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Kalu nonetheless said, the Igbo enjoyed a brief “sunshine in Nigeria in the decade before and a few years after independence.”

His argument adds another twist to the debate about Nigeria’s formation which was formalised after Lord Lugard signed a document merging the northern and southern protectorate as one in 1914.

It is believed the major reason for such move was to “reduce the administrative burden on the British” but with Nigeria’s many diversities, some have described the amalgamation as a “mistake.”

The ethnic nationality which constitutes one of the three largest tribes in Nigeria is currently pushing for the next Nigerian president to be elected from its region amidst repeated claims the Igbo people are grossly discriminated against and marginalised.

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Kalu, a former Abia state governor, who spoke of Nigeria’s amalgamation in his newly released autobiography ‘My Life’, traced the “plight of the Igbos” to the early 19th century when the British first explored the Lower Niger.

Excerpts from the book read: “In January 1914, Lord Fredrick Lugard completed the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates into Colonial Nigeria and became its first Governor-General.

“The Igbos did not have a say as to whether they desired to be a part of such a contraption or not. However, the clouds lifted so briefly and the Igbo enjoyed brief sunshine in Nigeria in the decade before and a few years after independence.

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“Having embraced Christianity and western education with enthusiasm, they quickly rose to hold sway in the federal civil service, military, academia, commerce and industry.

“The ‘Jews’ of West Africa were on the march, toiling, sweating and swinging upwards, to the envy and hatred of their compatriots.”

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