By Olisa Akukwe…
The broadcast on Biafra by Al-Jazeera must have hit home. I know this for sure with the rush by apologists of the Military-North Complex to indulge in their favourite revisionism. The first Nigeria coup is always their takeoff point.
However, we Ndi Igbo will never stop telling our story. The first coup that they keep labeling the Igbo coup because some of its leaders were Igbo, was never an Igbo coup. If the Military-North Complex that ruled and ruined Nigeria is willing to defend their assertions, let the Federal government of Nigeria muster the will to set up a Commission that will interrogate the first and second coups, since they always claim ALL our problems started then. This may help to bring a final closure to the claims and counter claims!
Indeed Major Kaduna Nzeogwu was reputed to have led the coup. The revisionists never fail to recollect how he invaded the home of Sir Ahmadu Bello and murdered him. They however always fail to mention that Nzeogwu didn’t act alone. Nzeogwu shot his way into Sir Bello’s home, with Lt Atom Kpela, a Tiv man, amongst others shooting with him.
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Nzeogwu was murdered by northern troops at Nsukka sector, and his eyes plucked out before burial, during the war. What of Atom Kpela? He ended up as Military Governor of East Central state I.e Igbo land! And you will never hear members of the Military-North Complex mention Atom Kpela when they describe the horrors of that fateful night in Sir Ahmadu Bello’s home.
The Military-North Complex will always breeze through the fact that Lt Col Unegbe contributed most immensely in the failure of the coup in Lagos. Not only because he paid with his life, the ultimate sacrifice by an Igbo man against an “Igbo coup”. His refusal to grant any access to the ammunition store, for which he was in charge , as the Quarter-Master General, singularly ruined the coup in Nigeria’s capital then.
We acknowledge the horrors of that first coup. It is also on record that the fatalities of that coup was 15 persons. A very sad outcome! However you will never hear the revisionists mention that the counter-coup had fatalities of 214 persons, mainly Igbo officers. About 17 times the fatalities of the first coup. A clear case of Crime against Humanity, under current UN charter! No other coup in Nigeria has ever had up to 20% of that level of fatality. Even the violent attempted Orkar coup.
The revisionists will never mention that the coup failed in the north because the coup failed woefully in Kano. The failure of the coup in Kano was because Lt.Col Ojukwu refused to mobilise the 5th battalion to join the coup.
Gen Olusegun Obasanjo in his book “NZEOGWU” wrote that a Lt Ude was sent by the coup plotters to kill Ojukwu. Luckily he was arrested.
The Kano Airport which the coup plotters had hoped to secure was secured for Nigeria by Lt Ike Nwachukwu, whom Ojukwu detailed to do that duty.
All these players that played pivotal and patriotic roles in debilitating the coup were Igbos.
You will also hear them saying that M.I. Okpala, the Premier of Eastern Region was not murdered because the Igbo coup executors in Enugu refused to touch him.
However in the biography of Shehu Musa Yaradua, Yaradua narrated the events of that night.
Yaradua was a Lieutenant and he stated that he was practically in charge of the Enugu battalion that night. He narrated that his commanding officer, Lt.Col Fajuyi was in Lagos. The 2nd in command, who was Major Akonobi, was according to Yaradua ‘floundering’. He, Yaradua, was the one that received the signal from the Brigade command in Lagos. And he REFUSED to obey it. He said he refused to obey because he wanted to hear from the Brigade Commander directly, but they could not put him on.
He also narrated that it was him that secured the Archbishop of Cyprus and his entourage, as well as the Premier of Eastern Region. Otherwise the Premier would have been murdered. So much for the conspiracy theories that Igbo officers & men refused to murder M.I. Okpala because they are same tribe. Or is distinguished Major Gen. Shehu Musa Yaradua, of blessed memory a liar?
Meanwhile the coup failed not only in Enugu, but also Kano and Benin. Of course Kano and Benin are Igbo land.
You will never hear members of the Military-North Complex that ruined Nigeria mention the IFEAJUNA MANUSCRIPT, which detailed their true plans and intentions. The document detailed clearly their intention to hand over power to Chief Obafaemi Awolowo. No less a person than Odia Ofeimun, Chief Awolowo’s private secretary for a long time, and renowned poet revealed this. Obasanjo had also referred to this document, most likely in a Freudian slip.
All other coups in Nigeria, led by different tribal elements, non bears a tribal moniker. Only the first coup. An institutional attempt to justify all the genocides and official discriminations against Ndi Igbo. All these continue to fuel the burning quest for Ndi Igbo to leave this vindictive union.
It’s time Nigeria officially stops the revisionism. If the Military-North Complex thinks their version is the right one, let them have the courage to open an official truth inquest, into the events of that cold January night.
Let us see if it can help us get an acceptable closure to that painful and fatal epoch.
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