By Martin Meredith
An epic biography of postcolonial Africa illuminates its present devastating difficulties. What occurred to this giant continent, so wealthy in assets and background, to carry it so on the subject of destitution and depression within the span of 2 generations?
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Additional info for The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence
With out anticipating respectable experiences from his advisory commissions, Ironsi determined arbitrarily to promulgate a brand new structure. through Decree no. 34 of 24 may well 1966, he abolished the federation, proclaimed Nigeria to be a united country, and introduced that the nearby civil prone have been to be unified. The response within the North got here quickly. Civil servants and scholars staged anti-government demonstrations which quickly flared into well known riots opposed to Igbos residing within the sabon garis, the strangers’ quarters sited outdoor the partitions of Northern cities. numerous hundred Igbos have been killed. ‘Araba! ’ was once the battlecry within the North – ‘Let us half! ’ on the finish of July a gaggle of Northern officials led a counter-coup, killing Ironsi and ratings of japanese officials and different ranks, hard that the North may still secede. within the stressful disputes that undefined, the military leader of employees, Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon, a 31-year-old Northerner from a minority tribe within the center Belt, against the dissolution of the federation, received the higher hand and took keep an eye on as perfect commander. He speedily rescinded Decree no. 34. yet whereas the Northerners’ coup succeeded within the North, within the West and in Lagos, within the japanese sector the army governor, Lieutenant Colonel Emeka Ojukwu, refused to just accept Gowon’s place as ultimate commander. An bold and smart guy, the son of a filthy rich Igbo businessman, with an Oxford measure and coaching in Britain as a military officer, Ojukwu relished the chance to workout political energy independently. The July coup, he declared in a radio broadcast, had successfully divided Nigeria into components. as though in affirmation, one other upsurge of violence opposed to Easterners erupted within the North on a much more poor scale than sooner than, and the aim now used to be now not just to search vengeance yet to force Easterners out of the North altogether. all of the envy, resentment and distrust that Northerners felt for the minority japanese groups residing of their midst burst out with explosive strength right into a pogrom that the experts made no try and cease. Disgruntled neighborhood politicians, civil servants and scholars have been lively in getting the mobs directly to the streets; Northern troops joined within the rampage. within the savage onslaught that undefined, millions of Easterners died or have been maimed, and as others sought to flee the violence, a major exodus to the East begun. forsaking all their possessions, thousands of Easterners – investors, artisans, clerks and labourers – fled from their Northern houses. From different components of Nigeria, too, because the weather of worry unfold between Igbos residing there, millions extra, together with civil servants and teachers, joined the exodus. via the tip of the yr, greater than 1000000 refugees, a lot of them wounded, exhausted and in a kingdom of concern, sought defense within the East. The nervous series of occasions that had happened – the downfall of Ironsi, the go back of Northerners to energy, the homicide of jap officials, the months of persecution and massacres within the North – produced a temper of anger and outrage that drove the East in the direction of secession.