Abiola’s ex-aide blasts Achebe over Awolowo’s portrayal in new book

Akerele says any attempt to denigrate Awolowo will be strongly resisted.

Veteran journalist and media consultant, Olu Akerele, has described Prof Chinua Achebe’s book on the Nigerian civil war as ill-timed and “an unnecessary heat up of the polity.”

Mr. Akerele, personal assistant to late business mogul cum politician, Moshood Abiola, said in a press statement in Abuja on Friday that Mr. Achebe’s war memoirs, There Was a Country, came at a time Nigeria was seeking reconciliation between the various ethnic and religious groups, and thus ill-timed.

He noted that the role the late Obafemi Awolowo played in the civil war was well-documented, wondering why Mr. Achebe ignored these facts in his memoirs.

He pondered why Mr. Achebe chose to diminish his towering international image as an accomplished writer and critic to the level of “a local champion of the Biafran cause,” adding that “the Achebe memoirs will add nothing new to the historic perspective of the Nigerian civil war.”

Mr. Akerele said the Yoruba nation was proud of the role Mr. Awolowo played in Nigeria before and after independence, pointing out that any attempt to denigrate the late sage would be strongly resisted.

Cautioning that Mr. Achebe’s book was capable of stirring the honets’ nest, the veteran journalist maintained that whatever tactics had been used more than 40 years ago during the civil war should be buried with the war, and not raised now at the time the country was in dire need of peace.

Mr. Akerele wondered why Mr. Achebe conveniently ignored the pains inflicted on northern and western leaders by elements of Igbo stock in the military in 1966, but chose to highlight what patriots like Mr. Awolowo and others did to keep Nigeria united.

“The lesson that the Chinua Achebes of this world should inculcate in the present generation is to tell the truth, accept fault, take responsibilities for mistakes and preach patriotism,” Mr. Akerele added.


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.

  • Afam

    Keeping Nigeria together at expense of others mr Akerele?
    your likes can not even equal the last child of Pa Achebe.
    Achebe have said it all that his book is not for folkstalks.

    • Inyang

      Afam, Akerele asked a simple question. Let me copy and paste for you just in case you did not “see” it. There may be some “visual impairment” on your part. So I will copy and paste:”Mr. Akerele wondered why Mr. Achebe conveniently ignored the pains
      inflicted on northern and western leaders by elements of Igbo stock in
      the military in 1966, but chose to highlight what patriots like Mr.
      Awolowo and others did to keep Nigeria united”. So why did you not see that?. Why did Achebe “forget” to highlight those? Why did he not think that those those who Aguyi Ironsi killed deserve highlight? Why is Aguyi Ironsi’s murder not an ethnic cleansing of the leadership of another national group? I guess there was “a visual impairment” either by act of omission or commission on your part and that of Chinua Achebe. Now since I have helped you to copy and paste, you may want to respond to that and another question: who killed Col Victor Banjo? Some Biafra defenders have said the case of Col Victor Banjo was a case of treason to the Biafra cause, and he was court marshaled. Okay fine, if so it means that Biafra was a treason to the Nigerian state. Why is the case of Col Banjo a case of treason and the case of Biafra is not? So why is Col banjo’s case not part of the highlights to be used for reconciliation? These are the reasons why Nigerians say that highlighting a part and not the WHOLE is not accidental and may not be particularly helpful. It seems they are saying Papa Achebe is just a tribalist or something like that

  • AFAM

    may be @inyang,you should tell nigerians why AWO was jailed and charged with treason but was later released by who? and what was the reason for his release? yoruba man will eat in the same plate with you but will stab you at your back in seconds….

    • Inyang

      Based on your post and another post by another Igboman here and in other newsline, I hear you people say Ojukwu released Awolowo from prison. Why dont you read your hsitory textbook very well. So this is what you tell your people and youths? Again, is that a FACT from history? If you give them this falsehood, and they act on falsehood, and they are told, then they come around and say ALL Nigerians hate them. Again, it is obvious why you were led into a silly war if you are this ignorant of history and the fact. Ojukwu DID NOT release Awolowo from prison. Go and check your history books.-