Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe

The news of the much awaited Chinua Achebe’s magnum opus on the Nigerian civil war of 1967 to 1970 really excited me in the midst of the mourning for the passing of Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojuwku, the heroic and symbolic secessionist leader of Biafra, the raison d'être of that catastrophic uncivil war that claimed over a million lives of mostly helpless children who died from kwashiorkor caused by starvation which was used as a weapon of war by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The late warlord himself promised to write his own authentic book on his leadership of the ill-fated Biafra, but till his death on Saturday November 26, 2011, there was no information on the fulfillment of his promise. Achebe’s Biafran war memoir would have been the kind of book Ojukwu should have written, but was either reluctant to do so or lacked the genius. Because the only published account of his historical role in the war is Because I am Involved which is more of a romantic cursory autobiography of how and why he was the Phoenix of the Sphinx of the Biafran dream and won the heart of the former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) Bianca , the daughter of his childhood friend, the late Chief Christian Onoh, a former governor of Anambra State in Southeastern Nigeria, and was in fact her godfather at her christening and over thirty-four years her senior when they married in 1994 against the best wishes of her father and family. Was Ojukwu waiting for his friend the famous British novelist Frederick Forsyth to write it for him after Forsyth wrote his biography Emeka in 1982?

Without any doubt whatsoever, I can vouch for the genius of Achebe to write a truly great book on the Biafran war that would be an authentic documentary of the darkest period of the history of Nigeria by an eye witness who survived the horrifying and terrifying scourge of the tragedy.

But why has it taken Achebe so long to write this book that will now be published in the twilight of his great life? Was the delay deliberate or caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond his control?

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

The Trouble with Nigeria

Things Fall Apart

Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays

Chike and the River

Arrow of God

A Man of the People

The African Trilogy: Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, and Arrow of God (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics)

The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

Anthills of the Savannah

Home and Exile

No Longer at Ease

Girls at War

The following are books by Frederick Forsyth.

The Shepherd

The Dogs of War

The Afghan

The Deceiver

The Phantom of Manhattan

The Negotiator

The Devil's Alternative

Frederick Forsyth: 3 Complete Novels

The Fourth Protocol

Devils Alternative

The Fist of God

The Day of the Jackal

The Cobra

No Comebacks


The Odessa File


The Veteran: Five-Heart Stopping Stories

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