- The Politics of Post-War Demobilization and Reintegration in Nigeria
The Politics of Post-War Demobilization and Reintegration, by Olukunle Ojeleye, consists of an introduction, five chapters, and an index. The preface and introduction give a synopsis of the nature, character, and argumentations of the volume.
According to Ojeleye, the main objective of the book is to fill the gap in the literature on the security situation in Nigeria after the civil war. In particular, it seeks to address the issues of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) around the framework of the policy of rehabilitation, reconstruction, and reintegration (the 3Rs); to put the Nigerian attempt at postwar demobilization and reintegration within the context of other demobilization approaches at the end of other civil wars in sub-Saharan Africa; and to attempt an understanding of Nigeria's past and links to the present, and insight into the steps that would enable the country to avoid the rebirth of other rebellions by effectively resolving the issues that gave birth to Biafra (p. xii).
Within the background of the preceding suppositions, Ojeleye, in the introduction (pp. 1–21), plunges into an exhaustive review of the literature on DDR and the 3Rs, with a view to providing a template or framework that might assist the reader to comprehend his train of thought. Here, peripherally, he notes the implication(s) of ethnic competition theory, which emphasizes the function of resource competition as the rationale for ethnic group formation and interethnic clashes in regard to the causes of the civil war in Nigeria (p. 2). An argument that runs through the analytic arteries of this chapter and text itself is the role that the international community should play in advancing sustainable peace (p. 20). The assumption is that civil wars in much of Africa are sometimes instigated and supported by foreign countries and powerful transnational corporations; therefore, if long-term meaningful solutions—even Africa-centered ones—are to be found in this quagmire in African politics, the international community cannot be left out.
In chapter 1, "Background to the Nigerian Civil War," Ojeleye laconically offers what might be viewed as a rehash of the history of the country and the malaise created as a result of the nation-state constructed by Great Britain and other colonial powers in, as Ali Mazrui said, their classic ideology of divide and rule and in their quest for glory, gold, and the spread of Christianity. Although the literature on this topic could fill many a shelf with weighty volumes, the centrality of the author's argument relating to the cause of the civil war is revenue-allocation formulas (p. 37) and how this [End Page 120] modus operandi disfavored eastern Nigeria, the region that laid the golden egg (crude oil). This truism is supported by the opinion of Alhaji Yahaya Gusau, Nigerian Commissioner for Economic Development in 1969 (p. 39).
Chapter 2, where the author discusses "The Cause for Post-Civil War Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration," provides a brief history of the character of the armed forces and traces the developments that led to the split of Nigerian armed forces into Biafran and Nigerian armed forces. The division of Nigeria's armed forces arose as a result of the pogrom on Igbos in northern Nigeria, the revenge killing of some Hausa-Fulanis in parts of southern Nigeria, and the failure of reconciliation efforts. Students of international relations and conflict resolution generally emphasize the need for reconciliation after a war, since war and peace interlace in their analytical philosophy. To advance the objective of peaceful coexistence and stability in the polity after the war, General Yakubu Gowon introduced the 3R policy (p. 76), which by and large looked great on paper. Its components were intended to promote harmony, but they were difficult to implement effectively (p. 77).
In chapter 3, "The Politics of Socio-Economic and Humanitarian Reintegration," Ojeleye states, "the main argument of this chapter is that although home grown solutions to African problems are preferable to externally imposed solutions, there is a...