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How relevant was the legacy or intrusion of the British Colonial Government in the Nigerian civil war between July 1967- January 1970? The investigation focuses on the developments from three main time periods: the pre-colonial era, the colonial era and t

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Introduction

The Biafran War NAME: Adedayo adewa. DATE: March, 2010. COURSE: COMN. 2312. DIRECTOR: Jose C. Curto. INTRODUCTION Nigeria, one of the biggest British colonies in Africa, was granted independence in 19601, but in 1967, the eastern region withdrew and declared itself the republic of Biafra. The result was a three-year bloody civil war between the federal government and the secessionists leading to Biafra's defeat. Reasons put forward for this conflict include religious, tribal, cultural, geographical and economic factors. A school of thought however, believes the civil war resulted from the legacy of the British and this essay examines the question, HOW RELEVANT WAS THE LEGACY OR INTRUSION OF THE BRITISH COLONIAL GOVERNMENT IN THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR BETWEEN JULY 1967- JANUARY 1970? The investigation focuses on the developments from three main time periods: the pre-colonial era, the colonial era and the postcolonial era, and examines those structures and legacies that contributed to the conflict.The colonial era appeared to have re-enforced the religious, tribal and historical divisions that existed in the pre-colonial era, added and gave new dimensions to the religious conflict. It also established some of the structure that gave rise to the post-independence inability to trust and produce capable and non-baised leaders. PRE-COLONIAL ERA Firstly, during the pre-colonial era the area, which became known as Nigeria, had existed as a number of independent and sometimes hostile national states with linguistic and cultural differences until 1900. The Governor General of Nigeria between 1920-31, Sir Hugh Clifford described Nigeria as "a collection of independent native states, separated from one another by great distances, by differences of history and traditions and by ethnological, racial, tribal, political, social and religious barriers."2 As stated above Nigeria was amalgamated into three main ethnic groups - even though there were various groups -; the Hausa/Fulani's in the north, the Yoruba's in the west and the Igbo's in the east. ...read more.

Middle

Nonetheless, violence increased. In September, bloody attacks were made on the Igbo in the north by Muslim traditionalists with the aid of northern political leaders. The estimated number of deaths ranged as high as 30,000, although the figure was also estimated at 8,000 to 10,000.15 The four regions attempted to negotiate a return to a civilian government from September to November 1966.16 The military commanders and governors, including Ojukwu, met in Lagos to consider solutions to the regional strife. But they failed to reach a settlement, despite concessions offered by the northerners, because it proved impossible to guarantee the security of Igbo outside the Eastern Region. In January 1967, the military leaders and officials met at Abauri, Ghana, at the invitation of the Ghanaian military government. By now, the Eastern Ibo Region was threatening secession. In a last-minute attempt to hold Nigeria together, the military reached an agreement that provided for a loose confederacy of regions.17 The federal civil service strongly opposed the Abauri Agreement, however in May, Gowon issued a decree implementing the Abauri Agreement. Even the Northern Region leaders, who had been the first to threaten secession, now supported a creation of a multi-state federation. Ojukwu's government threw out the plan for reconciliation. The eastern leaders had reached a tense point in their relations with Lagos and the rest of Nigeria. Despite offers made by the FMG that met many of Ojukwu's demands, the Eastern Region Assembly voted May 26 to secede from Nigeria. In Lagos, Gowon proclaimed a state of emergency and unveiled plans for eradication of the regions, and to divide the country into twelve states. It was a highly strategic move, which pleased the eastern minorities and deprived the 'rebellious' Igbo's of their control over the oil fields and access to the sea. Gowon also appointed outstanding civilians, including Awolowo, in positions in the federal and new state governments, thus increasing his political support.18 On May 30, Ojukwu answered the federal decree with the announcement of the independent Republic of Biafra, named after the Bight of Biafra. ...read more.

Conclusion

June 1, 1969. Lliffe, John, Africans, The History of a Continent, Cambridge University Press, 1995. 1 Philips, Barnaby. Biafra: Thirty Years On 13 January 2000. Retrieved, November 16, 2009 < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/596712.stm>. 2 Atofarati, Abubakar. "The Nigerian Civil War Causes, Strategies and Lessons Learnt." Retrieved November 21, 2009 <Http:/www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1992/AAA.htm>. 3 Calvocoressi, Peter, World politics since 1945, 6th edition, Longman publishing, New York, The United States of America, 1991. P 509 4 Madiebo, A.A., The Nigerian Revolution and The Biafran War, Fourth Dimension Publishing, Nigeria 1980. P 3. 5 Atofarati, Abubakar. "The Nigerian Civil War Causes, Strategies and Lessons Learnt." Retrieved November 21, 2009. <Http:/www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1992/AAA.htm>. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Heater, Derek, Case Studies in Twentieth-Century World history, Longman Group UK Limited, 1988. pp109. 9 Atofarati, Abubakar. "The Nigerian Civil War Causes, Strategies and Lessons Learnt." Retrieved November 21, 2009 <Http:/www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1992/AAA.htm> pp4. 10 Owhonda, John. Nigeria. Dillion Press. New Jersey: 1998. pp43. 11 Ifejika, Samueal and Arthur Nwankwo. Biafra: The Making of a Nation. Praeger Publishers. New York: 1969. pp10. 12 Lowe, Norman, Mastering Modern World History, 2nd edition, The Macmillan press limited, 1988 P 469. 13 Oliver, Roland and Atmore, Africa since 1800, Cambridge University Press, 1996. P 270. 14 Ibid., 125. 15 Stremlau, John. The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970. Princeton Press, New Jersey: 1977. pp 74 16 Ifejika, Samueal and Arthur Nwankwo. Biafra: The Making of a Nation. Praeger Publishers. New York: 1969. pp 91. 17 Ibid., pp 229. 18 Stremlau, John. The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970. Princeton. Press, New Jersey: 1977. pp36. 19 Ibid., 38. 20 Ojukwa, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu. The Ahiara Declaration: The Principles of Biafran Revolution. June 1, 1969. 21 Stremlau, John. The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970. Princeton. Press, New Jersey: 1977. pp277. 22 Ibid., 358. 23 Ifejika, Samueal and Arthur Nwankwo. Biafra: The Making of a Nation. Praeger Publishers. New York: 1969 pp253. 24 Stremlau, John. The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970. Princeton. Press, New Jersey: 1977. pp239-368. 25 Lliffe, John, Africans, The History of a Continent, Cambridge University Press, 1995. P258. ...read more.

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