Igbo Leaders Deceived Their people Into Fighting Biafran War, Says Odia Ofeimun
Poet, literary and social critic, Mr Odia Ofeimun, has said Biafran war leaders should be sent to the Nuremberg Trial for crime against humanity.
He said all the leaders involved are supposed to be tried for deceiving the Igbos to fight a war they were not prepared for, rather than be allowed to continue in their deceit.
Mr Ofeimun said this at the Freedom Park in Lagos on Sunday while reacting to the controversy stirred by Chinua’s Achebe’s latest war memoir, ‘There Was A Country’.
He was a guest at the Book Party organised by the Committee For Relevant Art, CORA.
In his words: “The Igbo leaders who deceived their people to fight the civil war without arms and ammunition should be tried for crimes against humanity. They were not prepared for the war, yet they made use of their propaganda machine to deceive the Igbos to fight the war.
“They didn’t tell their people the true situation of things. Chief Obafemi Awolowo met Odumegwu Ojukwu and told him, ‘My friend you are not prepared for the war.’”
Mr Ofeimun is of the view that Achebe is too serious a writer to be involved in such pety controversy, adding that the author of the popular novel, Things Fall Apart, left so many things unsaid in the book.
In his latest book, Achebe claims that former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and the then Federal Commissioner for Finance, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, used starvation as a weapon of war which caused the death of over two million Igbo people. He accused Chief Awolowo as hungry for power.
Achebe’s criticism of the respected Yoruba leader has attracted reactions from former Aviation Minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, who said though the issue of starvation which led to the death of millions of children was true, there is more to it.
“It is wrong for him (Achebe) to blame only Gowon and Awolowo for the starvation of innocent civilians. Achebe should have recorded that Ojukwu contributed to that because the Federal Government then made a proposal to open a food window so as to save civilians, but Ojukwu rejected it,” Fani- Kayode said.
In his reaction, an avowed Awoist and Commissioner for Information in Ekiti State, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye, said Achebe hasn’t been able to come out of the deep frustration of the fact that a Yoruba man (Prof Wole Soyinka) emerged as the first Nigerian winner of the Nobel Prize In Literature.
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