Obafemi Awolowo the finance minister It was Akabueze Nwamadu who said that the civil war was waged on two fronts the military / political front and the economic front. It was Odumegwu Ojukwu who released Awo from prison in Calabar who said that he had some discussions and agreements with Awo but apparently Awo had the Yoruba situation under review all the time. This was why he said he would never say anything bad about him(awo), for Awo everything was about the Yorubas. Awo himself said that Nigerian was a mere geographical expression, he did not for one day believe in it and went along with the Nigerian idea for convenience. This will be seen how he was actively in support of the break up of the old western region which saw the creation of an ethnically pure western region and mid west region. This is not to say that there was no agitation by the minorities in the old western region for the creation of what later became Bendel state. There was agitation in every region including east and north and up till this day there is still agitation for creation of new states, in spite of the fact that most of the states as they are today are not viable. In the north, there was agitation particularly in the present day Benue state which led to the Nigerian army being sent there to put down a rebellion by the Tivs. In the east there was agitation for new states which was called COR Calabar – Ogoja - Rivers movement. Observers of the time all seem to agree on the intelligence of Awo. This singular fact was never in doubt. Awo’s paramount interest was the welfare of the Yoruba pure and simple, everything and everybody else did not matter. This could be seen in the tactical strategy that was his master strokes. Having the interest of the Yoruba as the most important thing is not bad in itself, if you are the premier of the western region, but it horribly backfires if you are finance minister of the federal republic. It turns what normally is supposed to be a good man into a horrible monster. The Nigerian army in its slow advance into the Igbo heart land took no prisoners, they committed such grievous atrocities that the civilians retreated before the Biafra army. The consequence of this was that in the Nigerian army advance, they almost always encountered ghost towns. The federal executive council was aware of this and the idea of the use of starvation as a weapon was brought by awolowo.Questioned about this in an interview in 1969, he responded that the idea was to bring a speedy end to the war. The human cost of that singular policy is still being felt in the demographics of Igbo land. However the problem was that awo was not interested on one Nigeria as an idea, he was only interested in the welfare of the Yoruba even that the mortal expense of others. The nature of the way Igbos fled other parts of Nigeria to the east meant that bank accounts, assets and every other thing was left behind. upon the end of the war, All Igbos no matter how much they had left behind, this was simply expropriated by the Nigerian state in return they were given only 20 pounds. This particularly vicious and vindictive robbery was again Awo’s idea. So badly hit were merchants and trader families. Also badly hit were civil servants who fled to the east before the last salaries were paid. The Biafra pound was a freely converting currency that exchanged on the world Market. Awo appropriated this for the Nigerian state and in return gave 20 pounds. The effect was so economically devastating that at the time people did not foresee any recovery; in the whole of Igbo land nobody had more than 20 pounds. The recovery was very slow, torturous and painful. my grand father made the journey to Lagos where he was based before the war refusing to believe that his business capital he had left in the bank before the war had been taken by awo, he went to his bank in Lagos where he was told that his account was marked Biafra account like others and had been seized by the government. The man returned to his village where he died 6 months later, the war didn’t kill him, Awo did. In the light of all these, Awo brought up another wonderful plan to indigenise and nationalise foreign companies in Nigeria. This was at a time when the average Igbo man had 20 pounds. The north had always been economically backward compared with the south and could not participate much, the effect was that Yorubas as a direct consequence of Awo’s action purchased corporate Nigeria in that nationalisation act. This lopsidedness is still being felt even today almost 40 years later. The biggest coup of them all was the replacement of the Igbo public servant by the Yoruba public servant. This can still be seen today in Nitel and other public utilities which still have predominantly Yoruba staff. Indeed Soyinka alluded to this in his book “the man died”, when he described that with the purging of the Igbos and the civil war. There were vast promotions and recruitments to replace the existing gaps ,the north could not benefit in this in any way not having the trained manpower required. Awo made a wonderful premier of western region but his inability to look beyond the Yorubas of Nigeria spelt catastrophe and doom for millions of others. This was particularly evident with being shown the evidence of the consequences of the starvation as a legitimate weapon of war. this disastrous genocidal policy was implemented till the very end of the war. Awo is often described as the finance minister who managed fiscal discipline of the Nigerian treasury and left the office with books balanced. Well when you take into consideration the expropriation of an entire region, it is difficult to see how the books will not balance , there was huge revenue from the acquisition of the Biafra pound , there was huge revenue from naira accounts in all parts of Nigeria which Biafra’s had left behind when they fled. There was off course the oil boom which began in that time. In the campaign in the elections of the second republic, Awo attempted to campaign in the east but turned back after threats by die hards that he sets foot on Igbo soil, they would kill him. He contested that election without even a single campaign in the east. Apparently, the Igbos civil servants who never recovered the jobs they lost after being displaced permanently by the qualified Yorubas during the civil war had not forgotten him. Indeed most of them had gone into commerce as a way to survive. The Igbo traders who had lost all their pre war capital were not very happy either. Awo never showed any regret for the actions he carried out and did not apologise it Today, Awo has reached demi god status in Yoruba land, he is so deified that the role he played in the crisis with Akintola that ultimately led to the loss of 3 million Igbo lives is glossed over. Yoruba land is yet to see another leader as dedicated to their collective cause as Awo. But the truth is that Awo’s kind of politics is a Nigerian tragedy.