Philip Emeagwali, biography, A Father of the Internet, supercomputer pioneer, Nigerian scientist, inventor

Nigeria-Biafra Civil War

Letters About the War


I was a year perhaps when my father left to fight in the war..just a baby yet I still feel the aftermath 34 years later because my father never returned...I class myself as a war victim and my soul is lost and will remain lost until the wonderful reunion between my father and me happens... whether here in this life or in heaven...Thankyou for your work and pictures they were my first link to the reality...Maybe one on the photos of those brave soldiers going to war had my father in who knows.. god moves in mysterious ways....All i know is I am proud of my Nigerian heritage....Godbless all those who died in the war may they rest in peace....

Yours Sincerely,
Grace Mullen,
United Kingdom
January 9, 2000

Dear Philip Emeagwali:

I mistakenly came across your site that documents aspects of the Biafran War with the use of photographs.

First, I want to commend you for a job well done. I especially enjoyed going through your remarkable photos, in spite of the fact that some of them recapture a gory sadness that resulted from the War. However, and forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I also noticed that you provide no meaningful reference to a notable figure who stands as, perhaps, the hero, albeit unsung hero, of the War. As of 1959 when Nigeria had only 30/31 military officers, Major-General Philip Efiong, then a captain, was higher in rank than the two central adversaries of the War--Generals Gowon and Ojukwu. In reality, and without the unfortunate political and social events that led to the War, at the onset of the War he was still technically higher than both men, at least militarily. Ultimately his role, and the one that stands out, was sacrificial, and saved the lives of hundreds, even thousands. It was a role that has caused him unimaginable suffering as well as thrust him into an unfair and marginalized position where he remains largely unacknowledged, even spurned. Major-General Efiong's role at the end of the War was not only life-threatening and, therefore, courageous, but was also phenomenal because it made history that has yet to be fully recognized. At no point, after all, has a majority ethnic group accepted the leadership of of a minority man or woman, except toward the end of the War when General Ojukwu took his cowardly flight and left General Efiong to clean up his mess. And this, at a time when the likes of the great Zik of Africa and other such Ibo heavyweights could not be looked up to by Ibos. They had only one person to look up to--Major-General Philip Efiong--and he didn't let them down but put his life on the line for their sake.

I don't believe you deliberately excluded Major-General Efiong from your site, but I hope you can understand why I had no choice but to notice the fact of his conspicuous absence.

Thank you for your time and I wish you the best in your present and future intellectual pursuits.

Philip Effiong, Jr.
(son of General Philip Effiong)

Dear Philip Effiong: Within the circles I was in, Ndi Igbo praised General Effiong for the courage he displayed at the end of the civil war. The information posted on my Biafra home page is incomplete and unbalanced. With your permission, I will post your response on that page. I will present a more balanced info when I write my biography.

Please visit me again.

Philip Emeagwali

BTW, what is the correct spelling "Effiong" or "Efiong?"


Thank you for your response to my mail and for your exceptional humility and sincerity. I am inclined to believe that you deserve the praises that have been bestowed on you. You have my permission to post my response on your page.

"Effiong" is actually an anglicized version of the name. My father still uses "Efiong." For the most part I use "Effiong" because most of my certificates have the name spelt that way. It is usually others--journalists, etc.--who spell the name with double "f." Members of the family generally spell the name with one "f." Since most writings, books, etc., have it spelt with double "f," you may actually stick to this spelling as people are more used to it. Thank you for your time and best wishes.

Philip, Jr.

Hello Phillips,

Going through your site and digesting all the information therein; your world had been obviously influenced by the events of "1968 Nigeria," I thought. I fought back emotion as reality permitted me to but, that is the strength of the collective unconscious we all share. I was only nine at the inception of hostilities. I wonder however if EffiongJr.feels unimportant in the annals of history as written by events, not by you I might add. His Father obviously shared his opinion I hopelessly would think, for that would be most unfortunate. One ought to remind EffiongJr.that only true cowards make surrendering speeches. Ojukwu could not have chosen a better person. God bless.

Leo 16 Nov 2001

Dear Leo (I assume this is your name):

I write in reference to a response you gave to my opinion on the Civil War, which is pasted on Phillip Emeagwali's website. Although your response was written since 16 Nov 2001, I am only just coming across it. May I, therefore, respond to it?

I am particularly concerned about your statement, which reads:

"I wonder however if EffiongJr. feels unimportant in the annals of history as written by events, not by you I might add. His Father obviously shared his opinion I hopelessly would think, for that would be most unfortunate. One ought to remind EffiongJr. that only true cowards make surrendering speeches. Ojukwu could not have chosen a better person. God bless."

Although not very clear, I tried to make sense of your statement. Be advised that my intention is to enter into open, rational, and objective conversation, and not to deteriorate into a petty exchange based on sentiments and, in your case, nothing more than ethnic bias. If you must respond to me, make some effort to rise above emotional leanings. This should help to develop your mind. Now, to respond to more directly to your attack (because that’s what it was).

First, I do not feel "unimportant" about anything, and my essay makes no such indication. I am not seeking cheap attention but merely to address the truth, and I will continue to do so, regardless of what people like you say or think! My claim to importance is based on the things I have achieved in my life (thank God) and not a War. If I have to list what those achievements are, ask me. I am not ashamed to share them. I do not seek importance by way of any war, and I would appreciate it if you do not make such baseless suggestions that lack any substance to them.

Second, you would do well to stop imagining things and then writing them down. My opinions are mine, and mine alone. Your claim that my father obviously shares them is unfounded, annoying, insulting, and absolutely false. Please don’t accuse my father falsely. You don’t know anything about him or his opinions.

Third, and this is the big one. You state, “only true cowards make surrendering speeches.” This is true on some levels, but at the same time this is where you most display your ignorance and small-mindedness. Surrendering can be an act of cowardice, but it can also be heroic based on context. Within the context of the Civil war, my father did what the people wanted him to do, simple! He didn’t act in isolation. At the time, the War was virtually over but simply needed an official stamp to confirm what was obvious. Have you ever done any research on the War? Have you read any book about it? If you haven’t, you need to. My dad did exactly what the people wanted and that is why in the past 33 years they (the Ibo people mainly) have honored and continue to honor him. Locally he has been honored and internationally he has been honored. How many cowards do you know that are honored so greatly and sincerely? I guess you expected my dad to single-handedly pick up a gun (which was virtually non-existent in Biafra at the time) and go on a worthless and eccentric battle against the Federal troops.

You indicate, rather boldly and sarcastically, that your tribal hero, Ojukwu, handpicked the best coward in my father. Wouldn’t it have been easier for this hero to stay back and perform the “cowardly” act rather than run off to the Ivory Coast? If the act was that cowardly and there was nothing to fear, why didn’t he stay back? If it wasn’t dangerous and no risks were involved, then why didn’t he perform the surrender himself? The fact is (and it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t know) that surrendering was not as simplistic, as easy, and as safe as you make it sound. Do you know that there were threats on the lives of some of those who went to Dodan Barracks for the signing? You probably don’t because your facts are not straight on this matter. Do you know that my father was thrown in detention after signing the surrender? Do you know that his passport was seized? Do you know that he has not had a job-military or civilian-since after the War? Are these situations that a coward puts himself in? If surrendering is as easy as you make it sound, then why didn’t Hitler surrender rather than take his own life? Surrendering, in other words does not always imply safety and freedom as you make it sound, and your hero, Ojukwu, knew this to be true, that is why he absconded to the Ivory Coast and abandoned people like you who know sing eulogies in honor of him. And yet, you dare to call my father a coward. I choose not to be shocked by your ingratitude.

Be aware, and this is for your own good, that my father, like some of his other contemporaries, had been honored before the War and beyond the context of the War. My father served in the UN Peace Keeping Force in the Congo well before the War, and was paid tribute for it. Before the War he served in Kaduna where attempts were made on his life during the second coup. Does his life as a professional soldier and the risks he faced suggest cowardice? Is this the type of life a coward chooses to live?

Wasn’t your father alive during the War? Wasn’t he a man? What role did he play, especially since it was his own people who were bearing the brunt of the Federal assault? Why didn’t he fight? Why didn’t he do the heroic things that you claim my father didn’t do?

I don’t blame you for insulting my father. It does say something about your upbringing. But, trust me, you really don’t count. Yours is a lonesome, ill-informed, nutty voice in some obscure desert where brains haven’t yet been invented. As I’ve stated, my father has been generously honored nationally and internationally, so you are really quite irrelevant and dispensable. Trust me. Nonetheless, can I request from you, whoever you are, not to insult my father again. He is almost 80 and need not be insulted by a bigot who hates to accept or deal with the truth. He has suffered enormously in his life-I know because I am his son-and so, if you have nothing good to say about him, as ungrateful as you are, then please don’t say anything about him.

If you plan to engage in meaningful, fact-based, unbiased, unsentimental, and non-insulting conversation, by all means respond to me. If not, please don’t respond to me. The last thing I want to do is sink down to your degenerate level of perception and thinking.

Enough said.

Philip U. Effiong (Abuja, Nigeria, April 8 2003,

Though a dark, dreadful and eerie aspect of our history, I could not but enjoy and appreciate looking through the pictoral presentation of the Nigerian Civil War! When the war broke out in 1967, I was 13. I was captivated by the vividness of trauma of war captured in those monumental pictures. Interestingly, I was also musing over the conspicuous absence of General Phillip Effiong's picture when I ran into the feedback provided by his son, Dr. Phillip Effiong. I could not but agree with him that General Effiong's role in Biafran struggle deserves a place in the annal of Nigerian history. Please, go back to the archives. I am sure, there will be pictures of this noble Nigerian that could best reflect his contribution to the definition of what we call Nigeria today. Thanks for doing what you are doing, Dr. Emeagwali. Peace! Michael O. A.

Michael O.A. 27 Nov 2001

I wish to add to what must already be a long string of commendations. Philip. All Biafrans (and that is not just Igbo people) owe you a tremendous debt for your personal achievements and your online archive of Biafran history. I also endorse the views of Philip Effiong jr. His father's General Philip Effiong's role in Biafra appears to be under-acknowledged. Something needs to be done not just literally but by other equally meaningful and practical gestures. You, Sir can set the ball rolling. You do not have to wait for any prompt.


C.I. London U.K., 16 Oct 2002

I feel greatly fulfilled reading this part of the gory history of the Biafran state. Honestly, it is the very first time i'm doing that, and am so happy. I have always heard the phrase, 'on aburi we stand', but have hardly been able to make out the build up. Its also my first time visiting this site. I'll love to say, WELLDONE.

If i have a thing to say, it is that those principles on which Ojukwu stood in 1966, has remained the crux of todays quest for national reconstruction. What i tend to believe is, perhaps, given the tension in the country at that time, the military would be unable to provide a fruitful solution to the crisis. But, we should be asking ourselves, what lessons have we learned from that whole experience? the answer is not far-fetched; 'we have learned nothing'. The crisis that have engulfed Nigeria today is worse off compared to 1966. What else would anybody say, for a country still reeling in the pangs of poverty and starvation, shamefully in the midst of plenty; whose youth cannot see a future with it, but would prefer a low life in london, or slavery in South Africa.

It must be placed on record that no economy or society anywhere in the world is developed by foriegners. Nigeria must be developed by Nigerians, and nobody but Nigerians. I believe in the fact everybody will be accountable for his actions, first to posterity, and finally to Almighty God. Sadly, enough, God is usually forgiven in His infinite mercies, but posterity does not.


Justus Ekeigwe, 12/28/2002
London, England

A Walking Encyclopaedia

Dear Dr. Emeagwali,

I went through your site and came across the webpage that carried pictures and news articles on Biafra/Nigeria civil war. It was quite revealing as it was educative.

I am amazed that an individual like you could be an embodiment of a mass of knowledge - a walking encyclopaedia. You are a blessing to the black race and a gift to humanity. Keep up your good works and God bless you.

Chinedu Anekwe,
December 28, 2002
Enugu, Nigeria.

I am really symphatazing with Biafran

Hello Sir,

Happy new year! How's everything I hope is well in Jesus name Amen.

I am from Plateau State, Jos, staying at Rayfield. But when I read the history of Biafran and what happened, the people behind the killings of Igbo's i.e, the Nigerian Army then, the Commander in Chief of Federal Republic of Nigeria, then I shed teirs and cry deep into my heart for how human beings are so wicked without pitty. Meanwhile, I pray that God will forgive those people behind the killings. I also look at the whole pictures of what happened then, the killings of people, how they where sufferings, how soldiers were rapping small girls & married women I cried to God to forgive Nigeria.

Finally, I pray that nothing would happen in Nigeria again like that. And may God choice a good leader to us with God fearings. I also thank those that restored peace to Nigeria and the Igbo's land.

Thank you so much.
Alamba D. Dung.
January 7, 2003

NB: My regard to all Nigerians and I'll always keep in touch. I am just 22yrs old now.

I just read an interesting account of the Biafran struggle above your web address.

I worked in Nigeria from Sept 30, 1965 until the summer of 1968, the latter times in Biafra.

it is tragic that Biafra could not prevail. I drove my Land Rover to Kaduna during the horrible murder of Igbo civilians in the streets to try to rescue the relatives of my workers. It was unspeakable.

Peter D.
February 5, 2003

Stage Adaptation of the Biafran Warl


l have just finished an adaptation of the french revoluction, and visited your site on the biafran war.l want do a stage adaptation of the biafran civil war which i intend to take around the Easthern part of Nigeria and then other state capitals of Nigeria.l would appreciate contacts with bodies and organisations from you. lm an lgbo and presently a graduate student of the Theatre Arts department of the university of lbadan. looking forward to hearing from you

Charles Ogu
ogucharles @
February 7, 2003

Dear Sir

l written before on the above, looking for instutional link up in realising the Biafran experience on the stage to relive the experience for majority of the people who didnt witness it.Dr. Stanley Macebuh of the Nigerian Presidency delivered an almuni lecture at lbadan university in that regards. That has actually fired my interest again.Please reply to confirm whether you got my mail.

Charles Ogu
February 14, 2003

Congratulatory Message as one of the Biafran Scientist

To our Lovely Brother, Philip Emeagwali,

Congratulations to you as one of the greatest Biafran Scientist as of today; God bless you and your family in general AMen. Sir, since the formal president of America Bill Clinton came to Nigeria during his time, through his speeches that he Clinton made us to know that there is a Biafra Scientist like you, since then i have been thinking of how to reach you. But i thank God that as of today i have totally reach you through our e-mail address.

Please Sir our scientist i welcomed you. First of all i will not fail to introduce my name as Pastor Williams Okafor from Umuezukwe Awo-omamma Imo State Our east L.G.A.

But before April runs out my introduction must totally change as Williams from United State of Biafra (U.S.B) I am a member of (MASSOB)and here we do hear about our Biafran's Brother leaving Overseas; how they are supporting the movement both financial expert of it. God bless you all Amen. Please Sir, there is important thing i need all Biafrans Scientist to do as of now as we are waiting to hear from U.N. for the annocement of our new birth Biafra. I will be happy if all Biafran scientist can come together as association putting heads together for the betterment of new born Biafra. Because i believe that through our scientist we must also belong to the super-power. I understand that Biafra belong to the commonwealth of Isrealie nation with Southern sudan. Let all Biafran Jews wherever they are we must fish them out becuase some of them don't know where they come from. We must know that many of our Biafrans citizens are around the world such as Norway Republic, This my brothers don't even know where they come from, but they are Biafrans. I believe that through your effort we the Biafrans must have their setlight.

Sir, there is one thing i need to share from you. I believe you can do a favour for me. As of now i have a computer and also intercellular phone wireless phone how can i use the intercellular phone with the computer to get connected to the Internet without running on a Mast or via V-SAT because here in Nigeria, it is only the rich people that set internet office with Mast or V-SAT. Why i am asking this question is that, the company that sold the Intercelullar phone to me told me that i can be able to have access to the Internet through the phone using a set of computer but spending about some thousand for the phone with hope that through it internet will be connected there. At last nobody can feed me how to connect intercellular phone with set of computer to get internet message.

Sir, why i am interested in asking you these question is that you are the Father of Internet, Bill Gate of Africa. And i know why you remains in America because that our promise land is yet to come (i.e.Biafra Land). Why i am interested is because i love information and also i need to know what is happening within an office, within CNN et.c

Sir i lovely enjoy your interview in one of our Weekend News, I so pick interest on you because you are one of my Biafran man. Please, Sir help me to get solution to my problem which i complain to you, May the almighty God bless you. Amen, Looking forward for your reply.

Thanks from
Williams Okafor
Biafran Citizen
Long-Live Chukwura Emeagwali!
Long-Live United State of Biafra!
February 24, 2003
deumudike @

Dear Mr Chukwura Emeagwali,

I bought the week end news paper and came across a column which read ''BIAFRAN SCIENTIST SHAKES THE WORLD'' after reading this column,I felt elated being a Nigerian and knowing that i have a Nigerian brother that has made a land mark achievement by designing the internet,makes me a proud Nigerian, irrespective of what the world termed Nigeria

My name is Momodu Oshiokpekhai Emmanuel.... [stuff deleted]
February 28, 2003

Dear Emeagwali,

you have tried by puting your experence of that horrible period the igbos went through into history by recording it on your web site. Now one can go through it all but what I regrate very much is the inability of Biafra to survive.Maybe they would have made a great Nation. Maybe as thier flag portray, She would have been one Nation in the mist of the darkness that ingross us as black people to show a gleemer of light that will point the way to our immacipation. Our ability to jion the race developed world.

keep it up

Chibuike Agbugba
April 4, 2003

Biafran War Film Footage

Dear Dr. Brown and/or colleagues,

I am a film researcher working on an upcoming documentary about Africa that requires several seconds of footage from the Biafran War. I recently came across the website "After the War Was Over" and made a preliminary phone call to the number listed at the end with your name.

Since you were not there, I spoke with your boss, a very helpful gentleman from Biafra who indicated that you or others may be able to make some inquiries and give me leads on where some footage could be found. Would this be possible? I would appreciate your help very much.

I found the website very moving and insightful. Please convey my thanks to all involved.

Elizabeth Thomas
April 10, 2003
visitliz @

General Phillip Effiong and the Biafran War

This piece is in response to the comments by Phillip Effiong, Jr. I agree with him that his father (General Phillip Effiong) was a hero of the Biafran war. However, I think he contradicts himself somewhat when in one breath he laments that General Effiong "remains largely unacknowledged, even spurned", and in another he admits that Igbos "have honored and continue to honor him. Locally he has been honored and internationally he has been honored". If the latter has been the case, what then is he complaining of?

I think Phillip needs to understand that marginalization and disdain have been the fate of all the other "Biafran" actors who distinguished themselves in the war, including the heroic field commanders and the ingenious inventors. The Nigerian state still habors an aversion to these people, except for a few lucky civilians like MT Mbu who have been fully reabsorbed into Nigeria's political economy. For obvious reasons, even Igbos despite their admiration of the Biafran heroes have not found the political courage to honor or immortalize them - no streets, no monuments, no institutions have been named after any of them in any Igbo town or city. The best effort so far was the controversial pan-Igbo honorary chieftaincy title bestowed on Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu on his return from exile in the early 1980s. So, if General Effiong has been unacknowledged and spurned, he is not alone in that situation.

One might also add that the General was a victim of unflattering circumstances that were not his making, but which overshadowed his legitimate claim to heroism in the war. The first was that he was effectively Biafra's Vice President, and very few VPs in history ever had the spotlight beamed on them for good. The second was that fate thrust on him the prudent but unenviable role of taking the decision and signing the instrument of surrender. History rarely dwells on such men, much less smile on them. How easily and in what manner does anyone remember the man who signed the instrument of surrender for the Nazis or in any other modern war? This is one of the hard, unfair realities of life that make this world a challenging place to live in.

By the way, I think Philip's lenghthy reaction to Leo's rash comment on General Effiong was unnecessary, and the petty and abusive manner he chose put him in the same category as Leo, and may have done more damage to his dad's reputation. My impression of General Phillip Effiong is that of a fine gentleman who would not blow his own trumpet in search of honor. Unfortunately, the evidences Phillip chose to cite to establish his dad's heroism (service in a UN peacekeeping force, life threatening situation in Kaduna, signing Biafra's instrument of surrender, postwar detention by the Federal Government, and unemployment since after the war) hardly come across as extraordinary acts of heroism for any solder, much less for a war time General.

I did sense some bitterness against Ojukwu and Igbos in Phillip's response to Leo. I am not surprised because having lived in Nigeria since after the war and studied the pattern of political alliances among its peoples, I know that the sentiments that ran through his comments reflect the mindset of a vast majority of the non-Igbo speaking Easterners. I am disturbed only because Phillip sounded like he is very close to his dad, and one would naturally suspect that his views on Ojukwu, the Biafran project and Igbos have benefited from privileged discussions with the General. I hope this is not the case.

I am glad to note, however, that General Effiong his still living. I think the world would like to know his views in retrospect. So much has been written and said about the war by people on both sides, a lot of which is either self-serving, revisionist or full of myths and legends. Thankfully Emeagwali's efforts, though quite limited in scope, is insightful especially because of its verbatim transcription of the Aburi deliberations (from the very horses' mouths) which is key to understanding the root causes of the war. General Effiong's reticence about the war has not been helpful. I believe he and others in the inner caucus of the Biafran side (all of whom have been much maligned) owe it to themselves, to the entire victims of the war and to history to write honest memoirs explaining the circumstances and facts that made the war imperative, that sustained the war effort for three long years, and that led to the eventual vanquish of Biafra. Ojukwu's 'Because I Am Involved' does not seem to satisfy this need, and I hope he will fulfill his promise of a much more detailed book. With most of the Biafran actors already over 70 years, time is running out on them and they will have to work extra hard to discharge this vital responsibility. I think Phillip should prevail on his dad on this issue, rather than blame Emeagwali and other secondary sources for neglicting the good old General in their commendable, albeit much constrained, efforts at telling the story of the war.

I believe it is important for us Nigerians to continue to discuss the Biafran project and subsequent war in an objective manner. It is a major landmark of our national history beneath which is buried much insight into and maybe solutions to the problems that stiffle our aspiration for nationhood and development.

Clem Ugorji,
Lagos, Nigeria
May 5, 2003

My views on the Emeagwali site

I write in reference to opinions I expressed on this site regarding my father, Obong Philip Efiong, and his role in the Nigerian-Biafran War. My initial views were sent directly to the owner of this site, Mr. Emeagwali, who, with my permission, decided to paste them on his site. They were not intended as an expression of hatred or as an attack on any group of people, just as the criticism of Nazi Germany does not necessarily imply hatred for all Germans. They were also not intended to stir up ethnic sentiments and biases.

Subsequently, there have been a number of responses to my views, most of which have been kind and diplomatic, but some of which have been critically vicious, confrontational, and ethnically charged. The results have been a series of exchanges, a number of which I now consider unhealthy, misleading, and quite irrelevant to intellectual or social growth. As such, I have requested that the views I initially expressed be deleted from this site.

I will admit that as Obong Efiong’s son my views and reactions were sometimes laced with emotions that one should expect of a son who has witnessed his father go through untold hardships. In other words, I have sometimes overreacted. Overreacting in this way has resulted in my occasional use of a rhetoric that has been impertinent and belligerent. I regret where I have used words in this manner, especially in my communication with people like Mr. Ugorji and Leo, and would like to express my unconditional apologies to them.

I hold nothing against anyone or any group of people and, under the circumstances, would express the same views if Chief Ojukwu were a Yoruba man or a Ghanaian. I especially hold nothing against the Ibos who I have fervently spoken for on such issues as the Abandoned Property controversy. I have also unequivocally defended their right to peacefully settle and set up commercial ventures in any part of the country without hindrance. Above all, I am part Ibo and married to an Ibo woman.

Most importantly, my father, who is almost 80, is still alive and continues to remain healthy. He also continues to receive tremendous support from people of all backgrounds and from various regions of the world. It would, however, be delusional of me to expect 100% support for him. After all, even Jesus the Christ (for Christians) was crucified by the people that one would have least expected to carry out the act.

In the end, I will stand by the truth and hope that the rest of us also put aside our personal idiosyncrasies and stand by the truth too. This way, the truth will prevail, as it certainly should.

Thank you.

Philip U. Effiong
May 7, 2003

Hi Phillip [Effiong],

I have just read the three mails you sent to me. Your third mail has overtaken whatever comments I would have liked to make in response to the first two, and I am glad that I read all three at the same time. Your withdrawal of the first two letters has been noted and your apologies are accepted.

Nevertheless, I would like to state that my comments on the subject were objective, well-intentioned and non-insulting as a second, less impassioned reading would reveal. I still believe that the only way we can heal the emotional and psychological injuries inflicted by the civil war (which we tend to ignore or deny) would be to engage in objective and tolerant discussion of the issues. This is also necessary if we are to avoid the mistakes of the past.

I am not an ethnic bigot; and my upbringing, education and exposure have guaranteed that I cannot become one. Incidentally, we both share something in common: my wife is Ibibio and I am a full-blooded Igbo. I am very attached to my parents-in-law, and I spent the weekend before last Easter at Nnung Udoe, as I always do when the opportunity arises. So you see, I have a vested interest in promoting understanding and reconciliation among the different peoples of the former South Eastern Region, who because of disunity and recriminations arising mostly from the Biafran project have become a popular prey in Nigeria's political economy.

You strike me as one from whom I can learn some things about the civil war, because of your privileged position as the son of one of its key actors. Maybe, in spite of everything, we can both find a basis for sustained interaction on the issue. I would be glad if you would accept this hand of fellowship.

Thanks and regards.

Clem Ugorji
May 9, 2003

Rejoinder to Philip Effiong, jr

Dear Philip Emeagwali,

I bomped into your web archive on the BIafran-Nigerian war today for the first time. It is quite interesting and provides a lot information. I could not but be caught by a sudden upsurge of emotions. The fact is that I was born during this war and seeing those pictures (especially that of an emaciated mother with her baby) gives me an idea of what I must have looked like during that sad period.

I also read with interest the observation sent in by Philip Effiong, Jr. I totally agree with him that Major Gen Philip Effiong deserves a place in the annals of Nigeria which is yet to be accorded to him. And not only that, he also deserves a huge apology and compensation from both the powers that be in Nigeria and the people of Nigeria in general, for having neglected him for too long.

I further read with a greater interest (and may be, some sense of amusement) the exchange between Effiong Jr and Leo. I think both of them got a little bit emotional in their exchange. But who will blame the younger Effiong for getting emotional, after such an unwarranted attack and provaocation by Leo? I would like to remind Leo that the mark of an educated mind is the ability to face facts and data, and to rise above personal (or tribal - clanish) sentiments.

But at the same, I would like to make a final comment. This is with regard to a statement by Effiong Jr. In his observation he said: "At no point, after all, has a majority ethnic group accepted the leadership of of a minority man or woman, except toward the end of the War when General Ojukwu took his cowardly flight and left General Efiong to clean up his mess." Effiong Jr. got it wrong here, because from the very inception of the Biafran as independent nation the elder Effiong was the second in command, and that fact is not contested, it was actually accepted and accords with the principles that governed Ojukwu's administration of the Eastern Region, even before the declaration of Biafra, namely participation of every ethnic group within the region, in governance. Secondly, I would disagree with Effiong Jr that Ojukwu's flight into exile is to be termed "cowardly". I should think the flight a leader of warring people at at time when their military strength has been completely weakened is necessary in order that a peaceful negotiation for surrender may take place, because as long he is there he remains a prime target for the enemy army, and his presence symbolises the continued struggle. I should think the leaders and advisers on the Biafran part realised this when advised Ojukwu to leave and then asked his second in command to announce surrender. Gen Effiong was very brave indeed and couragious. He did not fail his people. He rose up to what was expected of him as the second in command, in the absence of the Head of State, and he did it gallantly, just as he did had always gallantly served both before and during the war, in his other assignments. But Ojukwu was no less couragious. It requires a couragious leader to realise that the "game is over". Think of ojukwu's words on 11th Jan 1970 as he fled Biafra: "The task of leader of a people at war is to be responsive to the plight of his people and to determine what level of sacrifice can be accepted." Clearly it would appear that there is indication in this that he perceived his leaving as necessary in order to ensure the survival of the Biafrans as a people, even if not as an independent nation. It takes a couragious to swallow personal pride for the sake of your people, and move into exile.

I would once more want to thank you, Philip Effiong Jr, for raising these issues, and I think those issues should be brought to the attention of the wider Nigerian public. A true democracy cannot be said to exist in Nigeria yet, as long as such issues as these are still left unaddressed.

Rev. Fr. Emeka Okite,
Oriental institute, Oxford University.

-- Rev Fr Emeka Okite,
Oriental Institute,
Pusey Lane,
Oxford University,
(UNITED KINGDOM). Alternative email:
May 23, 2003

Thank you for the web site that presented so much information on the Nigerian/Biafran situation. I was a teacher near Port Harcourt when secession occurred, and, after being evacuated, I returned a year later to work with the Red Cross in Lagos, then in the Elele area, serving clinics in Owerri, Ahoada, etc.. I was particularly interested to see Adekunle's comments about the Red Cross and other relief agencies as he did not like us being there, but was forced to do so, by public opinion and by Gowon. I have written a book about my experiences, War Stories: A Memoir of Nigeria and Biafra. I am hoping to return to Nigeria in the near future to lecture on the situation, from my perspective. I find, as do any of you who are old enough to remember the war, that young Nigerians are eager to learn more about the overall situation. This web site is very helpful in that regard.

John Sherman
shermco @
June 3, 2003

Hi dr Donita.

Let me introduce to you. My name is Mario Aydar. I am a musician. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil and for a long time in my live I got the nickname of "Biafra" because I was so skinny and the kids - always the kids - used to associate my body shape with the pictures of people from Nigeria by that time. They don't call me Biafra anymore, although I'm not fat, but I kept a kind of nice feeling about that name. Today I've searched on my computer for Biafra to know more about the war, the place and the people and it was a gift for me to know about Philip.

I am not part of the scientific community, so that was the first time I've heard about him and I got really impressed. I started reading his notes about the civil war, saw the sad pictures and red his biography. What a nice guy. I don't know why am I writing. Maybe because I felt so happy to know that the people from the place that somehow in the past used to be my name where fighting and showing us how to do it. That really moved me.

Sorry for my bad English, say hi to Philip and THANKS.

July 18, 2003


Nigeria we hail thee

I am always very glad to visit this site. While the civil war was a tragic event for the nation called Nigeria, the death of our citizens Biafrans or Nigerians should for ever never to be forgottten.

But I must let you know that your site has cleverly failed to educate other Nigerians that some Western Nigerians fought on behalf of the Biafrans. Additionally, Lots of westerners were forced to join the federal army that fought in the east. I personally witnessed Westerners being rounded up in Ibadan and forced to become warriors.

I know for a fact that that if the Biafrans had not gotten to Ore, the opposition in the west to the war would have remain solid. It's also not a secret that abandon properties problem was never an issue in the west. The fact that a large population of Easterners reside in the west today is not an accident , it is a testimony to our hospitality and our beileve in United Nigeria.

Why did you not mention the role that Banjo and other westerners played on the Biafran side ?. Why did not educate young Igbos and other Nigerians about what happened to people like Soyinka during the war? I am sure that that the bitterness that some of us westerners experienced from our fellow Eastern Nigerians in the USA who wrongly believed that the west betrayed them will not disapear, but surely providing some data as to the contribution of other ethnic groups within Nigeria may assist some in understanding that the war was a tragic event in the history of our nation I want to let you know that I supervized an Ibo man who almost cost me my job because of his ignorance and bitterness because I am a western Nigerian. But God is good, I also gained a good friend from the east who was not as myopic as he was during the same period . I have been reading and researching the war to gain better insight to his madness because of my experience. I hope other Nigerians will never cross a bitter individual such as this man

It is my hope that Nigerians at home and abroad will eventually recognize that we are proud people with long history of peaceful co-existence. We have the facts and history on our side. We are the chosen ones destined to lead Africa and the black race. But we cannot reach the promise land if we continue to ignore the contributions that we've all made to our nation good or bad, large or small.

Finally, you are a gem that all Nigerians should cherish. You are one of those few Nigerians that in the USA that I can honnestly call a patriot.

Tunde Agboola
August 6, 2003


Sir, You represent a large number of emotionally-scarred survivors and that is immeasurably appreciated by we, the post-war Biafrans who long for truthful documentation of these events. Driving by the veterans on the Onitsha highway since I was 13, I had always stopped to give some naira or the other to these unsung heroes. You do immensely more by just portraying their struggle.

As my dad who was a surgeon throughout the war refuses to even hear mention of the war, your poignant insight has been of great help. Simultaneously, your accomplishments as a scientist leave me in awe and give me great hope for us black people who in a wider perspective, have struggled so hard and so long. I hope you can instill the same level of hope in younger, less-educated blacks to go the way of science, and not money!

With deep repect,

Ifeanyi Udekwu

Klas Ifeanyi Ikechebelu Udekwu
Department of Microbiology
Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology
Biomedical Center Box 596
Uppsala University

September 20, 2003


Thanks a million for promoting the Biafra course. We Ndigbo are really grateful, and your name has been written in gold in our hearts.

Sokoto Nigeria
October 11, 2003

Hello Phillip Emeagwali,

My good brother, the reason i am sending you this email is to let you know that there is work for you to do,which i think you have not been doing, but before telling you the work i will thank God for what He has been doing in your life.We igbos in nigeria is proud of you ,many of us started to hear about you when the former american president visited nigeria ie Clitton,he talked good of you and say that you are the father of internet phillip i read one of the nigerians weekly magazine which i granted an interview which you said how you and your parent suffared during nigerian biafran war but thank God that you survived the war but should know that over two million igbos lost their live during the war and the injustice that coursed the war has double as of today,if you have visited igbo land for the past fifteen years you will see what am telling you how the nigerian government has been punishing the igbos.My brother the work which i said you have not been doing is to help igbos to get freedom from nigeria.I want you to use your connection you have in the white house and the american help Biafra to get independence from nigeria.There is another igbo man who works at the U.S nuclear energy he is also a coloniel in the u.s army,his name is Hillary Njoku from Imo state in nigeria you can work with this people on how to get biafra freedom from nigeria.All the igbos will be greatful to you if you can do your own by helping them out of nigeria,i will also like you to know that Biafra has embassy at new york in america and the movement for the Achalisation of soverign state of Biafra (MASOB) is holding meeting in new york on 18th and 19th of october 2003 and the guest of honour is Koffi Anan the UN scribe,for more information you can go to Biafran web site which is

I myself that is writting to you is a member of movement for actualisation of soverign state of biafra (masob).My name is Simeon Njoku,

Phone 234-8033059772.
God bless you
October 13, 2003


Hi-Nwa Chi-ukwu,

Ezinwa nne m kedu ka i di? It has been a long time we've not heard from each other. I mail Donita to inform you of my times in Nigeria trying to improve in the business i'm.

Prof. Philip, you'r my good brother in Biafra, and you are of a great impotance to me because you'r in my line of business. I know you'll be of good help to me because I'm in the computer line of business. I'm managing some business centres in Enugu. I would like you to help me in telling and sending me the books that will help me to improve my stardand to the best level.

As we are in the struggle for actualisation,we are not sponsored rather we use our purse and I'll like to be the best in my business so that I can make money to help in financing the movement.

Remain blessed Ezinwa nne m.

October 14, 2003


Dear Hero,

Kedu ka imelu?

Olu ina anu ugbua bu olu si ebe di anya ma dikwa nso wee na-abialu gi. Obukwa olu nwa Biafra na ekele gi we na-asi gi daalu nke ukwu n’olu niile ina-olu gi n’uwa niile taa.

Kamgbe mchoputara na obu nwa-afo Biafra na-akpa ike niile enwere na komputa n’ubochi taa, n’igwa gi eziokwu, emegom ka mba niile di iche iche n’uwa mara na Igbo nwere mmadu, oburukwa na amataram na oge, n’igwa gi eziokwu agaram na edere gi akwukwo ekene kwa mgbe-kwa mgbe.

Nwanne-mmadu, onwero ka ohamu n’onu kamana nkwa mna-ekwegi bu na agam na etinyekwagi na ijeoma nnwagi na ekpere, na etinyekwa na ekpele ka umu Biafra nwere onwefa.

Philip nwannem, gaba n’iru na ejim gi eme onu na Naijiria

Agam acho inu olu gi
Jisi ike.

Obu nwa Biafra,
October 22, 2003


I got through your site and felt proud to associate with you as an IGBO man. Please, how possible could you use this site to champion the course of the IGBOS in general; especially the young generation children of Igbos whom mostly have taken to artisan trades due to parental incapability financially, to fund them through high schools.

We can still make something good from those children that have forgotten the path to light in education, and choose to trade especially since after the civil war of late 60s. Which I am one of them . The phobia still trails us.

Please can you introduce a kind of science oriented programes in the south easthern nigeria to enhance our children ability in scientific research programes especially now that we Igbos are clamouring for a sorveriegn state of our own BIAFRA. I look forward to your reply, till then bye bye .


Nnaji Michael Oguejiofor.

Chika Nwokeji

October 25, 2003


More Grease to your kneels. You are almost there!

Fellow compatriots of Biafra,

Good day, nno!

I am a delighted son of Biafra born of Imo State Origin(Ohuba, Ubomiri in mbaitoli Local Govt Imo), I have been reading through your various publications in the web and others means of communication, and as a man of intellectual sense of humor and a responsible Igbo son, I am to a very high degree fascinated by these publications, so thats why i decided to inquire.

I have for donkey years reading and visiting our beloved web site and most other sites and most time when I go through these pages, i hate my self for being not able to contribute in the actualization of this freedom, but to God be the glory that I can pray for this dream to come true, and He gave us people like you and most other illustrious sons of Igbo.

I wish to solicit you for your tremendous and stupendous endeavors just to make sure that this marginalized and victimized tribe of our forefathers and our off springs, lives in a land where they would never be judged by their tribe or language but by their individual achievements, so with due respect and humble pleasure, I show my Support solidly behind you..................and I say MORE GREASE TO YOUR ELBOWS.

I am also delighted to tell you that as my humble self is in support of you, so is it to every thing that breathes as far as he/she is of Igbo a nutshell, WE ARE SOLIDLY BEHIND YOU. As for me now, what ever it would take just to see that my mother land gains absolute freedom, believe you me, i would do it! that is why i decided to contact you and to show my enormous appreciation and recognition to your most impact making efforts......don't forget to extend my most humble greetings and cheers to my Rel gems like Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and Chief Barr. Uwazuruike and any other lover of Good things or any other person who has contributed in one way or the other in this fight for freedom......say well done to each and every one of them.....tell them that another lover of freedom has written you again.......we love and pray for all you over there.

Haven will be our limit if they and every other son of our mother land Will continue like this.

Recently, I met a publication that we needs about one million Biafrans to write to the British high Commision telling them to come and disammalgamate what they amalgamated in 1914, so i wish to know more facts and then thier Email Address so as to forward my own request.Considering the most recent killing of MASSOB men I hereby if you desire declare myself humbly as a member of this non violent organization, let them continue in killing innocent and eligible children of God, as for me I fear no evil! My advice to any body who attended the Ist post war int'l conference at Mary land Usa to stay there for now, cos the tenants of Aso rock are deliberating on daily bases and are plannig to exterminate this goal of freedom actualization by pehaps killing some prominent interlects of our motherland.

Rejoice all ye son/daughters/mothers/fathers of Biafra for the day of vindication is here. I wish also to tell you that "He that dwelleth in the secret places of the Most high shall abide by the shadow of the Almighty, so fear no evil.

When the lord of Host shall start to show himself in our case, I tell you, mountains shall be shaken, heads will roll, even the captives of the almighty shall be taken away! its our time!

Hope to read from you soon. udo na onuu nke onye we anyi diri unu nile ndi ihe oma na adi mma.

Best regards,

O bum Nwanne gi na oso ahu make inwenta n'tozuoke na ala Nna anyi bu Biafra,

Ozims Oyinatumba
October 26, 2003


Memory Lane

Fellow Kinsman:

Thanks for such painful but wonderful memories. Biafra forever lives in soul. I never forget how my friends and I filled those blood-soaked days---going to "jumps" and listening to the Fractions at Government College Umuahia and praying for sunlight at the end of a long dark tunnel. Yes, life was very cheap in those days and children bore the brunt of man's brutality towards fellow man.

So many precious lives were wasted---their potentials never to be realized. Such is the fate that every war deals mankind! However, as an old philosopher once stated, "out of chaos" always comes some order. Mindful of this fact, I always thank God, whenever I visit home, for having blessed us with a great nation full of rich and diverse resources. Some order will come to Nigeria someday.

I believe that brighter days await Nigeria.

Chisara Sandra Nwabara
Attorney at Law
Cleveland, Ohio USA
October 28, 2003

A Response to Clem Ugorji’s Essay:
“General Phillip Effiong and the Biafran War”

It is extremely unfortunate that this guy, Clem Ugorji, would spew such an unwarranted and quite an annoying attack on Philip Effiong Jr. First of all, why does Ugorji stand up for Leo? He sounds like an aggrieved lover defending his girlfriend. If Philip made some kind of assault on Leo (who actually cast the first stone), then why can’t Leo defend himself? Philip made no attack against Ugorji. However, Ugorji, who is clearly blinded by his Ibo sentiments and chauvinism, has chosen to defend his “girlfriend” and launch such an insulting attack against one whom he should ordinarily hold in high esteem.

To make things even worse and shallow, Ugorji attacks Philip’s father (General Effiong) in the process. His assumption that somehow General Effiong has fed Philip, his son, with the views he expresses is unproven and therefore unworthy of this type of discourse. Without any proof, he shouldn’t make such an assumption and subsequently insult General Effiong. He also insults General Effiong by stating that all his involvements in war situations do not add up to heroism? Has Ugorji ever been directly involved in war? What does he know about war? Nothing evidently, otherwise he wouldn’t make such bold and brainless comments. I would like to know what role his father or any member of his family played during the war. None apparently. And yet such cowards are the ones to audaciously refer to others as cowards.

I also don’t see anywhere in Philip’s comments where he demonstrates hatred of any sort for Ibos. And yet, again, this Ugorji guy accuses him of holding something against Ibos.

Whether we Ibos like it or not, our leader, General Ojukwu, was not with us when we most needed him. We must therefore be grateful for those who put their lives on the line for our sake, rather than insult them like Ugorji does. We hold certain people sacred and would not speak against them, at least not publicly. Thus, even though general Ojukwu left with his entire family after urging the people to fight, we don’t speak against him publicly. He had, after all, promised us that the “grasses” would fight if all else fails. He apparently didn’t believe in this philosophy when he saw the need to leave. We would also not speak against Dr. Azikiwe even though he changed sides in the middle of the war. If we, and the likes of Ugorji, would not speak against such figures, no matter what, then why would we speak against General Effiong and put him down? Clearly, then, Ugorji’s motivation is ethnic bias and nothing else.

Whether anyone likes it or not, General Effiong and those that were with him before Biafra’s ultimate collapse should and will always be revered by most Ibos. This is a great relief since it is also a reminder that most Ibos do not think or carelessly run their mouths like Ugorji. We must remain indebted to the likes of General Effiong without whom many of us would not enjoy the privilege of life and the great opportunities that we enjoy today. That includes you, Ugorji, who, because you occupy who-knows-what-office in Lagos, thinks that you are now empowered to insult the people who you should be indebted to and essentially look up to as heroes.

Shame on you, Ugorji. Your ingratitude and arrogance is, sadly, unbelievable. If you still have any iota of dignity in you, you should remove your miserable essay from this site. I see that Philip actually apologised to you. For what? He owes you absolutely no apologies. You should be apologising to him and, especially, his father. That he chose to apologise and avoid such uncouth exchanges shows him to be a man with class and dignity, qualities that you lack woefully.

I think it is only appropriate that I apologise to Philip for your comments. I also want him to understand that most Ibos hold his father and family in high esteem. In other words, the likes of Ugorji and Leo do not represent the majority of us.

In the end, and in a seriously failed attempt at sounding intelligent, Ugorji’s attack is little more than a great pile of perfumed garbage. It is also a cowardly attempt at seeking cheep attention.

I would have sent this response to Ugorji if I had his address. However, in the spirit of fairness I request that this rejoinder be posted on the Emeagwali site, just like Ugorji’s.

Thank you.

Ihuma Nze
ihumanze @
Washington DC
September 5, 2003



I have studied most of the books written about Biafra by Nigerians and others. Emeagwali's pages are interesting if only for the responses.

The affairs that led to the civil war would have happened whether Ifeajuna messed up his aspects of that coup or not. Why? The north had wanted some opportunity to kill Igbos no matter what. Soyinka however showed in "The Man Died" that the killings could have been reduced drastically by the government but they chose not to. This was because where they wanted to they stopped the murderers. Of course since that era, Igbos have been killed in the north for trivial reasons. An example is the Miss World palava. Not only Igbos though. All southerners especially christians are game when the north wants. These killings are used as a tool for political coercion.

But the war could have been avoided. The problem however is that Igbos lack leaders who understand strategy. It is all about effervesence, bloated egos and empty bigmanism (Chinamanda Adichie). From Zik to Orji Kalu it is the same. Igbos are not hindered by unwieldly mores (except the nonsense Osu and also the male diokpa inheritance trash), are mobile, physically and intellectually well endowed, ambitious etc. but the weak spot is leadership, role modelling etc. The secession should have happened five years after or not at all. But the leaders could have negotiated all kinds of concessions that would still be operational now. I don't want to give any examples, an observant person will pick examples from contemporary international/Nigerian politics.

Well done Philip Emeagwali. A nation that butchers its own people cannot become great. A people who look the other way when a part is butchered will suffer. People who kill others to make a point will always be dregs. So sad, so much waste.

November 6, 2003


Dear mr Philip emegwali

Its really a thing of joy and creation worthy of recognition that a biafran scientist will ever creat such an imprinting accord 2 another global history, even at the modern edge of obsolete challenge 2 white people who are regarded as the super creature. So it was in the commemorating landmark of a mathematician stellar chike obi, who excelled the briafran name and marked the feast of his time

I am overjoyed to read about your daily growth and creativity in the field of computer/electronics, after having read about your marvellous feast in the vanguard of 95/96 respectively.

Well, having built a political and skilful development in the field computer and electronics, do not forsake your country especially the land of biafra where your biological formation started while your assignment abroad is periodic do not forget that biafra is a new and in advanced in the field of technological development and therefore, your knowledge in the computer field will be of a great yardstick to resuscitate the country of biafra.

I am a biafran of the super heritage who wish for guidance to facilitate another biafran feast.

Uzomah t. Peters. ----------------------


My name is chuks .I am a medical doctor in the UK and I have just seen Mr Emeagwali's nice pictures on Biafra. I was wondering if you had archive footage of the Biafran Civil war.No one seeme to have any. The history channels on telly are more interested in the second world war. I would appreciate a reply. cheer.







AMAKA. November 8, 2003


nwanne mmadu ejim ezigbo oge were na asigi ma jisie ike na olugi nke ukwuu imego ka mba nigeria na mba uwa marakwa umu igbo nwere mmadu nigwagi eziokwu obiuto na egbum ka mmanya chineke ga edobekwagi ogologo ndu kenekwa ijeoma nnwagi na nwunyegi. ka emesia. obu nwa biafra afam bu ndubuisi........

November 8, 2003

Philip Emeagwali, biography, A Father of the Internet, supercomputer pioneer, Nigerian scientist, inventor

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Philip Emeagwali, biography, A Father of the Internet, supercomputer pioneer, Nigerian scientist, inventor