Saturday, November 15, 2014

THE DEFEAT OF BIAFRA WAS MASTERMINDED BY ITS PROTAGONISTS WHO FAILED TO GARNER FOREIGN ALLIES THAT FIRST TROOPED TO US,--- The Aristocratic Biafran Leadership Suppressed Every Opposition and So Frightened Off Genuine Military Participation by Hardcore Soldiers.

OGBUNIGWE AND ODIMEGWU DEFEATED BIAFRA
14/11/2014 05:12:20 HRS GMT
An In-Depth Analysis of the Psychodynamics of the Lapses in Biafra
By Degema Strike Force OC; 
Major Kenechukwu Nzeogwu Mbaezue, BA 6532

·         Whereas The Manufacture And Proper Utilisation Of Our Shore-Batteries Frightened And Rallied The Whole World Against Us
·         The Aristocratic Biafran Leadership Suppressed Every Opposition and So Frightened Off Genuine Military Participation by Hardcore Soldiers.
·        The Result Was That Improper Political And Military Management Ignited Disaffection That Weakened A Coordinated Prosecution Of The War.

A HISTORICAL REVIEW TO SEE HOW IGBOS BUNGLED CHANCES OF BEING THE TRUE LEADERS OF THE NIGERIAN NATION

Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960. In 1961 the Cameroons trust territories were split in two. The mostly Muslim northern Cameroons voted to become part of the Northern Region of Nigeria, while the southern Cameroons joined the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Regional and ethnic tensions escalated quickly. The censuses of 1962 and 1963 fueled bitter disputes, as did the trial and imprisonment of leading opposition politicians, whom Prime Minister Balewa accused dubiously of treason. In 1963 an eastern section of the Western Region that was ethnically non-Yoruba was split off into a new region, the Midwestern Region. Matters deteriorated during the violence-marred elections of 1964, from which the NPC emerged victorious. On January 15, 1966, junior army officers revolted and killed Balewa and several other politicians, including the prime ministers of the Northern and Western regions. Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the commander of the army and an Igbo, emerged as the country’s new leader.
Ironsi immediately suspended the constitution, which did little to ease northern fears of southern domination. In late May 1966 Ironsi further angered the north with the announcement that many public services then controlled by the regions would henceforth be controlled by the federal government. On July 29 northern-backed army officers staged a countercoup, assassinating Ironsi and replacing him with Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon. The coup was followed by the massacre of thousands of Igbo in northern cities. Most of the surviving Igbo sought refuge in their crowded eastern homelands.
In May 1967 Gowon announced the creation of a new 12-state structure. The Eastern Region, populated mostly by Igbo, would be divided into three states, two of them dominated by non-Igbo groups. The division would also sever the vast majority of Igbo from profitable coastal ports and rich oil fields that had recently been discovered in the Niger Delta (which until then was a part of the Eastern Region). The leaders of the Eastern Region, pushed to the brink of secession by the recent anti-Igbo attacks and the influx of Igbo refugees, saw this action as an official attempt to push the Igbo to the margins of Nigerian society and politics. On May 27, 1967, the region’s Igbo-dominated assembly authorized Lieutenant Colonel Odemegwu Ojukwu to declare independence as the Republic of Biafra. Ojukwu obliged three days later.
 War broke out in July 1967 when Nigerian forces moved south and captured the university town of Nsukka. Biafran troops crossed the Niger River, pushing deep into the west in an attempt to attack Lagos, then the capital. Gowon’s forces repelled the invasion, imposed a naval blockade of the southeastern coast, and mounted a counterattack into northern Biafra. A bitter war of attrition followed, prolonged by France’s military support for the Biafrans. In January 1970 the better-equipped federal forces finally overcame the rebels, whereupon Gowon announced he would remain in power for six more years to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.
Biafran Soldier
The Nigerian civil war started in 1967 when Nigeria’s Eastern Region seceded and proclaimed itself the Republic of Biafra. The author was pleasantly surprised at seeing himself as a 19-year old soldier at Oguta water front, a river port for medical supplies, without his knowledge till 20 years after the fratricide. The bloody conflict devastated Biafra before Biafran forces surrendered to the federal Nigerian army in 1970.
Hulton Deutsch/Corbis
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POLITICS OF OIL AND DEMANDS FOR REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH
Given the bitterness of the civil war, the restoration of peace and the reintegration of the Igbo into Nigerian life were remarkably rapid. Aiding the resumption of normalcy was a booming oil trade (by the mid-1970s, Nigeria was the fifth largest producer of petroleum in the world). However, along with rapid growth came shortages of key commodities, crippling congestion in the ports, and demands for redistribution of wealth. Although a national development plan resulted in some redistribution, the bulk of Nigeria’s income remained in the hands of an urban few.
In 1974 Gowon announced that the return to civilian rule would be postponed indefinitely. His timing was poor: High prices, chronic shortages, growing corruption, and the failure of the government to address several regional issues had already created a restless mood. On July 29, 1975, Brigadier Murtala Ramat Muhammed overthrew Gowon in a bloodless coup. Muhammed moved quickly to address issues that Gowon had avoided. He replaced corrupt state governors. He purged incompetent and corrupt members of the public services. He instigated a plan to move the national capital from industrial, coastal Lagos to neglected, interior Abuja. Civilian rule, he declared, would be restored by 1979, and he began a five-stage process of transition.
The reforms made Muhammed extremely popular with many Nigerians. On February 13, 1976, he was assassinated in a coup attempt, but his administration remained in power. His successor, Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo, continued Muhammed’s reforms, including the move toward civilian rule. Obasanjo also created seven new states to help redistribute wealth and began a massive reform of local government. In 1977 he convened a constitutional assembly, which recommended replacing the British-style parliamentary system with an American-style presidential system of separate executive and legislative branches. To ensure that candidates would appeal to ethnic groups beyond their own, the president and vice president were required to win at least 25 percent of the vote in at least two-thirds of the 19 states. The new constitution took effect in 1979. The restructured administration was called Nigeria’s Second Republic.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Republic of Biafra
The Biafran civil war was precipitated by an attempt by the Nigerian government to lessen the political power of certain Nigerian ethnic groups by dividing the country’s 4 existing regions into 12 states. The former Eastern Region declared itself independent in May 1967 as the Republic of Biafra, left, and the civil war ensued. By January 1970 the Biafran forces controlled only a small portion of Biafra, right, and surrendered.
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1968: Nigeria
Biafra Encircled.
After a year and a half of bitterly fought civil war, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had all but defeated breakaway Biafra. Toward the year's end, advancing federal forces had reduced Biafra's borders from an original 29,484 square miles to under 4,000 square miles, or an area some 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. In May, Biafra's vital port and oil center, Port Harcourt, fell to federal troops. In September federal forces took Aba, Biafra's last administrative center and the largest of its few remaining towns. Umuahia, the last Biafran stronghold, was encircled in November. The war was kept going by guerrilla tactics and by foreign-supplied military equipment and food. During the second half of the year the world was shocked by reports that as many as 25,000 Biafrans were dying each day from starvation, the result of the viselike federal blockade through which only harassed night flights could penetrate with food.
Civil War Background.
With an active Parliament and a sturdy economy, the most populous country in Africa had seemingly made an easy transition to independence in 1960. Nigeria's 250 tribes, each with its own language and customs, were divided into three and later four regions, each dominated by major tribes: Hausa and Fulani in the North (29.8 million), Yoruba in the West (12.8 million), and Ibo in the East (12.4 million). Although Western impact came late to the larger and more populated Muslim North, ruled by powerful feudal emirs, its legislative majority dominated the federal Parliament.
The better-educated, change-oriented, aggressive Ibos in the East, many of whom emigrated to key positions outside their crowded region, resented Northern dominance and the many evidences of federal corruption. The tragic events of 1966 began on January 15 when a military coup by army officers toppled the government and led to the establishment of military rule under an Ibo general, Johnson T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, who surrounded himself with Ibo advisers. Northern resentment led to attacks on Ibos, and on July 29 the regime of General Ironsi was overthrown, and Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Yakubu Gowon, a Northern Hausa, became the chief of state of the Federal Military Government (FMG). In September some 20,000 to 30,000 Ibos were massacred, and many more were attacked and maimed. Having reason to believe themselves marked for extermination, Ibos from all over Nigeria returned in a mass migration to the Eastern Region, where, under their regional military governor, Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, many pressed for local autonomy and the more militant called for independence. The break came on May 30, 1967, three days after the federal government divided the four regions into 12 states in a move to decentralize and thereby reduce tribal antagonisms. Cut off by the division from coastal trade and oil resources which would have made them economically viable, the Ibos declared the independence of the Eastern Region under the name of the Republic of Biafra (taken from the name of an inlet on the Gulf of Guinea). Fighting broke out in June, and despite Biafran forays during the early months of the war, the federal forces had, by the end of this year, closed an ever-narrowing ring around Biafra, which continued to resist in guerrilla fashion.
Foreign Support.
Somewhat incongruously, the countries supplying arms and other aid to federal Nigeria include Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United Arab Republic. Britain's motives include its colonial ties and post-independence trade and oil connections with Nigeria. Soviet aid of MIG fighters is attributed to anticipated ideological, trade, and oil concessions in federal Nigeria, which it sees as the inevitable winner. Egypt sympathizes with its Muslim co-religionists in the Northern Region. The United States, officially neutral, has barred arms sales to either side. But the U.S. government has acknowledged the FMG as the only legitimate government of Nigeria, a move which has evoked anti-U.S. sentiment among Biafrans. Public reaction against shocking reports of Biafran starvation has led three European countries—Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, and Belgium—to halt arms shipments to federal Nigeria.
Biafra has received military aid from France, ostensibly for trade and oil preference should Biafra win. France also reportedly wants to spite the United States and Great Britain. On July 31 the French government called for a resolution of the war on the basis of the right of self-determination. Portugal has given Biafra the use of its air ports and telecommunications. Tanzania, in April, became the first country to recognize Biafra as an independent state. Three other African countries—Gabon, the Ivory Coast, and Zambia—recognized Biafra in May.

HERE WAS THE DIPLOMATIC ERRORS MADE BY ARISTOCRATIC LEADERSHIP THAT MORTGAGED BIAFRA’S CHANCES AT WINNING THE WAR

Reports of Starvation.
In October the head of the World Council of Churches relief program in Biafra estimated deaths from starvation at 186,000 in July, 310,000 in August, and 360,000 in September. Relief flights of food to Biafra, which reached an average of 15-18 a night, reduced deaths in October to about 200,000. Forecasts predicted 25,000 deaths a day in December unless a cease-fire was called. The International Committee of the Red Cross has fed 750,000 victims daily in what is left of Biafra, plus 500,000 daily in areas taken by federal troops. Many groups and prominent individuals, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, have criticized the American government for not sending direct food relief to Biafra. But U.S. officials maintained that they could not authorize such flights without permission from the federal Nigerian government and that U.S. government food and other aid must be channeled through private church relief agencies and the ICRC. Direct night flights to Biafra have been harassed by federal Nigeria, which had demanded that relief shipments land on federally held territory. Biafra would not accept such an arrangement, however, claiming that food passing through federal hands might be poisoned. In November the federal government said it would allow daytime flights of relief supplies into the Biafran airstrip at Uli, but the Biafran regime did not agree to this arrangement, possibly because night flights containing arms shipments would then be open to federal attacks.
Unsuccessful Peace Talks.
Peace talks began with unsuccessful secret sessions in London during January and February. More promising preliminary talks in early May led to an agreement that peace negotiations should begin in Kampala, Uganda, later that month. These talks, however, made little progress and were cut off by Biafra on May 31. At the August 5-September 9 talks in Addis Ababa, under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity, the warring representatives again deadlocked. Federal Nigeria has insisted that Biafra give up independence as a condition for peace; Biafra has replied that only autonomy can save the Ibos from massacre. On August 12, Pope Paul VI appealed for an end to the civil war. At a September meeting in Algeria, the OAU passed a resolution calling on Biafra to cease its fight for independence and to cooperate with Nigeria in seeking peace. Most of the 40 OAU member nations themselves contain tribal minorities with easily awakened antagonisms toward their central governments. It is feared that Biafra's success might prompt other rebellions and lead to a balkanization of Africa. Nigeria's ambassadors have played upon this fear in the capitals of African nations.
At least one Biafran friend altered her stand. Dame Margery Perham, an Oxford University specialist on Africa who in August declared Biafrans as 'overwhelmingly the injured party ... who dare not surrender,' changed her mind on a subsequent visit to Nigeria. In September she broadcast a plea to Biafrans to surrender as the only way to save millions from death and starvation.
Economic Developments.
Federal Nigeria introduced new currency notes on January 3 in a move to stop Biafra's use of Nigerian pounds to buy arms abroad. Biafra was thus forced on January 30 to issue its own currency notes—which it imported from Switzerland—and postage stamps.
While the cost of the civil war is incalculable in lost lives, one American economist estimated the financial cost to federal Nigeria at over $840 million. Nigeria was also hurt financially when Great Britain devalued the pound, as Britain is Nigeria's main trading partner. On January 18 the federal finance minister announced new controls on nonessential imports in an effort to strengthen the country's foreign reserves.
     
From Biafran Commando Recruit to Sergeant to Lieutenant to Major by Bush Commissions
   PIECEMEAL NARRATIVES THAT ELUCIDATE MY PERSPECTIVE THAT OUR LEADERS REFUSED TO PEOPLE-ORIENTED ACTIONS WHEN THEY MATTERED MOST
1967: Nigeria
Strife-torn Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, erupted into civil war as the Ibo tribesmen of the Eastern Region broke away from the federation and set up the self-proclaimed Republic of Biafra. Fighting broke out over a wide area; federal troops finally took Enugu, the Eastern Region's capital. At year's end federal troops appeared to have quelled the rebellion, although tribal antagonisms remained more deeply divisive than ever during Nigeria's seventh year of independence.
Secession of Eastern Region.
Major General Yakubu Gowon, the federation's chief of state, decreed on May 28 the division of the federation, which had consisted of 4 regions and a federal territory, into 12 states, 3 of them from the Eastern Region, each to be autonomous and responsible for law and order. Two days later the Eastern Region, led by its Oxford-educated military governor, Major General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, seceded from the Federation of Nigeria, declaring itself the Republic of Biafra (named after the Bight of Biafra, an inlet on the Gulf of Guinea).

The secession followed long-simmering hostility among Nigeria's hundreds of tribes, many of them separated by religion, culture, and language. The largest tribes are the 31 million Hausas of the Northern Region and the 12.8 million Ibos of the East. Most Ibos are Christians; they are well educated by African standards, politically forward-looking, skillful, and energetic. Many Hausas are Muslim, conservative, and several generations behind the Ibos educationally. (Gowon, a Hausa, is a Christian; his father was a Methodist minister.) The long and savage history of Hausa-Ibo violence reached a climax in January 1966 when Ibo army officers staged a bloody coup against the Northern-dominated federal government, and an Ibo general (Johnson T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi) took over as interim ruler of the country.

Six months later the Northerners struck back by murdering the Ibo chief of state and launching a pogrom against the 1.5 million Ibos living in the Northern and Western regions. Some 20,000 to 30,000 Ibos were massacred; hundreds of thousands fled back to their crowded Eastern Region. The embittered Ibos wanted security and more autonomy for the Eastern Region than Federal Governor Gowon was willing to grant.

The East's Ojukwu gave Gowon until Mar. 31, 1967, to put into effect agreements reached at a conference held in Ghana in January for a loose confederation of states for Nigeria, promised aid for Ibo refugees, and other concessions. When the deadline passed without action, Ojukwu hit back by requiring taxes (about $40 million in 1967) from foreign oil companies in the Eastern Region to be paid to the Eastern treasury rather than, as before, to the federal treasury. This act Gowon denounced as 'illegal and unconstitutional.' Ojukwu responded by seceding on May 30, and Gowon ordered federal troops to bring the rebellious 'Biafrans' back into the federation.
Civil War.
While the federal navy blockaded Eastern Region ports to prevent the shipment of oil, the federal army invaded the Eastern Region. By July it had taken the university town of Nsukka in the east and the market town of Ogaja in the west on a 100-mile war front. The relatively small forces on both sides were augmented by volunteers. The federal offensive halted as Biafran guerrillas struck back in confused clashes between wandering groups of ill-trained armies.

Fighting the federal troops to a standstill, the Biafrans, joined by mutinous federal soldiers under Ibo officers, took the offensive and captured Benin, capital of the neighboring Midwestern Region, on August 9, thus spreading the civil war to the second of Nigeria's four regions. Shortage of matériel bogged down both armies, while radio propaganda from both sides claimed victories.

The Biafran-appointed Ibo military governor of the Midwestern Region declared its independence. Shortly thereafter, on September 20, federal troops reoccupied the Midwestern Region and with their coming the formerly tolerant Midwesterners took a heavy revenge on the half-million Ibos (20 percent of the Midwestern Region's population) living in their midst. Ibo corpses lined town streets and country roads.
Foreign Arms.
The United States prohibited arms shipment to Nigeria. Great Britain supplied light arms to the federal army but banned plane shipments. Federal forces were reinforced by the arrival of a reported six Czech L-26 jet planes and six obsolete MIG fighters, six MIG trainers, military supplies, and mechanics from the Soviet Union. The Biafrans obtained two obsolete B-26 bombers and a few helicopters. It was estimated in October that the civil war had cost both sides $140 million for arms so far. The federal government asserted that Portugal was aiding the Biafran cause.
Biafra's Capital Taken.
In a radio broadcast on October 1, the seventh anniversary of Nigeria's independence, Gowon appealed to Easterners to abandon their secessionist leaders and promised Ibos their rightful place in the federation after the civil war ended. Shortly afterward federal troops slashed deep into Ibo territory and rained shells on the Biafran capital of Enugu. By the end of October the civil war had reached a decisive stage with the toppling and emptying of Enugu and the encirclement of Biafra on three sides. Ojukwu offered his resignation, but Biafra's House of Chiefs and Consultative Assembly gave him an overwhelming vote of confidence and promoted him to full general, thus seeming to halt hopes of a negotiated peace. An offer to negotiate a cease-fire had come earlier from the leaders of the Organization of African Unity meeting in Kinshasa, capital of the Congo, in September. The arrival of their six-member peace delegation was postponed several times.

1968: Nigeria
Biafra Encircled.
After a year and a half of bitterly fought civil war, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had all but defeated breakaway Biafra. Toward the year's end, advancing federal forces had reduced Biafra's borders from an original 29,484 square miles to under 4,000 square miles, or an area some 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. In May, Biafra's vital port and oil center, Port Harcourt, fell to federal troops. In September federal forces took Aba, Biafra's last administrative center and the largest of its few remaining towns. Umuahia, the last Biafran stronghold, was encircled in November. The war was kept going by guerrilla tactics and by foreign-supplied military equipment and food. During the second half of the year the world was shocked by reports that as many as 25,000 Biafrans were dying each day from starvation, the result of the viselike federal blockade through which only harassed night flights could penetrate with food.
Civil War Background.
With an active Parliament and a sturdy economy, the most populous country in Africa had seemingly made an easy transition to independence in 1960. Nigeria's 250 tribes, each with its own language and customs, were divided into three and later four regions, each dominated by major tribes: Hausa and Fulani in the North (29.8 million), Yoruba in the West (12.8 million), and Ibo in the East (12.4 million). Although Western impact came late to the larger and more populated Muslim North, ruled by powerful feudal emirs, its legislative majority dominated the federal Parliament.
The better-educated, change-oriented, aggressive Ibos in the East, many of whom emigrated to key positions outside their crowded region, resented Northern dominance and the many evidences of federal corruption. The tragic events of 1966 began on January 15 when a military coup by army officers toppled the government and led to the establishment of military rule under an Ibo general, Johnson T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, who surrounded himself with Ibo advisers. Northern resentment led to attacks on Ibos, and on July 29 the regime of General Ironsi was overthrown, and Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Yakubu Gowon, a Northern Hausa, became the chief of state of the Federal Military Government (FMG). In September some 20,000 to 30,000 Ibos were massacred, and many more were attacked and maimed. Having reason to believe themselves marked for extermination, Ibos from all over Nigeria returned in a mass migration to the Eastern Region, where, under their regional military governor, Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, many pressed for local autonomy and the more militant called for independence. The break came on May 30, 1967, three days after the federal government divided the four regions into 12 states in a move to decentralize and thereby reduce tribal antagonisms. Cut off by the division from coastal trade and oil resources which would have made them economically viable, the Ibos declared the independence of the Eastern Region under the name of the Republic of Biafra (taken from the name of an inlet on the Gulf of Guinea). Fighting broke out in June, and despite Biafran forays during the early months of the war, the federal forces had, by the end of this year, closed an ever-narrowing ring around Biafra, which continued to resist in guerrilla fashion.
Foreign Support.
Somewhat incongruously, the countries supplying arms and other aid to federal Nigeria include Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United Arab Republic. Britain's motives include its colonial ties and post-independence trade and oil connections with Nigeria. Soviet aid of MIG fighters is attributed to anticipated ideological, trade, and oil concessions in federal Nigeria, which it sees as the inevitable winner. Egypt sympathizes with its Muslim co-religionists in the Northern Region. The United States, officially neutral, has barred arms sales to either side. But the U.S. government has acknowledged the FMG as the only legitimate government of Nigeria, a move which has evoked anti-U.S. sentiment among Biafrans. Public reaction against shocking reports of Biafran starvation has led three European countries—Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, and Belgium—to halt arms shipments to federal Nigeria.
Biafra has received military aid from France, ostensibly for trade and oil preference should Biafra win. France also reportedly wants to spite the United States and Great Britain. On July 31 the French government called for a resolution of the war on the basis of the right of self-determination. Portugal has given Biafra the use of its air ports and telecommunications. Tanzania, in April, became the first country to recognize Biafra as an independent state. Three other African countries—Gabon, the Ivory Coast, and Zambia—recognized Biafra in May.


1969: Nigeria
Civil war continues.
The most populous country in Africa continued to hurtle toward disaster in the third year of a devastating civil war. By September 1968, Federal Military Government troops had squeezed Biafra's 12.4 million people into a 5,000-square-mile area; the area has now been reduced to less than 3,000 square miles. The starvation of more than 1.5 million people on both sides has shocked the world as the war has dragged on, with the FMG receiving British, Soviet, and Egyptian military aid and Biafra receiving Portuguese and French aid. Other nations have responded with food and medical shipments, which must cross FMG territory to reach Biafra.

Biafrans fear that the FMG will poison the food; the FMG insists on inspecting shipments to prevent arms smuggling. The FMG halted flights by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on June 5 and continued to fire on illegal night flights made by paid volunteers. Both sides continued to use starvation deliberately for political ends. The once prosperous Ibos, sure that they will never regain their former high status in Nigeria, fought on in this bitter war.

The United States remained officially neutral but continued to recognize the FMG as the only legal government. Americans supplied money, food, and medicine to relieve Biafran suffering, but this may only help prolong the conflict.
A battle for oil.
The war-drained FMG treasury was bolstered by industrial expansion, increased cotton exports, and an oil boom. Wartime import restrictions have forced local production of some manufactured goods, so that industrialization has nearly doubled since the war began. Cocoa and peanut production have slipped, but cotton exports have increased. Oil is the FMG's big money-maker. Port Harcourt, recaptured by the FMG early this year, is the source of over half the country's oil. By 1975, Nigeria expects to earn $840 million (mainly from Shell-British Petroleum and Gulf Oil), double the current revenue from all sources. Oil income is also expected to be important in financing postwar reconstruction.
After May, Biafran ground and air forces struck repeatedly at FMG's Port Harcourt oil installations. Some dozen hedgehopping and rocket-equipped Swedish-built Minicon training planes were flown mainly by Biafran pilots trained by Carl Gustav von Rosen, the Swedish count who is Biafra's chief air force adviser. These Biafran air strikes aimed to sap the FMG's oil-based economy and to goad British and American oil companies into pressing the FMG for peace.
Relief flight talks stalled.
After the shooting down on June 5 of a Red Cross mercy flight by the FMG, only a trickle of relief shipments on night flights piloted by private volunteers reached besieged and starving Biafrans. On August 3 a Canadian crew of four died in a Canair Relief Agency night flight plane crash near Uli airstrip in Biafra. On September 12 the ICRC reached an accord with the FMG on a three-week experiment of day flights with FMG arms inspection at the Red Cross base in Cotonou in neighboring Dahomey and further FMG inspection rights in the capital of Lagos. The plan seemed likely to abate Biafra's fear of poisoned food dispatched from FMG territory and was also a slight change from the FMG's former requirement that relief flights originate or touch down in FMG territory. But hopes were dashed on September 14, when Biafra Radio rejected the accord as militarily advantageous to the FMG. On October 22, Biafra Radio proposed that the ICRC resume night flights and hand over food and supplies to private pilots willing to risk FMG ground fire. A new relief proposal was made in October by several prominent Americans, including former vice-president Hubert H. Humphrey, Mrs. Coretta King, and Lieutenant General William H. Tunner, who commanded the Berlin airlift in 1948. The plan would use 12 jet-powered helicopters operating from an aircraft carrier 50 miles off the Nigerian coast to shuttle food and medical supplies directly to FMG and Biafran starvation areas.
Peace hopes dim.
Worldwide hopes for Nigerian peace did not materialize from Pope Paul VI's three-day visit to Uganda, July 31-August 2, despite his talks with representatives from both sides. Peace hopes were revived again in late August by statements made in London by Nnamdi Azikiwe, a distinguished elder Ibo serving as Biafra's representative abroad. He is a hero of Nigerian independence, a former prime minister of the Eastern Region, and was Nigeria's first president.
Having originally opposed secession, he now called on Biafra to give up the struggle and labeled as unfounded Biafra's fear of genocide in a reunited Nigeria. He pointed out that more Ibos now live without harassment in FMG territory—up to 5 million—than the approximately 3 million Ibos still in besieged Biafra. Biafran leaders were shocked and angered by his views, by his return to the FMG capital of Lagos on September 5, and by the warm reception given him by Major General Yakubu Gowon, the FMG leader.

Peace initiatives were thought more likely to come from the 41-nation Organization of African Unity, which held its sixth annual meeting September 7-11 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss Nigerian peace, among other matters. President Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania, one of four OAU countries to recognize Biafra, called for a cease-fire. FMG representatives would not accept a cease-fire unless Biafra ended its secession.

Ibo leaders in turn rejected negotiations based on reunification. A fresh approach sounded by the FMG's Gowon on September 10, calling for peace talks without preconditions, reportedly was accepted by Biafra two days later, but no direct talks took place in September or October. Acting from his present position of strength, Gowon was reportedly anxious for peace talks and seemed loath to make a massive quick kill, as urged by FMG hawks. Biafra's General Odumegwu Ojukwu and other leaders continued their guerrilla resistance, believing that they would be executed and the Ibos would be long harassed if Nigeria were reunited.
Amnesty for civilians.
The FMG's Gowon marked the ninth anniversary of Nigeria's independence of October 1 by ordering the release of civilians imprisoned during the civil war. The first major figure released was playwright Wole Soyinka, freed from a northern Nigerian jail in Kaduna on October 8. His plays have appeared on New York and London stages. A yoruba of western Nigeria, be had publicly sympathized with the Ibos in September 1966 and had been jailed August 17, 1967, after a visit to Biafra.
Military action.
Little military action occurred after April, when Biafra won back the town of Owerri, now its provisional capital. Biafra continued to make hit-and-run ground attacks and desultory air hits on oil refineries near Port Harcourt, 15 miles north of which the Biafra front line was said to be. So far an estimated 500,000 Biafrans have been killed in action. Biafran leaders claimed that 7.5 million Ibos minority tribes live in the oppressed Biafran enclave, but FMG authorities argued that the number within Biafra's shrinking defense perimeters was much smaller.


1970: Nigeria
Civil war ends.
Organized resistance in Nigeria's 30-month, bitterly fought civil war ended January 12 with a declaration of surrender over Biafran radio by Major General Philip Effiong. He succeeded secessionist leader General Odumegwu Ojukwu, who fled January 11 to asylum in the Ivory Coast. Unconditional surrender was accepted on January 15 by federal Nigerian leader Major General Yakubu Gowon, who declared general amnesty 'for all those misled into attempting to disintegrate the country.' He added: 'We have been reunited with our brothers.' The end became imminent on January 10 with the collapse of Owerri, Biafra's third provincial capital, and on January 12 Uli airstrip, Biafra's last link with the outside world, was captured. The civil war took an estimated 2 million lives, including many Biafran children and women, and cost over US$840 million according to the federal government.
Relief efforts.
The federal government's insistence on supervising all foreign relief operations in war-devastated areas, partly because of the pro-Biafra bias of some relief agencies, allegedly made for more red tape and a slowdown in meeting relief needs. An April 11 report from relief workers stated that 50,000 persons had died of starvation since the end of the civil war. The Nigerian Red Cross relief operations distributed an estimated 3,000 tons of food a week to 3 million people, mostly children, at the peak of the emergency in March. Relief operations were gradually reduced in scale and were taken over on June 30 by the National Rehabilitation Commission, which coordinated the efforts of voluntary relief agencies. These agencies promised to keep 14 teams operating until the end of September.
Reconciliation and reconstruction.
An international team of observers reported on January 16 that neither widespread starvation nor mistreatment of Biafrans had been found in the areas visited between Port Harcourt and Owerri. Secretary General U Thant of the UN, in Lagos on January 18, also reported no evidence of violence or mistreatment of the civilian population. In Lagos on February 19, U.S. secretary of state William P. Rogers praised Nigerians for their 'vital work of reconciliation and reconstruction.'
Such early favorable accounts were marred by later reports of severe troop misbehavior, continued scarcity of food, and slow disposal of relief supplies. In February, 35 Catholic priests were jailed and fined for breaking immigration laws, and 64 missionaries, including ten nuns, all active in Biafran relief work, were deported. An August 15 decree stated that any public servant who supported the rebellion would be dismissed or forced to retire. The federal Ministry of Information clarified the decree on August 17 by stating that its purpose was not to penalize all officials but only those who were proved to have exhibited 'undue enthusiasm' in furthering the rebellion.
Gowon announced on April 20 that former Biafra would be reinstated as the East-Central State on an equal basis with the other 11 states in federal Nigeria. The state would be led by Ukpabi Anthony Asika, an Ibo who had been appointed administrator of the East-Central State in 1967 and who had remained loyal to Nigeria during the civil war. The government made a flat exchange payment, worth US$56, to each of the 200,000 persons who had deposited Biafran currency in the Central Bank. Railway restoration was begun in areas devastated by war, some night flights were resumed, the eastern ports of Port Harcourt and Calabar were opened to foreign ships, telephone lines were restored between Lagos and Enugu, government incentives were offered to villages to organize rural development projects, and a number of schools were reopened.
Foreign relations.
Nigeria moved toward normalizing its foreign relations, particularly with nations which had recognized or aided Biafra. Gowon met in Lagos on February 25 with French deputy Aymar Achille-Fould; although the restoration of amicable relations was announced, some antipathy remained toward France because of its support of Biafra. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the opening of the summit meeting of the Organization of African Unity on September 1, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia announced that a 'total reconciliation' had taken place between Nigeria and the four African countries which had recognized Biafra: Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Zambia. Earlier, in May, resumed relations were sought by the Ivory Coast, whose president had conferred on the matter with the presidents of Chad and Gabon, all three of which are tied closely to France. Secessionist leader Ojukwu, in exile in the Ivory Coast, also attended the meeting. In October, Ojukwu was asked to leave the Ivory Coast, ostensibly because he broke his promise to refrain from political activity by granting news interviews. He was reportedly refused asylum by Switzerland in late October.
Nigeria resumed commerce with Cameroon on the Benue River on August 14 as a result of an agreement on strengthening ties and signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with Dahomey on August 19. Also in August, Gowon visited Algeria, the Sudan, and Egypt.
Civil war lessons.
Federal victory evoked worldwide press speculation about the reporting of the civil war, starvation as a weapon of war, and the motives of intervening powers. In retrospect, some critics cite press reports as all too often emphasizing atrocities at the expense of socioeconomic and political analysis. Some editors and reporters presented a primitive stereotype of Africans, particularly federal soldiers. In order to gain world sympathy, recognition, relief, and arms, powerful Biafran lobbies in such countries as the United States and Great Britain encouraged emotional reports presenting Biafrans as wronged, beleaguered, and starved. Advocates of this position point out that Biafran capitulation was caused as much by waning outside support as it was by federal military action.
Some reporting of humanitarian efforts may have unfairly presented the federal government's reasons for insisting on supervision of relief shipments. Some relief agencies publicly favored Biafra, frankly called themselves 'bootleggers of mercy,' and gave the rebels tacit recognition by illegally dealing directly with them. Little stressed, too, were the paranoid Biafran fear of poison in federally inspected food, the possible arms concealment in relief shipments from or passing through countries recognizing Biafra and committed to its victory, the inefficiency of competing relief agencies, their interdenominational rivalry in order to gain an advantage for future proselytizing efforts, and the capitulation of the big powers to their propagandized public, which wanted to hasten and increase relief shipments.

Speculation also centered on the motives of the intervening powers and on the consequences of their intervention. Britain's support of the federation it had launched was clear, and its subsequent trade benefits were understandable. Former French president de Gaulle's aid to Biafra was seen as consistent with his antipathy to the Anglo-American alliance, his encouragement of separatism as in Quebec, his hoped-for dominance of Biafran oil-production potential, and his fear that a powerful federal Nigeria posed a threat to African countries in the French economic orbit. The Soviet Union's motives were explained as another attempt to gain a foothold in West Africa after its recent failures in Guinea and Ghana. The United States' prohibition of arms to either side was seen as a test of its resolve not to act as world policeman and not to counter every Soviet intrusion. In general, observers felt that, having learned the stern lessons of big-power involvement, federal Nigeria is likely to pursue an independent course and to keep foreigners at arm's length for some time to come.
Outlook.
Restrained optimism marked Nigeria's tenth independence anniversary on October 1. Gowon promised a new national census by 1973 and a new constitution as preludes to elections leading to a return to civilian government by 1976, or earlier if possible. Most close observers saw Gowon's leadership as a necessary factor in maintaining peaceful progress, but few had expected the elections to be delayed as long as six years. Those who are optimistic about Nigeria's future point to the rapid pace of the return to economic and social normalcy.

A reasonable reconciliation with the Biafrans has been achieved despite dire predictions of their being massacred. The federal victory held together over 400 diverse tribes, and the 1967 redrawing of the former four contentious regions into 12 more equitably balanced states should help prevent tribal differences from causing another war.
In February the oil industry output exceeded the highest prewar level, making Nigeria the world's tenth-largest oil producer. In November, Gowon announced a four-year plan to develop Nigerian industry. The government plans to control the nation's industries and 'strategic natural resources' to make sure companies comply with the planned growth timetable. The oil industry, presently entirely foreign run, will be taken over by a planned national oil corporation. The development plan appropriated $658 million, of which $114 million will be spent in 1970-1974, for implementing industrial expansion. In addition, money was allotted for expansion and modernization of the public transportation, educational, and agricultural systems.
RELEVANT  STATISTICS THAT OTHER RESEARCHERS MAY NEED:
Area and population.
Area, 356,669 sq. mi. Pop. (est. 1970), 55,100,000. Principal cities: Lagos (cap.; 1963), 665,246; Ibadan, 627,379; Ogbomosho, 319,881; Kano, 295,432; Oshogbo, 208,966.
Government.
Federal military government; member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Head of state and of government, Major General Yakubu Gowon, rules Supreme Military Council and is advised by 12-member civilian Federal Executive Council, with Chief Obafemi Awolowo (Yoruba tribal leader) as vice-chairman.
Finance.
Monetary unit, Nigerian pound; £1 = US$2.80. Budget (est. 1968-1969): revenue, £147.7 million, of which £54.4 million reverts to state governments; expenditure, £92 million.
Trade (1968).
Exports, £211.1 million; imports, £192.6 million. Principal exports: petroleum (6.9 million tons), groundnuts, cocoa, palm kernels and oil, rubber, raw cotton, cotton seed, tin. Principal imports: manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals. Principal trading partners: United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations, United States, Japan, Netherlands, West Germany, Italy.
Education (1967, excluding the 3 eastern states).
Primary enrollment, 1,778,976. Secondary enrollment, 142,837. University enrollment: Nigeria Nsukka, 3,482; Ibadan, 2,559; Ahmadu Belle, 1,351; Ife, 1,258; Lagos, 1,436.
Armed forces (est. 1969).
Federal Nigeria, 100,000.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
FULL TRIBUTE IS PAID TO ARCHIVES COLLIER'S YEAR BOOK DR JIDEOFO KENECHUKWU DANMBAEZUE, D. Sc.

I acknowledge all downloads I made from Archives that consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

5 comments:

  1. A BIAFRAN VETERAN WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE CIVIL WAR OF SURVIVAL AS A NINETEEN YEAR OLD

    I Participated In This War Of Survival As A Nineteen Year Old And Its Effect On My Moral Development Can Only Be Captured In This Epitaph Or Mission Statement I Wrote Later;

    THE PRINCIPLES OF KENEZIANISM

    The theory and practice of Kenezianism started in 1970, at the end of the civil war when its originator Major Kenechukwu Nzeogwu Mbaezue; BA/ 6532, of the Degema Strike Force, 12th Commando Brigade, Biafra, returned from the war front! He felt shattered by the final outcome of the fratricidal debacle of three years. “Why did we lose the war of survival? Should Nigeria the aggressor defeat us the victims of their cruel and premeditated pogroms? Of what use were the prayers to a god that never answered us? Or did our leaders commit unpardonable war crimes or indulge in sacrilegious absurdities? Is the Muslim religion more authentic and reliable than Christianity? If yes, then let us join them and go on pilgrimages to Mecca!”
    Finding answers to these existential questions drove the young war veteran crazy. He could not comprehend how an unjust war ended in favour of the aggressors. For him it meant that we wasted all our time and youthfulness in the war fronts praying to the God of Christians! He truly deserved veritable explanations!
    He withdrew from all religious engagement for a period of ten consecutive years, from 1970 to 1980. That gave him enough time to reflect on some existential questions about all he had learnt from the Christian missionaries that moulded his early life in the junior and senior seminaries. There arose the need for him to re-evaluate his belief system, moderate his scrupulous orientation to social life and thereafter, formulate a realistic code of conduct that could guarantee his survival in the conflicting world of the Nigerian society he found himself trapped in!
    He lived as a war captive for the next 30 years! Within this period, he practised the detached life of a sad research scientist reminiscent of the great Austrian monk and geneticist, MacGregor Mendel. He earned a total of four university degrees that spanned a period of 15 years, with breaks here and there to assist his eight younger brothers and sisters, siblings of the same humble family of a school teacher/catechist!
    To achieve this, he again joined the armed forces of the nation he lived as an exile, the fallout of which was that he neatly sandwiched a military diploma, pjsc, from the Nigerian Air Force in between the four degrees; A bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, sponsored by the Catholic missionaries in1970, then another bachelor’s degree in Psychology, self-sponsored and partly aided by a Federal Government Loans Bursary award in 1975. This loan was later paid in full after his NYSC, which he served at the Department of Psychiatry, University College Hospital, Ibadan, and Lambo’s Aro- Village System, Abeokuta from 1975- 1976! This was followed by a three-year stint as an Air Force Medical Officer, NAF 759. Upon winning the Anambra State Ph.D. Scholarship Award in 1977 he resigned in 1979 and later earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology, from the School of Medicine, University of Benin, in 1982.
    He rounded his training with a Doctor of Science degree in Research Psychometrics, earned by innovative researches in personality evaluation, organisational psychology and family counselling in 1993! This doctorate degree qualified him to join the prestigious African College of Research Scientists, Addis Ababa Campus, of which he is now, a Fellow! A rare feat of academic achievement for anyone to obtain through self-reliance, ingenuity and resourcefulness!

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  2. For the next phase of his research/academic life he combined family roles and clinical duties, churning out psychological tests for guidance/career counselling, personality evaluation and marriage/family counselling. In the interim he got married and to date has two boys and a girl, who became the well-deserved consolation for his long years of ambivalence! Today he is a retired Flight Lieutenant in private practice as a Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapist. He still does extensive research in Family Counselling/Therapy, Behaviour Therapy and Community Medicine.
    His published psychological tests and books exceed fifteen, as at the last count. He is a respected authority in Psychometrics, a Member of the National Association of Clinical Psychologists and the Founder/Animator of three world-wide NGOs;
    i. KENEZ HEALTH KLINIK, an Interdisciplinary Therapeutic Organisation for Family Health,
    ii. HAPPY FAMILY NETWORK INTERNATIONAL, an Inter-ethnic NGO for grooming happy families,
    iii. INTEGRATIONAL SPIRITAN MOVEMENT, a Spiritual Fellowship for Modern Scientists!
    The greatest contribution he has made so far seems to be in the area of family counselling and existential therapy where he has constructed, validated and standardised more than thirteen psychological tests for school career guidance, pre-marital counselling and crises intervention in families that need help! In addition, he has written nine books covering such areas of knowledge as: social ethics, theosophy, cosmology, social and community medicine. The manuscripts of these inspirational works are, in the real sense of the phrase, begging for funds to print them. Can anyone publish these books so that others may benefit from the information stashed away in them?
    His religious involvement in early life became an asset as this book in moral ethics has turned out to be the best outcome of his contemplative lifestyle. Below are some of the verses he wrote that kept him mentally alive and hopeful that his children would have a better future! You may benefit from reading and practising some of them in your daily living! There are existential truths rather than theological jargons!

    To read the details of

    THE PRINCIPLES OF KENEZIANISM

    See BOOKS BY DR J. K. DANMBAEZUE at this URL;

    www.happyfamilynetwork.hpage.com

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  3. OGBUNIGWE AND ODIMEGWU DEFEATED BIAFRA
    14/11/2014 05:12:20 HRS GMT
    An In-Depth Analysis of the Psychodynamics of the Lapses in Biafra
    By Degema Strike Force OC; Major Kenechukwu Nzeogwu Mbaezue, BA 6532

    • Whereas The Manufacture And Proper Utilisation Of Our Shore-Batteries Frightened And Rallied The Whole World Against Us
    • The Aristocratic Biafran Leadership Suppressed Every Opposition and So Frightened Off Genuine Military Participation by Hardcore Soldiers.
    • The Result Was That Improper Political And Military Management Ignited Disaffection That Weakened A Coordinated Prosecution Of The War.

    A HISTORICAL REVIEW TO SEE HOW IGBOS BUNGLED CHANCES OF BEING THE TRUE LEADERS OF THE NIGERIAN NATION

    Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960. In 1961 the Cameroons trust territories were split in two. The mostly Muslim northern Cameroons voted to become part of the Northern Region of Nigeria, while the southern Cameroons joined the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Regional and ethnic tensions escalated quickly. The censuses of 1962 and 1963 fueled bitter disputes, as did the trial and imprisonment of leading opposition politicians, whom Prime Minister Balewa accused dubiously of treason. In 1963 an eastern section of the Western Region that was ethnically non-Yoruba was split off into a new region, the Midwestern Region. Matters deteriorated during the violence-marred elections of 1964, from which the NPC emerged victorious. On January 15, 1966, junior army officers revolted and killed Balewa and several other politicians, including the prime ministers of the Northern and Western regions. Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the commander of the army and an Igbo, emerged as the country’s new leader.

    FROM HIS UNINTELLIGENT POLICIES AT CREATION A VERY STRONG FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HE ALIENATED THE OTHER REGIONS WHO WANTED A WEAK CENTRAL GOVERNMENT WHICH FUELED THE FEAR OF IGBO DOMINATION OF OTHER NATIONALITIES AND PORTRAYED THA ACCUSATION OF HIS COMPLICITY IN THE VERY COUP D'ETAT IGBOS WERE ACCUSED OF MASTERMINDING. SUBSEQUENT LEADERS IN BIAFRA FOLLOWED HIS BAD FOOTSTEPS BY PROSECUTING THE WAR IN THEIR NAIVE CIVILIAN IDIOSYNCRASIES BRUSHING ADVANCE STRATAGEMS BY EXPERT MILITARY SOLDIERS MAROONED, NAY,WERE DUMPED AT THE OFFICERS MESS FOR 24 MONTHS. EVEN MAJOR KADUNA NZEOGWU'S MASTER PLAN THAT COULD HAVE ENDED THE WAR IN 6 MONTHS WAS IGNORED AND EVERY OTHER SEASONED COUNSELLING WAS NEGLECTED. THAT IS WHY BIAFRA LOST THE WAR OF SURVIVAL.


    Major KENECHUKWU NZEOGWU MBAEZUE, BA 6532
    1969 @ 12th Degema Strike Force, 12 th Commando Brigade, BIAFRA.

    AGUNABU UMUELECHI BIAFRA


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  4. FOR RELEVANT PICTURES, MAPS & STATISTICAL GRAPHS, THE DILIGENT RESEARCHER MUST CONSULT INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED ENCYCLOPEDIAS AND COMPARE NOTES. Note the lopsidedness of British writers, they naturally skewed or skewered their myopic stories to favour their ex-colonial CONTRAPTION they labelled BLACK AREA aka Nigeria.

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