A REVIEW OF BECAUSE I AM INVOLVED
TITLE: BECAUSE I AM INVOLVED
AUTHOR: CHUKWUEMEKA ODUMEGWU OJUKWU
PUBLISHER: SPECTRUM BOOKS LTD
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 1989
REVIEWED BY: FRANKLIN CHUKWUEMEKA IZUNDU.
Because I am involved was written by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, some well-known Nigerian military personnel and a politician who played a very significant role in the Nigeria civil war, he was the president of Biafra from 1967 to 1970. Ojukwu was born on the 4th of November, 1933, in Zungeru, in the northern part of the country. In his book which is made up of 17 subheadings, Ojukwu was more of a critic of the Nigerian situation, he wrote on many issues in Nigeria, issues that have been ignored for years, issues no one dares to explore, he opined that Nigeria is crippled by four fears, these fears he conceptualised as fear of change, fear of truth, fear of unity and fear of man.
According to him Nigeria lack the will to transform our primordial instincts and create a modern polity, we are so inflexible in the attempt to be fused, looking at Nigeria, one can see that everything is only a frightful aspect of a dichotomy, it is vital to note that since Nigeria gained her independence every regime has made effort to solve this problem of dichotomy, but all effort has proved abortive. Ojukwu condemned military regime, he was of the opinion that military rule succeeded in doing more harm than good, he also maintained that Nigeria has talent which, if allowed could solve Nigeria’s problem, but the problem in Nigeria is that such people will never have the opportunity to thrive, instead they will be relegated to the background.
Furthermore, Ojukwu, spotted another cankerworm that has eaten deep the fabric of Nigeria, which he called the loss of national direction. He wrote... "Nigeria is now wandering aimlessly" the origin of this problem is what he termed the east west dichotomy, this problem in form of tribalism has infested Nigeria for so long as various tribes in the country continue to vie for superiority. He opined that the deliverance of Nigeria from this disease lies no other place but in the hand of Nigeria, for him, since Nigeria is already a diverse nation, government should deemphasize ethnic origin in all official documentation. Sequel to that, is that studies should be encouraged in the university to quicken the pace of unity there is no better way to unity than endeavour jointly undertaken and achievement jointly won, in addition, Ojukwu adds that if Nigerians do not want unity, then confederation is still an option, but the problem according to him is that we are not united nor diverse rather we are in limbo. Disunity has laid to waste, the dreams of our founding fathers, and has made Nigeria to taste various systems of government, and also create many states, yet all this proved abortive.
Ojukwu also spoke about the Igbos, that they are the most misunderstood, he had no intention of criticising the government, but to create an avenue for more understanding, the Igbos according to him have suffered humiliation from the white, and casualties from the war, as a people, the Igbos do have a typical problem in Nigeria, they are often misunderstood.
Ojukwu maintained that Biafra was not a separationist movement geared towards separating the Igbos from Nigeria, rather it was an effort geared towards self-defence by a marginalised people.
proffering the solution to Nigeria’s dilemma, he suggested that in order to end corruption, there is need for Nigeria to master the art of national appreciation, the absence of this, force public servants to make provision for rainy days when they leave office, furthermore, he added that Nigeria needs a leader who would have the people at heart and not his selfish interest, he described the leader as a wastepaper basket where all rubbish is heaped, and whoever is not ready to accept such treatment should forget it.
Lastly, I have digested this book and can say unequivocally that Ojukwu did a good job, his writing language is appealing and can improve budding writers. Ojukwu was perceived as a controversial patriot even till his death and some content of his book supports that perception. That notwithstanding, I recommend this book to fellow readers, a work such as this should not be hidden away.
FRANKLIN CHUKWUEMEKA IZUNDU