Friday, May 31, 2013

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Onyezili: Chinua Achebe, every inch a Nigerian

"With his There was a country, Achebe hit the cruciate nerve and ruptured the portal artery of writers, politicians, academics and even plain journeymen, particularly of the Yoruba kind. But let me be clear: Although the erstwhile de facto Vice Head of the Nigerian state during the civil war was not your detribalised Nigerian by any figment of imagination, I don't agree with Achebe when he blames Awolowo for the extermination, through malnutrition, of hundreds of thousands of children and women during our country's civil war of which, having lived the entire duration of the conflict in Biafra as an adult in my twenties, I claim a hands-on perspective. My opinion is that most of the blame should rest on the General who committed his people to war propelled almost only by his own ambition and arrogance when fully aware his troops were ill-prepared and lacked even the most rudimentary of hardware to effectively prosecute the war. In the same vein, my view is that Achebe's claim that Igbo are the most progressive people in Nigeria is thoroughly debateable, probably far more arguable than the question of the Igbo political class that, even right now, is still seemingly irredeemably mercantilist, consistently selling out its own for the proverbial mess of porridge."

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