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THE IMPACT OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WARON THE URBANIZATION OF ONITSHA, 1970 -2016

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  • Chapters:5
  • Pages:86
  • Methodology:Primary and Secondary data
  • Reference:YES
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(History Project Topics & Materials)
THE IMPACT OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WARON THE URBANIZATION OF ONITSHA, 1970 -2016
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Introduction             -    
Aim and Objectives    
Significance of Study        -    -    
Literature Review        -    
Scope and limitation of the Study    -
Methodology            -    -
Chapterization        -    
Endnotes             -    
CHAPTER TWO: THEINVASION AND FALL OF ONITSHA
IN 1967            -    
Destruction of Infrastructural Facilities in Onitsha-    -
Challenges faced by the People    -    
Post-Civil War Communal Individual Self Help Efforts in Onitsha    
Endnotes         
CHAPTER THREEPost-Civil War Reconstruction of Onitsha Since
 1970    -    
Post Civil Reconstruction Programme    
Reconstruction of Transport Facilities    
Endnotes    -    
CHAPTER FOUR: THE IMPACT OF URBANIZATION OF ONITSHA
AT THE END OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR IN 1970-
Encouraged Rural-Urban Migration-    -
Endnotes        
CHAPTER FIVE
Conclusion            -
BIBLIOGRAPHY         
CHAPTER ONE
Introduction
    This research focuses on the urbanization process in Onitsha since the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970. The research examines the urban renewal of Onitsha after the destructive Nigerian Civil War when the city was a war theater war, and a place of fierce contest and battle ground between the Nigerian soldiers and the Biafran forces. The battle for the control of Onitsha was one of the interesting episodes during the war as the fall of the town had far reaching effects. The fall of Onitsha enabled the Nigerian Federal forces to make an inroad into the other parts of Igboland which eventually led to the defeat of Biafa. Due to the strategic position of Onitsha during the war, the federal forces caused a lot of devastations on the economic and social infrastructural facilities ranging from schools, pipe borne water, churches, residential houses, government offices, telecommunication equipment, hospitals and clinics and the famous Onitsha Main Market were destroyed.
The civil war greatly affected the urban status of Onitsha which was left in ruins. This caused the a lot of deprivations, sufferings and the people were traumatized and left in abject poverty and want.  This research also looks at the various efforts made by the Federal Government under General Yakubu Gowon and Dr. Ukpbi Askia, who was the administrator of the East Central State, the indigenes, social clubs and other interest groups and self help measures they adopted  in the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and brought them beyond the pre-civil war levels. These made Onitsha to wear a new look better than its former urban status. It will highlight the benefits and challenges of this process to the inhabitants of the town.  
Historically, Onitsha according to oral tradition is believed to be a 17th century kingdom founded by a group of emigrants who moved away from a part of disintegrating Benin Empire under the leadership of a legendary character, ‘Ahime’ later corrupted to ‘Chime’. According to chief Egharevba of Benin, the people of Onitsha left Benin to seek a new place of settlement in the reign of Oba Esigie (1504-1550) during the period that Christianity of the Roman Catholic Sect. was established in Benin by the Portuguese.1
This is clearly demonstrated in the full traditional name of the town ‘Onitsha Ado N’Idu’, which literally means ″Onitsha of Benin origin″. However, many scholars like Onyejekwe do not seem to support the Benin origin of Onitsha, but claims that Onitsha is an Igbo settlement formerly under the influence of the imperial Benin Empire. Though this claim deems reasonable, it does not in any way debunk their movement from Benin towards the Niger, leaving behind them, the tired and the aged who later became the founding fathers of nucleus of towns such as Onitsha Ugbo, Onitsha Olona, Onitsha Ukwu, Onitsha Ibabo and Uku, Obior, Ibuza and Ezi where hitherto, they proudly refer to themselves (or identify themselves) as ‘Umu Ezechima’ meaning ″Children of Chima″. The clash between ‘Chima’ or ‘Ahime’ and the Oba of Benin must have been the major cause of the migration of the Onitsha who subjugated the Oze people and Ogbolo Igbo, the territory northeast of the riverbank, where they finally settled. Four other villages also migrated to Onitsha from Igala kingdom in the upper Niger namely Obikporo, Umulkem, Mgbelekeke and Ogbotu.2
Geographical Location of Onitsha
Onitsha is currently the headquarters of Onitsha-South and Onitsha-North Local Government Areas of Anambra State. Onitsha is situated at the confluence of Anambra and river Niger. It lies within the latitude 6̊ 07N and longitude 6̊ 48̍ and is situated within core areas of high population density of Igboland.3 The land is bounded to the north by Nkwelle and Oze villages, to the east by Nkpor and Obosi communities and to the south by the River Idemili which forms a natural boundary in the south with Odekpe in Ogbaru Local Government Area. Onitsha is not more than 700ft above sea level and lies between the grassland and forest belt.4 As a result of this, the town is blessed with two marked periods of annual rainfall. Moreover, it lies along the only navigable part of the river Niger as one move from the west, which further extends to the hinterland and up to the northern middle belt. The river can admit large boats during high tide. Onitsha is blessed with two seasons, rainy and dry, with a light harmattan, making the climate relatively warm with tolerable humidity.
Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to examine the urbanization of Onitsha since the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970. The specific objectives of the study include the following:
i.    To examine the level of urban growth of Onitsha before and after the civil war;
ii.    To investigate why Onitsha suffered such much devastation during the war
iii.    To investigate  and identify the damaged facilities and how they were reconstructed at the end of the war in 1970
iv.    To examine the roles played by the Federal government. East Central State government in the reconstruction of Onitsha
v.    To assess the role of the indigenous Onitsha people in the reconstruction of the home.
Research Questions
The research is set out to provide answers to the following research questions:
i.    What was the level of urbanization of Onitsha before the Nigerian Civil War?
ii.    What was the nature of devastation of the town during the Civil War
iii.    What role did the Federal Government and East Central State government play in the reconstruction of Onitsha after the war
iv.    What role did the community and individuals play in the post-war reconstruction of the town.
 Significance of the Study
 This work sets out to find out how in the devastating effect of the Nigerian Civil War on Onitsha, and how the basic infrastructure and amenities were restored in the city after the war. In other words, the work tends to give a historical account of the urbanization process of Onitsha from the end of the Civil War in 1970 up to the present time. The significance of this study lies in the fact that it attempts to provide a historical perspective to trajectory of Onitsha`s urbanization process. This is to enable us comprehend the various stages through which the town passed before attaining its current status as one of the commercial and trading emporium east of the Niger and Nigeria at large.  This work will be relevant to government policy makers, urban developers, stakeholders in estate business, and scholars who wish to conduct research on Onitsha on related subjects. Further research in this vital area of Onitsha history is possible and encouraging.
Literature Review
The existing literature on the experiences of the Onitsha people during and after the Nigerian Civil War is very few, given to the limited scholarly works in the subject of study. The works reviewed include those that border on the war on Onitsha, the impact of the war on the city and works on the post civil war reconstruction of Igboland as a whole. Among the works reviewed include the following:
S. I. Bosah, Groundwork of the History and Culture of Onitsha5 is one of the prominent works on Onitsha. It presents the history of origin, growth and development of Onitsha. It explores the political, social, cultural and economic aspects of Onitsha`s history. It also documents the post-colonial developments in Onitsha before the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967. It assesses the contributions of indigenous Onitsha elites ranging prominent chiefs, politicians, to those in the medical, educational to other professions such as the role of Dr Nnamdi Azikwe, Askia Ukpabi, Dr. Chike Obi among others to the development of the city. Although the work concentrates on the pre-colonial, through colonial and post-colonial history of Onitsha before the war, it is a relevant to this study as it is used in examining the development of infrastructures before the war such as the Onitsha Main Market which was built in 1955 and other facilities that contributed to the urbanization of Onitsha.
E. N Aghalogu,`s work ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″6 is one of the promising works that deals on the urbanization of Onitsha. It highlights the processes of the urban growth of Onitsha as well as presents other indices of development which include the provision of social amenities, good road network, trade and commerce which Onitsha is well known for and provisions of good health care, schools and churches. Aghalogu asserts that it is the interconnectedness of these variant social facilities that placed Onitsha on the part of urban growth and expansion since the period of the Christian missionaries and European merchants establishment of churches, schools and trading companies in Onitsha in the pre-colonial era. It is a sociological work which is very useful to the present study; hence the author utilized the data fully in this research.
Chinua Achebe in his book, There was a Country7 is a personal account of the author during the Nigerian Civil War.  It identifies the causes of the war and the killings and devastations that rocked Igboland. Achebe employs a peculiar dimension in locating the experiences of the people of the Eastern Region during the civil war and the fall of Onitsha, which marked the Federal troops taking of other parts of Igboland. The book is relevant to this study as it considers the fall of Onitsha as one of the strategic loss to the Biafrans as other towns in Igboland followed suit until the surrender of Biafra to the Nigerian troops on 15th January 1970 which marked the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
  Achuzia`s work titled Requiem Biafra,8 gives a personal account of the author`s military exploits during the Nigerian Civil War. Achuzia was one of the prominent Biafran soldiers, who participated in the defence of the Asaba and Onitsha area against the Federal troops. The book explores the conduct of the war in Asaba and Onitsha sector and the events that led eventually led to the bombing of the Niger Bridge which linked Asaba with Onitsha. It is a vital source material which helps us to appraise the level of devastations that took place in Asaba and Onitsha especially the breaking the Niger Bridge and destruction of various roads in Onitsha.
Paul Obi-ani`s book, The Post-Civil War Social and Economic Reconstruction of Igboland, 1970-1983.9 concentrates on the Federal Military Government of Yakubu Gowon`s efforts in the reconstruction of the economic and social infrastructure of the war torn Igboland. Despite the fact the book focuses on the reconstruction programme in the whole of Igboland, the book is a good source material for this research work because among the facilities that were destroyed during the Civil War were located Onitsha. In addition, the war provides us with insightful information on the reconstruction of critical infrastructure such as the Niger Bridge which connected Onitsha with Asaba, the telecommunication facilities, Onitsha Main Market amongst others.
Elizabeth Isichei`s work, A History of lgbo People 10 focuses on the various aspects of the history of the Igbo people. It explores the origin, migration, causes of migration, and development of trade, commerce and religious beliefs of the Igbo people. Although the work is on the general history of the Igbo people both east and west of the Niger, it is relevant to this study. Elizabeth identifies Onitsha as the earliest missionary and commercial gateway to the heart of Igboland. She traces the town`s development and urban growth to the activities of the Christian missionaries and European trading merchants who established their stations in the area in the late 19th century.
Daniel Olisa Iweze’s article titled ″The Importance of Inter-Modal Transport System in Nigeria with Reference to the Asaba-Onitsha Transport Corridor since the Pre-Colonial Period″11 focuses on the importance of inter-modal transport system in Nigeria with emphasis on the Asaba-Onitsha transport corridor since the pre-colonial period. The article contends that since a single means of transport could not adequately serve the transportation needs of the majority of Nigerians, the development of the Asaba-Onitsha inter-modal transport system would minimize traffic problems along the corridor. It is also of the view that the uni-modal nature of the transport system in Nigeria has adversely affected rapid socio-economic and infrastructural development in the country and calls for the construction of the second Niger Bridge in order to lessen the volume of traffic that plied on the old bridge as it is on the verge of collapse. The fact that the articles focuses on the inter-modal transport system between Asaba and Onitsha, it is relevant to this present study because the provision of good transportation facilities in Onitsha is one of the vital indices that stimulated the urbanization of Onitsha making the city to serve as a nodal point which linked various parts of the country.
C.N. Ubah`s article, ″Military Factor in Urbanization in Nigeria: The Example of Kaduna″12 traces the process of the urbanization of Kaduna to 1913 and subsequently when it made the capital of Northern provinces of Nigeria when Zungeru lost its position. He opines that when federalism was introduced in the colonial period, Kaduna also became the capital of Northern Region and from there attracted other social service to the city. Ubah identifies the military factor as prominent which laid the foundation for the take off of the urban process which Kaduna would experienced in the preceding years. Other factors include the role of education, ex-service men, internal security, job creation, provision of medical services and the railway.  Although the work centres on Kaduna, it is still relevant to this present work as it was the provision of vital social service as obtainable in Kaduna that also laid the foundation for the urbanization of Onitsha after the Nigerian Civil War in 1970.
It could be seen from the above reviewed works that there is no comprehensive research that has been devoted to the investigation of the nature of the urbanization of Onitsha from the end of the Nigerian Civil War to the present time. The works reviewed have provided us with useful data and interpretation and these works are complemented with oral data to enable us present the nature of urbanization of Onitsha since the end of the Nigerian Civil War.  This research work has therefore seeks to fill the existing gap in the literature on Onitsha history.
Scope and Limitations of the Study
    The work examines the urbanization of Onitsha since the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970 to the present time. The starting date of 1967 is chosen because it’s historical significance. It was the year the Nigerian Civil War came to an end after two years of war between the Biafra and Nigerian government which caused a lot of devastations in the East of which Onitsha being a border town was among the hardest hit. This work focuses on the experiences of the Onitsha people during and after the civil war examining the social, economic and political impact of the Nigerian Civil War on Onitsha and how the people were able to reconstruct their damaged homes complementing the both the Federal and East Central government`s  post-civil war reconstruction programmes in the period of our study.
One of the greatest challenges that this researcher faced in the course of carrying out this research is paucity of data in relation to the subject of study. This challenge was overcome through persistent search for relevant sources by visiting various libraries at the University of Benin, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Delta State University, Abraka and Delta State Library, Asaba among others. Finance was another challenge in terms of number of travels for interview sessions with informants and photocopying of books, articles in journals and book chapters. The researcher was able to surmount these problems that usually cropped up in any research work through focus, perseverance and handiwork.
Methodology and Sources
    The data used in this study were generated from both primary and secondary sources. Primary sources were collected through oral interviews and observations by the researcher. Secondary materials include published and unpublished works, articles in journals, book chapters and internet sources. These sources were sourced from the Department of History and International Studies, University of Benin, Delta State University Abraka and Delta State Library, Asaba, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka and so on. These sources were critically analyzed to either to validate, collaborate or debunk some views from oral sources and published works that dealt on the Nigerian Civil War during and after the war on Onitsha. These varied sources are collected and objectively assessed in line with the tenets of historical methodology.
Organization of Chapters
The work is divided into five chapters which are presented as follows:
Chapter one is the general background to the study and it contains the introduction, aim and objectives, significance of the study, scope of the study, methodology and sources, literature review and organization of chapters. Chapter two dwells on the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War and the Federal troop’s invasion of Onitsha. Chapter three focuses on the devastation of social, economic infrastructure in Onitsha.  Chapter four analyses the reconstruction of the damaged facilities by the Federal, East Central State governments as well as individuals. Chapter five is the summary and conclusion of the work. It presents the findings of the research.
The Concept of Urbanization
There has been diverse of opinions on when urbanization and city process began. According to Bulton, it was initially a slow process, which progressed from village life to urban life. The introduction of agriculture and replacement of the nomadic existence of Neolithic hunters and herdsmen necessitated the establishment of a more permanent and stable settlement. This must have been possible during the era of agrarian revolution when man gave up hunting and gathering as a way of living and settled down to rudimentary agriculture. Following this, came an expansion in commercial economic undertaking a trend, which accelerated as the size of villages grew and greater economics of specialization became possible. From the first development of cities many years ago, they have grown as the focal points of society’s activities and culture. These have tended determine their physical forms, the shapes and arrangement of their buildings, paths, and streets and other open spaces. Implicit in any type of arrangement obtained in cities of course the functions they perform. Urban settlement or city cannot be interpreted as a mass of materials in terms of name patterns but rather, it ought to be interpreted as organic parts of a social group.13
In terms of its four fundamental functions, viz. dwelling, work, recreation and transport, every city forms parts of an economic social culture and political whole upon which its development and growth depend. Using Onitsha as a case study, in further definition of this concept, the structure can be said to relate to the variables, namely: the plan or the layout of the city, land use and use and the function buildings and lastly, the architectural design of the buildings. These very independently and produce an infinite variety of city scene. It is not worthy to say that though a city is made up of various component parts, these should be studied together as a unit.
 Urbanization has been defined as the process whereby a settlement or a rural community undergoes change because of certain influences and movements of people and activities. The growth and development of cities have become one of the most impressive phenomenon of the 21st century city again have been portray by scholars in the field as being a large, dense and permanent settlement of socially heterogeneous individual not engaged in the production of its on food.  A city tends to comprise an inter-related network of economic markets, housing, land, transport and so on or a form of human organization devised over a thousand years as a means of organizing production, communities and other social relations within a densely settled area. One fundamental idea as regards cities is that of specialization of functions among humans who made them up through division of labour and this functional specialization involves the narrowing the range of activities of functions performed by an individual in a given period of time with a view to increasing his skill or dexterity in the performance of these activities.14 This obviously has a net effect of increasing the total goods and services produced by the community within a given period of time.
A number of factors contributed to the growth and subsequent development of cities. One of the prominent factors is the agricultural system which provides a surplus good to support urban population. It also permits labour to be withdrawn from food production and used in production of capital goods. The second factor is the factory system which is a direct consequence of industrial revolution and which has made mass production possible through specialization. Thirdly, increased efficiency of the technology of transport and communication also contributed its quota to urbanization process which stimulates increased trade through access to markets. Industrialization has some relationships or links with urbanization because as the level of industrial development in a country, so does the level of urbanization and as these two related processes increase, so do the characteristics of heterogeneity of population. Though, this is not the case as the fact remains that those cities that existed in different parts of the world before the industrial revolution in Europe and up to this time, are yet affected by industrialization.15 The development of cities in the ancient civilization grew out of small societies through the introduction of irrigation system, metal working, and the production of foods including the internationalization of finance and trade which led to the rise of modern and ultra-modern cities across the world.
           Endnotes
1.    E. N Aghalogu, ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″, Sociology Bsc. Dissertation, University of Nigeria, Nsukka,1988, p.56.
2.    E. N Aghalogu, ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″, Sociology Bsc. Dissertation, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka,1988, p.12.
3.    S. I. Bosah, Groundwork of the History and Culture of Onitsha. Onitsha, 1970.
4.    E. N Aghalogu, ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″, p. 54
5.    Bosah, Groundwork of the History and Culture of Onitsha, p.12.
6.    Chinua Achebe, There was a Country
7.    E. N Aghalogu, ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″, Sociology Bsc. Dissertation, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka,1988.
8.    Achuzia, J.O.G. Requiem Biafra.  Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers, 1986.
9.    Obi-ani, P. The Post-Civil War Social and Economic Reconstruction of Igboland: 1970-1983, Enugu: Mikon Press, 1998.
10.    Elizabeth Isichei, A History of lgbo People. London: Longman Publishers, 1973.
11.    Daniel Olisa Iweze, ″The Importance of Inter-Modal Transport System in Nigeria with Reference to the Asaba-Onitsha Transport Corridor since the Pre-Colonial Period″ in Lagos Historical Review, A Journal of Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, Volume 15, 2015, Pp.39-58.
12.    C.N. Ubah, ″Military Factor in Urbanization in Nigeria: The Example of Kaduna″ in Abdullahi Ashafa, (ed.), Urbanization and Infrastructure in Nigeria Since the 20th Century. A Festschrift in Honour of Professor Ezzeldin Mukhtar Abdurahman. A publication of Kaduna State University, Kaduna, 2011, Pp.61-80.
13.     As cited in Aghalogu. ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″ …, p.12.
14.    Aghalogu. ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″ …, p.12.
15.    Aghalogu. ″The Structure and Morphology of Onitsha Urban″ …, p.12.

THE IMPACT OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WARON THE URBANIZATION OF ONITSHA, 1970 -2016

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Type Project
Department History
Project ID HIS0068
Price ₦3,000 ($9)
Chapters 5 Chapters
No of Pages 86 Pages
Methodology Primary and Secondary data
Reference YES
Format Microsoft Word

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    Details

    Type Project
    Department History
    Project ID HIS0068
    Price ₦3,000 ($9)
    Chapters 5 Chapters
    No of Pages 86 Pages
    Methodology Primary and Secondary data
    Reference YES
    Format Microsoft Word

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