ANNOTATED LISTING OF SITE MATERIALS
THROUGH THE LENS OF HISTORY: BIAFRA, NIGERIA, THE WEST AND THE WORLD
David S. Trask
[A project of the American Historical Association supported by funding from
the National Endowment for the Humanities]
Primary Sources Used for this Unit
Organized According to their Order of Appearance within Each Major Section of the Project
Read by all students in class
Joseph Okpaku, "The Myth of Western Objectivity, Expertise, and Scholarship" in Joseph Okpaku, (ed.), Nigeria: Dilemma of Nationhood An African Analysis of the Biafran Conflict (Westport, Connecticut, 1972). Excerpt. This reading, on the line between primary and secondary source, expresses scorn at outsiders who, though they possessed little knowledge of the region or the issues, were regarded as experts during the Nigerian Civil War. It is a warning to students that their first impressions are often wrong and that others have a stake in these events.
Internet connections to news stories from Spring, 2000, in northern Nigeria over the efforts to institute Sharia laws in some Moslem dominated provinces; the effort resulted in a series of riots both in the north and the east of the nation. References in the stories suggest there is some fear that this will become a reply of the Biafra episode.
THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA
Materials for all students in class on the continuing echoes of Biafra
*Data on percentage of Nigerian governmental budget from petroleum sales, 1958-1990
Shows increasing government dependence on oil revenues for the national budget; oil
resources located in Biafra
Statistics on linguistic diversity in Nigeria (late 1990s)
Internet connection. Shows the ethnic diversity through a print source.
Images on Biafran currency Internet connection.
Image makes Biafran effort more real.
Biafran National Anthem
Words only. To make Biafra seem like a real moment in the past.
Recent speech by Col. Ojukwu on Biafra (for a BBC series on war)
Internet connection. Ojukwu reflects on his efforts
Maps: Contemporary cities, *location of ethnic groups, *four regions (1965), *thirty-six regions
Latter maps shows a couple of the stages of the reorganization of Nigeria into a
larger and larger number of states to accommodate ethnic diversity.
Four letter-editorials, USAfrica The Newspaper, 1999
"Igbos do not need any more apologies"
"Why we demand apology for killing of Biafrans"
"Apology is vital but trust is the issue"
"Is Biafra war too sensitive to discuss?"
[* indicates materials modified from Eghosa E. Osaghae, Crippled Giant Nigeria Since Independence (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998)]
Readings divided up among team members:
The Biafran Declaration of Independence (May 27, 1967)
For students to learn causes of secession as seen by participants.
General Gowon's victory message to Nigeria, (1/15/70), "The Dawn of National
Reconciliation" Revolves around his analysis of the war and promises for the future.
1. Charles DeGaulle, September 9, 1968 (press conference statement)
2. Margery Perham, a European researcher regarded as a friend of Nigeria,
September 7, 1968 (radio broadcast to General Ojukwu, leader of Biafra)
3. The Church of England on arms supplies, August 18, 1967 (official
4. Joint statement of the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic
Church, March 20, 1968
5. "Thirty-Nine Accusations" a propaganda pamphlet issued in 1968 from
First four are international statements similar to those issued in response to other crisises; #5 is a Biafran reaction and a sample of the propaganda used in international crises.
Statement of Causes
Chinua Achebe, "The African Writer and the Biafran Cause," 1968 (speech)
Statement ties events to past interventions from imperial powers.
THE FORMATION AND OPERATION OF THE FIRST NIGERIAN REPUBLIC
Readings divided up among team members:
African aspirations for independence
1. "Manifesto for Presentation to the United Nations Conference, San Francisco, April, 1945"
[from Langley, Pan-Africanism and Nationalism in West Africa, 1973]
2. U. S. Declaration of Independence. Internet Connection.
Parallel statements that show aspirations for independence and the use of natural rights language and assumptions.
Creating Identity in a Colonial World--the role of literature
Ogali E. Ogali, "Veronica Makes Up Her Mind" excerpt from a play to exemplify Igbo
[from Emmanuel Obeichina, Onitsha Market Literature, 1972]
Drama revolves around the traditional father and the "modern" children who want to make decisions against his will. This is also an attempt by Nigerian writers to create a national literature using a second language.
Denunciation of European Imperialism
Nnamdi Azikiwe, excerpts of speeches.
[from Azikiwe, Zik, 1964]
Considered the central figure in Nigerian efforts for independence.
Anticipation of Independence
Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, speech in Nigeria's colonial parliament,
[from Balewa, Mr. :Prime Minister, 1964]
THE COLONIAL AND PRE-COLONIAL ERAS IN NIGERIA
Background Readings for all Students
The London Manifesto, August 29, 1921
[Langley, Pan-Africanism and Nationalism in West Africa, 1900-1945, 1973]
Shows connections between African conditions and the concerns of Africans living elsewhere in the world. Also shows assumption that African independence movements would be led by Africans who have acquired western values
Indirect rule in West Africa
Lord Malcolm Hailey, Native Administration and Political Development in British West
Africa (London, 1943). Excerpt
Robert Delavignette, Freedom and Authority in French West Africa (London, 1940). Excerpt for comparison.
Readings show the approaches used by imperial countries for administering colonies.
Readings divided up among team members
Riot or Rebellion: The Women's Market Rebellion of 1929
[from Margery Perham, Native Administration in Nigeria (London, 1937). Excerpt.
Insight into Nigerian and British understandings of one another in a report of a riot/rebellion from the region that will later try to become Biafra.
The Corrupting Influences of the West
Early Impressions of Igbo and European
[from Orizu, (title missing in my notes), 1944]
Assumption that Africans with western educations will lead independence movement
Herman Koler, German doctor, observations of Igbo life, 1840 (excerpt)
E. N. Okechukwu, Igbo Village Democracy, (1973) (oral history excerpt)
Nkwonto Nwuduaku, Memories of Slave Trade, 1974 (oral history excerpt)
Uwaga Okeanya, View of Europeans, 1972 (oral history excerpt)
[all from Isichei, ed., Igobo Worlds, 1978]
Oral histories and a print report all dating back to 19th or very early 20th century experiences of life before direct European contact.
The White Man's Burden
[from The White Man in Africa; full citation missing and to be added]
A reading about early colonial conditions and British expectations fro Northern Nigeria, the region that will dominate Nigerian government after independence and against which the Biafrans will rebel.
SLAVERY--THE EUROPEAN IMPACT
Excerpts from the writings of Equiano Olaudah. Internet source.
Famous memoir of his slave experiences from Africa to the new world. An Igbo living in the 1700s.
West Africa Review Internet Journal
Collection of essays discussing the impact of slavery on Africa (secondary source for era)
ECHOES OF THE BIAFRAN ERA IN NIGERIA TODAY
Ken Saro-Wiwa. Internet
Connection to biographical information about the noted Nigerian writer executed by the Abacha regime in the mid-1990s.
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