Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Charles Green, Psychology

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Nigeria is the most populous Black nation in the world but economically underperforming relative to its huge natural resources. The country’s interesting history is a by-product of numerous forces that moved across Africa and Europe starting in the 18th century. The 1967 civil war that divided Nigeria was inspired by the tribal grievances created by British Colonizers. It was fought for economic reasons. The Nigerian state could not allow Biafra to successfully secede as most of the revenue-generating oil wells were located in the South-Eastern part of the country(known as Biafra during the war). The underlying tensions that led to the civil war played a big part in the systematic marginalization of the Igbo people which has continued to put the entire country at economic disadvantage. The secessionist state of Biafra, the atrocities committed by the state of Nigeria during the civil war and ethnic grievances are topics that surface frequently in the nation’s current political climate.

I interviewed my father, Dr. Peter Ogudoro, a respected Nigerian educationist who shared how his family has suffered painful disadvantages as a result of the war. His family was forced to leave everything they had and flee from the Northern part of the country because people of Igbo descent were being massacred. Dr Ogudoro’s family later settled in their ancestral home in the South-Eastern part of the country (known as Biafra during the war) but were forced to the very bottom of the economic and social ladder because they had lost all their economic capital. Dr. Ogudoro and some other highly respected Nigerians are using their social platforms to preach ethnic reconciliation in pursuit of national progress. The civil war and its implications for Nigeria are important because of the country’s strategic place in Africa and the larger global community. This genocide and conflict can help other nations to understand the need for stong and unified political insitutions. The war also serves as a reminder that the legacy of colonization does not end after the colonizers have left. Nigeria’s road to recovery, however, serves as proof that progress is possible and can be viewed as a beam of hope for other countries in similar situations.