The presence of the past: youth, memory making and the politics of self-determination in southeastern Nigeria
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This article focuses on recent reconstructions of Igbo 'memory' by the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB). MASSOB is a second-generation Igbo separatist movement that draws on a collection of 'memory repertoires' to agitate for the self-determination and exit of the Igbo ethnic group from the Nigerian state into an alternative political and administrative arrangement known as the Republic of Biafra. The core issues relate to dual narratives generated by the Nigerian-Biafran War. While the state shapes the official history, memories and narratives of the war to suit its own vision, interests and politics, MASSOB contests these official views as the sole legitimate framework for remembering and interpreting the war, but still connects to the war as a war of Igbo national liberation. These contestations provide the context for the enactment of memory claims and counterclaims, and their association with political violence in contemporary Nigeria.