Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

 

The 1966 Pogrom: Nigeria-Biafra War

Nnamdi Ebo 2BOOKS . There was a Time  | By Nnamdi Ebo.

The 1966 Pogrom.

Arabariots.

Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi (JTU) presided as the new Nigerian Head of State after the failed Nzeogwu coup; and as he did so, the first wave of massacres began in earnest as northerners descended on Ibos and other eastern minorities in disorganized and spontaneous fashion. Easterners in small but steady numbers were fished out and killed. These killings actually started immediately after the assassinations of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

Ironsi tried to maintain law and order elsewhere in Nigeria because the northern region proved intransigent for him. The “Araba” riots of May 1966 continued in earnest in northern Nigeria. He watched helplessly as his kit and kin where killed en masse in cold blood. He called for restraint but the attacks and killings continued unabated. This savage and excessive killing of easterners continued.

Though a ten year old boy in 1966, I felt angry and helpless at the same time as the news of these killings and bloodbath up north spread in the eastern region. To be honest, I felt hatred for every northerner or ndi awusa as they were called then. It was later I got to know that not all northerners are ndi awusa or moslems but other tribes who were either Moslems or Christians populated the north such as the Tiv, Idoma, Kanuri, Igala, Angas etc.

Biafra . Gen Murtala Mohammed. then Brigadier. 1966It was the same way with the northerners; all easterners were Inya miri not withstanding whether they were Efiks, Anangs, Ibibios etc. The 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom was a series of massacres directed at Igbo and other southern Nigerian residents throughout Northern Nigeria before and after the overthrow (and assassination) of the Aguiyi-Ironsi junta and himself by Major Murtala Mohammed (photo: right | After the war as General & Nigeria’s Head of State) and other northern elements. These riots cost the Ibos about 30,000 lives.

Counter-Coup | July 29, 1966

The officer corps of the Nigerian Army was dominated by the Igbos as Nzeogwu’s coup failed. Aguiyi Ironsi the most senior military officer (an Igbo) rallied the military against the plotters. As advised by most northern and western military officers and as required by military law, Ironsi did not bring the failed coup plotters to trial. Again, the relative ease with which Ironsi stopped the coup led to suspicion that the coup itself was a ploy for Ironsi to take the reins of power in Nigeria. It was dubbed an Igbo coup or Igbo conspiracy to seize power and rule Nigeria.

I must posit that this was not the case and I believed so at the time. The conspirators came from tribes other than the Igbo tribe and they all shared this common purpose for Nigeria to be rid of corruption, tribalism, and nepotism. They yearned for harmony, togetherness and freedom from oppression. They tried to infuse the polity with peace and progress following the political crisis that rocked Nigeria at that time in question. The problem with that coup was in the implementation, especially in the east where it failed for reasons best known to those assigned the eastern job.

Biafra . Maj. Gen. JTU Aguiyi Ironsi. 2nd Head of State of Nigeria. 1966Eventually, Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi (JTU) (photo: left) became the second Head of State when Acting President Nwafor Orizu surrendered power to the military as the so-called Nzeogwu coup failed to metamorphose to a government. Orizu is a cousin or so to my grandmother Madam Mrs. Nwalie Mgbokwo Ebo of Otolo Nnewi. As seen in pictures in the Daily Times newspaper of the sixties and anecdotes, Ironsi cut a figure of contradiction and inspired awe to the uninitiated. He was a bulky, huge and heavy man who walked with a swagger.

He carried with him a carved aguiyi (i.e. a crocodile) in his right hand for effect and he waved it in measured waves of salutation to the delight of Easterners especially the Igbos. The Easterners adored him including my humble self. I liked leaders who exuded great confidence. However, that confidence did not speak well for him when he introduced the Unitary Government to the chagrin of Northern leaders. He was a man of show and he probably took a cue from U.S. General Douglas MacArthur who accepted the surrender of Japan in 1945. MacArthur brandished a carved walking stick much like Ironsi’s carved crocodile effigy and he also walked with a swagger, sporting a wooden tobacco pipe in between his mouth; puffing away with alacrity.

A story that made the rounds spoke of how Ironsi used to go onto a yacht with fellow revelers on Tarkwa bay near Lagos Island where he reveled in fine cognac liquor, enjoying the soothing breeze wafting from the Atlantic Ocean splashing on the shores of bar beach, Lagos. The same story had it that while he reveled on many occasions, Northern mutineers were planning a counter-coup

Six months later, this counter coup that was predicated on revenge came to pass in Ibadan where Major Theophilus Danjuma and co. struck at government house Ibadan on July 29, 1966. Ironsi was on a state visit to Western Nigeria and he was a state guest of Fajuyi in the western Nigerian government house in Ibadan. The counter coupists killed him and his host Lt. Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, the military Governor of the Western region of Nigeria.

To be continued 

_________________________________________________________________________________________

There Was A Time . Book Cover 01.Culled from: THERE WAS A TIME | Author: Nnamdi Ebo  |  Published by africagenda Publications  
ISBN: 978-978-50804-3-8  | 1st Edition 2013
Buy the book, THERE WAS A TIME |  Click  Bookshop
Nnamdi Ebo | [email protected]  
© 2014 Nnamdi Ebo . All Rights Reserved

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