Nigerian leader Major-General Gowon Interviewed After the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970
Nigeria’s federal leader Major-General Gowon speaks after the end of the Nigerian war on his nemesis – Biafran leader Chukwuemeka. Gowon said: “He didn’t do a Hitler. Ojukwu ran away and left these poor people that he led into such suffering…just left them…I hope his conscience will allow him to rest. God knows.”
Many of you have been posting images of yourselves with your copy of my book Soldiers of Fortune. To say thanks to you, I will be posting “shout outs” to say thanks to you for buying and reading the book.
The sixth shout out goes to Pat Okwy Ucheagwu. See him above with his copy of Soldiers of Fortune which he bought from Patabah Bookshop, in Surulere, Lagos.
A video profile of the four most prominent men in early post-independence Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and Ahmadu Bello.
Cheta Nwanze reviewed my latest book “Soldiers Of Fortune: Nigerian Politics from Buhari to Babangida (1983 – 1993)” at the above link. Key quotes from his review:
“The book has it all: drama, suspense, and even love.”
“When my fiancée saw me hugging my e-book reader, she asked what could possibly be in 336 pages of politics that had me so engrossed and disinterested in anything else. The answer: a great era of my country’s history, and presented in a very readable manner. Max presented it as a story, the story of Nigeria, in the ten-year period between 1983 and 1993.”
“The entirety of chapter two is devoted to the kidnap of Umaru Dikko, and THAT makes for excellent reading. That chapter reads like a great novel, full of suspense, intrigue, and ultimately, failure. It just happened to be true.”
“One thing that this book has done for me is to elevate my thinking. It has left me with a mix of anger, enlightenment, irritation and regret.”
My new book “Soldiers of Fortune: Nigerian Politics From Buhari to Babangida (1983-1993)” was released last week. The book is a sequel to my other book “Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)”. It continues where Oil, Politics and Violence stopped, and chronicles the Buhari and Babangida years in Nigeria.
I gave an interview last week to Anthea Gordon of the Africa is a Country website. In the interview, I answered questions and talked emotively about my motivations for writing the book, the challenges I faced, and what the book seeks to achieve. You can read the full interview at: http://africasacountry.com/nigerias-soldiers-of-fortune/
KEY EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW
“I want to present Nigerian history as something more than a mechanical rendering of dates and facts.”
“My books have the feel of a fly on the wall reconstruction, or an action packed thriller. I do not just want the reader to know what happened. I also want to take the reader on a journey through the dizzying twists and turns, and cast of characters in Nigeria’s history: Ibrahim Babangida, Mamman Jiya Vatsa, Muhammedu Buhari, MKO Abiola, Dele Giwa, Gideon Orkar, Gani Fawehinmi, Ebitu Ukiwe, Sani Abacha etcetera. Many people also do not know the exploits of some of these familiar names before they entered the national limelight. There are also other people who are not as famous as them, but who the public do not realize made pivotal contributions to Nigeria’s history.
I want readers to feel as if they personally met these people, were physically present when crucial decisions and conversations took place, and experienced all of it.”
“Nigeria’s history reminds one of a Greek or Roman tragedy in multiple acts, with a revolving cast of characters. There is a lot of Caesar like back-stabbing.”
“The origins of, and answers to, many of Nigeria’s problems are buried in the graveyard of its past. Only by digging up those buried secrets can the country learn lessons from them, heal, and move on.”
“My intention is for Soldiers of Fortune to become a “one stop shop” compendium and ultimate reference point for Nigeria between 1984 and 1993. That is why I dotted the book with several tables and a massive “library” in the Appendices. For example, the Appendices contain an itemization of every single cabinet minister, military governor, and AFRC member that served in the Babangida government. I want Soldiers of Fortune to be the “go to” place for anyone that wants to check any prominent controversy, fact, event, person or date in Nigeria between 1984 and 1993.”
“Nigeria’s young generation did not create most of Nigeria’s problems, but they inherited them, and have to deal with them. “
“It is rare for Nigeria to go more than a few years without a “near death experience”. Most countries go through cliff-hanging and tense crises every decade or so. In contrast, Nigeria has cataclysmic hold your breath and close your eyes dramas every few years.”
“I am not sure that young Nigerians appreciate just how drama filled their history is. Hollywood script writers could not have written a more conspiratorial thriller with as many plot twists, friends turning on each other, corruption, gun battles in city centers, dazzling women, and rags to riches billionaires.”
A video documentary on Nigeria’s early pre-Colonial history, up till the mid-20th century.
A very unflattering report on Nigeria’s former leader General Murtala Muhammed written by the the American State Department shortly after Murtala came to power in 1975.
This is a memorandum sent to the US Secretary of State. The memo described Murtala Muhammed as “an erratic, vainglorious, impetuous, corrupt, vindictive, intelligent, articulate, daring Hausa”. Ouch. Not very flattering.
Motion picture covering the official state visit of Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa of Nigeria to the United States, including welcoming remarks by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Prime Minister’s response, events with President John F. Kennedy, an address by the Prime Minister at the Capitol, stops at other sites in Washington, D.C., and stops in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Illinois, Knoxville, Tennessee, and New York City.
Great revealing interview with Ojukwu where he discusses several areas of Nigeria’s history including the January 1966 and July 1966 coups, the Awolowo -v- Akitola conflict, the Yoruba/Igbo “carpet crossing” saga, the political rivalry between Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Balewa, Awolowo, Akintola et al, the 1966 pogroms and the educational disparity between northern and southern Nigeria.