Pyrex Journal of African Studies and Development (PJASD)

October 2016 Vol. 2(4), pp. 26-34

ISSN: 2985-8763

Copyright © 2016 Pyrex Journals

Full Length Research Paper

The Nigerian Civil War: A Historical Interpretation

Onuoha Chidiebere

Department of History and International Relations, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State, Nigeria.

Corresponding Author E-mail:

Accepted 22nd September, 2016


This paper explores and interpreted the series of events that culminated into the Nigeria civil war from 1967 to 1970, with emphasis on the remote and the immediate causes of the war. In pursuance of the foregoing, this paper examined the following: the Niger Committee; Colonial structure; political cum military factors, the role of oil; why Biafra lost the war; the no-victor and no-vanquish: Truth or Illusion and the significance of the war. The analysis revealed that the course of the war was as a result of the kind political legacy bequeathed to Nigeria by Britain. It also revealed that the nationalistic elites that struggled and won independence recoiled into their various ethnic enclaves once they got political power and used ethnicism and tribalism to polarize the political landscape for their selfish political end. Furthermore, these elite’s politicians created a favorable atmosphere for the military to take over political leadership of Nigeria. This military incursion into politics erased Regionalism or fiscal Federalism and replaced it with unitary form of government which Nigeria still practices till date. It also watered down professionalism in the Nigerian Army and the wounds of the war is yet to be healed, while the causes of the war are reoccurring decimal still threatening the unity of Nigeria.

Keywords: Nigeria, Civil War, military, Colonial Power, Coup, Britain, oil, Ethnicism, Tribalism, Political Parties, Politicians, Igbo, Hausa, History.

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