2006.05.03: May 3, 2006: Headlines: COS - Nigeria: Vanguard: Nigerian Students remember Michelmore postcard from 1961

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nigeria: Peace Corps Nigeria : Web Links for Nigeria RPCVs: The infamous Peace Corps postcard: 2006.05.03: May 3, 2006: Headlines: COS - Nigeria: Vanguard: Nigerian Students remember Michelmore postcard from 1961

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Students in Nigeria remember Michelmore postcard from 1961

Students in Nigeria remember Michelmore postcard from 1961

"The students were on the streets of Lagos when an American Peace Corp girl named Margery Michplmore from Foxboro in Massachusetts, had sent home a terrible post card about Nigeria. "

Students in Nigeria remember Michelmore postcard from 1961

AS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS DEBATE ON CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT: Why Nigeria's democracy must be protected, by Babatope

Posted to the Web: Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Acting in concert with democratic forces in the trade union, youth and political party organisations, Nigerian University students demonstrated against the murder of the Congolese patriot Patrice Emery Lumumba and his two colleagues Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito.

The students were also on the streets of Lagos when an American Peace Corp girl named Margery Michplmore from Foxboro in Massachusetts, had sent home a terrible post card about Nigeria. The Peace-Corp programme was one of the creations of the President John F. Kennedy’s Democratic government in America to combat communism in developing countries of the world. The American lady had written the following in the post card:-“Dear Bobo, Don ‘t be furious at getting a post card. I promise a letter next time. I wanted you to see the incredible and fascinating city we were in. With all the training we had had, we really were not prepared for the squalor and absolute primitive living conditions rampant both in the city and the bush."

We had no idea about what ‘under-developed’ meant. It really is a revelation, and once we got over the initial horrified shock, a very rewarding experience. Everyone except us lives in the streets, cooks in the streets, sells in the street and even goes to the bathroom in the street. The University is great fun as it is something to be a foreign student anyway and especially to be the only white student in an all African University. I just hope that they don‘t repeat last year‘s Lumumba riots. Please write. We are excessively cut of from the rest of the world”. Signed Marge.

The letter was picked up by a student then at Tedder Hall, University of Ibadan, Mr. Ejiofor Osakwe who later changed his name to Jimoh Osakwe.

The University students forced the American student out of Nigeria. As I have mentioned earlier, the universities in Nigeria then represented largely by the University of Ibadan and later University of Nigeria Nsukka and College of Technology Zaria never failed to identify with the Nigerian society that had produced them in the country’s struggle to consolidate her independence and ward off neo-Colonial subversions. There were of course reactions from world imperialism against the radical posture coming out of the Nigerian Universities. Dr. Yomi Ferreira captures the mood of this Imperialist reaction when he said the following in a foreword he wrote to my book "STUDENT POWER IN NIGERIA (1956 - 1980)". Dr. Yomi Ferreira was a former Assistant Secretary of the University of Ibadan Students Union that was led by the late Dapo Falase. Dr. Yomi Ferreira had stated among others:-

When this story was posted in May 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Vanguard

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