Johnson Olaosebikan Aremu


The focus of this paper is to examine the role of Obafemi Awolowo in restoring Nigeria’s unity after the ill-fated secession attempt by the Eastern Region on 30 May, 1967. The paper obtained its data extensively from secondary sources. This is made up of books, journal articles, newspaper reports and government publications relevant to the study. It employs the historical method of data analysis in interrogating information obtained. The paper notes that the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970, a military response to the political conflict between the North and the East, almost ended in a failure. The impasse was, however, resolved through the strategy of starvation and economic blockade initiated by Awolowo which eventually instigated the surrender of Biafra forces to the Federal Government’s forces in January, 1970. The paper concludes that Awolowo’s ingenuity and strategic advice eventually saved the Nigerian state from imminent decimation and balkanization. His prudent management of the national treasury, as finance minister during the war years, further aided the implementation of the 3Rs post-war programme of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. This, no doubt, helped significantly in stabilizing the Nigerian polity after the cessation of hostilities in January, 1970. 


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



Nigeria, Civil War, Obafemi Awolowo, Biafra, ethnicity, secession


Abubakar, D. 2002. “The North and the Nigerian Civil War” in Osaghae, E.E. et al (eds), The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath, in Osaghae, E.E., Onwudiwe, E. & Suberu, R.T. (eds.) The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath (Ibadan: John Archers Publishers Ltd).

Achebe, Chinua. 2012. There Was A Country. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

Adejumobi, S. &Aderemi, A. 2002.“Oil and the Political Economy of the Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath”. In Osaghae, E.E, Onwudiwe, E. & Suberu, R.T. (Eds). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

Adewale, F. 2012. “Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo required apology not attacks on Achebe”.

Agbese, P. O. 2002. “The Civil War and the Transformation of Nigerian Politics. In Osagbae, E. E., Onwudiwe, E. & Suberu, R. T. (Eds). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

Akinseye – George, Yemi. 2002. “Self-Determination in Interrnational Law and the Biafran Experiences” in Osaghae, E. E., Onwudiwe, E. &Suberu, R.. T. (eds). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

Anthony, D. 2014. ‘Ours is a war of survival’: Biafra, Nigeria and arguments about genocide, 1966–70. Journal of Genocide Research.Volume 16.

Aremu, J.O. (2012), “Understanding the Role of Ethnic Militia Groups in the Niger Delta Conflict: 1999 – 2007”, ELA: Journal of African Studies, Nos. 31&32.

Aremu, J.O.2014. “Ghana’s Role in the Nigerian Civil War: Mediator or Collaborator?”. International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 1, (3), 51-60 (Journal of the University of Gafsa, Tunisia).

Atofarati, A.A. (1992). . “The Nigerian Civil War: Causes, Strategies and Lessons Learnt”. http://www.dawodu.com.atofaratiI.

Awofeso, O. 2017. “Secessionist Movements and the National Question in Nigeria: A Revisit to the Quest for Political Restructuring”. IJRDO-Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research, Volume 2, Issue 7, July.

Awolowo,O. 1970. “The Financing of the Nigerian Civil War: Its implication for the future Economy of the Nation”. Lecture delivered at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan on 10 May.

Cervenka, Z. (1971), History of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970, (Ibadan: Oribonoje Press).

Clevenger, J.M. 1975. ‘The Political Economy of Hunger: Famine in Nigeria, 1967-70”. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham.

Cronje, S. 1972.The World and Nigeria: The Diplomatic History of Biafran War 1967-1970.

Daniel, J.O. 2013. “The Untold Story of the Nigeria-Biafra War”

Davies, P.E. 1995. “Use of Propaganda in Civil War: The Biafra Experience”. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London.

Decker, Tunde. 2016. “Media and the Diplomacy of Desperation: An Appraisal of Ekwensi’s Biafra”. Draft Article.

Doron, R. 2014. “Marketing genocide: Biafran propaganda strategies during the Nigerian civil war, 1967–70”.Journal of Genocide Research.Volume 16.

Falola, T. & Heaton, M. 2008.A History of Nigeria. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Gowon, Yakubu. 1968. Text of Broadcast to the Nation by Major-General Yakubu Gowon on 26th May, 1968. Lagos: Government Printer.

Gowon, Yakubu. 2017. “Awolowo Saved Nigeria from breaking up during the Civil War”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArijMIXdcQ4

Harnischfeger, Johannes. 2012. “Nigeria Civil War and Igbo Nationalism”, IAS/FRA Distinguished Personality Lecture Series, 26th March.

Inyang, E. E. 2013. A Task that must be done: Issues on the Federalists’ Visual Propaganda in Nigerian Civil War. Programme of African Studies, Northwestern University. Evanston IL USA. Working Paper Number 23.Available online @ www.africanstudies.northwestern.edu/publications-research/working-papers.html

Iwuagwu, O. 2012. “Food Shortages, Survival Strategies and the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria during the Nigeria Civil War”. The Journal of International Social Research, Volume: 5 Issue: 22.

Kirk-Greene, A.H.M. 1971. Crisis_and Conflict in Nigeria: A Documentary Sourcebook 1966-1969 (2 Vols.). London: Oxford University Press.

LIFE. 1968. “The 1968 Exhibit: Starving Children of Biafran War," July 12.

London: Sidgwick and Jackson.

Mathieu-Comtois, S. 2012. “Why partition? Biafra and South Sudan in comparative perspective”, McGill International Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 25–37.

Muzan, A.O. 2014. “Insurgency in Nigeria: Addressing the causes as part of the solution”. AHRLJ Volume 14 No 1 :217 – 243.

Ngoa, S.N. 2011. A Review & Analytical Narrative of Propaganda Activities: A Nigerian Perspective. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 1 No. 16; November.

Nwankwo, A. A. 1974. Nigeria: The Challenges of Biafra, 2nd edition. Enugu: Fourrth Dimension Publishing Company Limited.

Ogunsanwo, O. 2009. Awo, Unfinished Greatness: The Life and Times of Obafemi Awolowo. Lagos: Piece Books and Periodicals.

Ojeleye, Olukunle. 2016. The Politics of Post-War Demobilisation and Reintegration in Nigeria. London & New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

Ojo, E.O. 2004. “Secession threat: A Potent Weapon in Nigerian Political Bargaining, 1950-1964”. Obitun: Journal of the Humanities, Vol. 3, No. 4.

Ojukwu, Chris C. 2002. “Between Relegation and Reintegration: The Igbo Nation in Post-Civil War Nigeria”. In Osaghae, E.E, Onwudiwe, E. &Suberu, R.T. (Eds.). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

Olukotun, Ayo 2002. “The Media and the Nigerian Civil War: An Overview”. In Osaghae, E. E., Onwudiwe, E. & Suberu, R.T. (Eds). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

Onumonu, U. P. &Anutanwa, P. O. 2017.“Rethinking the Impact of Nigerian Civil War: Commerce in the Post-Civil War Nnewi and Its Challenges, 1970 – 2000”.Mgbokoigba Journal of African Studies, Vol. 6, No.2, February.

Osadolor, O. B. 2002. “The Historiography of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967 – 1970. In Osaghae, E.E, Onwudiwe, E. & Suberu, R.T. (Eds). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

St. Jorre, John de. 1972. The Brother's War: Biafra and Nigeria. Boston: Houghton Mifflin “Company.

Tedheke, M.E.U. 2007.“A Political Economy Explanation of the Nigerian Civil War”.Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Teniola, E. 2017. “Why Awo Did Not Make West to Secede” Available online @ https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/09/awo-not-make-west-secede/

West African Pilot, 29 February, 1964.

Williams, I. 2002. “The Nigerian Civil War: A Lesson in Breakdown of Democratic Control of the Military and Military Professionalism”. In Osaghae, E.E, Onwudiwe, E. & Suberu, R.T. (Eds). The Nigerian Civil War and Its Aftermath. Ibadan: John Archers.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejsss.v0i0.282

Copyright (c) 2018 Johnson Olaosebikan Aremu

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The research works published in this journal are free to be accessed. They can be shared (copied and redistributed in any medium or format) and\or adapted (remixed, transformed, and built upon the material for any purpose, commercially and\or not commercially) under the following terms: attribution (appropriate credit must be given indicating original authors, research work name and publication name mentioning if changes were made) and without adding additional restrictions (without restricting others from doing anything the actual license permits). Authors retain the full copyright of their published research works and cannot revoke these freedoms as long as the license terms are followed.

Copyright © 2016 - 2023. European Journal Of Social Sciences Studies (ISSN 2501-8590) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library. All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and standards formulated by Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003) and  Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003) and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Copyrights of the published research works are retained by authors.


Hit counter