By Adeola Aderounmu
It is unclear why Chinua Achebe smeared late Awolowo in his new book-There was a country. People that are well respected worldwide in literature, art or any endeavor at all should need always to be careful when they go to the print.
Tribal sentiments and even emotional sentiments should not be allowed to overtake vivid reasoning.
Unfortunately Achebe did not realize this and it is shameful that despite his age and exposure to historical facts he decided to write the role of Awolowo during the Nigerian civil war. What Achebe wrote about Awolowo are pure lies and historical jargons.
There are so many books out there that have explained the role of late Ojukwu in both the war and the consequent genocide suffered by the people of Eastern Nigeria during the civil war. It is therefore needless for me to repeat or recant the things or issues that are known as facts and truths.
Those who are not sure should seek knowledge. What Achebe has done is to fan the tribal conflicts in the minds of people-both Easterners and westerners-which is diabolic in itself.
It brings to fore that one of the most important things in life, viewed consciously or unconsciously, is the protection of one’s race. Achebe’s book which I will definitely not read strengthens the call for Nigerians to return to their tent and mind their own business and destiny.
No matter how long it lasts, people of different races in Nigeria will continue to pretend that they love one another superficially while harboring contempt, hatred, malice and un-forgiveness in their hearts and souls.
It is a tragedy to live a life that you didn’t choose and to pretend that it was okay. It must have been painful and hurtful for Achebe that he and his people were denied of their country-Biafra. Living with that lose for several years took its toll and the book must be a piece of the iceberg of the inner sufferings.
However laying the blame at the feet of Awolowo was an irresponsible act.
The pseudo-existence of a country like Nigeria remains a recipe for racial discrimination, tribalism and severe underdevelopment. Only the captors of Nigeria and few people benefit from Nigeria. The rest are-in the words of late Fela Kuti-suffering and smiling.