Achebe’s Civil War Book, A Propaganda – Gowon

Achebe’s Civil War Book, A Propaganda – Gowon

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has described Prof. Chinua Achebe’s Nigerian Civil War memoir in his latest book, There was a Country, as “a propaganda”.

Achebe’s Civil War Book, A Propaganda – Gowon

Achebe in the  book,  accused the Federal Government under Gowon and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was then the Minister of  Finance, of using hunger as a weapon of war  against the Republic of Biafra.

But Gowon, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday, said though many books had been written about the civil war, none had been as controversial as that of Achebe.

He said the book was “written to whip up unnecessary sentiments”.

He said when he releases  his biography many  will  know what happened during the war.

Gowon said, “Many books have been written about the civil war and unfortunately none had been as controversial as that of Achebe, which accused me and Chief Awolowo of genocide against the  Igbo. Nothing can be further from the truth,  because every decision we took was for the interest of a united Nigeria.

“It (Achebe’s book) is nothing more than a propaganda and many people have failed to see it that way,  and that is why most of the reactions have been varied and vitriolic.

“I am not aware of any Igboman that had an  account with  the then Barclays Bank  that was seized,  because at the end of the war many of them got their money back. And it was because of our resolve to ensure that there was no victor no vanquished. We wanted to put the experience of the civil war behind us. We put in place a lot of measure to ensure that everybody was reintegrated into a united Nigeria.

“So it is very unfortunate for Achebe to accuse me and Awolowo of starving the Igbo to death.”

The Chairman of Nigeria Prays added  the majority of of the principal actors at the end of the war   did not appear as if they were starved.

He  said he stood by every decision he took during the civil war and ready to defend his actions anywhere.

 The former Chief of Army Staff  denied that he prevented foreign aid from reaching the Igbo during the war.

Gowon added, “Most of those who accused us of genocide  were looking well fed at the end of the war. During the war we opened road and air corridors to allow food, medicine and other aids to the people.  Nobody can do such a thing to his people because I was optimistic that the war would  end one day and we shall come together under a united country.

“So that was why we were very careful about every  decision we took during the civil war

The 78-year-old  said by the time he publishes his own account of the war, most of those insinuations would be laid  to rest.

“I have been sufficiently challenged and the whole truth will be revealed one day,” he said.

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