria in 2006. I'm also a Brand Ambassador of Social Good Nigeria. To read my full profile, copy and paste this link on your URL and check it out >> Your feedback on all posts are welcome. Follow me on twitter - @donlaz4u.

19 responses »

  1. Donlaz, this article embodies the truth that many a people would not want to hear. Aristotle, I think, said something about an educated person’s ability to entertain an idea even if he won’t accept it; and the dearth of that ability is the cause of the present brouhaha.
    Of a truth, neither Awolowo nor Achebe is the problem, it is those seeking undue popularity from this issue that are the real villains. May your pen never dry.

  2. A very well thought out and articulated write up. Very astute!
    Nigeria’s problem can only be solved by the young of today.

  3. LAZ UDE EZE thanks for your kind heart view and takes on the road froward; but do note that the current leaders are what they are currently because of same ills and lies written by few on same tribal and religious view points and as such we can’t expect good from the current leaders when a lot either as stakeholders or directly involved are the same part and parcel of the root cause itself.

    Our country and leaders are strangled by the unknown and known (military) and until we understand the extend of their deep throat involvement we will continue in status quo

  4. DonLaz….Ur pen has always been filled with the ink of truth and armed with the ball-point of objectivity. Since I read FF-Kayode’s piece against this said book, I have made a conscious decision to ignore all such diatribes. Not because of the person behind the pen, but because I recognise the poison and ignorance in all of such ‘hate-inspired and inspiring’ write-ups. It will do our Nation no good if we allow such persons create unneccessary distraction in our collective pursuit of our collective well-being. Cheers.

  5. “I do not expect anyone who did not experience the war on either of the sides (Nigeria or defunct Biafra) to confirm or dispute the content of Achebe’s book”. How could you say that?. I am of the recent generations, I have read so many books for and against, I have my own imagination of the story and hopefully will pass it to my own generation generation to judge with their own instinct. we shouldn’t just go mute, It is our history, we should learn to agree to disagree, we have been bombarded left, right and centre with all sort of stories about ourselves. I think it is high time we learnt the truth at least to agree on what actually happened, how it started so that things like that shouldn’t occur again. Our generation is the most divided methinks and it keeps getting divided by these oldies that don’t have an idea of the challenges we are going through. Why is the timing of this book now when almost all the players are either transiting or no more…perhaps this is just the beginning that the story will finally be told by those that were not in the scene…

  6. one of the questions that people have asked is if the timing of the release is right . .. perhaps that debate around it, the opportunity for other ethnicity to be able to share their own stories . . . I think all these are good for us as a nation . . . personally I am still waiting (and hoping) for Gen. Gowon to share his war memoirs.

    Just saw this . . .

  7. With write ups like this…I know there’s hope for us young people!! This is our country!! We owe it to ourselves to keep it united,in love and as much as we can..walk in peace with one another..GOD bless this writer..

  8. Thanks for your write up don d laz. Although must of d people talking as regards d revere prof book might not be part of that generation that witnessed d truth of d war but d basic fact is that we should not fall prey of history and not just take an individual personal view as history. D likes of levy bruhl portrayed African countries in a view nt conform to what Africans re really re but for d scholarly argument some of us were able to see d light. Although prof Achebe with great respect to him is entitle to his opinion but it ll be dogmatic of Nigerians to just swallow that as d truth and d people talking re also entitle to dia opinion whethet they re part of d generation or not. But the important thing is what lesson(s) can we as a nation or individual learn from it. Ethnicity in a wAy has stunted the growth of this potential great nation and in a way aided corruption, so if we want to realise our potential we of this generation shoud look beyond that. Let’s not just talk about history but let’s learn from it.

  9. It is difficult to understand what the brouhaha is about. One wonders if Achebe is the first to have written on a war, or on this very one. Or is it now a no-no to write on a war? It’s hard to believe that it was only yesterday that some Nigerians were still bemoaning that Ojukwu failed to write a book on the war. Only God knows why he did not write any. Maybe they would have stoned him to death, if it (the book) did not culminate in another civil war. I don’t know why Nigeria is blessed with too many honest people.

  10. Honestly Achebe’s account of the civil war was purely a personal opinion and he does not have the final say on the issue. From the little I read, it doesn’t appear Achebe is out to malign Awo. Rather it does appears that Achebe want to spur geniune reflection on our present challenges as a nation and provide intellectual spring board to reconstructing our political philosophy. Indeed niether Pa Awo or Achebe is the issue here. They are not. Let’s not be deceived by the present day half-baked politicians

  11. The don has said it all. May your days be made long and blessed by God. With ppl like you around, hope beckons to our Fatherland in some 2 decades to come. Hope you are fine sir…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s