BOOK REVIEW: POST WAR NIGERIAN HISTORY FOR SCHOOLS & COLLEGES

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BOOK REVIEW: POST WAR NIGERIAN HISTORY FOR SCHOOLS & COLLEGES
book review

AUTHOR: VERY REV. DR. MONSIGNOR NATHANIEL IKECHUKWU NDIOKWERE

PAGINATION: BOOK ONE (367 PAGES) – BOOK TWO (350 PAGES) – CHAPTERS: 28

REVIEWER: BRENDAN I. NWAOZOR, RETIRED CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER, MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, OWERRI, NIGERIA.

WHERE TO PURCHASE COPIES:  THE BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR AT ASSUMPTA BOOKSHOP, OWERRI AND TRINITAS BOOKSHOP ORLU, NIGERIA.


 

POST WAR NIGERIAN HISTORY FOR SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES is the latest in the series of books written by an intellectual giant in the literary world and a Priest of the Catholic Church, Very Rev Dr. Monsignor Nathaniel Ikechukwu Ndiokwere. Post-War Nigerian History for schools and Colleges is in two Volumes– BOOK ONE AND BOOK TWO. It is recommended that students, whether studying history as a subject or not must have in their possession the two books to enable a free flow of information and knowledge imparted by the author and in order to be in full grip of Nigerian Modern History.

In fact Book Two is the off-shoot of Book One. The book was purposely divided into two to help readers; especially students from Junior Secondary Schools to the universities handle the topics well. The author of “ONLY IN NIGERIA” is in no doubt quite conversant with the day to day events in Nigeria. In an interview the author granted to journalists – whites and blacks in the United States – it was clear the author was prepared right from 1966 to write a modern History of Post-War-Nigeria as the titles or topics clearly showed. The author did not leave any stone unturned. A cursory glance at the CONTENTS tells much of the story and surely pursues interested Nigerians to look for personal copies. The Two Volumes can be conveniently divided into FOUR PARTS:

 

PART A: CONTENTS:  (1): The Importance of History. (2) At the Center of the Post-War Nigerian History – The Igbos of Nigeria. (3) How Nigeria Treated the Defeated Biafra – Loss of Igbo Ingenuity and Entrepreneurship (4) Nigeria Before 1966 – A Short Historical overview. (5) Nigeria-Biafra War in Retrospect (Part 1) – A Short Historical Overview. (6) Nigeria-Biafra War in Retrospect (Part 2) – Military and Diplomatic Interventions by the Superpowers and the Organization of African Unity. (7) How the Alleged “Igbo Coup” and Counter-Coup led to Igbo Genocide – How Nigeria dealt with the “Rebels”. (8)  “No Victor, No Vanquished” Declaration – Illusions and the Fate of a Conquered Race. (9) Mass Rejection and Alienation of the Conquered Igbos and the Crisis of Identity in the Post-War Nigeria. (10) The aftermath of the Nigeria Civil war on Biafran youths. (11) How the Igbos Compare with and Differ from the Jews – A Historical Survey.

 

PART B: (12) History of Military Dictatorship and Democratic Governance in the Murky Waters of Nigerian Politics. (13) Bribery and Corruption Unmitigated disaster and Nigeria’s Stigma of Shame. (14) Political Institution and Elections in Nigeria

 

PART C: Chapter 15: Resolving the Nigerian Political Impasse – Some Open Options. (16) Second Biafra Revolution – Key Actors and Institutions. (17) The North-South Dichotomy – Divided Nigeria Survives – United Nigeria Crumbles. (18) Break-up of Nations – Historical Perspective and Options – The New Republics. (19) “There was a Country” – “There will be a Country” – A piece of Nigerian history.

 

PART D:  (20) How Nigerian and African problems began – Scramble for Africa (21) Christian Missionary Enterprise in Pre- and Post-war Nigeria. (22)  Christianity in Turmoil as a Wave of Pentecostalism sweeps across Nigeria and Africa. (23)  The Church and the Future of Education in Nigeria. (24)  Islam on the Rampage – Global implications. (25)  Fulani Empire Expansionism in Nigeria – Herdsmen and Grazing Colonies Saga. (26) The Battered Image of a Nation – Need for Change and Reparation. (27) Ghana and Nigeria, then and today– Memories of “Ghana Must Go” saga as History teaches – “Nigeria must go!” (28) “Those who do not Learn History are Doomed to Repeat It”.

Post-War Nigerian History for Schools and Colleges kick-started with a short history of the people at the center of the modern Nigerian History – The Igbos of Nigeria.  The Author enumerated the Odyssey of the Igbos, the first coup, and the counter coups and the subsequent coups, the massacres of the Igbos especially in the Northern Nigeria, Middle Belt and Western Nigeria. The author elucidated how the Nigeria-Biafra war started in 1967; how it was fought in different battle sectors; why the brokered peace at Aburi was truncated; who and who played which roles as well as how the war ended with an illusive “No victor No Vanquished” Declaration by the major war actor General Yakubu Gowon – the then Head of State, Federal Republic of Nigeria. The book further stressed the “Dictatorial” Governance and the type of “Democratic” rule found in Nigerian Politics till date. The Author exposes the nepotism, bribery and corruption which are endemic in the political landscape and among the leadership. Then he ended with an advice for the restructuring of Nigeria state to elude a possible second Biafran Revolution.

In the last chapters of the books, the author brought to the fore the hidden Fulani Empire expansionist agenda of Islamizing the Nigeria Nation-State, Courtesy of the frequent incursion and massacres of Nigerians especially Christians by Boko Haram Islamists and Herdsmen especially in the Northern and Middle Belt Regions of Nigeria. Very Rev. Dr. Monsignor Ndiokwere did not fail to point out how Nigeria, the hitherto presumed leader of Africa and the Black world has continued to lose grounds and status –  politically, socially and economically world-wide.

The last chapter brings to light again the importance of History as well as lessons from past events. Have Nigerian governments and Nigerians in general learnt anything from History? The author had surely in mind two famous quotes; namely “Those who do not learn History are doomed to repeat it”. (George Santayana – Philosopher and writer). In its original form it reads: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. (See Book 2, Chapter 28. P. 327). The second quote is equally challenging “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything (Albert Einstein) (See Book 2 Chapter 26, P. 294)

Dr. Nathaniel I. Ndiokwere has been a prolific writer and popular Radio commentator. As a guru in Journalistic realm, his column (“ONLY IN NIGERIA”) with the popular Catholic Newspapers including “The Leader and “The Forum” Newspapers attracts large audience and readers all over Nigeria. I strongly recommend Post-War Nigerian History for Schools and Colleges to all Secondary School Students, as well as undergraduates and Post graduates of Nigerian Universities. Students of History, International Studies and Political Science will benefit immensely from this book. Most students unborn before the Nigeria Civil War will enjoy the first-hand information and literary expositions of what transpired including the major actors. Indeed, in the words of Francis Bacon, an Irish writer,   “Some books are to be tested, others are to be chewed, and some few are to be swallowed and digested.” Post-War Nigerian History for Schools and Colleges falls within the class of books to be “swallowed and digested”. The compilation is an intellectual harvest, an inevitable asset and a trust worthy companion. To the Author, Very Rev. Dr. Monsignor Nath. Ndiokwere, I say bravo!