Thursday, 31 December 2015

2016 – year of immense possibilities

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Undoubtedly, 2016 begins on a more optimistic note for Africa. 2016 will be a year of intense multifaceted peoples’ activities across Africa to terminate the continent’s genocide-state – particularly Nigeria’s, its ghastly prototype. The year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Igbo genocide when Nigeria and its British principal ally slaughtered 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation’s population.

Britain supported the genocide politically, diplomatically, and militarily because it was riled by the Igbo vanguard role to terminate 60 years of its conquest and occupation of Nigeria during the course of thirty years of the restoration-of-independence movement, 1930s-October 1960. Such was the gripping zealousness to “punish” the Igbo for this historic role that Harold Wilson, the British prime minister directing the genocide from London, was staggeringly unfazed to go on record that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, 1977: 122).

The Nigerian subalterns on the ground, indolent, toady and vindictively anti-African operatives, handsomely obliged their “massa”, slaughtering far beyond the grim target of 500,000 Igbo by 12 January 1970. Nowhere else in Africa nor indeed the South World, during the 1950s-1970s, does any of the seemingly departing European occupying-power in a conquered country effectuate the crime of genocide of a constituent people as a means of safeguarding its strategic interests subsequently as Britain’s sordid record in Nigeria shows. The genocide continues unabated since January 1970 with tens of thousands of Igbo murdered across Nigeria but especially in the north region including those massacred by the Boko Haram terrorists in the past five years. No other peoples in Africa have suffered such an extensive and gruesome genocide and incalculable impoverishment in a century as the Igbo.

The Igbo genocide is the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. It inaugurated Africa’s current age of pestilence. Africans elsewhere remained largely silent on the gruesome events in Nigeria but did not foresee the grave consequences of such indifference. Just as the Nigerian operatives of mass murder appeared to have got away without censure from the rest of Africa and the world, other brutal African regimes soon followed in Nigeria’s footpath murdering those in their countries considered “opponents” or “undesirables”. The haunting killing fields would subsequently stretch from Biafra to further genocide in Rwanda (1994), Zaïre/Democratic Republic of the Congo (variously, since the late 1990s) and Darfur/Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan (all in Sudan since 2003) and in other wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, southern Guinea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville, Burundi and north/northcentral Nigeria. The 12 million murdered in the latter bloodbaths would probably have been saved if Africans had intervened, robustly, to stop the initial genocide against the Igbo people.

African-centred states

Fifty years and 15 million murders on, Africans finally realise that there cannot be any meaningful advancement without the dismantling of the genocide-state. This state is the bane of African existence and progress but a treasure for its pan-European World creator in perpetuity. Africans on the ground are working tirelessly for the emergence of extensively decentralised African-created new states that halt the genocide and ensure full democratic participation and representation of all constituent peoples.  Already, 50 years since the first murders of the genocide were committed in north Nigeria on 29 May 1966, the Biafrans have written an extraordinary essay on human survival and fortitude, a beacon of the tenacity of the spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unimaginable brutish forces. Biafra is a realisation, a profound reclamation of that which makes us all human and part of humanity

It is within this context that the current heightened political developments in Biafra become intelligible. Since Friday 6 November 2015, hundreds of thousands of peaceful and disciplined Biafrans have turned their cities and towns and villages into panoramic freedom park marches, unprecedented in Africa, demanding the restoration of the sovereignty of their beloved Biafra, currently occupied by Nigeria, and insisting on the release of Nnamdi Kanu, Radio Biafra freedom broadcaster and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, illegally detained by the Nigeria regime. Biafrans are redefining the dynamics of the march for freedom in Africa. Biafra will be free.


This march will be intensified in 2016 and will have progressive, liberatory consequences across Africa.  The freedom movement should now embark on organising a binding referendum in which all electorally eligible Biafrans from its population of 50 million at home and in the diaspora in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world vote on whether they want to belong to the Biafra state, or Nigeria

Biafrans and all peoples of goodwill in the world will respect and accept the outcome of this democratic enterprise.
Sam Rivers Quartet, “Ellipsis” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 11 December 1964])

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

92nd birthday of Cheikh Anta Diop

(Born 29 December 1923, Caytou, Sénégal)
Mathematician, physicist, linguist, anthropologist, philosopher, historian and Egyptologist, demonstrates, most copiously in his near-40 years of research (beginning in the 1940s) and publication of papers and books, especially Nations Nègres et Culture, 1955 (English translation: African Origin of Civilization, 1974), L’unité culturelle de l’Afrique noire, 1959 (English: The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domains of Matriarchy & Patriarchy in Classical Antiquity, 1989)  and Civilisation ou barbarie, 1981 (English: Civilization or Barbarism, 1991), that Kemet, “ancient Egypt”, is an African civilisation and that African peoples are the indisputable heirs to its heritage
Cheikh Anta Diop,  African Origin of Civilization (Chicago: Chicago Review, 1989), 336 pp, US$11.30/£10.73 pbk
Cheikh Anta Diop, Civilization or Barbarism (Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1991), 464 pp, US$15.64/£15.49 pbk

For an assessment of Cheikh Anta Diop’s  salient contribution to the scholarship of the African World, see Herbert Ekwe-EkweReadings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (Dakar & Reading: African Renaissance, 2011), pp.7-11. 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 28 December 2015

73rd birthday of Stanley Macebuh

(Born 28 December 1942, Aba, Biafra)
Celebrated cultural and literary critic and executive editor of The Guardian, Lagos, Nigeria, beginning February 1983, when he embarks on the  radical transformation of  the standard and range of journalism not seen in southwestcentral Africa in 50 years – since the African-centred revolution of the 1930s in the profession spearheaded by Nnamdi Azikiwe, political scientist, journalist and architect of  the restoration-of-independence movement for the peoples in Nigeria and south Cameroon from the British conquest and occupation

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Announcement: Journal of West African History, Vol 1, Issue 2, now available! (accessed 19 November 2015)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

55th anniversary of French nuclear bomb “test” in Sahara Desert

(27 December 1960, explodes bomb at Regganne, west Algeria)

In flagrant disregard for the lives of African peoples and their environment and those of future generations, France carries out an atomic bomb “test” over the Sahara Desert, the third in the year (earlier explosions had been conducted in February and April) – exploded bomb has plutonium with yield of 10,000-14,000 TNT, equivalent to one-half power of atomic bomb the United States air force dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 1945; instructively, at no occasion during this entire grim epoch does the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, which has authorised these bomb blasts, consider carrying out the “tests” in any provinces or regions of France, Europe 
(Charles de Gaulle: ... his presidency couldn’t consider carrying out these bomb “tests” anywhere in France...)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 25 December 2015

84th birthday of Uzo Egonu

(Born 25 December 1931, Onicha, Biafra)
One of the African World’s multifaceted and most distinguished painters, his evocative, landmark Exodus (1970) captures the devastating aftermath of phase-I of the Igbo genocide, perpetrated by Nigeria and principal ally Britain, 29 May 1966-4 January 1967, as nearly 2 million Igbo who survive this initial slaughter in the north region and elsewhere in Nigeria stream home before the subsequent  phases (II & III: 5 January 1967-5 July 1967, 6 July 1967-12 January 1970 respectively) when the genocidists effect a comprehensive range of land, aerial and naval blockade of Biafra, unprecedented in Africa, and murdering a total of 3 million people therein by 12 January 1970
(For Biafra: ... Uzo Egonu, Exodus [1970])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

95th birthday of Michael Okpara

(Born 25 December 1920, Umuahia, Biafra)
Physician and irrepressible advocate of harnessing Africa’s vast agricultural resource potential as launch base to embark on far-reaching societal transformation, head of pre-military junta 15 January 1966 east region Nigeria government, then home to Africa’s most resourceful and dynamic economy en route to emerging as a major manufacturing and industrial power, in its own right, but for the catastrophe of the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January, when Nigeria and its allies, principally Britain, murder 3.1 million Igbo people in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa
(Booker Little Sextet, “We speak” [personnel: Little, trumpet; Julian Priester, trombone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Don Friedman, piano; Art Davis, bass; Roach, drums; recorded: Nola’s Penthouse Studios, New York, 17 March 1961])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Whose lands? Whose resources? Whose scholarship?

FWD: Oxford student who wants Rhodes statue down branded “hypocrite” for taking money from trust (Javier EspinozaDaily Telegraph, London, Monday 21 December 2015)

Ntokozo Qwabe, the student, says that Cecil Rhodes “did not have a scholarship” because “it was never his money” in the first place.
(Ntokozo Qwabe: ... next is Cecil Rhodes statute at Oriel College, Oxford University)
An Oxford student who is leading a campaign to remove Cecil Rhodes statue has been bullied online after revelations that his education has been funded by the scholarship set up by the colonial politician, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Ntokozo Qwabe has been accused of “disgraceful hypocrisy” over the weekend because he has been funded by the scholarship set up by the man whose statue he wants removed.

The South African student has been aggressively campaigning to remove the Rhodes statue at Oriel College, Oxford University, because of the politician’s controversial views on other races.
Mr Qwabe and members of the Rhodes Must Fall movement have said that paying homage to the British imperialist is at odds with the university’s “inclusive culture”.
(Students at Oxford: ... want a statue of Cecil Rhodes removed)
However, since Mr Qwabe is also a recipient of the scholarship, which last year spent £8 million on 89 scholars, some have called for him to hand the money back.
The student has argued that he isn’t a beneficiary of Rhodes money and that he simply taking back “tiny fractions” of what he looted during his time in Africa.
Posted on Mr Qwabe’s wall, a critic wrote: “Disgraceful hypocrisy from a beneficiary of [a] Rhodes’ scholarship”.
Another one wrote: “Give back your scholarship and remove the chip off your shoulder”.
A separate user wrote: “Your hypocrisy is breathtaking. It would appear that you weren’t too principled when offered a Rhodes scholarship. If you object so much to this nation’s lack of political correctness, the answer is in your hands. I wasn’t lucky enough to go to university and I take your narrow minded attitude as a slap in the face to the freedoms we fought world wards to keep.”
But Mr Qwabe fought back. He wrote: “Rhodes did not have a scholarship. It was never his money. All that he looted must absolutely be returned immediately.

“I’m no beneficiary of Rhodes. I’m a beneficiary of the resources and labour of my people which Rhodes pillaged and slaved.”
(Crane prepares its work: ... to remove stature of Cecil Rhodes from Cape Town University where it has been positioned for 100 years)
Rhodes was the founder of Rhodesia, named after him in 1895, later divided into two and now Zambia and Zimbabwe. He was a great benefactor of the expansion of the British Empire. He used his wealth from diamond mining and other ventures to help create new territories through obtaining mineral concessions in Africa.
He also believed the expansion of the “superior” Anglo-saxon race was beneficial for the rest of humanity. He said: “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit, the better it is for the human race.”
On moral grounds, campaigners now argue his statue should be removed from Oriel College. However, the statue is part of a building of particular historical importance and Historic England has said it will not consider whether to remove the statue on moral grounds.
A senior source said: “Our primary consideration is the building’s architectural interest, its communal value of what it means to people today. As such, we would look at how the statue contributes to the architecture as a whole and how it helps us understand the building.”
The source said it would be difficult to make a case for the removal of the statue. The source added: “We would also consider any damage to the building as a result of removing the statue.”

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

71st birthday of Woody Shaw

(Born 24 December 1944, Laurinburg, North Carolina, US)
Astoundingly innovative trumpeter, fluguelhornist, clarinettist and composer, collaborates expansively in groundbreaking recordings with fellow leading innovative musicians of the age including multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, vibists Bobby Hutcherfield and Lionel Hampton, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, Charlie Rouse and Pharoah Sanders, pianists Andrew Hill, Mal Waldron and Horace Silver and drummers Max Roach, Art Blakey  and Louis Hayes
(Mal Waldron Quintet, “The seagulls of  Kristiansund” [personnel: Waldron, piano; Woody Shaw, trumpet;  Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone;  Reggie Workman, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York,  16 September 1986])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

122nd birthday of Chancellor Williams

(Born 22 December 1893, Bennettsville, South Carolina, US)
Distinguished historian and sociologist, prolific author including the authoritative tome, The Destruction of Black Civilization: The Great Issue of a Race between 4500BC and 2000AD (1974)
Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization: The Great Issue of a Race between 4500BC and 2000AD (Chicago: Third World, new edition, 1995), 345pp, pbk, US$12.43/£12.99:
Now the shadows lengthened. The Europeans had also been busily building up and training strong African armies. Africans trained to hate, kill and conquer Africans. Blood of Africans was to sprinkle and further darken the pages of their history … Indeed, Africa was conquered for the Europeans by the Africans [themselves], and thereafter kept under [conquest] control by African police and African soldiers. Very little European blood was ever spilled. (The Destruction of Black Civilization, p. 218)
 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 21 December 2015

Nigeria – failed state on all scores…

Nigeria’s countrywide 2015 WASSCE certificate results (school certificate/WASC/WAEC/high school/GCE “O” Level/GCSE “O” Level equivalent) recently released (“70.67% fail English, Maths in Nov/Dec WASSCE”, Vanguard, Lagos, Friday 18 December 2015) show that 71 per cent of the total 67, 671 students who sat for this examination failed their Mathematics and English Language, two mandatory subjects required for post-secondary/pre-college/pre-university education.

In many countries of the world, the secretary of education would resign in the wake of such appalling results; in some countries, governments could fall if such results ever occurred. But not in Nigeria would either of these consequences happen! 

Does one really expect a Nigeria, which appears to spend most of its time planning the next murdering escapade in its expansive genocide field of operation against Igbo people, has the mindset and resource to build a world-class education for its children?

Perhaps the following primer underscores the extent of this Nigerian tragedy: a crucial component of the country’s electoral law states, categorically, that the minimum educational qualification for an aspiring/occupier of the position of head of regime or the state’s highest “elected” office is the school certificate equivalent; the current head of regime does not have this qualification but insisted he would run, regardless, in March 2015 for the post and was “duly elected”.
(Sam Rivers Sextet, “Effusive melange” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Donald Bryd, trumpet; Julian Priester, trombone; James Spaulding, alto saxophone; Cecil McBee, bass; Steve Ellington, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 17 March 1967])

66th birthday of Thomas Sankara

(Born 21 December 1949, Yako, Burkina Faso)
Military commander, historian, and head of state of Burkina Faso, 4 August 1983-15 October 1987, when he leads an unprecedentedly transformative government in post-(European)conquest Africa which demonstrates, overwhelmingly with indelible successes, that the engine of societal development is located internally, in the people, themselves, not the prevailing and pervasive fraudulent developmentalism whose mission has the etched signature of some external agency and the latter’s own definitive goals
(Sam Rivers Trio, “Afflatus” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Cecil McBee, bass; Steve Ellington, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 17 March 1967])

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Yet more Biafrans murdered by Nigerian genocidist military in Onicha, Biafra

The Onicha massacre of Biafrans by the Nigerian occupation genocidist military, begun on Wednesday 2 December 2015, has continued unabated. On Thursday 17 December 2015, the genocidists, positioned at Onicha head bridge, shot dead eight Biafrans celebrating the news of the release of Nnamdi Kanu, illegally detained by the Nigerian regime in a secret police facility in Abuja since mid-October. Scores of other celebrants were seriously wounded in the slaughter.  Every Biafran murdered or wounded in this trail of murders is meticulously documented and archived. Each genocidist unit involved in these murders, including command and control personnel, is meticulously documented and archived. Everyone must now know that no one or institution involved in these murders will escape justice in court for committing the crime of genocide. This crime, it couldn’t be overstressed, has no statute of limitations in international law.

Stunning silence

In the meantime, what the world cannot understand is the deafening silence on these massacres – Wednesday 2 December 2015, Thursday 17 December 2015 – from the Anambra region regime in Oka. Is this regime not aware that its citizens, its own citizens, are being murdered by Nigerian occupation military (navy, army, police, secret police, other undisclosed units) in Onicha, commercial capital of the region and the rest of Biafra? Is Onicha not part of its administrative jurisdiction? Have there been no massacres in Onicha? Why hasn’t there been any condemnation of these murders from regime executive offices in Oka? When will the Anambra region regime in Oka unequivocally condemn this 2-phase massacre of peaceful Biafrans in Onicha since Wednesday 2 December 2015?
(John Coltrane & Don Cherry, “Focus on sanity” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Cherry, cornet; Percy Heath, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums; recorded: Atlantic Studios, New York, 28 June/8 July 1960])

140th birthday of Carter G Woodson

(Born 19 December 1875, New Canton, Va, United States)
Historian, journalist, versatile educator and inaugurator of the “African World History Month”, now a very important fixture in the annual calendar in several regions of the African World, outside Africa, and who, whilst researching the nature of the education of African Americans in the 1930s, concludes on the following consequences on someone being controlled and defined by an agency outside their own centre of being, an observation as salient as ever, 80 years on (Woodson, 2010: 48):
If you can control a [person’s] thinking, you don’t have to worry about [their] action. If you can determine what a [person] thinks you do not have to worry about what [they] will do. If you can make a [person] believe that [they are] inferior, you don’t have to compel [them] to seek an inferior status [for they] will do so without being told and if you can make a [person] believe that [they are] justly an outcast, you don’t have to order [them] to the back door. [They] will go to the back door on [their] own and if there is no back door, the very nature of the [person] will demand that you build one.
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 18 December 2015

What Igbo did for Nigeria prior to the Igbo genocide – 1934-29 May 1966

The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all my years, one thing does not change,
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle between Good and Evil.
(TS Eliot, “Choruses from the Rock”, 1934)

FOR IGBO, prior to 29 May 1966, three important holidays were high up on their annual calendar: the Igbo National Day, the iri ji, or the New Yam Festival, and 1 October. The latter was the day of celebration for the restoration of independence for peoples in Nigeria after 60 years of the British conquest and occupation. Or, so were the thoughts predicated on this date’s designation...


Igbo were one of the very few constituent nations in what was Nigeria, again prior to 29 May 1966, who understood, fully, the immense liberatory possibilities ushered in by 1 October and the interlocking challenges of the vast reconstructionary work required for state and societal transformation in the aftermath of foreign occupation. Igbo had the most robust economy in the country in their east region homeland, supplied the country with its leading writers, artists and scholars, supplied the country’s top universities with vice-chancellors (or presidents) and leading professors and scientists, supplied the country with its first indigenous university (the prestigious university at Nsukka), supplied the country with its leading and most spirited pan-Africanists, supplied the country with its top diplomats, supplied the country’s leading high schools with head teachers and administrators, supplied the country with its top bureaucrats, supplied the country with its leading businesspeople, supplied the country with an educated, top-rated professional officers-corps for its military and police forces, supplied the country with its leading sportspersons, essentially and effectively worked the country’s rail, postal, telegraphic, power, shipping and aviation services to quality standards not seen since in Nigeria…

AND THEY WERE surely aware of the vicissitudes engendered by this historic age precisely because the Igbo nation played the vanguard role in the freeing of Nigeria from Britain, beginning from the mid-1930s. The commentator, Sabella Ogbobode Abidde, couldn’t have been more emphatic in summarising the thrust of the Igbo mission during the period:
The Igbo nation ha[s] attributes most other Nigerian nationalities can only dream of and are what most other nations [are] not. The Igbo made Nigeria better. Any wonder then that the Igbo can do without Nigeria; but Nigeria and her myriad nationalities cannot do without the Igbo? Take the Igbo out of the Nigeria equation … and Nigeria will be gasping for air (, 28 July 2004).
The Igbo’s break with Nigeria occurred catastrophically on 29 May 1966. On this day, leaders of the Fulani north region (feudal overlords, muslim clergy, military, police, businesspeople, academics, civic servants, other public officials and patrons, alimajiri), who were long opposed to the liberation of Nigeria (there were no comparable clusters of political, cultural, ideational, religious, national or racial groupings anywhere else in the South World, during the era, which had a similar, unenviable disposition of hostility to emancipation from the European occupation of their lands as the Hausa-Fulani leadership), launched waves of premeditated genocidal attacks on Igbo migrant populations resident in the north. These attacks were later expanded to Biafra during the third phase which began on 6 July 1967, boosted particularly by the robust participation in the slaughter by the Yoruba, Urhobo, and Edo constituent pan-African nations of west Nigeria as well as others elsewhere in the country, especially Hausa, Tiv, Nupe, Kanuri, Jukun, Bachama, Jarawa. 3.1 million Igbo or one-quarter of this nation’s population were murdered during those 44 dreadful months.


THE YORUBA SUPPORT FOR THE GENOCIDE, as from 6 July 1967, for instance, bears all the hallmark of a squelching cadence of opportunism. Influential Yoruba personages (especially Obasanjo, Adekunle, Gbadamosi-King, Akinrinade, Rotimi, Are, Taiwo) under the operational gaze of chief genocidist “theorist” Obafemi Awolowo, plunged headlong, carrying out their own role in this gruesome foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa most fiendishly, particularly across their chosen south Igboland killing fields. The Yoruba appeared to have lost, quite spectacularly, the 1930s-1960s Igbo-Yoruba competitive “preparatory drive” to develop the high-level humanpower and ancillary resources required to run the prospective post-conquest state after the British departure. They therefore viewed the outbreak of the mid-1966 Igbo mass killings in the north region and elsewhere as welcome season to “avenge” their “loss” during the great sociocultural rivalry of those previous three decades, clutching onto any bomb or missile available, from July 1967, on their onward death-march east to lob, remorselessly, into besieged Biafra, into a Biafran home, Biafran school, Biafran shrine, Biafran church, Biafran hospital, Biafran office, Biafran market, Biafran farmland, Biafran factory/industrial enterprise, Biafran children’s playground, Biafran town hall, Biafran refugee centre…


FIFTY years on, Biafrans have written an extraordinary essay on human survival and fortitude, a beacon of the tenacity of the spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unimaginable brutish forces. On this eve of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the genocide, Biafrans are putting final touches to the restoration of the sovereignty of their beloved Biafra, this Land of the Rising Sun. The construction of this advanced civilisation in southwestcentral Africa has already begun.
(Ornette Coleman Quartet, “Turnaround” [personnel: Coleman, alto saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet; Red Mitchell, bass; Shelly Manne, drums; recorded: Contemporary’s Studio, Los Angeles, US, 23 February 1959])

*****Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe’s books on the Igbo genocide and Biafra include Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (2011), Biafra Revisited (2006) and African Literature in Defence of History: An essay on Chinua Achebe (2001)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

115th birthday of Ras T Makonnen

(Born [?]1900, Buxton, Guyana; dies 18 Dec 1983, Nairobi, Kenya)

Geologist, historian and influential Africa World intellectual, co-organiser, with Kwame Nkrumah and others, of the landmark 1945 Manchester (England) conference of leading African-descent intellectuals and contributes to the work on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, 1963 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 17 December 2015

98th birthday of Kenneth Onwuka Dike

(Born 17 December 1917, Oka, Biafra)
Historian, doyen of the Reconstructionary School of African Historical Studies in the aftermath of 400 years of the pan-European enslavement, conquest and occupation of the African world, lays the foundation of this restoration of the African as subject and agency in history in the 1956 publication of his classic, Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885, inaugurates a stretch of an encompassing African heritage archive and becomes the first African vice-chancellor (president) of the University of Ibadan, and later, 1967-1969, travels the world as one of the envoys of eminent Biafran intellectuals who campaigns against the Igbo genocide waged by Nigeria and its allies, particularly Britain, in which 3.1 million Igbo people (one-quarter of this nation’s population) are murdered between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

FWD: Nigeria high court frees Biafra freedom broadcaster Nnamdi Kanu

Reports from Lagos, Nigeria (Vanguard, Thursday 17 December 2015, 1149GMT), state that Nnamdi Kanu, the Biafran freedom broadcaster who has been illegally detained by the Nigeria regime since 17 October 2015, has been freed unconditionally by Ademola Adeniyi, a judge at the Abuja high court. Adeniyi’s ruling couldn’t be more succinct: “there [is] no basis for the applicant [Nnamdi Kanu] to remain in custody since there is currently no charge pending against him”.
(Nnamdi Kanu: freedom broadcaster, Radio Biafra)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Two topical news headlines from BBC News and FOX News and some follow-up questions...

BBC News (Tuesday 15 December 2015): “Saudis announce anti-terrorism coalition”

FOX News (Tuesday 15 December 2015): “Saudi Arabia announces anti-terror alliance of Islamic nations”

According to each of these two news channels, 34 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have agreed to join this “Islamic military alliance” to “fight terrorism with a joint operations” centre based in Riyadh, Saudi capital. 

The 34 countries listed “are also part of the larger Organization of Islamic Corporation, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia” (FOX). 

Twenty African countries cited as members of this alliance are: Benin, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast [Côte d’Ivoire], Libya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, NigeriaSénégalSierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia


Question (1): Who/Which is islamic state in Africa?

Question (2): Do the publics/constituent nations’ populations in each of these listed African countries know that their regimes have signed them up to this “Islamic military alliance”?

Question (3): What due democratic processes occurred in these countries (within elected bodies, constituent nations’ organisations/representatives, women, youth, etc., etc) before any of these “listed states” joined this “Islamic military alliance”?

Question (4): Who made the final decision in the “listed [African] states” to join this “Islamic military alliance”? Why? When?

Question (5): Are states Benin, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo “islamic states”? Since when? How? Why?

Question (6): Are states Benin, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo members of “Organization of Islamic Corporation”? Since when? Why?

Question (7): According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s “Global Terror Index 2015”, Nigeria, one of the members of this “Islamic military alliance”, currently harbours the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation (, accessed 17 November 2015). Would this “Islamic military alliance” be confronting the organisation in its Nigeria, fellow member-state? How? 
(Max Roach Quintet, featuring Abbey Lincoln, “All Africa” [personnel: Roach, drums; Lincoln, vocals; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Coleridge Perkinson, piano; Eddie Khan, bass; recorded: Belgian television, January{?}1964])

84th birthday of Dannie Richmond

(Born 15 December 1931, New York, United States)
Multifaceted drummer who, in 1957, joins the jazz workshop (often varying from a quintet, sextet, octet and dectet) of brilliant bassist, cellist and composer Charles Mingus, and both embark on one of the most enduring and resourceful artistic collaborations of recent times, recording over 30 albums in 22 years involving several influential instrumentalists in the repertoire, including, especially, multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy
(Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy Cornell 1964, “Orange was the color of her dress, then blue silk” [personnel: Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, bass clarinet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded live, Cornell University, 18 March 1964])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 14 December 2015

When Nigerian genocidists waged war on the sun

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Denial is the final stage that lasts throughout and always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide … try to cover up the evidence … They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern … with impunity … unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts... (Gregory Stanton, president, Genocide Watch; professor in genocide studies and prevention, George Mason University, Virginia)
Abolish the sun!
For a genocidist state, the pressing task after perpetrating its heinous crime couldn’t be more predictable: memory erasure of the crime scene at the targeted nation is pursued aggressively and unrelentingly. On the morrow of the conclusion of its execution of the third phase of the Igbo genocide in January 1970, Nigeria wheeled out pretentious cartographers to embark on erasing the illustrious name Biafra from all maps and records that it could lay its hand on! During its meetings, the genocidist junta in power banned the words “sun”, “sunlight”, “sunshine”, “sundown”, “sunflower”, “sunrise” or any other word-derivatives from the great sun star that unmistakably reference the inveterate Land of the Rising Sun. This task and symbolism of sun-banning and sun-bashing, some inter-stellar assault, were of course bizarre if not daft as the junta itself was to discover much sooner than later – and from a most unlikely source indeed… 


At the time, a British military advisor to the junta, who was out dining with a senior member of the cabal in Lagos, unwittingly compared Igbo national consciousness and tenacity, displayed brazenly during their defence against the genocide, with that of the Poles. The advisor, who had studied modern history at university and was a great admirer of the exceptional endurance of Polish people in history, stated that the Igbo had demonstrated similar courage in the latter’s defence of Biafra and that the “rebirth of Biafra is a distinct possibility in my lifetime” – this was unlike the 123 (one hundred and twenty-three) years it took the Polish state to re-appear in history after its disappearance from the world map! The advisor was then in his early 30s and the obvious implications of his Igbo-Polish analysis were not lost on his host. The junta member co-diner was understandably most outraged by the advisor’s crass insensitivity on the subject which he readily shared with his camarilla colleagues. Predictably, the immediate consequence of the hapless advisor’s impudence was an early recall home to Britain. 


There were other bouts of farcical treats on display in Nigeria during the period aimed at erasing the memory of the Igbo genocide. Junta and other state publications and those of their sympathisers would print the name Biafra, a proper noun, a name on ancient world maps centuries before the British conqueror-regime in west Africa concocted “Nigeria” at the turn of the 19th century, with a lower case “b” or box the name in quotes or even invert the “b” to read “p” – such was the intensity of the schizophrenia that wracked the minds of the members of the cabal over the all-important subject of the historic imprint of Igbo resistance and survival. Finally, Nigeria abolished the teaching of history in its schools subsequently in the desperate hope that its Igbo genocide-denial stratagem was complete. 

3.1 million Igbo or a quarter of this nation’s population were murdered in the genocide between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970 by Nigeria and its allies, principally Britain. This is the foundational and most gruesome genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. As the slaughter of the Igbo intensified, particularly in the catastrophic months of 1968-1969, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson unabashedly informed Clyde Ferguson of the United States state department that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger Morris
Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, 1977: 122).  As the final tally of the murder of the Igbo demonstrates, Harold Wilson probably had the perverted satisfaction of having his Nigerian subalterns perform far in excess of the prime minister’s grim target.
(Harold Wilson: “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took...”)
Despite the catastrophic stretch of slaughter in 44 months, it was business-as-usual, or so it appeared, for the genocidists after the conclusion of phase-III of the murder on 12 January 1970. Lest we forget, the new phase was pursued with utmost vengeance, with the added highly prized fiscal and capital assets sequestrated by the genocidists – namely, the pillaging of the multibillion(US)dollar-Igbo economy at home and those located in Nigeria, particularly in the Lagos/greater Lagos industrial-commercial region. Many operatives who worked as advisors, at varying layers of the genocidist command and control infrastructure, went to, or returned to universities and colleges as professors and researchers, some became university administrators, bureaucrats, media editors and executives, company chief executives and directors, ministers of state, ministers of religion, businesspeople; many of the commanders and commandants became “generals” and “admirals” and “marshals”, and state legislators, administrators and the like; some even sought the highest office of state – head of regime (Obafemi Awolowo, variously, without success; Olusegun Obasanjo, three times successful; Muhammadu Buhari, twice successful; Murtala Muhammed, once successful; Ibrahim Babangida, once successful; Sanni Abacha, once successful; Abdulsalami Abubakar, once successful).
(O Obusonjo: ... from genocidist commanding in south Biafra to head of Nigeria regime for 11 years)
The Awolowoists and Awolowoids (supporters of Obafemi Awolowo – junta deputy chair, genocidist “theorist”, “starvation-weapon” strategist, head of finance ministry) on the junta even toyed with the idea of abolishing money altogether in the economy of the soon occupied-land of the resourceful and enterprising Igbo. They reasoned that this would deliver the “final solution” that had eluded them during the “encirclement, siege, pounding and withering away”-strategy of the previous 44 months… They ended up with the “compromise” pittance of £20.00 sterling (twenty pounds sterling only) per the surviving male-head of the Igbo family – a derisory sum, which, they reckoned, stood no chance of averting the catastrophe of social implosion they envisaged would occur in Igboland subsequently. We mustn’t fail to note that the £20.00-handout excluded the hundreds of thousands of Igbo families whose “male-heads” had been murdered during the genocide… Dreadfully, the accent placed by Nigeria on this phase-IV of the genocide, starting from 13 January 1970, was the economic strangulation of the 9 million Igbo survivors…
(Obafemi Awolowo: £20.00 sterling dole-of-vengeance per surviving Igbo family male-head...)
Igbo survival from the genocide is arguably the most extraordinary feature for celebration in an otherwise depressing and devastating age of pestilence in Africa of the past 49 years. Few people believed that the Igbo would survive their ordeal, especially from September 1968 when 8-10,000 Igbo, mostly children and older people, died each day as the overall brutish conditions imposed by the genocidist siege and bombardment deteriorated calamitously. 

The Igbo are probably the only people in the world who were convinced that they would survive. And when they did, the aftermath was electrifying. In spontaneous celebration, the Igbo prefaced their exchange of greetings with each other, for quite a while, with the exaltation, “Happy Survival”! 

Igbo survival, at the end, does represent the stunning triumph of the human spirit over the savage forces unleashed by Nigeria and its allies that had tried determinably, for four years, to destroy it.
(John Coltrane Quartet, “Sun ship” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Impulse!, New York, US, 26 August 1965])
(John Coltrane Duo, “Jupiter” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, bells; Rashied Ali, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliff, NJ, US, 22 February 1967])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe