The Nigerian Civil War, an horrific event that has continuously refused to be acknowledged by the Nigerian Government despite its life altering impact on the Igbos, has been a consistent theme in literary works for years. In his memoir, There was a Country, Chinua Achebe gave his personal account on the genocidal event.
51 years after the Nigerian Civil War ended and Nigeria is still suffering from the ailments that maligned it in the first place, the aftermath of that civil war and the threat of another that constantly looms.
As we approach another Democracy Day, it’s easy to conclude there isn’t anything worth celebrating, and no one would really blame you for that as the country continues to descend into new lows daily. We’ve chosen to spend the day thinking about everything about Nigeria and reading books that address her vast history – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the so ugly she would rather pretend it never happened. Take a look at our book list and dive into whichever one best suits your mood for the day.
NB: The books on this list range from autobiographical to fictional accounts of their authors concerning the Nigerian Civil War.
1. Aburi: Echoes of the Nigerian Biafra War by Ayomide Akinbode
The Head-of-State, Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi had been murdered and General Gowon had ascended office while violence erupted in Northern Nigeria. The military governor of the East, Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu did not recognise Gowon’s promotion and called for a neutral ground to chart the way forward for the country. The venue was Aburi, Ghana. What really happened at Aburi that led to the 30-month civil war? What role did the Yoruba people, led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the “Super” Permanent Secretaries play after the meeting at Aburi? A must-read for every lover of Nigerian History.
2. Eclipse by Chinedum Ned Nwabunike
The welter events of the Nigerian Civil War left a mark which was visibly etched for a longer period of time in the eastern Nigeria. When the leaders of the Igbos called for a separation of the new acclaimed nation, Biafra from Nigeria, it sparked up a fire that burnt continuously for three years.
Almost everyone in Biafra had thought the rumors were false until the series of unfortunate events started. Overcome by frustration and desperate for love, serenity and freedom, Obianuju thrives in the heat of the war even though she almost loses everything she was fighting for.
3. Nigeria and the Leadership Question by Sunday Adelaja
This book provides for the reader: – An excellent perspective on the early historical origins and political development of Nigeria, solutions to the leadership question Nigeria has been struggling with since independence. It destroys the myth that leadership is Nigeria’s only problem. – It points out the role of responsible followership in building a great nation. – It shows why democracy has not worked in Africa and what needs to be done for it to work. It also shows examples of proactive Nigerians that are taking responsibility to build a better Nigeria.
4. Selected Works of Orji Uzor Kalu by Izuoma Ibe
By the book title: Selected Works of Orji Uzor Kalu: To Make Nigeria Work, one would expect nothing but the works of Kalu but the author was intelligent enough to subdue praise drives, cited his related works and words while smartly addressing the internal polarization of Igbo people in Nigeria.
5. 48 hours to leave Biafra by Martin Udeh
Julian Chukwu has lived all his life abroad. He comes home with his Jamaican wife to enjoy the land of his birth, but is instead trapped in a region about to explode. When the Nigerian Civil War broke out, he was forced to make decisions like sending his wife away. But now, he has only 48 Hours to Leave Biafra, or meet his doom. A recount of the war from the perspective of a foreign based Nigerian.
6. Reversing the Rot in Nigeria by Olusegun Oyegbami
The case of Nigeria is a sad tale of what could have been. Nigeria has been described in unflattering terms as the giant with the feet of clay, and the grown up man still wearing diapers. It is easy to see that the country has under-performed on all positive indices of material development, given the huge human potential and the natural resources available to it. This book probes further and identifies the particular swings, policy decisions, actions and inactions that have brought the Nigerian state to this point.
7. Nnamdi Kanu, Biafrans and Biafraland by Izuoma Ibe
Close to fifty years since the end of the Biafran War, many authors have written considerable works on the war event; how and why it happened. One question yet unanswered is ‘Is Biafra an Igbo Agenda?’ Many people have distanced themselves from the country, while many are otherwise. There are reasons for such acts. They are not ordinary. This book has come at the right time and in the right version to spread the valid information across without hindrance. Izuoma Ibe have been able to dig into history to bring verifiable facts that tell of the Ibibio, Ijaw, Efik, Igbo, and Ogoja people in Biafra and Nigeria. He has, in good opinion, stated correctly whose agenda Biafra is. Nnamdi kanu, Biafrans in Biafraland is a book that has unreservedly told the world who the real Biafrans are.
8. Why Biafra Lingers by Attah Nwachukwu
In 1966, an event took place in Enugu, the then capital of the Eastern region. Unbeknownst to the entire people of that region, they surrendered themselves to the leadership of the Northern region. It is on this premise that this book channeled it’s point onward to the remedies and actions that must be taken if Biafra, which should actually be a clamor for ‘self-sufficiency’, would be.
9. Dystopian State of Nigeria by Adewole Alexander Tons
This write up mirrors the segmented society of Nigeria from 1914 till date with a view of finding lasting solution to its recurrence ethnic and political turmoil.
10. Tears of the Sun by Oguine Precious
In a country at the brink of a civil war, two Journalists in a quest to unravel the truth behind the curtains of politicians and cabals running the government find themselves toggled up in controversies and propagandas surrounding a riot staged in the northern part of the country. Determined to expose their discoveries at all cost and prevent a possible genocide, they are labeled traitors and are forced to flee and hide. Bearing the tag of the most wanted men in the whole north, they are tested beyond their human capacities. They made sacrifices that tore them from their families and made promises they found difficult to keep. Poised to survive, they must become the story they were meant to share. The story also features the travails of Emeka, the only child of a wealthy businessman in Kaduna. It enumerates how Emeka was forced to watch the horrors of the 1966 genocide unfold before him. Tears of the Sun is an interwoven story of love, hate, sacrifice, deaths and survival. It is the untold story of the Nigerian Civil War. Above all, it is a story that preaches unity as a stronghold for a better tomorrow.
List compiled and written by: Precious Obiabunmo
Edited by: Arinze Talius Dike