Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - FW: THE BATTLE GOES ON

I am forced once again to respond to these scurrilous and revisionist writings by both Salimonu Kadiri and and Ibukunolu Babajide on the events of Nigerian history. The frustrating part of this is the unending mythologies fed  in part by inventions, in part by a regurgitation of unreflective and establishment narrative and in part by a sheer evacuation of truth - and the fact that these alt-narratives do not flow from the need to comprehend the missteps made by the actors in that history but a necessity to justify and make excuses for their tragic impulsions. It has been the case that the hobbling of Nigeria was always the result of the willingness of the fascist arm of western Nigerian intellectual and political interests, always in conflict with its progressive and liberal half, to fashion justificatory narratives to explain and interpret and hide their hands dripping with blood.

First, on Salimonu Kadiri's rebuts of Nwala's incisive response to Obasanjo, he writes:

1.The second coup on the same day was that of Major-General Johnson Thompson Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, who all along had foreknowledge of the coup plan of the Majors through his inside informants, Major Donatus Okafor and Captain Ogbo Oji (see p. 125-126, Nigeria's Five Majors by Ben Gbulie). That was why when Major  Humphrey Chukwuka and his men were heading to the house of Ironsi in the morning of January 15, 1966, Ironsi had linked up with Major John Obienu at the 2nd Infantry Battalion in Ikeja under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hilary Njokwu to rally troops to quell and supplant the Majors. The Majors never planned ethnic coup but because of infiltrators and pacifists the execution and victims were ethnically lopsided. 

The good part: for many years the January 15 coup was described as an "Igbo coup" and that was always the justification for the July 29 coup and the  subsequent massacre of the Igbo. But since it was revealed over the long run that the January coup had actually been planned to install Awo as premier, the likes of Salimonu Kadiri have now found the truth, and no longer can claim that it was that the Ifeajuna-led was an "Igbo coup." The Majors are now "progressive" Majors, who were somehow betrayed by "infiltrators and pacifists." But of course Salimonu Kadiri must never leave the scene until he finds another Igbo plot, and this time, it has to be Ironsi. Fact is, there were indeed two coups in the offing, and Emma Ifeajuna was the "bridge" figure in all of it. The January 15 coup was basically, and perhaps most ironically a counter coup that prevented another coup already billed for January 17 code named "operation no mercy" led by Brigadier Maimalari in the South, who used the cover of the party at his home in Ikoyi that weekend of Friday 14 January to hold final operational meetings, and issue directives to his associates for the coup on Monday. Ifeajuna left that party at Maimalari's and issued the counter order to execute the counter coup which was not originally billed for that night. We must remember that Nzeogwui had only taken the boys, without weapons, on a training exercise quite apparently in preparation for the coup for a later date when he received the orders from Lagos and had to improvise. It was largely the nature of the emergency response of that coup that resulted in much of its failures, and part of it was that Major John Obienu, contrary to Kadiri's assertion here, was a no show because he could not bring in his tank battalion from Abeokuta as planned. As a matter he went after the party in Maimalari's house to sleep at his girlfriend's at Palmgrove, Lagos. General Ironsi, who himself was a target of the coup escaped, and mobilized, and quelled it. Of course, Ironsi knew about the coup. Balewa knew about the coup. Sarduana knew about the coup. Akintola knew about the coup. Okpara knew. Zik himself had warned about the coup in November 1965, before he left Nigeria, and The Morning Post in Lagos had published Zik's prescient warning in that headline, "I See Trouble" attributed to Zik about the rumblings. In fact, at his GOC's conference late in December 1965 Ironsi had issued serious warnings about all the rumblings in the Army and about "some of you boys who want to cause trouble." As GOC of the Army Ironsi knew, and if he was worth his pips, had to know everything, and had his own intelligence gathering mechanisms. And if as Kadiri suggests, Don Okafor and Ogbo Oji were his decoys in the plot, that's only to be expected. Ironsi apparently had decoys, not only in the plots by Maimalari and Ademulegun, who had not lived down the fact that Ironsi was appointed GOC, but also in a third coup also in the offing backed from Ibadan, which had Victor Banjo at the center of its plot, the groundswell of its remnants which was later to have been part of the "Third Force" that was to be activated in the war that ensued. Wole Soyinka who was thick inside it has written volubly about these plots. It is wise to read him for a fuller picture.

2. Salimonu Kadiri writes: Igbo military Officers led by Ironsi foiled the coup, the civilian regime should have continued after quelling  what Ironsi himself had called a mutiny by a dissident section of the Nigerian Army. The only legal and constitutional thing for him to do was to provide security for the Parliament to meet and elect a Prime Minister among members that controlled majority in the House. It is on record that the NNA (NPC/NNDP) that controlled majority in the House nominated Zanar Bukar Dipcharima to replace the missing Balewa while the UPGA (NCNC/AG/UMBC/NEPU) nominated Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe as their Prime Minister Candidate. The Acting President Nwafor Orizu foresaw the outcome of the parliamentary exercise and hinted the parliamentarians that he was not going to assent to their choice of a new Prime Minister. Ironsi himself to(l)d the parliamentarians that he could not guarantee the loyalty of the Army unless power was handed over to him. Thereafter, Zanar Bukar Dipcharima and Kingsley Mbadiwe were made to sign a paper transferring power to the military. The 1963, Republican Constitution had no provision authorising the  Parliament not to talk of two of its members to cede government power to a non-elected body. Thus, Igbo Military Officers or Ironsi did not foil the coup rather they perpetrated their own coup and seized the revolution of the Majors. The way Ironsi ascended to power made his coup an Igbo coup.

 In the above narrative, Kadiri relies on the statements by Shagari in his on memoirs, and a disgruntled and partisan Akinjide, and regurgitates a convenient lie. Ironsi and Nwafor Orizu become complicit plotters to transfer power to an "Igbo Army." There can be nothing further from the truth, and Nwafor Orizu, thankfully, explained himself in his own memoirs. But first, we should imagine the morning of January 15, 1966 with the major events still at play. Nothing was certain - only the novelty of a coup with soldiers seen all over the streets of Lagos in large numbers for the first time. Ironsi had just foiled the takeover of the federal capital. But the situation remained fluid and uncertain, with the standoff with Nzeogwu who seemed in firm control of Kaduna, and was apparently preparing to launch a military invasion of the south. To the politicians this was a nightmare scenario - the beginning of a civil war. Nwafor Orizu, as the acting president of the republic summons a meeting of the council of ministers, with the Army's GOC, Ironsi who briefs them about the military and emergency situation. A coup had been foiled in Lagos. The prime minister was missing. There was a possible military confrontation that might press the Northern military formation with the Southern divisions. Nobody knew whether the plotters were regrouping or not in the South and in Lagos with Ifeajuna still at large. Nothing was certain at that point. Some of the ministers had gone into hiding out of great fear, and parliament had certainly dispersed. But the rump of the old government who met with Ironsi and Nwafor Orizu who had asked them to decide on an interim leadership to secure the government until parliaments apparently could not agree to a leader. Mbadiwe who was Deputy Prime Minister under the coalition government wanted to lead; the NNA wanted Dipcharima to lead, and the politicians were fully unwilling to agree. Meanwhile, Ironsi had summoned a meeting of his own high command - and it was not only of Igbo officers except you can argue that Adebayo, Ogundipe, Banjo, Kurubo, Ejoor, Gowon, Ekpo, Wellington Bassey, Wey, etc were Igbo officers. It was Victor Banjo, in fact, in that conference who actually argued forcefully for the Army to assume emergency powers under the command of Ironsi and unify Nigeria, a course of action which was then agreed upon by the military High command. And Banjo, by the way, wrote about all these in his now published letters to Ironsi from prison after he was arrested over a different incident. How, therefore, could that be interpreted as a coup by Igbo officers? Ironsi, in his subsequent meeting with Nwafor Orizu and the ministers, merely conveyed the mood of the officers under his command. Given the fluidity of the situation, the Council of ministers, and the coalition leaders - Dipcharima and  Mbadiwe - leading their parties, not unreluctantly, signed over emergency power to Ironsi, arming him with the authority to assume the powers of government and to restore law and order within a transitional period of no more than one year. After this formal transfer of power Nwafor Orizu made his radio broadcast to Nigerians and resigned. It was on assumption of that power that Ironsi methodically stared down the plots and with guile and diplomacy got Nzeogwu to stand down in the North. But why would Kadiri defame Ironsi? It is simple: because the old story that January 15 1966 coup was an "Igbo coup" or plot to take over Nigeria has collapsed, revisionists like Kadiri must invent anther "Igbo coup" - this time by Ironsi - to justify the massacre of the Igbo. Now, it is true that the Republican constitution had no such provision to cede government to another body. But the same constitution had no provisions to deal with the situation of January 15. What it certainly had was a provision giving the President, or whoever is acting in his behalf, the power to either open parliament or dismiss it, even sine die. That was the power that Orizu exercised under that mandate, having secured the agreement of the bulk of the Council of ministers, under an agreement drawn by the Attorney-General, to cede authority freely and legally to the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army under an emergency situation. On resigning as president, Nwafor Orizu basically brought, not only the government of the day to an end, but the republic of which he was Commander-in-chief. It made Ironsi's military government, the only legitimate military government mandated by an elected government with emergency powers in the history of Nigeria.

Kadiri writes: "Professor Nwala claimed, "Again the incursion into the Mid-West by the Biafran troops was not a quest for territorial grabbing by the Igbos. Ojukwu sent troops under the Command of Col. Banjo in response to Chief Awolowo's request for troops to help liberate Yoruba land from occupation of soldiers from the North. By the time Colo. Banjo got to Ore, the British had gotten Gowon to offer Chief Awolowo, Vice Chairmanship of the Nigerian government. Awolowo, therefore, asked Banjo not to proceed on his mission."  Professor Nwala is certainly inventing his own history to suit his own ethnic pride. On May 27, 1967, General Yakubu Gowon had sliced Nigeria into twelve States and soon after that, he invited civilians, including Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, Joseph Tarka and Okoi Arikpo to join the Federal Cabinet. The first Federal Executive Council meeting comprising of civilians and military took place on 12 June 1967. The war between Nigeria and Biafra began on July 6, 1967, almost a month after Awolowo had become Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Government. On 15 July 1967, Nsukka was liberated by the Federal Forces and on August 9, 1967, Midwest State was invaded by the Biafran Army, led on the surface by Lieutenant Colonel Banjo who in his broadcast to the people of the Midwest explained why he was arrested and detained by Ironsi since 17 January 1966, even though he was not among the Majors that planned the January 1966 coup. Ojukwu recalled him and strictly instructed him to get clearance from him before any future broadcast. If Biafra invasion of the Midwest had nothing to do with territorial grabbing, why did Ojukwu appoint Major Albert Nwazu Okonkwo, an Igbo, as the military administrator of Midwest to replace Lieutenant Colonel David Ejoor, an Uhrobo man? The mere fact that Awolowo was in the Federal Government long before the invasion of the Midwest by the Biafran Army contradicts the notion that Awolowo stopped further advance of Banjo troops from Ore after he had been offered a Cabinet post. The entire troops led by Banjo contained mainly of Igbo soldiers and officers. His operational control over them was minimal. The 2nd in command to Banjo in the Biafran second Battalion that he led was Lieutenant Colonel Festus Akagha. And according to the directive issued to them by Ojukwu, he was to move through Benin, Ore, Ijebu-Ode to seize Lagos. Ojukwu's 1st Battalion under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel Mike Ivenso was assigned to the Northern Sector from where he should move through Owo, Akure and seize Ibadan. The third Battalion under the Command of  Lieutenant Humphrey Chukwuka was assigned to the South, moving through Sapele, Warri to advance along the coast to launch a two-pronged attack on Lagos. Thus Banjo had no power to unilaterally stopp the advancement of Biafran troops from Ore to Lagos even if such request were to come from Awolowo to him. If it were true that Awolowo asked Ojukwu to send soldiers to help him liberate the West from Northerners, and if he no longer needed the liberators, Awolowo could not reasonably sidestepped Ojukwu who had the power to withdraw military action by turning to Banjo as Professor Nwala guessed. 

First, the Liberation Army under Brigadier Victor Banjo was not a "military invasion of the Midwest" as the Nigerian narrative came to term it. It was a Liberation campaign by an Expeditionary Force whose mission was the Liberation of the West and the unification of Southern Nigeria as the firstmoves towards creating a balance of forces. It was mismanaged by Banjo who got stymied n Benin and the Midwest, and allowed his personal ambition to override the state mission and agreements of the campaign. Wole Soyinka, who was in the thick of it all writes this: "When I made a visit to Biafra, and met Ojukwu I also met Banjo, who gave me a message for Obasanjo which said: 'Let them understand in the West that I am not leading a Biafran Army but an army of Liberation, made up not only of Biafrans but other ethnic groups. Make the governor of the Weste and other Western Leaders understand this. Urge them not to be taken in by any propaganda by the Federal Government about a Biafran plan to subjugate the rest of the nation, especially the West" (144). Soyinka, furthermore writes: "I called Obasanjo over a secret telephone. We agreed to meet unaccompanied and unarmed at a petrol station on the road between non-commercial Jericho and Mokola sections of Ibadan. I was o tell him in very bald terms that Victor [Banjo] wanted unimpeded passage to Lagos, that he wished to avoid battle in Western Nigeria -finis! This was the exact message I delivered... Banjo did not act to promote Biafran secession or aid Ojukwu take over of power in Lagos. If anything, Banjo felt that he should take over power. I have no doubt whatsoever that Banjo represented the most viable corrective. Obasanjo's response, that I would later transmit to Victor Banjo, was this. 'Well, tell him that I have taken an oath of loyalty to Lagos. There are other routes to Lagos - by water through Ukitipupa for instance. If he makes it to Lagos and takes over, well, my oath is to Lagos, and I shall stand by that. But to let him pass through my Western Command, that would be betraying my oath to loyalty. Whoever is in power in Lagos- that's the person o whom I owe my allegiance. After my fateful meeting with Obasanjo concluded, I took up residence in the hidden bungalow. It was from this bungalow that I telephoned Obasanjo's reply to Banjo in Benin, verbatim. I kept up communication with him and his increasingly impatient collaborators in the West. I would phone and exchange notes also with Banjo's sister, Mrs. Ogunseye, then lecturer, institute of Librarianship at the University of Ibadan, in an attempt to assess this warrior's likely, real intentions, to understand why he remained in Benin playing governor or kingmaker, instead of moving straight to Lagos and dislodging Yakubu Gowon's government. Banjo had organized cadres of people committed to the "Third Force" standing by ready to support Banjo once he had crossed over into Lagos. The links were widespread and were run by politicians since the West had begun its protests against Federal Military presence in the West, decrying it as an army of occupation, and demanding its removal." (145-172, You Must Set Forth Before Dawn). I think Soyinka participant's account sets the records which Salimonu wishes to revise so straight that it needs no further interpretation. I'll only add this, that the Gowon's government, illegally, following neither consultation nor referendum, broke the Nigerian federation into 12 states; that the Eastern region resisted that illegality by opting out of the federation after obtaining the mandate of the representatives of the peoples of the East through the Consultative Assembly, and having explored all means of settling the conflict orchestrated with the nation-wide massacres of the Easterners particularly the Igbo from May 1966, including securing agreements in Aburi, an accord which Gowon also illegally and unilaterally reneged upon; and having  attacked the new republic of Biafra on July 6, after it had seceded by the mandate of its people, and making rapid incursions that threatened its capital, Ojukwu and Banjo responded by sending the Liberation Army, clearly supported by a groundswell of people in the West, westward. From Soyinka's account, it was an army impatiently awaited in the West. It was not an army of conquest. However, having secured his own position in Gowon's government, Awolowo withdrew support for the Liberation Army. Banjo on his own part, after his meetings with Mr. Bell, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Benin, and with the fear of the threat about bombing Lagos from the sea, and turning Lagos into a battle zone, and his own family in Lagos into its blood sacrifice, developed cold feet, and dawdled for too long, and subverted the mission. Banjo's fierce disagreements with Henry Igboboa who insisted on moving forward rather than acceding to the order to withdraw from Ore, cost Igboba, whom Banjo locked up in prison in Benin his life. Today of course, the Salimonu Kadiris, parroting the official line, continue to talk, and swear on the fiction of a "Midwest invasion." The story is beneath the surface, always, and for Kadiri there must be an Igbo plot to conquer everybody else - eben I spite of Soyinka's accurate and on the spot witnessing.

Kadiri writesK "How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as POGROM," Professor Nwala asked?

Besides Igbo world I am yet to get into contact with any part of the world that described the conduct of Nigerian forces during the 1967 to 1970 civil war as pogrom."

I will not waste peoples time by elaborating too much into this profoundly ignorant assertion. I will rather refer Kadiri to the reports of the events of the massacre of the Igbo first filed by Colin Legum fo the London Observer in October 1966, where he was actually the first to describe these planned and sustained killings as a "pogrom." In other words, it was Colin Legum who first described the killings and the subsequent war as a "pogrom" in spite of the denials by the Federal government.

Salimonu Kadiri writes: Despite the fact that Professor Nwala ought to know that hunger and deaths are inevitable consequences of war, he insinuated that the Federal government declared and applied hunger as a legitimate weapon of war against Biafra. Yet, it is an open fact that Ojukwu rejected the offer of Gowon to open an internationally supervised land route from Port Harcourt to send relief supplies to civilians in the Biafran enclave in 1968.

Hunger and death are consequences of war, but where they are made an official policy of war, they become war crimes. If an army starves a civilian population and declares hunger as an instrument of warfare, in spite of civilian casualties, who are then seen only as necessary collateral damage, that is a quest towards genocide, and that is a war crime. It is a vain attempt to erase Awolowo's publicly declared policy of hunger as a federal government's instrument of war, and its use to force Biafrans into defeat. That is Nwala's take, and that is the take of all rational people. The various attempts to put the blame on Ojukwu, for his refusal to allow possibly compromised food - which has already been declared a means of war at the Nigerian end - into Biafra is callous and reflects the pathological inhumanity of its authors and supporters. Meanwhile, the Igbo are no Jews, but they have often compared themselves and their experiences with the experience of Jews as a persecuted people, whose industry, drive, talent, and visibility instigates the hateful anxieties often demonstrated by the likes of Kadiri, who finds, as basis of his red-hot unease with the Igbo, the stories of perpetual Igbo plots to upstage him. Without these plots, he'd have nothing by which to get anxious about the Igbo, and for which he would have no other stories to tell. The parallels that Nwala draws only go so far as to amplify other shared experiences, in this case with post-war Germany and the use of the Marshall plan to revive German industry and economy, and that's why we draw analogies in the first place. They make no metaphysical claims.

I think the foregoing enough to put a pin in Kadiri's and other balloons. All the lies told to justify the killings and injustice against the Igbo - the "but you caused it all!" - positions are the products of something deeper than any discussions on this forum is capable of curing. Kadiri, and his cohorts of course, again, conveniently miss the point of Nwala's argument: why, Nwala asks, of all the coups planned in Nigeria, did innocent Igbo officers and civilians have to pay with their own deaths? Coups have since been plotted and executed in Nigeria even after 1966, and no ethnic group has been accused as a result, and massacred as a result of those bearing their names being at the core of it, outside the Igbo. IBK  claims that Azikiwe used the West African Pilot to fight the Yoruba. This is nothing but an egregious and self-serving lie, of course, and should not really elicit a response, except that when you tell these lies too often, they grow a head and a spirit of their own. Azikiwe's paper fought the fascist arm of the Yoruba elite, and backed the progressive, and liberal, nationalist arm, with whom he always partnered. Even when all the attempts to revise the story of the NCNC by describing it as an "Igbo party" fails in scrutiny once its story has been told, new forms of reductionist narrative are invented simply to bring Zik to some "equal level" with liliputians. And it is also because Zik happens to be Igbo, and he must therefore, be in on all the plot of the Igbo to dominate everybody. But to the very end, the West African Pilot provided the platform for pan-Nigerian/pan-African discourse, and it told the story of Nigerians. This is my challenge to IBK: to provide a sustained study, or an example that  supports his ignorant claim. But any study of the Pilot, which as a matter fact is the site that best reflects Zik's politics and status, would show that to the very end in 1967, after a 30-year run, the paper stood in defence of the rights of all Nigerians, promoted a pan-Nigerian nationalist ideology, and reflected the story and life of every part of Nigeria without discrimination. Where the Pilot stood for Nigeria, papers like the Daily Service for instance, promoted anti-Nigerian positions, and the example was during the Labour crisis of 1946, a situation that basically marked the difference between Zik's politics and the position of those who would become Awoists, whom rational, progressive, and Liberal Yoruba supporters of Zik also by the way opposed vigorously to the very end, in spite of all the current feel-good revisionism. Enough said.

Obi Nwakanma

From: <> on behalf of Ibukunolu. A. Babajide <>
Sent: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 4:03 AM
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - FW: THE BATTLE GOES ON
Dear Salimonu Kadiri,

Thank you for demolishing lies and self-seeking revisions of history here!  Generations of Nigerians will thank you for standing for the TRUTH and your prodigious research and presentation of facts to debunk lies!

How did we get to January 15, 1966?  The journey began far earlier in the evolution of the Nigerian experiment!  After the BRITISH conquered Nigeria there was a long and distinguished epic battle to take it off British hands and rule it by Nigerians - the seeds of discord were sown during those years of battle between 1914 and 1948.  That battle was intellectual and fierce and it was led majorly by the Yorubas!  It was Zik an Igbo man who in an attempt to hijack the movement introduced ethnicity as a tool for his ascendancy.  He used his West Africa Pilot newspaper to wage relentless war against the Yoruba yet his greatest allies who were loyal to him till the end like Chief TOS Benson and Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya were Yorubas.

Read this please:


"Need for Igbo-Yoruba Détente

By the way there is historical evidence, from a well-placed non-Nigerian source, that the Igbo-Yoruba Cold War was needlessly unleashed by Zik in 1948, and not, as Igbo mythology has it, by Awo through the Carpet crossing in 1951.

Here is the story of how Zik declared war on the Yoruba in 1948
It was in this year [1945] that a group of Yorubas, led by Chief Awolowo, Dr Oni Akerele, Chief Abiodun Akerele, Akintola Williams, Chief Rosiji and others, founded a Yoruba organization in London called Egbe Omo Oduduwa, meaning “a society of the descendants of Oduduwa.” . . . Our friends from the Eastern Region and some from the Western Regions of that vast country showed their hostility to the formation of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa of the Yorubas.

      Those of us who did not hail from Nigeria were highly disturbed by the threat of our unity as West Africans under the banner of W.A.S.U., which was itself predominantly Nigerian. 

Although there had been in existence an Ibo Union for some twenty months or so before the birth of Egbe Omo Oduduwa, not much notice had been taken of it at W.A.S.U. In any case, for obvious reasons, this new association looked formidable enough to merit our attention. 

All attempts to persuade the founders to squelch the new-born association proved futile.

      Happily, this did not break up our great W.A.S.U. although it did leave bitter feelings all over. In Nigeria itself, the new Association did not take root until 1948, when another powerful group of Yoruba leaders formed one in Lagos. 

The names of the founders were indeed names to conjure with among the Yorubas in the capital—Sir Akintola Maja and many others. It was after that great event in Lagos that Chief Awolowo himself plucked up courage to inaugurate a branch at Ibadan. An editorial in Nigeria’s West African Pilot of September, 8 1948, which reached us in London, warned of the battle ahead.  Among many other things, the editorial carried these ominous words: 

"Henceforth the cry must be one of battle against the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, its leaders at home and abroad, up hill and down dale, in the streets of Nigeria and in the streets of London and in the residence of its advocates.” The language was familiar enough. 

This was Nnamdi Azikiwe’s. Were our fears about the unity of Nigeria about to be justified? The parting knell had been tolled. It might in retrospect be said that the first salvos of the civil war had been fired by these words.

-- Joseph Appiah, Joe Appiah: The Autobiography of an African Patriot, Accra: Assempa publishers, 1996, pp. 160-161,

This testimony from a Ghanaian who, for many years, was a member and President of W.A.S.U. in London, should give Igbos pause about the version of the Igbo-Yoruba Cold War they have accepted. The key point is that the Ibo Union had been in existence before the Egbe Omo Oduduwa was founded. Yet Zik declared war on the Egbe Omo Oduduwa. 

Why?  If it was because the Egbe Omo Oduduwa was not Pan-Nigerian, then what of the pre-existing Ibo Union?  In other words, it wasn’t the Yoruba who introduced tribal unions and tribalist politics into Nigeria but the Igbos. But whatever his reason, Zik was the one who declared war on the Yorubas; he was the aggressor.

With that aggression as background, the carpet crossing becomes an understandable response to Zik’s declaration of war. If somebody who declared war on your people arrives to govern your homeland, what should your leaders do? Welcome him and let him govern, or drive him out by any means necessary? 

The carpet crossing accomplished just that. And Igbos, following Zik, the instigator of the response, condemn the Yorubas for defending themselves from Zik’s aggression.

Zik’s conduct is an example of how Igbos can act without thinking of how their action might look to those their proposed action might adversely affect. That is a weakness Igbos should be on guard against, and should work to eliminate by extra self-awareness and constant self-criticism.
For seven decades, we have paid for Zik’s aggression against the Yorubas. The Cold War which Zik started made it possible for the British to install the NPC in power in 1959 when Zik refused to join with Awo to form the Federal government. He explained it away by alluding to his distrust of Awo that stemmed from the Carpet crossing affair. In other words, Zik is ultimately responsible for our disasters and oppression under the Caliphate. But the pertinent issue at this time is that we, not the Yorubas, are responsible for the Yoruba-Igbo feud. We are not the innocent victims of Yoruba tribalism and hatred. That fact should inform our attitude in seeking rapprochement with the Yorubas, especially now that we need a Yoruba-Igbo alliance to help create conditions for us to exit our imprisonment in Lugard’s Nigeria."



Sent from my iPhone

On 27 Jun 2017, at 11:22 PM, Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <> wrote:

Hitler's death is too well known for the writer's description of Hitlers post war trial to be taken seriously. Its better appreciated as an imaginative scenario depicting  the reason why Hitler succeeded with his nationalistic vision as he rose to power. Maynard Keynes also wrote a 1919 book critiquing the Versailles Treaty, The Economic Consequences of the Peace ,
understood as foreshadowing WW2, and anticipating an equitable peace at the end of WW2 represented by the reconstruction of Germany by the allies through the Marshall Plan.




On 28 June 2017 at 04:07, Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <> wrote:
Can you point out the lies Olayinka?


On 25 June 2017 at 19:18, Olayinka Agbetuyi <> wrote:

As a Second World scholar I know that Adolf Hitler deliberately made sure he did not survive the war by taking his own life so that he would not be the subject of the trial spuriously alluded to in this presentation.

As to not letting the wounds of Biafra heal who is more guilty of forever bringing it up, some Igbo or the federal side? 

If it is such lies as these that are in the memoirs that is being irreverently advertised to cash in on national trauma and tragedy, which sane person would want to buy such a memoir?

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <>
Date: 25/06/2017 11:14 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - FW: THE BATTLE GOES ON



On 25 June 2017 at 11:58, Toyin Falola <> wrote:

On 6/24/17, 10:53 PM, "Solomon Uwaifo" <> wrote:

    Many have read both the tepid platitudes of the Ag. President as well as the insipid pleadings by Obasanjo at the recent Biafra at 50 conference.  How many have read the beautiful and well researched reply by Professor Nwala at the same conference?

    Read on:-

    Paper presented at The Conference -
     Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF).

    Before I thank the organisers of this Conference and pay my tribute to the Memory of my friend, late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, in whose Foundation Center this historic event is being organised, let me quickly dismiss certain lingering pernicious fallacies that have dominated all discussion about the coup of January 15, 1966 and the Biafra War.

    First, the Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, has alluded to the January 15, 1966 coup as an Igbo coup that, according to him, was replied by a Northern coup of July 29 1966.

    Let it be said loud and clear that that coup, namely January 15, 1966 coup, was not an Igbo coup. It was a coup led by certain Igbo and Yoruba Officers, involving the active participation of soldiers from the North. The aim, as has been stated again and again, by the leaders of the coup was to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was in detention at the time and install him the Prime Minister of Nigeria.

    That coup was foiled by Igbo military officers. Igbo political leaders and activists knew nothing about the coup.

    Again the Incursion into the Mid-West by the Biafran troops was not a quest for territorial grabbing by the Igbos. Ojukwu sent troops under the Command of Col, banjo in response to Chief Awolowo’s request for troops to help liberate Yoruba land from the occupation of soldiers from the North. By the time Col Banjo got to Ore, the British had gotten Gowon to offer Chief Awolowo Vice Chairmanship of the Nigerian Government. Awolowo, therefore, asked Banjo not to proceed on his mission.

    General Yakubu Gowon knows the truth of all these things. And that is why the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) had written him and asked him to tell Nigerians and the whole world the truth about the January 15, 1966 coup and the Biafra incursion into the stop all the lies against Ndigbo, which have been the basis of the burden they carry as a nation within the Nigerian Federation.

    Secondly, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Head of State and a frontline commander on the Federal side during the war, said that they (the Federal military leaders) conducted the war without any hate or vengeance because it was a quarrel between brothers.

    To this, one is constrained to ask a few pertinent questions:

    How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as POGROM?
    What about the policy that hunger was a legitimate weapon of war and so was justified in its application against the Biafrans?
    What about bombing of refugee camps, market places, churches, etc?

    Again, when Chief Obasanjo said that they, the victorious side, have been more magnanimous than the victors in the American civil war, where, according to him, those who lost the war never had a chance to be President of America until several decades if not a century later, I would ask him WHAT ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA? WHAT ABOUT NELSON MANDELLA?

    Such assertions rather than heal the wounds of the war, keep the wounds aglow, rather than reconcile pour raw paper of unjustified arrogance on the wounded hearts of the Biafrans. How can you genuinely talk about reconciliation with that kind o mind-set. The truth is that for General Obasanjo, the Biafrans are defeated people. Period!

     Indeed, before we can talk about reconciliation, we must accept that grave wrongs were done to the Biafrans, Before, During and Since the end of the war.

    Tribute to General Yar’Adua.
    NOW, Mr Chairman, Ladies and \Gentlemen, let me go on to thank the organisers of this Conference - the Yar’Adua Foundation and the six Nigerian Universities partnering with the Foundation; the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa who have provided support for this Conference - Biafra: 50 Years After.

    What is more, I would like to pay tribute to the memory of my late friend, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. I met him for the first time during the 1994-5 National Constitutional Conference. There we struck a friendship that would have born great fruits but for his untimely death. I personally escaped being arrested with him.

    General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, became a great democrat after the war despite his aristocratic background. He genuinely believed that this wobbly Federation could be given a dependable foundation. Consequently, he set out to recruit gifted compatriots to work with him for that purpose. What a great hunter of talent Shehu was!

    I remember two memorable moments in our interaction. One afternoon, after lunch in his house, we sat down on the sofa. I asked him

    “General why is it that when you are not smoking cigar (cigarette), you are chewing kola nut?"

    He answered me. I will not tell you his answer today. Wait for my Memoire that should be ready by my next birthday.

    At another moment, also after lunch with him and late Prof. Aborisade, we sat down on the sofa. Shehu said to me “Dr Nwala, let me show you why we Northerners are reluctant to relinquish political power”.

    He brought out two volumes of strategic studies which he had commissioned some intellectuals to produce in preparation for the Constitutional Conference of 1994-5. I glanced through volume 1 which deals with the indices of power in Nigeria. I read the discussion, looked at the statistics and the graph, and shook my head, and said to myself this guy is a great political actor. I also reserve the details of what I read in that volume as well as our discussion for the sake of my forthcoming memoire.

    I saw those two volumes of strategic studies at the Library of the Yar’Adua Center when I visited there about two week ago.

    What is important in this narrative is that General Yar’Adua was avery sincere leader, he always spoke to me and to anyone in his political company from the bottom of his heart. He was sincerely in search of a genuine way forward. He was a man who knew that all is not well with the Nigerian Federation and genuinely sough the correct path to its healing!

    The point of the story is to reveal a bit of the life of this great political strategist, who if he had lived after that Conference, he and the powerful circle of comrades he had built at the Conference would have helped to see to a more liberal accommodating political order in Nigeria. Shehu was the darling of a liberal democratic movement that was emerging in Nigeria before he died. He was equally hated by what many of us call the hegemonist who have consistently aborted every opportunity to create a democratic political culture. It is the later who have consistently made it difficult to achieve a genuine reconciliation in Nigeria. It is these forces that have insisted on a Federation founded on the peace of the grave yard.
    Yes, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua along with the compatriots he had worked to put together would have constitute an authentic force for reconciliation and national integration. He was a victim of the forces of hegemony.

    Post –Biafra Reconciliation – What Lessons?

    During the trial of Adolf Hitler after Germany and her allies lost the war to the Allied Forces, the following exchange took place between Hitler and his interlocutor –

    Interlocutor to Hitler: You were responsible for the Second World War?
    Hitler: No! The Versailles Treaties was.

    I believe this Conference has been provoked by the renewed agitation for Biafra. In that case, a similar question can be posed to the Biafra Self-determination Agitators in Nigeria today as to whether they are responsible for the renewed Agitation for Biafra.

     I imagine that the Biafra Freedom Agitators, just like Adolf Hitler, would emphatically respond NO! They would rather blame the present upsurge for Self-determination and Biafra and all its fallouts on all those leaders on the victorious side who, rather than pursuing the path of genuine Reconciliation, pursued the path of punitive retributions against those who lost the war.

    Unfortunately, as it was in the case of the defeated Germany that was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened, so do we find in the case of Biafra, that despite all the retributive measures against her people, Biafra and the Biafrans, have neither been pacified, nor conciliated, nor have they been permanently weakened.

    Unlike the Treaty of Versailles that exerted bloody pound of flesh on the side that lost the First World War, the victorious side in the Second World War padded their retributive actions with the Marshall Plan. And thus unlike the intended Carthagenian peace of the Versailles Treaty of 28 June 1919, the Marshall Plan brought a relatively permanent peace to Europe that withstood the shock waves of the cold war including the Cuban Missile crises.

    In pursuing the lessons of the retributive post-war treatment of the Biafrans, I would ask the leaders on the victorious side –

    When you took all their financial deposits in the banks and paid them only £20 (twenty pounds), what did you expect the result to be – pacification, conciliation or to have them permanently weakened?

    When you allowed massacre of unarmed soldiers and leaders even when they had declared their return to Nigeria, what did you expect? I mean when you murdered Prof. Kalu Ezera or when you killed unarmed Col Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what did you expect?

    When you killed and also buried alive thousands of innocent civilians in Asaba, was that a circus show?

    I escaped being killed at the end of the war through the mysterious intervention of my college mate, Mr Nwoguegbe from Asa in Abia State who was a member of the Nigerian battalion that overran my area on that fateful day of January 8, 1970. The solders had sent for me and when I arrived at Nkwo Mbaise their base, Nwoguegbe instantly recognised me and shouted Nkume! I responded Nwoguegbe! Despite being introduced to his commander, Captain Jibowu, the later took him to one corner, asking to be convinced why I should not be treated in accordance with the official instructions, namely to waste any such able-bodied young-man who may have been an actual or potential Biafra soldier. I was lucky. Nwoguegbe saved me, but several of my mates from my community were not. Cornellius Oguikpe, Michael Osuagwu, Efriam Chukwunoyerem, Echewodo Onwunali, all were murdered at the end of the war by the Nigerian soldiers.

    Yes, post-Biafra was not attended by any genuine efforts to seek reconciliation nor even to find out what led to the war. Rather, what we have witnessed is decades of vengeance, arrogance and conspiracy against Alaigbo and Ndigbo - Yes these are on record -

    Immediate post-war punitive massacre,
    Dismissal of some officers on the losing side, Reduction in rank of others,
    Dismissal of civil servants,
    Secret Execution of some officers (Col. Onwuatuegwu, Prof, Kalu Ezera),
    Abandoned property seizure of Igbo property,
    Punitive boundary adjustment,
    Closure of the Eastern Sea Port and Railway lines,
    Deliberate policy of encirclement of Alaigbo, Inciting Igbo outside Igbo heartland to reject their Igbo identity,
    Deliberate policy of exclusion from the governance and power equation i Nigeria,
    Deliberate policy of destroying Igbo businesses,
    Continued massacre, lynching of Igbos in many places in the North,
    Insensitivity to the plight of the IDPs of Igbo extraction who were initially the major targets of Boko Harm bombings and killings,
    No serious effort at post-war reconstruction and reconciliation.

    I strongly recommend to all those who care to understand how the Igbos view their predicament in the Federation to read the Petition of Ohanaeze ndigbo to the Human Rights Violations Investigating Committee of 1999. It is captioned
    The Violations of the Human and Civil Rights of Ndigbo in the Federation of Nigeria (1966-1999).

    President Obasanjo should speak to the nation now about why and how that initiative of his was aborted. A Truth and Reconciliation was a great idea, but just like all National Conference decisions meant to deal with the resolution of the injustices of the system. It was arrogantly dismissed and nothing happened.

    Biafra : A Collective Guilt
    Have we forgotten that Biafra was a collective guilt and that those who created the Nigerian Federation did so to satisfy their own agenda They designed a local a local agenda for the same purpose?
    Have we forgotten the cause of Biafra and the war? Have we ever come together to examine why Biafra?
    Obasanjo’s Truth Commission and the Justice Oputa Commission were arrogantly dismissed and nothing happened.
    Who was the aggressor in that war?

    Aborted Efforts to Solve the Nigerian Problem

    What about several efforts to sit down and dispassionately examine the fate of the Federation and how to heal the wounds of the past. Several aborted historical opportunities for peace and stability, or a genuine democratic system include -

    Ibadan Conference of Sept/Oct 1966
    Aburi Accord.
    Abiola’s election that wuld have set a precedent.
    1994-5 Constitutional Conference and the 1995 Draft Constitution, the best Constitutional Draft in the history of Nigeria.
    Conferences organised by Obasanjos regime.
    President Jonathan’s 2014 Conference.
    Current Ferocious opposition to restructuring.

    Laying the Foundations for Genuine Reconciliation – The Biafra Initiative

    The Birth of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – A child of the post-war East Central State Youth Volunteer Services Corps (ECSYVSC) whose memo to General Gowon led to the establishment of the NYSC by the Federal Government. I led the delegation, as Chairman of the ECSYVSC, that delivered the Memoradum to the Federal Government on the eve of the first post-war independence anniversary, precisely on 30th September, 1970.

    In response General Gowon had given Dr Ukpabi Asika’s Government £75,000 (Seventy-five thousand pounds) in appreciation of that historical initiative of the youth of Alaigbo. The great objective of that historical initiative as conceived by us, the youth of Alaigbo, was to forge a genuine instrument of national reconciliation and national integration.

    What has happened to the NYSC? Any credit to the initiators? Several attempts have been made by the chaps in the NYSC Foundation in Abuja to interview me in order to draw inspiration from the original mind that conceived the NYSC; each time they were discouraged from a follow-up.

    It was the same way that a former Governor had advised the Federal Government to create an institution to house the Biafra scientist. The answer was no!, because doing so would give credit to the Biafrans.

    The Road to Reconciliation.
    Not Restructuring but Renegotiation of the basis of the Nigerian Federation. Nigeria is a multi-national Federation. The task is to agree on the terms for a form of political union among these nations and mini-nations.

    Unless this is done, there would never be any stable Federation uniting all these peoples who are culturally, religiously and philosophically separate nations and mini-nations.

    Prof. Uzodinma Nwala
     Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF)

    Sent from my iPad

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