What if the Nigerian Civil War never happened? | Dailytrust

What if the Nigerian Civil War never happened?

The race for an independent Nigeria started quite well on a good note of trust, unity, and morally justifiable cause. Dr Nnamdi Azikwe from the East, Ahmadu Bello, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from the North, and Obafemi Awolowo from the West were among the prominent, noble, and dedicated citizens who led the movement for an independent entity we have today.   

What way could the situation be described when an Easterner, despite the already existing northern power, became the president and Alh. Tafawa Balewa took power as the Prime Minister, if not dedication and selflessness to a united country, devoid of ethnicity, tribalism, or religion.

Then, the sad incident occurred that left tears and memorable events in the lives of many to date. Even those not born at that time wished it never occurred. Just as Chinua Achebe’s book, ‘Things Fall Apart’ beyond repairs for the secessionist state of Biafra led by late Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu from July 6, 1967, to January 15, 1970, and Nigeria as a whole.  

Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Igbo, who thought continuous coexistence with the Northern-dominated federal government seemed unrealistic. Though, this could be said to have resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural, and religious tensions which had preceded the British formal decolonization of Nigeria.

Major causes of the war included ethnoreligious riots in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbos living in Northern Nigeria, and control over the discovered lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta region.  

Breach of national unity laboured for by the early fathers and mothers was bade farewell at the very sunrise of the success of the struggle. Every individual is very much interested in his gains and his people’s without care for others. Allocation of national resources is drawn along ethnic and tribal bigotry without concern to what united us from inception. 

But if the civil war had not occurred, without mincing words, our dream of a united Nigeria devoid of tribalism, ethnic favouritism, and religious sentiment would have been realised to a large extent, if not fully, as pictured and laboured for by our early fathers. Till this moment, years after its occurrence, no better word to describe our situation than retrogression. 

The agony, pain, dilemma, suffering, death, and unsolvable continuous problems, which came to the limelight would have been averted if the civil war never happened.  

Indeed, according to Chinua Achebe, ‘there was a country’.   

Waheed Shotonwa, a journalist, writes from Lagos

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