There Was A Country: “I don’t know if Achebe will be getting any penny from that book.” – Gowon

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has expressed his doubted on Prof. Chinua Achebe’s chances of making money from his new book, There was a Country. The elder statesman’s concern is not as a result of the controversy which the book has generated. Rather, it is as a result of the activities of pirates in the country – or so he wanted to paint it.

Gowon was speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the presentation of the Reform of the Copyright System in Nigeria organised by the Nigerian Copyright Commission. He said he wondered if the renowned novelist would make money from his intellectual property, saying it had been pirated.

The 78-year-old said he saw hawkers selling copies of the book in Abuja recently. In his words: “When I was coming to the hotel yesterday (Wednesday) I saw people selling copies of Achebe’s book, you know the one I am talking about… I don’t know if the chap knew I was the one inside the car – he wanted to get my attention… I said to myself, ‘so this book has already been pirated and is being sold in the streets?’… I don’t know if Achebe will be getting any penny from that book.”

Achebe in the book, containing his civil war memoir, accused the Federal Government under Gowon and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, then Minister of Finance, of using hunger as a weapon of war against the Igbo. He had earlier described Achebe’s civil war memoir as the most controversial publication on the war.

8 Comments

  • General sir,i dont know if u have noticed,Professor Chinua Achebe does not care about money.He just wanted to tell his side of the story.So,pls save ur pity.

  • Who cares if he makes money out of it or not? We only care about the truth nd making it go viral….people appreciating the truth is wat we want

  • @Tobe and Rex, you guys are pathetic, why dont u try to read the whole story b4 jumping into conclusion, or is it that you read it but lack understanding of what you read. besides did Achebe personally inform you he doesnt need the money? if he doesnt need the money thy does he bother anyway. get a life!!

    • @wealthyboy…so what’s ur point?do u think dat Achebe’s intenntion4 writting d book is for d purpose of making money?he made his point nd it was clear,so make point nd stop blabbing

  • I am really surprised at the Prof’s sentiments. As an elder statement I have always respected, I was really shocked that he came up opening old wounds. It is never heard of that country A is feeding country B while at war with them, so saying that hunger was used as a weapon is not founded cos it was a privilege in the first place, not a right. Since the igbos decided to secede, they should have counted the cost and never had gone on such missions in the first place. They have forgotten that the FG granted Eyimba pardon and delared “No victor, no vanquist”. Please, what we need now is unity and progress, not opening up old wounds. Even the FG on her side has losses too.

    • My question is why did Achebe wait till Ojukwu’s demise before writing the book. Considering the fact that the warlord himself called Awolowo an hero and the President Nigeria never had.

    • @ben…did u ever go 2ru dat book b4 commenting?what’s sentiment in sm1 telling his on part of d story during civil war or didn’t u come across in d book where he(Achebe)blamed his kinsmen… Abeg una beasy body don too much 4 dis country

  • The act of piracy is not a new thing in dis coutry so was d big deal if pple decides to pirate his book…d book is expensive so there’s a possibility dat it will be pirated. Out of curiosity,I bought a copy at shoprite at N5000 or so.even though I havnt finish reading it,I found out dat Achebe was merely wrtting on his own perspective about d civil war

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