WHY DID CHUKWUEMEKA ODIMEGWU OJUKWU NOT WRITE A MEMOIR?
A memoir is one of the greatest legacies to be left on our exit from Earth. It not only explains the rational for your sometimes-contradictory actions but also gives your followers and adherents a roadmap into your decision-making process so mistakes are not repeated. Ojukwu’s bravery was never in doubt but egoism, air of superiority occasioned by his aristocratic background, and upbringing may have affected his ability to imbibe advice, especially from intelligent persons, that he may consider his intellectual inferiors. A modern history major at Oxford University, he appears not to have applied his mastery of history, in prosecuting the Nigeria-Biafra War. Any historian knows that no despotic African leader will cede an inch of his territory without a war. For Odimegwu Ojukwu not to anticipate a war after his declaration of Biafra is foolhardy. While Biafrans were hardened and mentally prepared for hostilities, you cannot shoot at Saracen and Saladin armored British vehicles with dane guns. Biafra was totally economically, and militarily unprepared, for a conflict that lasted more than one week.
The discovery of liquid gold (crude oil) in Oloibiri, Eastern Nigeria in 1956, made Biafra a potential gold mine for Nigeria. The ethnic minorities of Eastern Nigeria envious of Igbo accomplishments saw the war as a means to get out of real or perceived Igbo domination. Igbos are not interested in dominating anybody but are only interested in your money. The Igbo practice of claiming superiority over other tribes by virtue of their economic, and academic successes was resented by the other tribes. Igbos are boastful but not harmful. Politically, Igbos may be the most stupid tribe in Nigeria. Ojukwu did not fully buy the allegiance of the Eastern Ethnic Minorities who inhabited the area between the Igbos and the Atlantic Ocean. A soldier cannot be a political leader in times of war, as his political judgment will be clouded by military arrogance. Unlike the Western Military, the African Military loath taking orders from Civilian Authority. Seasoned, astute, and crafty politicians such as Michael Okpara were not part of the decision-making process.
South Sudan fought the Islamic Sudanese for 30 years, within the confines of Sudan, until they achieved Independence. East Timor fought Indonesia, within the confines of Indonesia, until they achieved Independence. The West, mainly Britain, France, Portugal, and Belgium created the African countries by drawing haphazard lines, that sometimes bisected a tribe into two countries. Imagine the anger that the British felt, when the country that they left in the secure hands of the Islamic North, is being disassembled by those naughty Igbos. Igbo men and women challenged the British Authorities. Igbo women were rioting against British indirect taxation in 1929 when American women could not vote! It still amazes that the “mouthy” Igbos were defeated by a coalition of the “illiterate” North and “back-stabbing” Yorubas aided by “ignorant” Ethnic Minorities in 30 months!
Ojukwu’s oratorical skills, charisma, and manipulation, goaded the so-called Biafran Constituent Assembly, into rubber-stamping his actions. The British still smarting from Ojukwu’s effrontery in redrawing their Map of Nigeria, were further uneasy, when he elaborated his Ahiara Declaration, that sounded like a Communist Manifesto. Now it became obvious that the threat must be eliminated. One cannot write about Ojukwu without mentioning his legendary womanizing. This obviously affected the war efforts, but to what extent, is left to conjecture.
Why were the oil resources in the East not pledged as collateral for weapons and diplomatic support? Why did Ojukwu not write a memoir to explain his actions including execution of some fine officers and civilians during the war for sabotage? For an accomplished writer, this is deliberate.