Home Opinion Uju Anya’s Syllabus of Errors

Uju Anya’s Syllabus of Errors

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Ahmed Yahaya – Joe

This intervention is not repudiation. It is neither a rebuttal nor a rejoinder. It is an attempt to expand the discussion on what Ms. Anya clearly mischaracterized.

 Whether or not she did so out of deliberate mischief is beside the point. The period of the Nigerian Civil War remains an unfortunate phase in our national life of which one must give all due respect to the sensibilities arising from such a traumatic past.

That is why her transfer of aggression is understood but not excusable as an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics, Critical Sociolinguistics, and Critical Discourse in a highly rated institution of higher learning such as Carnegie-Mellon in the US, a university that has produced over twenty Nobel laureates to date since its establishment in the 1900s.

While the contents of her Tweet and follow-up comments on the recently deceased Queen of England are too well known to be repeated here lest we forget at the passing of TB Joshua, she on June 6, 2021, similarly Tweeted, “Celebrating the well-deserved death of lying thieving charlatan……Rot in pi**”

Apparently, Uju Anya is no stranger to being grandiloquent.

I am not holding brief for the British crown but I can affirm the worst enemy of the short-lived Biafra enclave was not the late English monarch as claimed in Dr. Uju’s vitriol.

 I nevertheless admit Elizabeth II was a major beneficiary albeit of a system she did not create nor could fundamentally alter notwithstanding the recent grandstanding of the FG over Her Majesty’s purported bias against the breakaway Biafra.

No doubt, the Queen was located between a rock and a hard place over the Nigeria/Biafra dynamic no different from how Uju Anya earns her daily bread from an institution established with the proceeds of a prolific robber baron, Andrew Carnegie alongside the individual who presided over the Wall Street crash of 1929 which triggered the untold suffering and despondency of the Great Depression that painfully followed, Andrew Mellon.

The moral here is that no one person can change any entrenched system from within.

From where this writer stands the fundamental issue is Madam Uju’s obvious inability to fully comprehend that the Nigerian Civil War was a culmination of a proxy war between the British and French.

The paradox is, while the strategic interests of Britain and France diverged over Nigeria, there are still points of convergence to their mutual benefit as metropolitan economies that our nation consistently remains too distracted over recurring ethnoreligious grievances and internal discord to really progress and properly develop.

Back in the 1960s, as a newly independent nation, we were by the sinister expectations of the international monetary system required to continue remaining a trading post and neo-colonial entity not aspiring for lofty heights as an industrial economy on the global stage. The permutations of the world economic order have not fundamentally changed since then.

We were indeed still mere pawns on the international chess board.

In December 1960, France exploded a test Atomic bomb in the Sahara Desert using Uranium procured from the neighboring Niger Republic. Nigeria under Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa reacted by expelling the French ambassador and shutting down their embassy in Lagos. Their businesses and investments were threatened with French registered or owned vessels and aircraft not allowed to berth nor land in any of Nigeria’s seas and airports.

While the British cheered on from the side-lines such uncommon audacity against the interests of any European power had a high stakes blowback;

 “As far back as 1963, General de Gaulle (the French president) and Jacques Foccart (his secretary-general for African Affairs) had dispatched Lt-Col. Bichelot, a French secret service officer, to Abidjan where he was to work with (Ivorien president) Houphouet-Boigny on the Nigerian desk, under the close supervision of Jean Mouchean-Beaupre, a close de Gaulle aide. Thus by the start of the war, the French were ready.

In July 1967, the French army dispatched a B-26 bomber to Enugu. In October 1967, Maurice Delaney, the French ambassador to Gabon, sent Ojukwu four secret service advisers under the command of Col. Fournier. On July 13, 1968, the first French plane loaded with arms and ammunition landed at Uli airstrip via Gabon, and this continued for months at the daily rate of about 20 tons.”

See details in, Towards a Nigerian Perspective on the French Problematic in Africa (1992) by Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim

The next French leader after de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou no sooner he was sworn into office in June 1969 made a deal with Lagos cutting off official support for Biafra.

France’s policy somersault was in anticipation of a post-conflict business opportunity in Africa’s largest market noticing how oil-producing fields had effectively fallen back to Federal control with Biafra unlikely to retake them due to lack of support on the ground from the local populace in the Niger Delta region.

Paris after skilfully extricating itself then quietly proceeded with a torrent arms supply to the Federal side against Biafra, “Between the end of the war and 1974, petroleum sales to France resumed. In fact, the volume of French imports from Nigeria quadrupled within this period.”

Ms. Uju’s not too professorial vituperations are therefore loose cannons instead of guided missiles as Biafra was more a victim of French subterfuge than of any act of commission or even omission of a ceremonial leader many Nigerians affectionately refer to as, Mama Charlie.

One thing must be conceded to Uju Anya though; she has forced a very difficult but utterly necessary conversation on the future and relevance of the English monarchy in the overall context.

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