Sunday, July 2, 2017

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

Anyone that has ever read what I have written on the Coup of January 15, 1966, would testify to the fact that I have always maintained that there were two coups on that day, one by the Majors and the other led by Major-General Johnson Thomson Aguiyi Ironsi. Moreover, I did state the difference between the two coups. It is extremely unfair to me for Obi Nwakanma to now pretend as if I have just discovered that Nzeogwu/Ifeajuna coup was progressive because it aimed at releasing Awolowo even though, according to him, I have always regarded it as an Igbo coup, from which I now shift ground to find a new Igbo coup in the person of Ironsi. Obi's problem is that he sees every divergent opinion from his own on the first two Nigerian coups from narrow and circumscribed prism of Igbo persecution and oppression in Nigeria. Having said that, I will now proceed to demolish the garbled version of history on the coup and subsequent war which he has mixed up with a huge dose of myths.

Obi Nwakanma wrote, "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."

This is a typical behaviour of an ethnic supremacist, like Obi Nwakanma, to project Brigadier Maimalari as a stupid and unintelligent military officer. According to Obi, Maimalari had planned a coup and, therefore, called a house party on Friday, as a cover to issue directives to his associates before the coup scheduled to take place on Monday. But Maimalari's party had nothing at all to do with operational meeting and issue of directives to his coup associates. When the coup took place in the early morning of January 15, 1966, Philip Effiong wrote, "The Brigadier(Maimalari) had just gone to bed after entertaining friends and well-wishers on the occasion of HIS MARRIAGE." (p. 47, Nigeria & Biafra -My Story by Philip Effiong). That Major-General Ironsi himself  was present at the party was confirmed by Ruth First on p. 279 of her Book, The Barrel of a Gun. The Deputy Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Defence at that time, Amadu Kurfi wrote, "I decided, rather foolishly in retrospect, to visit the houses of some senior Army Officers who happened to reside in Ikoyi. I advised that all three of us should call on Brigadier Maimalari who had hosted a COCKTAIL PARTY THE PREVIOUS EVENING IN HONOUR OF HIS NEW-WED WIFE (p. 26, The Nigerian General Elections 1959 and 1979; and the aftermath, by Amadu Kurfi)." Truly, as Obi Nwakanma wrote, Ifeajuna and most of the coup planners were in attendance at Brigadier Maimalari's party. Ben Gbulie confirmed this in his Nigeria's Five Majors thus, "Later, they (the coup plotters) headed severally towards Ikoyi, where they were to attend a REGIMENTAL RECEPTION scheduled  to take place that same evening in Brigadier Maimalari's house, and where they hoped to find a large number of THE PEOPLE THEY HAD EARMARKED FOR ELIMINATION (p.127)." In view of the above facts, Obi Nwakanma would like to portray Brigadier Maimalari as the most unintelligent Military Officer that had ever existed on planet earth. This is because Obi is saying emphatically that Brigadier Maimalari planned a coup that was to take place on Monday, 17 January 1966  and called a covert party in his house on Friday, 14 January 1966 to hold final operational meeting and issue directives to his associates. Yet, the foolish Brigadier as Obi has projected him, did not limit his invitation of the house party to his associates in the impending coup but extended it to Ironsi, Ifeajuna, Ademoyega, Okafor, Obienu etc. Anyone who tries to make us believe that a high ranked military officer, Brigadier Maimalari, could have behaved in the aforesaid manner must be suffering from chronic commonsense deficiency syndrome. The party in Maimalari's home on Friday, 14 January 1966,  was certainly not a covert party for a planned coup instructions but a wedding party.

Obi continued, "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." Here, Obi Nwakanma goofed completely with his probable history. The impression Obi wants to give his readers is that Ifeajuna left Maimalari's party when the Brigadier was issuing directives to the officers about the  coup that was to take place on Monday. Thereafter, Ifeajuna hastened to forestall Maimalari's coup by issuing order for their own coup to take place that night earlier than originally scheduled. But that is Obi's imaginary fable. This is because before going to Maimalari's party, the 'O'-Group summoned by Major Ifeajuna met at his Apapa residence under the guise of a house party. Those present including Ifeajuna were, Majors Ademoyega, Anuforo, Chude Sokei, Chukwuka and Don Okafor; Captains Adeleke, Nwobosi, Nzegwu (of the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters), Oji and Udeaja; Lieutenants Ezedigbo, Oguchi, Okaka and Oyewole; as well as Second Lieutenants Egbikor, Igweze, Ikejiofor, Nweke, Onyefuru and Wokocha. The purpose of the meeting was to disclose the H-Hour already communicated to their counterparts in Kaduna and to thrash out any outstanding operational details. (p.126 in Ben Gbulie's Nigeria's Five Majors). Major Chude Sokei and Lieutenant Oguchi were instructed to go back to Enugu and await further instructions after assignments were shared among the officers. The H-Hour was eventually fixed to 0200 hours January 15, 1966, and the Federal Guards officers' mess at Ikoyi was chosen as the OPS centre for Lagos. (p. 128, Ben Gbulie's Nigeria's Five Majors). It was after this 'O'-Group meeting in which Major Obienu was absent that some members of the 'O'-Group went to Maimalari's party. As, it can been seen from Gbulie's narratives, the date and time for the Majors coup had already been decided communicated to Kaduna before attending  Maimalari's party and not after as falsely stated by Obi Nwakanma. 

Obi Nwakanma's imaginary fable continued, "We must remember that Nzeogwu had only taken the boys, without weapons, on a training exercise quite apparently in preparation for the coup a later date to improvise." This is a white lie based on Obi's probable history. The coup in the North began in the North earlier than in the South. Ben Gbulie wrote, "That fateful Friday, the 14th of January, at about 1900hours, we assembled in full battle order at the reverse slope of the hill feature overlooking the 3rd Infantry Battalion along the Kaduna-Zaria road. ...//... The time was shortly before 0100 hours, Major Nzeogwu personally summoned all of us officers involved in the nocturnal exercise to the edge of the thicket, using a tining pencil of torch to scan our faces. For a while, when we were assembled, he spoke to us on the need to rid Nigeria of corruption..... 'That briefly, is why we are here tonight: to sweep clean the national stable,' he concluded. 'Now,' he said, hurry up and brief your men accordingly. There is no time to lose. The H-Hour is 0200 hours. Our counterparts down South must not be kept waiting...." (p. 74-75, Nigeria's Five Majors - Coup D'état Of 15th January 1966: First Inside Account, by Ben Gbulie). Nzeogwu did not improvise anything as their coup plan in the North was disguised under the military exercise coded operation DAMISA .

The coup actually succeeded in Kaduna as the Premier of the North, Ahmadu Bello, and the highest two military officers were killed, while the Governor was arrested. Nevertheless, the coup failed in the North because the plotters could not secure the control of the 5th Battalion in Kano. Already, on Thursday, 13 January 1966, Captain Goddy Ude was issued with a .38-calibre pistol and sent by road to neutralise the Commander of the 5th Battalion in Kano, Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. On getting there, Captain became a pacifist and played game with the coup makers at Kaduna. (p. 65-66 & p. 90, Ben Gbulie, Nigeria's Five Majors). 

From fry pan to fire historian Obi continued to regale us with his creative history thus, "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 his tank battalion from Abeokuta as plan. As a matter he went after the party in Maimalari's house to sleep at his girlfriend's at Palmgrove, Lagos." At Maimalari's party, Ben Gbulie wrote on what Major John Obienu did thus, "By 2200 hours the Brigadier's Ikoyi residence was packed with distinguished guests, including a number of the coup planners, most of them ostensibly relishing the whole convivial atmosphere. Noticeable among these guests was Major John Obienu, who had absented himself from the 'O'-Group meeting held earlier on at Apapa. It was hard not to see that he was drinking like a fish - trying, his co-plotters guessed, to fortify himself the impending operation. Apparently, nobody could then adduce any other reason for his drinking so much. Neither could anybody tell at that time that Obienu the man was very different from Obienu the Major. When midnight neared, one after another, after exchanging furtive glances, the coup organizers began to withdraw quietly from the party. OBIENU WAS THE LAST TO LEAVE." (p. 127-128). As a digression, it should be noted that the scene and the atmosphere at the party as described by Ben Gbulie was different from a scene of a covert party where final operational meetings and issuance of directives was given for an impending coup by Maimalari as has been categorically asserted by Obi Nwakanma. Contrary to Obi's claim, Ben Gbulie revealed that the time for the Majors' coup had been fixed before the party and was not hastily executed without adequate preparation as a result of Maimalari's operational directives for a coup on Monday, 17 January 1966. Since Obienu's betrayal cannot be separated from Ironsi's seizure of the Majors' coup, let us see what Ben Gbulie wrote on the failure of the coup in Lagos. He wrote, "But by far the thickest wedge cast between the coup executors and success was the ugly element of treachery that manifested itself in the course of the nocturnal operation. To begin with, BOTH MAJOR DON OKAFOR AND CAPTAIN OGBO OJI HAD TAKEN A STAND AGAINST ANY STEP THAT MIGHT EMBODY KILLING OF IRONSI - THE VERY SAME MAN WHO, AT THE MOST CRUCIAL STAGE OF THE OPERATION, HAD CALLED OUT THE TROOPS OF THE 2ND INFANTRY BATTALION WITH ORDERS TO QUELL THE REBELLION. It was, to say the least, too much of a coincidence that while the would-be assassins were pointedly making for his residence, hoping to capture him, he was at the same time heading towards Ikeja to enlist the support of the personnel of the said 2nd battalion...  Moreover, it turned out that at that very crucial stage of the operation, ... Major John Obienu had, for some insane reason, TURNED TRAITOR; AND THAT HE WAS, IN FACT, A DOWNRIGHT INSINCERE CORWARD. HIS FAILURE TO HONOUR HIS PLEDGE AND TURN UP THAT NIGHT WITH HIS ARMOURED CARS WAS THE ONE DECIDING ACT THAT LED ULTIMATELY TO THE COLLAPSE OF THE LAGOS OPERATION - A CALAMITOUS ACT OF SABOTAGE THAT, BY DEPRIVING OUR COLLEAGUES OF THE MUCH-NEEDED FIRE-POWER WITH WHICH TO CRUSH IRONSI'S COUNTER-REVOLUTION, FINALLY DROVE NAIL INTO THE COFFIN OF OUR OBJECTIVE. It was our view that our arrest and detention had, beyond all doubt, provided sufficient post-mortem evidence of the Lagos disaster. But, even so, one was not quite sure what galled us the most: the fact that some of our comrades had cocked up our plans, THE KNOWLEDGE THAT MAJOR OBIENU HAD JOINED FORCES WITH THE ENEMIES OF THE REVOLUTION AND WAS ACTIVELY AIDING AND ABETTING THEM, OR THE REALIZATION THAT ALL OUR EFFORTS - ALL OUR PERSONAL SACRIFICES- HAD THUS COME TO NOTHING." (p. 125 - 126). From Ben Gbulie's inside account of the cause of failure of the Majors' coup in Lagos, one can easily see the treacherous roles played by Obienu, Don Okafor and Oji. It is not me, Kadiri, as Obi Nwakanma implied,  that suggested that those three figures conspired with Ironsi to steal the revolution of the Majors, even though he did not find anything wrong in the Ironsi's coup against the Majors' successful coup. The big question then is if Ironsi had foreknowledge of the coup, why did he not take action to forestall it? Obi Nwakanma wrongly claimed that the decision to stage the coup that night was sudden which was why Obienu went to sleep in his girlfriend's house at Palmgrove and could not show up with his Squadron's armoured cars. By this assertion, if there is vacancy for the post of Professor of lies and dishonest fabrications, no one would be able to outcompete Obi Nwakanma. This is because, where Obienu slept was disclosed by Gbulie thus,"Apparently, nobody knew that having retired from Brigadier Maimalari's party, MAJOR OBIENU HAD CHANGED HIS MIND ABOUT RETURNING TO ABEOKUTA TO LEAD HIS ARMOURED UNIT TO LAGOS... AND CONSEQUENTLY HAD MADE FOR THE IKEJA CANTONMENT AND SLEPT THERE." (p. 131-132). For  the unsuspecting, it needs to be emphasized that Ikeja cantonment where Obienu slept was located in the same vicinity as 2nd Battalion Ikeja and it was at that Battalion that Ironsi linked up with him to crush the revolution of the Majors. According to Gbulie, Don Okafor and Ogbo Oji (p.125-126) had taken a stand against any step that might embody the killing of Ironsi, yet the same Okafor was at Brigadier Maimalari's residence to kill him but the Brigadier escaped through the backdoor, while Okafor was engaged in a shootout with his guards of which two were killed. Why was Okafor reluctant to kill Ironsi, an Igbo just like Okafor self, but was eager to kill Maimalari, an Hausa/Fulani? What crime did Maimalari commit as a military man warranting his death that Ironsi did not commit?

Mbadiwe who was Deputy Prime Minister under the Coalition government wanted to lead; NNA wanted Dipcharima to lead and the politicians were fully unwilling to agree - Obi Nwakanma.

There was never a Deputy Prime Minister to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the substantive Prime Minister, in 1966. After the 1964 December federal election the NNA  was declared to have won 198 of the 312 seats in the Parliament. After a face off between Balewa and Azikiwe over if the election was free and fair, a compromise was reached that Balewa as Prime Minister should form a national government. In spite of protests from AG, UMBC, and NEPU, against the NCNC joining the federal cabinet dominated by NNA (NPC/NNDP), the NCNC abandoned its allies in the UPGA to accept ministerial posts because the Igbo NCNC could not just accept being in opposition. Thus, Mbadiwe was never a Deputy Prime Minister, although he was a minister but which portfolio I cannot recollect at moment. And, off course, it is a fact and not interpretation of it, that NNA and UPGA politicians did not agree on whether Dipcharima or Mbadiwe should be Prime Minister. The Parliamentary strength of the two groups should democratically have decided who should be Prime Minister, if the so-acclaimed loyal general and vast majority of the army provided security for the Parliament to meet. The loyal General should have commanded the mood of the army to respect democratic procedure and not to usurp the right to govern. As for the acting President's role in Ironsi's coup, the President had no right under the 1963 Republican Constitution to either call or dissolve Parliament without request from the Prime Minister. At the moment Nwafor Orizu was violating the Constitution, the impression given was that the Prime Minister had been kidnapped and his where about was unknown. What would have happened if Balewa were to resurface after Orizu had unlawfully ceded government power to Ironsi, his kinsman? Off course, Orizu and Ironsi acted with the clear knowledge that Balewa was dead even though they kept it secret from the public.

...the old story that January 15, 1966 was an 'Igbo coup' or plot to take over Nigeria has collapsed, revisionists like Kadiri must invent another 'Igbo coup' this time by Ironsi - to justify the massacre of the Igbo - Obi Nwakanma.

Once again, it is not an invented story but a real occurrence that Ironsi staged a coup on 15 January 1966 and consequently took over the administration of Nigeria, not as an elected leader but, as a soldier. It is not an invented story of a coup or interpretation of the beneficiary of a coup to state that Ironsi was an Igbo. That the NCNC was led by Igbo, first by Nnamdi Azikiwe and later by Michael Okpara, is not a story or interpretation of history. That Nnamdi Azikiwe and the NCNC had propagated for a unitary government with power concentrated at the centre in Nigeria, is a fact and not interpretation of history. That West African Pilot was owned by Nnamdi Azikiwe is a fact and not interpretation of history. That Pius Okigbo, the Economic Adviser to Ironsi, was Igbo is a true history; it is also a true history that G. Onyuike, the Attorney General of Ironsi, was Igbo; and Francis Nwokedi, Ironsi's appointed one-man constitutional review on Unitary Government for Nigeria, is not an interpretation of history. That Ironsi announced Decree No. 34 on 24 May 1966, after Francis Nwokedi had recommended the long time NCNC manifesto for Nigeria is a true history. That the cock was the political symbol of the NCNC is a true history and not an interpretation of it. That the West African Pilot newspaper owned by Nnamdi Azikiwe, published a large cartoon of a cock crowing ONE NIGERIA, immediately after Ironsi had decreed Unitary form of Government for Nigeria is not an invented story or interpretation of history but a cold fact. Yes, non-Igbo people of Nigeria classified the actions narrated above as Igbo coup because the actors or perpetrators were Igbo. What fanatical Igbo nationalists, like Obi Nwakanma, should realize is that all Nigerians, just like the Igbos, have been indoctrinated that office holders, especially at the federal level, hold offices on behalf of their ethnic groups. Officials too pretend to be holding their positions on behalf of their ethnic groups even when all benefits arising from their offices are kept personal and not shared within their respective ethnic group. It was an open fact that the Igbo living in the North identified with Ironsi Coup and taunted Northerners. They printed and sold postcards with the cartoon of Major Nzeogwu standing on the neck of Ahmadu Bello laying dead on the floor. Decree No.34 arose the anger of Northerners who avenged their anger on the Igbo amidst them beginning from 28 May 1966. What happened between May 28, 1966 and 3rd of October 1966 to the Igbo living in the Northern part of Nigeria were, undeniably, massacres which the perpetrators said were in retaliation for the January 15, 1966 massacres. While one might think that the revenge massacres of May to October 1966 were out of proportion to the January massacres, we should not forget that it is only in physics that action and reaction would be equal. In human relation, reaction to a hostile action, is often greater than action. For instance, if you slap my face, my response may be that I chop off your hands, so that you will never be able to slap me or any other person in future. During the 2nd World War, the Japanese air-bombed US Pearl Harbour and the US responded by detonating Hydrogen Bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Saying that Ironsi's coup is an invention to justify the massacre of the Igbo is extremely infantile and pubescent approach to human relation and history.

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 first moves towards creating a balance of forces - Obi Nwakanma.

While it is appreciated that Mr. Nwakanma has debunked Professor Nwala assertion that it was Awolowo who begged for troops from the East to eject the purported Northern army of occupation in the west, it is very intriguing to know from where the Biafra Expeditionary Force derived its authority to liberate the Midwest and Western Region. Apart from Victor Banjo, who was used as a window-blind, all the Commanders and infantries in the so-called Expeditionary Force were Igbo. Although Emmanuel Ifeajuna accompanied Banjo to invade the Midwest, the second in command to Banjo in his 2nd Battalion was Lieutenant Colonel Festus Akagha and his mission was to move through Benin, Ore, and Ijebu-Ode to seize Lagos; the 1st Battalion was under the Command of Lt. Col. Mike Ivenso while the 3rd Battalion was commanded by Lt. Col. Humphrey Iwuchukwu Chukwuka, all of them were to use Midwest as a springboard to capture Lagos. One would have expected the kind of Expeditionary Force sent by Biafra to contain, at least, 50% Yoruba instead of the almost 100% of Igbo soldiers in the invasion of Midwest. Nwakanma claimed that the Biafran incursion into the Midwest was a liberation campaign carried out by an Expeditionary Force. Yet, David Ejoor, an Uhrobo man and the Governor of the State was driven away and replaced with Albert Nwazu Okonkwo, an Igbo man. No wonder, when the federal forces drove away the Biafran forces from the Midwest, the non-Igbo speaking people of the Midwest state treated Igbos among them as collaborators with the Biafran invaders and their actions till date were blamed on Murtala Muhammed as the commander of the federal forces that flushed out the Biafran Army from the Midwest. Saying like Obi Nwakanma that the occupation of the Midwest by Biafra was not a military invasion is the same as a thief whose hand is caught right-handed in a cashbox claiming that he was only checking the colour of the currencies.

Obi babbled about Gowon not consulting the Eastern Region before creating states, yet Ironsi did not consult anybody before setting up one-man commission of enquiry for a unitary form of government for Nigeria and accepting and executing the conclusion of Francis Nwokedi. Gowon was a dictator like Ironsi and he did not need to consult anybody to create the 12 States.

Kadiri writes, " How did the world come to describe the conduct of the was 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 1967-1970 civil was 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 the massacre of the Igbo first filed by Colin Legum for the London Observer in October 1966, where he was actually the first to describe these planned and sustained killings as a pogrom in spite of denials by the Federal government - Obi Nwakanma.

It is Obi Nwakanma self who is suffering from a terrible disease of ignorance which is curable if he is prepared to humble himself by learning how to read and understand what people write and not to inject words to produce unintended meanings by writers. Professor Nwala had rhetorically claimed that the world had described the conduct of the war, 1967 -1970, as POGROM which I disclaimed. For writing that I am yet to get into contact with any part of the world that described the conduct of Nigerian forces during the 1967-1970 war as a pogrom, Obi Nwakanma called that 'a profoundly ignorant assertion.' He premised his conclusion on the report filed by Colin Legum in the London Observer in October 1966. Certainly and definitely Colin Legum could not have filed any report in October 1966 on the war, when the war did not start until 6 July 1967. Whatever Colin Legum might have written in October 1966 could not have been about pogrom in the civil war 1967-1970. This kind of mixed up happens to some Igbo Nigerians, like Obi Nwakanma, who are addicted to ethnic Viagra, and when they are overdosed, they see nothing but genocidal war against the Igbos since October 1, 1960!!

Hunger and war are consequences of war, but where they are made official policy of war, they become war crimes. If any army starves a civilian population and declares hunger as an instrument of warfare, ...//... that is a quest towards genocide, and that is war crime. It is a vain attempt to erase Awolowo's publicly declared policy of hunger as federal government's instrument of war, and its use to force Biafrans into defeat - Obi Nwakanma

Contrary to Obi Nwakanma assertion, there was never Federal Government official policy to starve Biafran civilians to death because they carried no weapons or arms. Here follows what Chinua Achebe wrote on starvation, "A statement credited to Chief Obafemi Awolowo and echoed by his cohorts is the most callous and unfortunate: All is fair in war, and starvation is one of weapons of war. I don't see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder." (p.233, There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe). Even when it is obvious that Awolowo was quoted out of context to create a wrong impression of the said statement, a normal and intelligent person should understand and deduce from the statement that he was not referring to civilian Biafrans, who were not Nigeria's enemy but the Biafran soldiers. In which war has it ever happened that opposing soldiers are supplied with food by the attacking army? Awolowo's statement was sequel to the report, and it was confirmed by the international Red Cross, that food sent to Biafra were being hijacked by Biafran soldiers at gun-point and did not get to needy civilians. This statement  by Awolowo was first cited in London Financial Times of June 26, 1969 and culled by the London Daily Telegraph of 27 June 1969. Yet, in the middle of 1968, Gowon had offered to open up land routes for internationally supervised transport of relief supplies into the Biafran enclave. Chinua Achebe recorded, "To the consternation of Gowon, Ojukwu opted out of land routes in favour of increased airlifts of food from São Tomé by international relief agencies."(p."211, There Was a Country). The intransigency of Ojukwu in rejecting internationally supervised land routes of relief supplies through Nigeria to civilians in Biafra, in 1968, played important role in the statement credited to Awolowo in 1969. The international relief Agencies are bounded by international law not to violate the air space or territory of any country no matter how serious the emergency situation is. However, Nigeria did not care about the violation of her airspace until the position of its forces were bombed by a former World Council of Churches relief Agency. Thus, on the 5th of June 1969, the Nigerian Air Force Plane ordered a Red Cross marked DC-7 to land at Port Harcourt for inspection before flying further into Biafra. After many orders without compliance the Red Cross marked DC-7 air craft was shot down and subsequent explosion revealed that the Red Cross plane was loaded with arms and not relief supplies to Biafra. The rest is history. For the sake of sentimentalists who can only see with one eye and one direction, a parallel action to the justification of  shooting down of the arms loaded Red Cross plane in 1969 by Nigeria occurred in 2010. The Turkish Prime Minister then, Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to send a ship of relief supplies to Gaza strip and when on 31 May 2010, the ship, Mavi Marmara entered Israel's territorial water, she was ordered to anchor at an Israel Port for inspection before sailing into Gaza, but the Captain of Mavi Marmara refused. Therefore, the Israeli boarded it by force and in the process, 9 civilian crews were killed and 55 were seriously injured. Turkey approached the UN for condemnation of Israel for attacking a civilian ship, but the UN upheld the right of Israel to inspect any ship or plane sailing or flying into Gaza as long as she is in a state of war with the Gaza Palestine. Concluding, Nigeria would have been guilty of genocide in Biafra, if the entire Biafra contained unarmed civilians and they were blockaded, air, land and sea by Nigeria. If Nigeria were to gather all Igbo into concentration camps in the federal controlled areas and denied them access to food, Nigeria would have been guilty of genocide. And if Nigeria had instituted war tribunal after the war, Ojukwu and many of his gang of rebels would have been found guilty of war crime for refusing to accept relief supplies by land routes from Nigeria to the starving civilians in Biafra. Once more, Awolowo never advocated that Biafran civilians be starved to submission and there was no federal official policy to starve civilian Biafrans to death.

Elsewhere on this forum and in his altercation with Olayinka Agbetuyi, Obi Nwakanma had stated that Brigadier Ademulegun and his wife were killed because the Brigadier was trying to get a pistol from a drawer. Even a history cooked up on probability must follow logic. The Brigadier as well as his wife who stood protectively in his front were facing Major Onwuatuegwu. For him to  attempt to take a pistol in a drawer, the drawer ought to have been in front of the Brigadier and his wife because if the drawer had been on the side, the Brigadier should have turned to the side to reach for a pistol. Thus, when Onwuatuegwu squeezed the trigger of his gun, the bullet should have caught the Brigadier on the side and not the chest. The most probable cause of events  ought to be that the wife of Brigadier was shot before her husband in whose front she was standing protectively, thinking that Onwuatuegwu would never shoot down a visibly high pregnant woman. If it were true  as Onwuatuegwu narrated to Gbulie that the wife dived over the husband after he had been shot, but the second bullet also meant for the Brigadier hit the wife, then the bullet ought to have hit her at the back and not the abdomen. Both Ademulegun and his pregnant wife died a gruesome death in the hands of a cold blood murderer, acting in the name of revolution and that can never be excused or explained away with an attempt to reach a superficial gun in a strange drawer as Obi Nwakanma tried to do.

Late in 1962, when Chief Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, S.G. Ikoku and others were framed up for planning to overthrow the Federal Coalition government of NPC/NCNC, the name of Brigadier Ademulegun suddenly propped up linking him to the impending coup. He was said to have travelled in the same plane with Enahoro from Rome to London where it was alleged that the coup plot was discussed. It was later found out that his involvement in a coup plan was planted by the tribal friends of his rival for the post of GOC  in a competition on who was to replace the expatriate, General Welby-Everard. After he was exonerated from the Action Group's coup plot, Ademulegun found himself compelled as a military man to demonstrate his loyalty openly to the government of the day. With the NNDP's campaigns against the NCNC as an Igbo party that had used its position as a coalition partner to the NPC in the Federal government to plant Igbos in all available executive positions in the federal and at parastatal's establishments, Brigadier Ademilegun being a Yoruba must have been marked down for elimination as a tribalist. Ben Gbulie portrayed him thus, "Brigadier Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun  was a top Yoruba army officer and Commander of No. 1 Brigade. A FIRST-CLASS SOLDIER, IMMENSLY TALENTED AND VERSE IN MILITARY STRATEGY AND TATICS, HE WAS, HOWEVER, EVERY INCH A TRIBALIST AS WELL AS OVERLY AMBITIOUS AND VINDICTIVE (p.53). It says a lot  that Ben Gbulie who was supposed to be a 'progressive and a  revolutionary soldier' could identify Brigadier Ademulegun as a top Yoruba army officer and not as a top Nigerian army officer, in spite of the positive military qualities he attributed to him. The ethnic bias against non-Igbo military officers and politicians by the mainly Igbo executors of January 15, 1966, made  them comfortable to kill military officers and politicians from the north and West without feeling guilty. That was why Major Don Okafor ventured to kill Brigadier Maimalari while he took every measure to prevent the killing of Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi who Ben Gbulie portrayed thus, "Major-General Johnson Thompson Aguiyi Ironsi was the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army. A hard-drinking, slow-speaking introvert who had risen from the ranks, and had been trained at Eaton Hall and Camberley  Staff College, he was, however, considered both inept and inefficient - hardly the calibre of officer to command an army. In fact, the coup planners considered him unfit to command even a funeral detail."  (p.53). The cause of Nigeria's underdevelopment till date, despite availability of abundant human and natural resources, has been due to the fact that we have always had pretenders, dream peddlers, voodoo merchants, sadists and above all intellectually impaired heading and managing all our institutions that have been created to solve our socio-economic problems. What Obi Nwakanma and other tribal jingoists should understand is that when Nigeria has Ministry of Food and Water Supplies and yet Nigerians are constantly hungry and thirsty, the ethnic origins of the Minister and Managers of Ministry of Food and Water Supplies are not important. 

S. Kadiri      


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Skickat: den 28 juni 2017 16:33
Ämne: 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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