No, Igbo did not “lose a war”. The Igbo did not “lose a war” between 29 May 1966-12 January 1970. No such “war” was waged in Igboland during this period. And this is not a case of semantics. On the contrary, what went on during those 44 months was a campaign of genocide against Igbo people by Nigeria and its allies, particularly Britain. 3.1 million Igbo, a quarter of this nation’s population, were murdered. This figure is about the total fatality of the Vietnam War (both sides – including all civilians, US combat troops, the Vietcong, North Vietnam troops, South Vietnam troops) between 1959 and 1975.
The clearly stated goal of the Nigeria campaign is (note tense of operative verb) to annihilate the Igbo, as a people: see anthem of the campaign in Hausa, broadcast throughout the duration of the slaughter on Kaduna radio (shortwave) and television (http://re-thinkingafrica.blogspot.com.br/2010/05/29-may-1966.html); see also key statements made on radio and/or tv broadcasts, interviews/press conference, essays, memoirs, etc., etc, by leading figures involved in the campaign – Awolowo, Harold Wilson, Gowon, Danjuma, Useni, Muhammed, Adekunle, Rotimi, Katsina, Obasanjo, Haruna, Taiwo…
To embark on a research of the genocide, it is indeed staggering to discover what a treasure trove for the researcher just watching or reading a clipping of statements/commentaries on this crime against humanity by an Obasanjo or an Adekunle or an Useni or an Awolowo or a Wilson or a Haruna or a Rotimi… This genocide is ongoing. Those who carried out the genocide do not, at all, deny their involvement in the crime… It is astonishing.
The Igbo survived the genocide. At the apogee of the genocide, 1968/69, few expected the Igbo to survive. Igbo survival is one of the most extraordinary human developments of recent history. Some people don’t often appreciate the resilient spirit and drive that ensured this survival outcome. This capacity cannot be exaggerated. Provided they survive, no peoples targeted for genocide lose except, of course, they are obliterated. Those who survive genocide such as the Herero or Armenians or Jews or Igbo or Tutsi or Darfuri, for instance, are indeed victors – because they survived. I am pleased to share the following link where I elaborate on this subject in a presentation at the historic conference (in the US) on Christopher Okigbo, Africa’s leading poet: