The real reason for the Igbo coup of Jan 15 1966, spearheaded by Major’s Emmanuel Ifeajuna and C.K. Nzeogwu was to release Awlolowo from prison and make him president of Nigeria.
It’s so unfortunate that history is carefully omitted from the curriculum of our academic system.
And this has led to the breeding of blind graduates who don’t even understand Nigeria’s past, today, or maybe the longer term.
In an expository by Daily Times, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Yoruba hero and idol was imprisoned in 1963 for treason.
See, any nation without thorough knowledge of their history always finishes up a confused nation.
Now Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna who happens to be the primary African to win a trophy at the Commonwealth games, later a serious within the Army and therefore the man who shot Tafewa Balewa, made this very clear in his unpublished manuscript given to Chinua Achebe (Nzeogwu by Olusegun Obasanjo).
Infact the Igbo major’s appointed captain Nzegwu, who is that the first Nigerian military pilot to fly to Calabar and release Awolowo but unfortunately the coup failed and Ironsi whom the “January boys” hated, reaped from a coup he never sowed in.
However, when Muritala Mohammed staged his reprisal coup on 29th July 1966, it must be noted that the Northern coup was very successful, but it failed within the east because Lt. Colonel David “Baba” Ogunewe acknowledged of the coup within the dark and was ready to suppress the action in the east.
Ogunewe’s professional actions was what saved Ojukwu that night of 29th July 1966.
Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu was the Governor of the Eastern region during Muritala’s reprisal coup.
In those days, Calabar was under the defunct Eastern region and AWOLOWO was detained at Calabar prison.
The Northern led counter coup by Muritala ushered in Lt.Colonel Yakubu Jack Gowon as head of state, which led to Ojukwu refusing to acknowledge Gowon as head of state and created a schism between the Eastern region and therefore the federal .
However, Ojukwu working on his own released Awolowo from Calabar prison just an equivalent way he released the January boys detained within the Eastern region.
It is so Unfortunate that General Gowon is irresponsibly claiming he released AWOLOWO from prison.
Gowon needs to remember that he took over power on August 1st 1966, and before that 1st August, for 3 days…29,30,31, of 1966, there was no leader in Nigeria, due to the interior tussle between Muritala who masterminded the coup and Gowon who reaped the coup, also because the Northern original intention of breaking out of Nigeria.
Ojukwu was firmly on top of things of the Eastern region before Gowon took over, and even when Gowon took over, Ojukwu rejected him immediately because they were of an equivalent rank, and Gowon wasn’t the proper officer to require over power, since they were about 3-4 senior officers above Gowon in terms of military hierarchy after the assassination of Ironsi.
So how will someone that was Immediately rejected release AWOLOWO from prison? and which of the forces was sent to release Awolowo without the knowledge of Ojukwu who was firmly on top of things of the Eastern region?
Gowon please say the reality before you allow this world. (You’re presently 85 years old this year), kindly say the reality to the younger generation.
Ojukwu brought AWOLOWO to the state house at Enugu and created a telephone line from AWOLOWO’S home town Ikenne to his bedroom at the state house Enugu.
Ojukwu and Awolowo had a radical revaluation of things and position of the Igbo’s as at then, and Awolowo made it very clear to Ojukwu that if the East is forced to secede from Nigeria, that he will pull out the West from Nigeria.
If Awolowo had kept his promise to the 33 year old Ojukwu, the Biafran war would never are fought, because the North can’t survive a war on two vast fronts, and it’s likely to possess led to the center belt leaving the north also.
And albeit in the least the North went ahead to fight the war, stage of the war would are within the North, and therefore the expenses would have forced the Gowon’s government to abandon the entire project.
Awolowo was highly respected by Ojukwu and every one igbo’s. He wasn’t only an excellent man but a really brilliant man. he was fully aware that Nigeria can’t work and it had been a scam.
The Igbo’s sacrificed tons for Awolowo.
The Igbo “january boys” placed their lives, their tribe and career on the road for him during the coup, and Ojukwu believed his promise as father to son and counted on him.
But his many thanks to the Igbo’s was to urge home and betrayed the young Ojukwu due to his personal ambition.
Gowon made him an a suggestion of president and minister of finance of his war time cabinet and perhaps a presidential slot after the war.
But unfortunately the North addressed him during the 1979 presidential election against the Fulani Shagari, they even used Abiola and his news papers to betray him an equivalent way he betrayed Ojukwu.
Awolowo was the one who advised Gowon to dam food supplies in Biafra which led to the starvation of over 1 million Biafran kids during the war.
It was Awolowo not Dr. Clement Isong that adviced Gowon to vary the Nigerian pounds so on render the Biafrans financially useless in purchasing weapons.
Infact the igbos were ready to wage that war probably due to Ojukwu’s connections as someone whose father was the richest man in Nigeria and West Africa as at 1966, with an estimated networth of over 4 billion dollars.
And to add, even after AWOLOWO’S betrayal, Ojukwu had another chance to require Lagos by storm and surprise and to overthrow Gowon during the Midwest invasion.
But unfortunately, he stupidly handed such a golden opportunity to a different Yoruba called Colonel Victor Banjo, who only need to Benin, contacted his fellow Yoruba’s In Lagos and sabotaged the entire operation.
He was later executed by Ojukwu.
SO, that’s it. Lets not get it wrong again.