Title of E-book
January 15, 1966 Coup and Biafra: Fable and Realities.
ALAIGBO DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (ADF), 2018
Dr Luke Aneke
Prof. Uzodinma Nwala
FORTH DIMENSION PUBLISHERS CO LTD
In March 2014, a three-day Worldwide Colloquium on the Igbo Query in Nigeria: Earlier than, throughout, and after Biafra, was organised by a physique of Igbo Intellectuals, Elders, Clergy, Patriotic Enterprise males, Public Figures, Ladies and Youth. The occasion was conceived within the mild of the persistent intentionally organised bodily, financial, political, diplomatic and psychological attritions towards Ndigbo which have continued because the finish of the Biafra warfare. No, it started even earlier than then; from the colonial interval, as a result of Ndigbo (their males and ladies) incurred the wrath of the British colonial authorities for his or her stout anti-colonial disposition. Consequently, the British colonialists seen the Igbo penchant for freedom, cosmopolitan, liberal, entrepreneurial and democratic character negatively, even if these are attributes Igbos share in widespread with the British. This contempt and unwell disposition of the British colonialists in the direction of the Igbos was exacerbated by the truth that outstanding Igbo politicians of the period: Mbonu Ojike, Mokwugo Okoye and Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and so forth have been agitating for de-colonisation of the complete African continent, not simply Nigeria; whereas at residence, Igbo ladies have been the primary to organise a profitable revolt towards colonial unfair taxation. The British, subsequently, took each step to encourage alienation of Igbos in Nigeria and made positive they have been stored in verify. For instance, simply earlier than independence, the British considerably lowered the territory and inhabitants of Japanese Nigeria by returning Western Cameroons to the French; and on the similar time elevated the inhabitants and territorial unfold of Northern Nigeria by making France cede Adamawa province to British Northern Nigeria.
Three Nigerian State propaganda, aided by the British authorities official specialists. have weaved two main fallacies to justify their innate hatred and contempt of the Igbo and the resultant recrudesces of mass slaughter of Igbos in Nigeria. They’re:-
i. That the January 15, 1966 coup was an Igbo coup, by which Ndigbo meant to dominate the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
ii. That the incursion of the Biafran forces into the Mid-West in August 1967 was a part of Igbo ambition to grab different territories in Nigeria.
Since January 15, 1966 a number of coups have taken place in Nigeria and none has been baptised with the identify of the plotters’ ethnic group:
The 1975 coup led by Murtala Mohammed that overthrew Gowon was not tagged a Fulani Coup, Hausa Coup or Center belt Coup. The Dimka Coup towards Murtala Mohammed was not labeled a Wukari/ Jukun Coup. Gen. Buhari’s coup towards Shagari was not baptised as a Fulani coup. Babangida’s coup towards Buhari was not referred to as a Gwari Coup. Abacha’s coup towards Shonekan was not christened a Kanuri coup. They’re all about some parts within the Nigerian Military getting collectively throughout ethnic strains and planning what they need to do. Solely the so-called “Nzeogwu coup” has been branded an Ethnic coup solely as a result of a person referred to as Nzeogwu, an Igbo identify, introduced it.
ADF started this plead for CONFESSION OF TRUTH of the1966 coups and the civil struggle of 1966-70 by calling on Gen Gowon, via a public letter advertorial, requesting him to inform the world the TRUTH, as he is aware of it. He was the person who was entrusted with the categorised and suppressed SACRED TRUTHS of that very troublesome and turbulent interval of our Historical past. He was Common Ironsi’s closest and most trusted lieutenant. Basic Gowon didn’t solely substitute Gen Ironsi as Head of state, he carried out a army inquiry into the January 15th, 1966 Coup and prosecuted Biafra Warfare for which Ndigbo have suffered and proceed to endure bodily, political, financial and psychological attritions; continually butchered and alienated, regardless of their goodwill, because the finish of the Biafra struggle.
Past the proof that now abound in some revealed and non-published sources on the occasions of 1966, none could possibly be seen as genuine as that honestly volunteered by Basic Yakubu Gowon, being the person who headed the tribunal arrange by Common J.T. U. Aguiyi Ironsi, as his Chief of Employees, which carried out investigations of the coups of 1966. The place is the report of these investigations? Why have they not been launched and publicised? Ndigbo insists that they be now launched. After greater than 50 years, they should be declassified. Whereas we proceed to plead for Gen Gowon to inform the TRUTH, ADF has arrange a Committee and mandated it, within the spirit of scientific inquiry, to conduct analysis and current to the world an Genuine Account of these occasions with or with out Basic Gowon’s response. We do that as a result of ADF is conscious that those that profit from the “concoction of an Igbo coup” will advise and even threaten Basic Gowon to not open up.
What ADF presents to the world on this seminal publication: January 15, 1966 Coup and Biafra: Fable and Realities, is the Genuine Account of these occasions of the January 1966 Coup and the incursion of the Biafran army into the Midwest, on their approach to Lagos and the Western Area, as a Liberation Military underneath the command of Col Victor Banjo, himself a Yoruba man .
1. The January 1966 coup was not an Igbo Coup, and Nzeogwu was not the chief of the coup.
The January 15th 1966 coup was not simply an motion to right some political issues bedevilling the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the time, but in addition a strategic and pre-emptive strike to counter and frustrate one other bloody coup plot that had been within the making and scheduled for January 17th, 1966. That different coup was being master-minded by the NNA (Nigerian Nationwide Alliance) axis and was to be effected as a jihadist push engineered by AlhajiAhmadu Bello and his allies in each political and army circles.
Amongst quite a few different sources, this was confirmed by late M.T. Mbu, the Minister of State for Defence on the time, a non-Igbo, in his current e-book, Dignity in Service. Mr. Mbu said that when he visited Kaduna on January 5, 1966, troopers beneath Brigadier Ademulegun have been brazenly discussing an upcoming coup to overthrow the Prime Minister Balewa’s (a average) Federal authorities. He stated that when
he confronted Ademulegun with what his troopers have been discussing, Brigadier Ademulegun assured him (Mbu) that he’s not one of many targets. Mr. Mbu defined that when he returned to Lagos and intimated his statement to Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, he informed him (Mbu) “Matthew, you worry too much…” (See Dignity in Service by M.T. Mbu, 2018, Berkhout Publishers).
In line with the actual mastermind of the January 1966 coup, Captain Adewale Ademoyega, in corroboration of Mr. Mbu’s assertion, stating thus: “The Federal Government was to use loyal troops for this purpose and the 4th Battalion in Ibadan commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Lagerma and the 2nd Battalion in Ikeja temporarily commanded by Major Igboba, but soon to be taken over by Lieutenant- Colonel Gowon, were designated for this assignment.”
Ademoyega  had carried out the investigations together with his pal and co-plotter, Main Emmanuel Ifeajuna, and their discovery was that the Jihad operation was fastened for the third week of January 1966, when Ahmadu Bello would have returned from his pilgrimage, and Gowon’s takeover of the Ikeja Battalion would have been accomplished. The Federal Authorities had, as a build-up to this act, carried out a reshuffling of the excessive echelons of the Military and the Police. Main-Basic Ironsi, the Military Commander, was ordered to proceed on depart from mid-January. Brigadier Maimalari was standing by as his alternative, within the stead of Brigadier Ademulegun; whereas the 2nd Brigade Headquarter at Apapa was to be briefly commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Njoku. Within the Police Pressure, the shuffling had Inspector-Common Edet despatched on depart from December 20, 1965, whereas the officer closest to him was retired and the third officer, Alhaji Kam Salem, was introduced in as the brand new Inspector-Basic. From all indications, the ball was set rolling for a radical wallop- ing of the anti-Akintola intellectuals and UPGA politicians and “rioters” of the West. The January 15, 1966 coup was, subsequently, essentially staged as a counter-measure to this deliberate January 17 1966 coup.
Captain Ben Gbulie, one in every of plotters of January 1966 coup, confirmed that certainly a coup operation code-named “Jihad” beneath the scheming of NNA politicians consisting of the Ahmadu Bello-led North- ern Peoples’ Congress (NPC) with their allies within the Akintola-led Nigerian Nationwide Democratic Celebration (NNDP), and with the army backing of topmost army stalwarts. Among the many later have been Brigadier Maimalari, Brigadier Ademulegun and Col. Shodeinde, who have been being ready within the quest to unfold Islamic domination throughout the nation, after the style of Uthman Dan Fodio. As narrated by Gbulie, he was knowledgeable by Main Nzeogwu, a one-time army intelligence chief, that the operation was directed towards the main UPGA, United Progressive Grand Alliance (of Awolowo-Okpara) politicians and their Christian followers within the Southern elements of the nation.
Let it’s stated loud and clear that that coup, specifically January 15, 1966 coup, was not an Igbo coup. It was a coup led by sure progressive Yoruba and Igbo Officers, involving the lively participation of troopers and officers from the North and different ethnic minorities in Nigeria.
The goal, as has been said once more and once more by the leaders of the coup, was to launch Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was in detention on the time and set up him because the Prime Minister of Nigeria. The solely excuse the British and their Fulani allies had for tagging it “an Igbo coup” was that it was Main Nzeogwu who introduced the coup from Kaduna. Captain Adewale Ademoyega defined that the coup was
to be introduced from NBC (Nigeria Broadcasting Company) Lagos, the seat of the Authorities, if it had not been foiled by Gen Ironsi. He made it clear that upon troops loyal to Gen. Ironsi taking up Military Alerts at Apapa and the phone exchanges in Lagos, Kaduna was utterly remoted; and Nzeogwu, having carried out his “assignment” efficiently in Kaduna, made the printed out of frustration. Apart from, it’s a historic reality in Nigeria that a coup chief is NOT the one that asserts the coup. Brigadier Abacha introduced Gen Buhari’s coup; Lt. Col Ukpo introduced Babangida’s coup; Gideon Orka introduced Col Nyiam’s coup. The solely exception, the place the announcer was labeled the coup chief, was the case of Main Nzeogwu; by advantage of which it turned a coup deliberate by Igbos, the ethnic group of the announcer! Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, in his guide, My Command, made it clear that Main Nzeogwu was not able to, and would by no means have participated in, a coup with an ethnic or sectional bias.
January 15, 1966 Coup and Biafra Fable and Realities exposes in graphic particulars the truth about that coup and the listing of the individuals and victims. By default, it was the final minute refusalto take part within the coupby an Igbo officer, Main Obienu, who did not convey up the armored automobiles to again up the seizure of Lagos as deliberate, that made it attainable for Gen Ironsi to efficiently spherical up the culprits. Gowon is aware of this truth. T.Y Danjuma, whose gang (mockingly) murdered Obienu on July 29th 1966, additionally is aware of this for a reality. It’s curious that the alleged Igbo coup plot was unknown to the very best rating Igbo officer within the North on the time, Lt. Col. Odumegwu –Ojukwu who mustered his troops in Kano to march right down to Kaduna to crush Nzeogwu and these loyal to him. Gen Obasanjo, in his guide narrated his ordeal within the palms of Ojukwu who suspected that he (Obasanjo, being Nzeogwu’s greatest pal), should have been one of many plotters. Ojukwu promptly put him beneath arrest till a sign got here from Military Headquarters in Lagos for Ojukwu to launch him. Thus, we have now an alleged “Igbo Coup” the place, probably the most senior army officer, in the entire nation, an Igbo, foiled the coup within the South and Lagos; whereas probably the most senior Igbo army officer within the North, Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, annoyed it within the North by denying Main Nzeogwu preventing troops he wanted to problem Lagos. Each T.Y Danjuma and Gen Gowon know these information.
Nzeogwu and his colleagues had nothing however patriotic goals in staging that coup, first to abort and preempt the sustenance of the anachronistic regime of the time that had deliberate to maintain itself by way of a coup on 17th January 1966; secondly, to switch it (the anachronistic regime) by a extra progressive one to be led by a person lots of them had confidence in, specifically Chief Obafemi Awolwo; thirdly, to help him (Chief Awolowo) to control along with patriotic residents to show Nigeria right into a extra progressive united course. Each Main Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, Col Victor Banjo and Main Emmanuel Ifeajuna carried this dream to their final days. It’s noteworthy that Col Victor Banjo and Main Emanuel Ifeajuna have been executed by Col Ojukwu, the Biafran Chief, for his or her abiding religion in that Nigeria of their dream, as an alternative of giving full help for Biafra.