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Civil War:Did Awolowo Betrayed Secessionists

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Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo

 

Frederick Forsyth in his 1969 book “The Making of an African Legend: The Biafran Story,” argues:

Chief Awolowo had just returned from a visit to Colonel Ojukwu in Enugu and he had been able to witness for himself (which others scrupulously refrained from doing) the depth of feeling in the East. According to Colonel Ojukwu, Awolowo had asked if the East would pull out, and the reply had been it would not until and unless it was absolutely offered no other alternative.

After seeing the situation for himself, Awolowo sympathized with the sufferings of the Eastern people, and asked that if the East was going to pull out, he be allowed twenty-four hours forewarning and he would do same for the West. This he was promised. Later he got his forewarning, but by that time he had been swayed round by other attractions, and failed to fulfil his intent. From the point of view of the Yorubas it was a pity, for if Awolowo had stuck to his guns the Federal Government, unable to face two simultaneous disaffections, would have been forced to fulfil the Aburi agreements to the letter.

Biafran Civil War: How Ojukwu executed Ifeajuna

Had it done so, Nigeria would probably be at peace today, not as a unitary state of twelve provinces, but as a Confederation of quasi-autonomous states living in harmony.
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Note:
On 1 May 1967 at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meeting in Ibadan, Awolowo listed as one of his four imperatives for peace in Nigeria that: “If the Eastern Region is allowed by acts of omission or commission to secede from or opt out of Nigeria, then the Western Region and Lagos must also stay out of the Federation.”

Defending Awolowo in his 2009 book “Awo: Unfinished Greatness,” Olufemi Ogunsanwo posits:

Chief Awolowo has defended his conduct as far as the accusations against him on the ‘Biafran question’ was concerned. What was the main grouse against him as perceived by the avarage Igbo at the time? First, it was claimed that after the Igbos, led by Ojukwu, seceded from Nigeria, Awolowo refused to follow suit by taking the West out of the federation in May 1967. Instead of doing so when he had declared in Ibadan that if the East was pushed out, the West would quit the federation, he added the weight of his political acumen and expertise in managing the economy to help Gowon’s administration to subdue the secessionists…

Chief Awolowo has refuted all these charges as a “blatant misrepresentation of the facts”. First, he denied luring anybody to secession and war. He said his speech at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meetin in Ibadan in May 1967 “could not and was not an invitation or a goading to secession or the dismemberment of the country”. He stated that his ‘Four Imperatives’ speech contained nothing to suggest secession. All he said was that the East should not be bullied out of the federation. Was the East forced out? Awolowo argued that: “It insults the intelligence of the Igbos as a group to imply that they were heartened to opt for secession on the basis of my speech.” On the contrary he had advocated on the eve of the war that: “The Eastern Region must be encouraged to remain [as a] part of the Federation”.

He did not stop with mere admonishment and platitudes in his caution. He took the risk of travelling by road to Enugu in the middle of the crisis to lead a delegation to plead with Ojukwu to relent and take the cautious road to save precious lives on the battlefield. Ojukwu refused.
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Obafemi Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon government during and immediately after the civil war.

History

Brief History Of Modakeke

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Modakeke is a town in Osun State, South West Nigeria, with a population of close to three hundred thousand people.

The Modakekes are also known as the Akoraye and have a history of valor at war and are prosperous farmers.

With the fall of the Oyo Empire to the Fulani, the Yoruba kingdom was thrown into confusion and the inhabitants of the Old Oyo were dispersed and started new settlements all around Yoruba land.

Fleeing southwards in search of new abodes after the fall of the Oyo Empire, the Oyos started settling among the Ifes in 1834.

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As the Romans of old, they were soldier-farmers. They were hardy as soldiers and industrious as farmers.

Having lost all their possessions in their hasty flight, they started life in Ife by doing menial jobs to enable them eke out a living.

The reigning Ooni of Ife, Oba Akinmoyero was said to have received them well.

They started growing and producing different types of food crops on farmlands given to them by their hosts.

A good number of them got recruited into Ife’s weak army and it was through their gallantry that Ife had its territory extended to Alakowe, its present boundary with Ilesa.

Prior to the arrival of the Oyos, Ijesha land extended to the present location of the Palace of the Ooni of Ife.

This is why the Palace area is known as Enuwa (Enu Owa) until today.

Ooni Akinmoyero gave the displaced Oyo an expanse of land to stay outside the walls of Ife,the place given to the Modakekes was home to a species of bird called Ako (Stork), Hence the origin of the appellation AKORAYE(The stork has a place).

It was also customary for the storks at the location to chirp and sing the rhyme Mo-da-ke-ke-ke-ke which was most of the time heard by the Ifes and it was decided that the new settlement would be called MODAKEKE

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History of the Ajanakus Family in Ilesa, Osun State, Nigeria

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Early 19th Century: The Beginning
The Ajanakus family traces its roots back to the early 19th century in Ilesa, Osun State, Nigeria. The family’s progenitor, Pa Ajanaku, was known for his wisdom and leadership within the local community. He was a respected farmer and trader, contributing significantly to the agrarian economy of Ilesa.

Late 19th Century: Expansion and Influence

By the late 1800s, the Ajanaku family had expanded both in size and influence. Pa Ajanaku’s descendants continued his legacy, establishing themselves as prominent figures in agriculture and local commerce. The family became known for their cultivation of cocoa, a key cash crop in the region, which boosted their economic standing.

Early 20th Century: Community Leadership

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In the early 1900s, the Ajanaku family began to take on more formal leadership roles within Ilesa. Members of the family held various chieftaincy titles and were involved in the administration of the town. Their influence extended to education, as they were instrumental in the establishment of local schools, promoting literacy and learning in the community.

Mid-20th Century: Modernization and Political Involvement

The mid-20th century saw the Ajanaku family adapting to the changing political landscape of Nigeria. They played key roles during the colonial period and the struggle for independence. Family members were active in local and regional politics, advocating for the rights and development of the Ilesa community.

Late 20th Century: Economic Diversification

As Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the Ajanaku family diversified their economic activities. They ventured into various industries, including manufacturing and real estate. Their entrepreneurial spirit contributed to the economic growth of Ilesa and Osun State.

21st Century: Legacy and Continuity

Today, the Ajanaku family remains a pillar of the Ilesa community. They continue to uphold their legacy of leadership, community service, and economic contribution. The younger generation has embraced modern professions, including law, medicine, and technology, while still honoring the family’s historical roots in agriculture and commerce.

The Ajanakus’ enduring legacy in Ilesa is a testament to their resilience, adaptability, and commitment to their community, reflecting the broader historical and cultural evolution of Osun State and Nigeria as a whole.

 

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History

Margaret Walker: Trailblazing Poet, Scholar, and Activist

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Margaret Walker was born on July 7, 1915, in Birmingham, Alabama was a college student at the age of 15 when she begin writing poetry. She received a BA from Northwestern University in 1935 and an MA from the University of Iowa in 1940. In 1936 she joined the Federal Writers’ Project in Chicago, where she became friends with Richard Wright and joined his South Side Writers Group.

In 1941 Walker became the first African American poet to receive the Yale Younger Poets Prize, for her debut collection For My People (Yale University Press, 1942). She was also the author of the poetry collections This Is My Century: New and Collected Poems (University of Georgia Press, 1989), October Journey (Broadside Press, 1973), and Prophets for a New Day (Broadside Press, 1970).

Walker married Firnist Alexander in 1943, and together they had four children. In 1949 they moved to Mississippi, where she joined the faculty at Jackson State College. She returned to the University of Iowa for her doctoral studies and received a PhD in 1965. The following year, she published her dissertation as a novel, Jubilee (Houghton Mifflin, 1966).

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In 1968 Walker founded the Institute for the Study of the History, Life, and Culture of Black People at Jackson State College. As director of the institute, which was later renamed the Margaret Walker Center, she organized the 1971 National Evaluative Conference on Black Studies and the 1973 Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival.

After Walker retired from teaching in 1979, she published On Being Female, Black, and Free (University of Tennessee Press, 1997), a collection of personal essays, and Richard Wright: Daemonic Genius (Warner Books, 1988), a work of nonfiction informed by her friendship with Wright. Margaret Walker died of cancer on November 30, 1998, in Jackson, Mississippi.

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