Professor Soyinka Opens Up on What he Means by "Biafra Can't Be Defeated"

Professor Soyinka Opens Up on What he Means by "Biafra Can't Be Defeated"

  • Professor Wole Soyinka has said that his remark about the Nigerian civil war and Biafra agitation was misconstrued by many
  • The award-winning writer while no form of war is right, the civil war in Nigeria was particularly bad for the people
  • According to Soyinka, the idea of Biafra has taken hold of some of those who do not know the full history

Noble laureate, Wole Soyinka has said that his comment that Biafra cannot be defeated was misunderstood by the people.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television on civil war, agitators and the history of Nigeria, the award-winning writer said that his remarks on Biafra were never referring to the battlefield as understood by many.

Wole Soyinka, Biafra, civil war, Nigerian government, Nnamdi Kanu, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu
Wole Soyinka attends a photocall during Incroci di Civiltà International Literature Festival on April 7, 2018, in Venice, Italy. Photo credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening
Source: Getty Images

Stating that he was desperate for the Nigerian-Biafra civil war not to happen because it was the wrong one.

His words:

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"First, I thought it was a wrong war. No war is right, but this one was particularly bad.”

Further noting that the Igbo majorly resident in the southeast region of the country had quite some terrible experiences during the war.

He added:

“The memory of such traumatising experience congeals, especially towards their immediacy but it can burst out again any other time.
“When I made a statement that ‘you can never defeat Biafra’, people took a very simplistic reasoning of that. They thought I was just referring to the battlefield.
“No, I was talking about the idea; that the idea has taken hold of some of those who don’t know the full history, because the people were not themselves blameless.
“When I met Ojukwu, he spoke very frankly and when I met him in Ivory Coast, I asked him some questions like ‘why did you shoot Victor Banjo and others?

“He gave some very satisfactory answers. I met him again when I did a programme for BBC Channel 4 entitled ‘Journeys’, and I did recapture the journey to Biafra.

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