Aladimma A Model For Post War Reconciliation Theology Religion

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Nigeria as an entity officially came into being in 1900 by the British Government who came and brought under their control an collection of folks and national provinces which had existed independent of one another, frequently as reciprocally hostile communities.[ 1 ]This action gave rise to two different districts known as Northern and Southern Nigeria severally. They were sometimes referred to, simplify as “ the North ” and “ the South ” . The colonial decision makers of the two different districts kept different political and economic policies.[ 2 ]In 1914, Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated by the same British, though, they maintained different policies[ 3 ]. In 1946, the British created three regional Houses of Assembly stand foring the three major folks in Nigeria.[ 4 ]One was in Kaduna in the North, known as the Northern part and dominated by the Hausa or Hausa talking people of Nigeria. Another one was in Enugu in the East, known as the Eastern part and dominated by the Igbo or Igbo talking people of Nigeria. The 3rd one was in Ibadan in the West, known as the Western part and dominated by the Yoruba or Yoruba talking people of Nigeria. In this paper, those from the Northern and Eastern parts are referred to, as Northerners and Easterners severally. “ The British policy of separate development ”[ 5 ]became a encouragement for the Northerners, who had ever wanted nil in common with the South, to keep their ain separate development.[ 6 ]The sphere was so set for corruptness, and political crises fuelled by tribalism. The degeneracy of the state under the so civilian leaders gave rise to the January 15, 1966 putsch by some military work forces led by Major Nzeogwu, an Easterner, who were concerned about the province of the state. In the procedure some civilian leaders and military officers who “ resisted apprehension ”[ 7 ]were killed. Major-General J. T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi an Easterner, and the General Officer in Command of the Nigerian Army was put in charge of the personal businesss of the state.[ 8 ]The regime set out to transform the state. When Decree No. 34 was promulgated “ which banned political administrations, ended the Federation and unified the Civil Services ”[ 9 ]some exiles in the North “ urged the Northerners to ‘protest ‘ against the military Government. ”[ 10 ]They instigated the Northerners against the Easterners, claiming that the Igbos, who are the dominant folk in the Eastern part, planned the putsch in order to rule the state.[ 11 ]The abetment led to the violent death of 100s of Easterners and the robbery and devastation of their belongings in Northern Nigeria.[ 12 ]The flood tide of it was the slaughter of the Eastern soldiers in the armed forces in a secessional operation led by Lt.-Col. Yakubu Gowon in July 29, 1966. In this operation, Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi was killed, and Lt. -Col. Yakubu Gowon after being advised by some Western diplomats that sezession will non be in the best involvement of the Northerners dropped the thought and was made the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Head of the National Military Government.[ 13 ]Since so, the marginalisation of the Eastern Region and the violent death of its people particularly in the North were carried out with impunity. When every attempt to settle this amicably failed, the Eastern Governor, Col. Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, under the authorization of “ the Biafran Consultative Assembly ” had no other option than to declare “ Biafran Independence ” on May [ 30 ] , 1967.[ 14 ]What followed was a two and half twelvemonth civil war between Nigeria and Biafra[ 15 ]in which famishment was used as a arm of war and more than two million Biafrans bulk of them Igbos perished.

It is now 40 three old ages since this war ended in what was declared, “ no master no vanquished ” by the so caput of province General Yakubu Gowon. The headlong integrating of the Biafran soldiers into the Nigerian Army and the comparative peace that is experienced today in Nigeria would look as a mark of post-war rapprochement and peace between the parties. However, the frequent violent death of the Easterners particularly in Northern Nigeria and the fact that they have been edged out of the highest political place in the state since the war ended point to the contrary. In fact, the contention generated by the recent book written by Chinua Achebe shows that a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement has non yet taken topographic point as will be shown subsequently in the paper. To accomplish a true rapprochement, this paper explores the construct and rite of aladimma, an Igbo procedure of rapprochement, and proposes it as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement. I will give a brief recommendation on how to travel about it before reasoning the paper.

The Concept of Aladimma

Aladimma or aladinma ( it can be written in both ways ) is a construct used peculiarly by the people of Owerri Zone of Imo province in Igboland, Eastern Nigeria. It is a compound word consisting ala – community or literally, Earth, di – be ( verb ) , and mma/nma – good. When you pull the different English equivalents together you come up with “ community or Earth be good ” . Aladimma is an Igbo traditional signifier of rapprochement aimed at conveying justness and peace, forgiveness and mending to conflicting parties. Nkeonye Otakpo refers to it as “ mediation ” , which for him “ is the dominant theoretical account of difference colony in Igbo civilization. ”[ 16 ]In fact, he is right to name it mediation because the council of seniors that presides in this procedure of rapprochement would instead wish to be considered as go-betweens who work to reconstruct cut off relationships alternatively of adjudicators.[ 17 ]In this sense, aladimma purposes at reconstructing and continuing relationships.[ 18 ]This is of import owing to the communal life of the Africans in general and the Igbos in peculiar where what affects the single affects the community and frailty versa. In fact, the Igbos believe that otu mkpisi aka Ruta mmanu O zue ndi ozo ( when one finger is dipped in palm oil, the other fingers are soiled in due class ) . Every person knows this and is witting of his/her actions as C. I. Onyewuenyi shows:

In his behavior the African takes into consideration the fact that he is non entirely, that he is a geta in a wheel of interacting forces. He knows that the of import thing in his action is non how it affects him personally, but how it affects the universe order, the religious republic outside of which he does non be as a muntu, outside of which he is a planet off its orbit, meaningless and nonexisting.[ 19 ]

John Mbiti puts it this manner:

If a individual steals a sheep, personal dealingss are at one time involved because the sheep belongs to a member of the corporate organic structure, possibly to person who is a male parent, or brother, or sister, or cousin to the stealer. As such it is an discourtesy against the community, and its effects affect non merely the stealer but besides the whole organic structure of his relations.[ 20 ]

This shows that African, so Igbo morality is communitarian in nature. And as Stan Chukwube says, “ One ‘s action is considered moral or immoral depending on how that really action enhances or impedes the public assistance of others and the smooth operation of the community. The concern of Ndigbo is non how good or bad an act appears to the person but how the community evaluates it. ”[ 21 ]Merely as Igbo morality is communitarian in nature, so is aladimma the Igbo traditional signifier of rapprochement, communitarian in nature. This sort of worldview explains why “ the Restoration and/or care of right relationships ” is “ of cardinal importance ” in African traditional “ justness systems. ”[ 22 ]In African tradition, an person is non respected in isolation, but in relation with the others. Hence, legal systems in traditional Africa focal point attending more on reconstructing communal justness instead than on reconstructing single justness.[ 23 ]In this sense, aladimma resembles the South African ubuntu which “ implicit in rule ” “ is that human being is interconnected and communal. ”[ 24 ]In other words, the doctrine of ubuntu is implied in the construct and rite of aladimma. Like ubuntu, which “ inquires about the nature and extent of what needs to be done by culprits and victims in order to reconstruct a cut off relationship that constitutes the really kernel of humanity for victims, culprits, and helpers likewise, ”[ 25 ]aladimma purposes at renewing justness instead than retaliatory justness. This explains why it is seen as mediation alternatively of the rigorous sense of adjudication as judgement. Both adjudication and mediation may so take to justness. However, while the mark of mediation is ever rapprochement, adjudication wages little or no attending to rapprochement.[ 26 ]Aladimma as a procedure of Igbo traditional signifier of rapprochement is, hence, “ non entirely intended to implement preexistent rights, duties, and responsibilities but is strikingly compromising, informal, and non-adversary. Parties to a difference are supposed to travel off after judgement, non as mortal enemies, but as friends, neighbors and companions one time more. ”[ 27 ]In this sense, aladimma resembles every bit good, the blandishment. For Bujo, blandishment is an African traditional procedure of rapprochement particularly among the Bahema in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which focuses on reconstructing severed relationships within the community.[ 28 ]Harmonizing to Anna Floerke Scheid, “ Bujo describes the blandishment as infinite for unfastened communicating, by which individuals are integrated into the life and outlooks of their communities. ”[ 29 ]While taking at communal rapprochement, blandishment elicits duologue of truth-telling between culprits and victims of force, and helps to maintain memories of the yesteryear.[ 30 ]

The construct of aladimma can besides be deduced from Innocent Asouzu ‘s complementary ontology of ibuanyindanda. In this ontology, the single exists in relationship with the others. Whatever affects him or her affects the whole community. He or she lacks something within him or her that has to be complemented by others in his or her relationship with them. When he or she severes this relationship, it has to be restored in the spirit of unity.[ 31 ]In this instance, aladimma operates within the confines of the ontology of ibuanyindanda, as “ all affairs of damages are better pursued in the spirit of rapprochement and common forgiveness and non in the spirit of expiation about yesteryear incorrect merely. ”[ 32 ]Like aladimma, the ontology of ibuanyindanda maintains that true rapprochement is impossible if we forget that an person is inseparable from the community, and concentrate more on retaliatory justness instead than on renewing justness.[ 33 ]With a mentality on the complementary ontology, Asouzu avers that “ all issues of positive cultural exchanges would take a natural class and in harmoniousness with the type of conditions that make for understanding among diverse peoples ” , otherwise, “ no meaningful discourse can take topographic point and no steps directed at altering interpersonal relationship would hold any significance. ”[ 34 ]

Aladimma and its process as will be seen in its rite, could be likened to the proceedings of a traditional Thembu tribunal, which Nelson Mandela recalled in Long Walk to Freedom and quoted by Villa-Vicencio.[ 35 ]In this tribunal, everyone was free to talk. Perpetrators and victims of force were given listening ears while they tell their narratives before everybody. The purpose was to reconstruct cut off relationships.

From the above treatment, it is clear that aladimma, as I have said earlier on, is an Igbo ( so African ) traditional signifier of rapprochement aimed at reconstructing justness and peace, and guaranting forgiveness and mending to conflicting parties. Having said that, I will now turn to the rite or process of aladimma.

The Rite of Aladimma

Reconciliation could be between two or more people, households, kins, or communities, etc. , as the instance may be. The process of aladimma is the same in each of these instances but with small niceties. For illustration, while the caput of the household or a chosen individual presides in nonpublic aladimma, the male monarch or the caput of the council of seniors presides in public or community 1s. Palaver follows the same process as Bujo testifies: “ In the healing and household blandishments, it is the therapist or the household seniors who preside ; in the public blandishments, the male monarch or head or a member of the council of seniors presides. ”[ 36 ]For the intent of this paper, I will concentrate here on public or community aladimma.

Equally far as aladimma is concerned, it is the victim who normally initiates the procedure of rapprochement, or, the Restoration of justness and reestablishment of strayed relationships. However, the community can originate it by citing the conflicting parties particularly when the struggle threatens the well-being of the whole community as it frequently happens. Cletus Obasi attests to this. He says: “ The community can convey conflictants into the ceremonial of rapprochement without the conflictants inquiring for it, particularly, when the community sees the struggle as presenting a menace to peace and harmoniousness. ”[ 37 ]In this instance, the community is seen as a victim. This manner of originating rapprochement is captured by Robert Schreiter ‘s position, which sees penitence as being the burden of the culprits of force, and rapprochement and forgiveness as the privilege of the victims of force.[ 38 ]

Once aladimma is initiated, a preliminary probe, necessary to unclutter the manner and put things in gesture normally by an authorised senior member of the council of seniors follows instantly.[ 39 ]The day of the month for the hearing is fixed and communicated to the parties. If any party refuses to honour the invitation, the council of seniors utilizations every persuasive means, like directing a bosom friend of the party in inquiry, to speak the party into join forcesing. Where persuasion fails, the party faces banishment. The same holds when a party refuses to accept the determination reached by the council of seniors.[ 40 ]This banishment is really of import. It carries a serious weight because in an Igbo cultural environment really few individuals, if at all, can last banishment, which is envisioned to animate an stubborn individual to esteem and honour the authorization of the council of seniors and the desire of the community.[ 41 ]On the twenty-four hours of the hearing, people gather in an unfastened tribunal[ 42 ]where the parties and their informants are led in an curse before they are allowed to show their instances and bear informants severally. First of wholly, the kicking party nowadayss its

instance followed by the suspect. If there are informants, they are invited to attest and are cross-examined. Disputants are questioned by members of the council. Witnesss are besides questioned and the parties may so prosecute in an exchange of positions. Remarks and so inquiries from the audience are besides entertained.[ 43 ]

This process is meant to assist the parties tell their narrations before the audience and before each other. Narrating their narratives in this signifier, elicits compunction and penitence from the culprit and forgiveness from the victim. It is curative in nature, and helps to ease the path to rapprochement that is sought for.

When everyone has spoken and has been listened to,

three, five, or seven senior members of the council including, on occasion, some individuals from the audience are nominated to function as jurymans ( ume ) . The jurymans retire to an interior chamber to consider and urge opinion to the council. In some instances, parties to a difference are asked to pardon themselves from the deliberation in order to let a fruitful exchange of positions on the footing of the grounds presented by both sides.[ 44 ]

The uneven figure of the jurymans is intended to ease things in instance a consensus has to be reached by ballot. After the jurymans have made their recommendation to the council, the presiding member of the council would now sum up the treatment recapitulating what both parties and their informants have said. He, the presiding member of the council makes known to the whole assembly the determination of the council based on the consensus reached from different sentiments that informed the jurymans ‘ recommendation. In fact, “ The grounds most favoured in making a finding of fact is normally that of eyewitnesses. Circumstantial grounds and grounds based on rumors are admissible, though they have small acceptance. They carry less weight in making a finding of fact one manner or the other. ”[ 45 ]Normally, a finding of fact is given, bearing in head that the purpose of the whole reconciliatory procedure is to reconstruct common relationships. Hence, the spirit and missive of the jurisprudence are non stiffly followed when giving finding of fact.[ 46 ]A finding of fact normally includes a compensation that should be paid to the victim by the culprit. The compensation is frequently negotiated and agreed upon by both parties. It is meant to refund the life of the victim materially. People ‘s character in the community differs from one another. And members of the community know to a great extent how each single behaves. Knowing how a individual behaves, helps to find the value or degree of trust that should be placed upon his or her testimony. If there is any ground to doubt a individual ‘s statement, he or she is earnestly questioned to determine whether he or she is stating the truth. If the individual is found to hold given false testimony, thereby lead oning the council, he or she is purely punished.[ 47 ]The determination, nevertheless, is non forced on those who disagree with it. Rather, a persuasive agency is used to acquire them to follow with the determination. Whereby persuasion does non work, which seldom happens, the differing party is ostracized as before mentioned. The fright of banishment can do a party reluctantly accept the finding of fact of the council. When this is the instance, a farther measure is taken to guarantee that a true and permanent rapprochement is achieved. The parties are made to bond in a compact ( igba ndu ) , which “ is symbolically administered between them as a permanent redress to their struggle and a vehicle in the publicity of justness and rapprochement. ”[ 48 ]Mentioning to this sort of compact, Cyril Okorocha says:

Igba- nda»? is normally a compact between two individuals or groups whereby one under curse promises to make nil that will turn out harmful or damaging to the other ‘s advancement or wellbeing. It literally means connection ( igba ) lives together into an built-in and lasting brotherhood with a position to reinforcing and prolonging them. aˆ¦ Igba- ndu is non merely used to beef up and perpetuate friendly relationships or relationships, it is sometimes used as a agency of set uping a lasting armistice between warring communities.[ 49 ]

Since compacts are ever made with rites, which normally involve the blood of animate beings, the parties are taken to the sacred topographic point or shrine where the compact will take topographic point under the supervising of divinities and ascendants. There, the finding of fact is reenacted, and “ The animate being is so offered to the divinities and ascendants who are informants to the rites. Part of the animate being is used for a Communion, which the conflicting parties, portion and eat together as a grade of rapprochement and healing. ”[ 50 ]If, nevertheless, the finding of fact of the council is volitionally accepted by the parties, a simple repast is shared in which, both parties, their informants, and the whole assembly take portion. “ In the African tradition, personal relationships are deepened by eating together, which is a mark of integrity and sharing. ”[ 51 ]Even the ascendants portion in this repast because of the African communitarian manner of life in general and the Igbos in peculiar. Africans believe in the engagement of ascendants in repasts, which is delineated by the action of some seniors, who present portion of the nutrient at the shrine or throw them out of the door before taking their ain ; an action, which “ re-enacts the bond of Communion and integrity between the life and the dead. ”[ 52 ]Refering this signifier of repast, Mutiso Mbinda as quoted by Cletus Obasi says:

A repast so shared, hence, is non merely a symbol of integrity but besides brings about transmutation in the community. Human societal solidarities are renewed and rapprochement is effected in the procedure of being together and sharing a repast. A household sharing a repast together deepens the significance of life: the yesteryear, present and future are celebrated and given significance.[ 53 ]( Italic is from the original ) .

The Christian position of the Eucharistic repast parallels the ritual repast of aladimma. Mentioning to the Eucharistic repast, B. Hearne says: “ It is no accident that the staying mark of the presence of Christ in the Christian community is a repast. In a repast, people come together, regenerate their strength, and portion non merely nutrient but besides friendly relationship. A repast is a mark of rapprochement and peace, of hope that God ‘s intent in creative activity is being fulfilled. ”[ 54 ]The engagement in aladimma repast by both parties is, likewise, grounds that trust and assurance have been restored. It is a mark that the parties are willing and ready to implement the determination of the council, which in bend will show in the coveted rapprochement between the two parties.

There are several points that emerge from the process of aladimma as presented here. These points are good portrayed in Otakpo ‘s description and analysis of Igbo difference colony process. He listed the following seven points:

The curse administered to both parties and their informants is intended to implement the morality of truthaˆ¦ .

Decisions through jurymans ( ume ) are intended to guarantee that arbitrary determinations are avoided. It is to guarantee conformity with the community ‘s criterion of equity, objectiveness and truthaˆ¦ .

Parties can object to the inclusion of individuals deemed, in their sentiment, to be unsuitable for jury service on the evidences of bias, prejudice or a lingering old wrangle. Any individual selected for jury service can decline without offering grounds for declining to function ;

Relationss and friends of both parties are usually excluded from jury service ;

Issues non originally pleaded are non usually argued ;

Overt mechanisms are employed to guarantee that both parties do non stop up as enemies, no affair the concluding result ;

No determination is made unless both parties are heard. Not merely are they heard, the plaintiff and the suspect are at the same time heard in each other ‘s presence. Their informants are besides questioned in the presence of everyone, including the parties to a difference.[ 55 ]

The ability of aladimma to convey the victim and the oppressor non merely to confront each other in duologue but besides to state their narrations while being listened to makes it outstanding as a procedure of rapprochement. Aladimma as a traditional signifier of rapprochement plants to reconstruct justness and severed relationships between warring or conflicting parties among the Igbos as we have seen. I argue that it can work excessively in reconstructing justness, and severed relationship that exist between Nigeria and Biafra.

Aladimma: A Model for a True and Lasting Post-Nigeria/Biafra Civil War Reconciliation

In his address to tag the terminal of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, General Yakubu Gowon said:

Now, my beloved countrymen, we must recommence at one time in greater earnest, the undertaking of mending the state ‘s lesions. We have at assorted times repeated our desire for rapprochement in full equality, one time the secessionist government abandoned sezession. I solemnly repeat our warrants of a general amnesty for those misled into rebellion. We guarantee the security of life and belongings of all citizens in every portion of Nigeria and equality in political rights.[ 56 ]

It appears General Gowon equates rapprochement with general amnesty. Or, he thinks that allowing general amnesty and reintegrating the soldiers who fought on the side of Biafra into the Nigerian Government Army, will automatically take to post-Nigeria/Biafra civil war rapprochement. In fact, as Achebe points out, “ There are many international perceivers who believe that Gowon ‘s actions after the war were greathearted and commendable. There are dozenss of treatises that talk about how the Igbo were wondrous integrated into Nigeria. ”[ 57 ]However, Achebe has a different strong belief and position. He states decidedly: “ The Igbo were non and continued non to be integrated into Nigeria. ”[ 58 ]Still on the action of General Gowon after the civil war, which many misunderstood to be a post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement, he says: “ The federal authorities ‘s actions shortly after the war could be seen non as conciliatory but as straight-out hostile. ”[ 59 ]To buttress his point, he cites a citation few others have already cited, including himself in his The Trouble with Nigeria. He says:

After the struggle ended the same hard-liners in the Federal authorities of Nigeria cast Igbos in the function of faithless criminals and wreckers of the state and got the government to follow a banking policy which nullified any bank history which had been operated during the war by the Biafrans. A level amount of 20 lbs was approved for each Igbo depositor of the Nigeria currency, irrespective of the sum of sedimentation.[ 60 ][ Italics mark the beginning of his commendation ]

It could be recalled that General Gowon, during his address at the terminal of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, avowed that Nigeria as a state will ne’er travel back to the arguments that embodied the agitations and ailments of Biafrans, which led to the civil war.[ 61 ]Gowon saw those arguments as “ refractory ” , “ sterile ” and “ selfish ” .[ 62 ]A determination at the terminal of a civil war, non to revisit the arguments that led to the war, no uncertainty, sounds like a determination of person who has the involvement of the state at bosom. It is likely the ground why 43 old ages after the civil war, those who fought on the sides of Nigeria and Biafra severally have ne’er sat face to confront to speak about what caused the war, what happened during that war, and how to decide it. If they have, possibly, I can non remember. However, I do non fault General Gowon and those who believe his post-war actions towards the Easterners who fought on the side of Biafra were “ greathearted and commendable ” . Neither do I fault Achebe and those who consider General Gowon ‘s actions as non-conciliatory. The fact is that General Gowon ‘s construct of rapprochement deficiencies those processs that lead to a true and permanent rapprochement as Nigerians and so Africans understand it. This is where aladimma stands out as a theoretical account. Robert Schreiter, for illustration, would see General Gowon ‘s rapprochement “ as a headlong peace. ”[ 63 ]Harmonizing to him,

this attack is supposed to set the violent history behind us and let us to get down anew. Not surprisingly, this sort of rapprochement is frequently called for by very culprits of force who, either holding seen what they have done or holding realized the possible effects of their actions, want to acquire on to a new and different state of affairs. They want the victims of force to allow water under the bridges be water under the bridges and exert a Christian forgiveness.[ 64 ]

In my sentiment, this is truly what happened in the instance of General Gowon ‘s actions after the Nigeria/Biafra civil war. Bing a Christian, he likely wanted to “ exert a Christian forgiveness ” by allowing the “ water under the bridges be water under the bridges. ”[ 65 ]However, Schreiter makes it clear that “ While rapprochement as a headlong peace bears a superficial resemblance to Christian rapprochement, it is really rather far from it. ”[ 66 ]It could be argued that General Gowon entered into this “ headlong peace ” type of rapprochement with the purpose to avoid a new effusion of force that could ensue if Nigerians and Biafrans were to narrate their narratives of the war as two parties confronting each other. This could be deduced from the statement ne’er to travel back to the arguments that led to the civil war as mentioned in his terminal of the war address. Schreiter faults this sort of reconciliatory methodological analysis. He says:

Reconciliation as a headlong peace, while frequently motivated by an impulse to acquire beyond force, is non true rapprochement. It covers up the outrageousness of what has been done and attempts to abridge the procedure. It is frequently driven by the fright that retrieving the force of the yesteryear will take to a new eruption of ill will. But stamp downing the memory does non take the force off ; it merely postpones its castration.[ 67 ]

In this instance, aladimma has an advantage. While it brings the conflicting parties to state their narrations confronting each other, it tries at the same clip, through its mediative attack, and its focal point on renewing justness, and the purpose to reconstruct cut off relationships, to guarantee that reprisal or “ new eruption of ill will ”[ 68 ]is ruled out.

One could non anticipate that true rapprochement between Nigeria and Biafra has taken topographic point when the agitations that led to the civil war have non been addressed as can be seen from the reverberations coming from Achebe and others. Of class, no rapprochement is possible without release. Schreiter right argues that “ Reconciliation can merely come about if the nature of the force perpetrated is acknowledged, and its conditions for go oning or re-emerging are removed. Liberation is non merely release from the violent state of affairs, but besides release from the constructions and processes that license and promote force. ”[ 69 ]This is precisely why General Gowon ‘s procedure of rapprochement has non and can non accomplish a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra civil war rapprochement. But how can it, when the lives of those who suffered in that war particularly Biafrans have non been basically repaired, as true rapprochement requires?[ 70 ]Aladimma has once more, an advantage here. For its procedure non merely brings psychological healing to the victim, but besides economic and political healing through the compensation which the council of seniors will state the culprit to pay the victim. Therefore, I strongly propose it as a theoretical account that will take Nigeria and Biafra to this coveted end.

It is true that aladimma is a traditional signifier of rapprochement among the Igbos who formed the greatest majority of those who fought on the side of Biafra. However, the construct and process of aladimma are non wholly foreign to the remainder of the folks in Nigeria, because the construct and process of aladimma are common to Africans, albeit, in assorted signifiers. Consequently, aladimma is an ideal theoretical account for a post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement. It should be recalled that the closest reconciliatory attempt that gave rise to the Aburi Accord[ 71 ]that would hold brought a peaceable declaration to the struggle between the federal authorities of Nigeria and the Eastern part ( Biafra ) and accordingly averted the bloody and hideous civil war, failed at the execution degree. It failed because it lacked what aladimma possesses – the power to guarantee that the determinations reached are implemented. Godwin Onyegbula recapitulates that painful failure. He states:

Gowon ‘s advisors in Lagos considered the deductions of the Aburi Accord, and urged him to renegue on. He succumbed ; and promulgated a edict, reconstructing Nigeria to a near-Unitary system, giving himself the power to plunder or name Regional Heads of Government – a map which the abrogated Nigerian Fundamental law did non even confabulate on the Federal Government over Regional Headsaˆ¦ . This determination marked the terminal of any envisaged peaceable declaration of the Nigerian struggle by common and believable dialogues.[ 72 ]

Let me allege here that if aladimma procedure of rapprochement were used, Gowon would non hold backed out on the Aburi Accord for the council of seniors would hold used persuasion to acquire him to follow with the determinations reached. If after persuasion he remained inexorable, he would hold been sanctioned[ 73 ]for the good of the whole state – the common good. This explains why I propose aladimma as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement.

Western signifiers of rapprochement are good and work reasonably good within the cultural locations that evolved them. However, they use classs and processs, really frequently foreign to Africans, merely as the African signifiers of rapprochement usage classs and processs foreign to Westerners. For illustration, while Western signifiers of rapprochement, like the tribunal system, may non waver to utilize jurymans whom normally the disagreeing parties would non accept, many African traditional signifiers of rapprochement would non make it because while Western signifiers are more concerned with retaliatory justness than renewing justness, African signifiers are aimed at renewing justness. Again, African traditional signifiers of rapprochement which provide room for the conflicting parties to state their narrations confronting each other, let ‘other voices to be heard that are frequently non heard in a conventional courtroom. ”[ 74 ]The negotiated determination devising in the African traditional signifiers of rapprochement aimed at doing the conflicting parties depart non as enemies, but as friends, is missing in the Western signifiers. Owing to all these and more, no Western theoretical accounts of rapprochement can be a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement. They lack the spirit of blandishment which underlines the Baheman procedure of rapprochement in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the spirit of ubuntu which underlines the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this peculiar context, they lack the spirit of aladimma which underscores the reconciliatory procedure among the Igbos who are the bulk that fought on the side of Biafra. Aladimma, blandishment, and ubuntu arising from Africa are good theoretical accounts for a true and permanent station struggle declaration in Africa in general. But in this peculiar context of post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement, aladimma has an advantage over the others, being a procedure of rapprochement already in usage by bulk of one of the parties involved in the struggle. This is why I feel aladimma has no rival as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement. In fact, it is of import to acknowledge this great signifier of rapprochement which restores severed relationships without giving room for the unsusceptibility of culprits. A Policy Advisory Seminar on United Nations Mediation Experiences in Africa recognizes this importance when describing on African signifiers of rapprochements it says:

In Africa, traditional cultural norms, mechanisms, and systems for advancing rapprochement without allowing impunity, must be recognised. For illustration, among the Acholi of Northern Uganda, autochthonal rapprochement processes affecting truth-telling ; the presentation of echt compunction ; the bringing of reparations ; the petition for forgiveness ; and the granting of clemency ; supply a system for rapprochement while seeking at the same clip to guarantee that culprits do non acquire off with unsusceptibility for human rights maltreatments. In this respect, local communities may hold different positions on rapprochement and renewing justness in contrast to Western legal systems which tend to put more accent on prosecution and retaliatory justness.[ 75 ]

If the above commendation is to be taken earnestly, so, Nigerian legal system which is modeled on the Western legal system can non convey a true and permanent rapprochement between Nigeria and Biafra because it lacks the characteristics of aladimma. In fact, Otakpo decries the fact that the constructions of Igbo struggle declaration appear “ losing in the modern Nigerian legal system ” ; a legal system that does non labour consciously “ to convey about rapprochement between parties to a difference. ”[ 76 ]He accuses Nigerian tribunals of fundamentally restricting themselves “ purely and automatically ” “ to the enforcement of rights, responsibilities, and duties ” , thereby doing rapprochement likely “ latent, but ne’er focal. ”[ 77 ]I aver that such process is designed to convey about retaliatory justness, which sometimes leaves the conflicting parties particularly in Africa, to stop up worse enemies than they were earlier. This is why I propose aladimma as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement. For it has the ability to do Nigeria and Biafra depart as friends non as enemies after traveling through the procedure.

Tonss of testimonies have been received from people or communities who either went through or witnessed this signifier of rapprochement. Chukwube has some of these testimonies as given by his sources. For illustration, Mark, one of Chukwube ‘s sources, testified that:

There was no animus once more between the wrongdoer and the offended after rapprochement. I think it was because all of them contributed to work outing the job. If it were a one-sided determination at that place would non be existent peace and rapprochement. But because the people acted together, that sense of vengefulness was no longer at that place.[ 78 ]

Ngozi, another source of Chukwube, showing her ain feelings and what she saw after one of the subdivisions of aladimma she participated in said:

After the communal repast of rapprochement we had in my drawn-out household, you could see joy radiating from everybody ‘s face. There was no longer apprehensiveness when nearing your brother or sister. Everybody was now free with the remainder. You could see love radiating and notice that everybody was hankering for peace. Peoples were hungry to interact but because of the choler and bitterness they could n’t make that. Immediately [ after ] rapprochement was concluded and people knew that everything was settled, they started embracing each other. When there is bitterness you are left entirely and ca n’t interact with others. Moral discourtesy ties our custodies and pess. It paralyzes relationships.[ 79 ]

There is no uncertainty, suggesting aladimma as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement can raise thought arousing inquiries. For illustration, is it non possible that aladimma plants for the Igbos as a procedure of echt and permanent rapprochement because it is runing within a peculiar cultural location that holds the same position? Sing the context of the state Nigeria with 100s of multicultural folks distinct from one another, how would aladimma work? Who does what ; and how? Bearing these inquiries in head, I will urge in the following subdivision an adaptable process of aladimma that will convey about a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement.


Before I continue with the recommendation, allow me stress here that taking into consideration the other folks that are involved in this rapprochement issue, this paper is non recommending that aladimma must be applied precisely the manner it is done among the Igbos. This does non intend that the process of aladimma is wholly foreign to the other cultural folks in Nigeria in peculiar and in Africa in general. All I am stating is that, a feasible version of it that will accommodate the context of the parties involved should be worked out. I recommend that the Federal Government of Nigeria should setup a commission to work out an adaptable version of aladimma for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra civil war rapprochement. In this context, I recommend that the whole Continent of Africa be seen as a larger community where the conflicting parties – Nigeria and Biafra belong. The Leaders of all the African states including the presidents of African Union ( AU ) , and Economic Organization of West African States ( ECOWAS ) severally, should be considered as members of the council of seniors except the Nigerian leader for no 1 is a juryman in his or her ain instance. Biafra as the victim of the war, should originate the reconciliatory procedure by conveying the instance to African Leaderships who henceforth will be referred to as members of the council of seniors. The members of the council of seniors should choose one or two dependable members among them to do the preliminary enquiries ; after which they should take a impersonal and convenient topographic point, repair the day of the month for the hearing, and communicate to Nigeria and Biafra, the conflicting parties, who so, should go to with their informants. When all have gathered, the representatives of Nigeria and Biafra, and their informants should be led to an curse utilizing symbols of curse taking from their assorted cultural locations. The fright of cursing with a symbol, the efficaciousness of which, the parties know, will assist to arouse the coveted truth-telling. After the curse, the representatives of Biafra, who, as it were, are the plaintiffs, should be allowed to state their narratives foremost followed by the representatives of Nigeria. Then, the informants of both parties should be heard and questioned. After which, the representatives of both parties are given another chance to prosecute one another in an exchange of positions. Opportunity should be given to the audience who would desire to talk. Not merely will this process make the narratives of the parties be heard by others, it will besides make an chance for the parties to state their narrations in each other ‘s presence ; an act which will dispose them for the rapprochement they seek for. When everyone has spoken, the members of the council of seniors should so choose some members of the council of seniors ( normally odd figure ) to function as jurymans. No juryman should be imposed on any party for any ground. The jurymans have to do recommendations to the members of the council of seniors based on what the conflicting parties, their informants, and the whole assembly, have said. The presiding member of the council of seniors should so articulate the finding of fact without enforcing it on the parties. This whole procedure is to guarantee that retaliatory justness is non administered at the disbursal of renewing justness that is needed. If a party should neglect to go to the hearing, or accept the finding of fact reached, the members of the council of seniors should utilize persuasion to acquire the party to follow. Where persuasion fails, the party should be economically and politically sanctioned. While persuasion serves to guarantee that inflictions are avoided, and helps to make room for a Restoration of common relationships, countenance AIDSs to frighten the parties from disrespecting the determinations of the members of the council of seniors, therefore, demoing that culprits and wrongdoers can non acquire off with impunity.

The repast facet requires no particular process since what is of import is that the parties, their informants, and the whole assembly, including the ascendants portion and eat repast together as a mark of trust and rapprochement. Everywhere, particularly in Africa, covenants purpose at set uping a bond between the parties. Therefore, where a demand for a compact arises in the procedure of utilizing aladimma as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra war rapprochement, I recommend that the representatives of Nigeria and Biafra be taken to a shrine nem con chosen by both parties, and the covenantal rite of the topographic point should be used. Shrine here refers to assorted idolizing topographic points of all the faiths within the locality. This will guarantee that things are non imposed on the parties, and accordingly dispose them for the coveted rapprochement. If the characteristic of aladimma as recommended here is applied, I am confident that there will be a true and permanent rapprochement between Nigeria and Biafra after 43 old ages of hideous civil war that claimed 1000000s of guiltless lives most of whom were kids that were starved to decease.


It is clear from the above analysis that General Gowon ‘s general amnesty to the Biafran soldiers after the Nigeria/Biafra civil war did non and can non accomplish a true and permanent rapprochement between the parties. It is non because General Gowon likely did n’t desire a true and permanent rapprochement but instead, because his manner of rapprochement lacks what it takes for such rapprochement to come by. Again, it is obvious that the Western signifier of difference colony can non take Nigeria and Biafra to the desired post-war rapprochement because, like General Gowon ‘s manner of rapprochement, it is barren of the quibble that consequences to such rapprochement. The modern Nigerian legal system, being an outgrowth of the Western legal system, has no reply to that. It is merely African traditional manners of difference colony that can supply the footing for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra civil war rapprochement. Amongst them, aladimma is most favorite owing to its vantage point of being the manner of rapprochement in usage among the Igbos who are the bulk that fought on the side of Biafra, one of the disputing parties.

In this paper, I explored the construct and modus operandi of aladimma. I proposed and argued that it should be used as a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra civil war rapprochement. Let me reason by stressing that this paper does non in any manner claim to be thorough. It is unfastened for more research. While I encourage folks to come up with a better adaptable version of aladimma, I maintain that aladimma is a theoretical account for a true and permanent post-Nigeria/Biafra civil war rapprochement.

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