This is the News Analysis segment of the Voice of Biafra International broadcasts
For February 12th, 2005
You have heard the news; now, the analysis…
Today, we examine an example of an attempt to re-write history, and or efforts to rationalize the victimization of Ndigbo-Biafrans by the North, using a recent Nigerian newspaper article subtitled: “…Awoniyi reopens memories of civil war…” as reported by Allen Odunze, Asaba and Tony Akowe, Kaduna. We quote:
“In a related development and ahead of the planned National Political Reform Conference, chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Chief Sunday Awoniyi has given an insight into what may form part of its agenda to the conference as he reopened the old wounds of the civil war saying that the Igbos betrayed personal, cordial and close family relations when they murdered northern leaders in the 1966 coup.”
”The ACF chairman … regretted that the killings of northern political leaders, "some portion of the offending ethnic group try so shamelessly to rewrite history by suggesting that the dastardly acts of January 1966 was a pre-emptive strike to forestall a northern coup.”
"The gruesome way he [Abubakar Balewa] and other northern political and military leaders and those friendly to them were murdered showed the kind of ugly venom those sick murderers bore against him and his northern people, their leaders and their military officers.
"Instead of remorse for that dastardly act which destroyed trust and confidence nationwide and led to our civil war, a compensation of eight trillion naira only was being demanded at the Oputa panel...”
Mr. Awoniyi’s assertion that “Igbos killed Northern Leaders” is not true; his argument that this led to the “Civil War” also has no factual and or historical basis. We point this out so that our people and others who are unaware of what happened in 1965-1970, and even before the 60’s, can have the facts and be motivated to keep looking for more facts. It is possible that misrepresentations such as Mr. Awoniyi’s (mis)informed the stupid idea of Orji Uzor Kalu’s that our people, the victims, render an apology to the Northern Nigeria perpetrators.
The facts—incontrovertible—are that early in January 1966, a group of Nigerian military officers performed a coup against the civilian government of Nigeria. The group was led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. During this coup, preeminent Northern Nigeria leaders were murdered, along with other important leaders from other regions of Nigeria. No Eastern Nigerian leaders were killed during the coup. The coupists came from / represented different regions of Nigeria.
The coup itself was foiled by Ojukwu, then a commanding officer stationed in Kaduna, who refused to take orders from a junior ranking officer. The shaken remnant of the Nigerian civilian government handed power over to the military, anyway; and Ironsi, as the highest ranking officer (who also helped foil the coup) was asked to lead the military government in Nigeria.
Yes, Nzeogwu is Igbo, as his name indicates. But the coup he led was a Nigerian military coup, not an Igbo coup. In fact, Nzeogwu himself was later to state that the goal of the coup was to get Awolowo out of jail and install him as the head of state of Nigeria. Awolowo is of course Yoruba. The coupists were acting to save Nigeria, in their reasoning, not to do anything for the Igbo.
The coupists murdered Northern Nigeria leaders: it was not Igbos, as Mr. Awoniyi claims. Igbos never asked Nzeogwu to start a putsch. In fact, the crisis crippling and consuming the country then was centered, not in Igboland / East, but in Western Nigeria. Nzeogwu and his fellow Nigerian military officers who participated in the coup should be held responsible. If Mr. Awoniyi has any evidence of Igbos as a group planning, scheming, plotting and supporting Major Nzeogwu and his group in the coup itself, or in the murdering of Nigerian leaders from other regions of Nigeria, he should reveal the evidence and his source.
Contrast this with the “counter-coup” six months by a group of all-Northern Nigeria military personnel, planned and executed by Northern Military officers. This was a “revenge” coup: its goals were clear—kill all Igbo Military officers, starting from Ironsi. They were so focused and so intent on their goal that they murdered brave Fajuyi, too, rather than respect his host-guest privileged relationship between him and their intended victim, Ironsi: Fajuyi, a high-ranking Yoruba Military Officer, simply and essentially got in their way of killing Aguiyi Ironsi and had to pay the price. On that day, hundreds of Eastern Nigerian military officers (mostly Igbo) were killed; the rest injured. This was not a “make-Nigerian-better” coup, and Gowon, the foisted leader of the group, validated this with his first statement, thus: “the basis for unity [of Nigeria] is not there.” This was purely an Arewa coup and it was selectively directed against the Igbo, and the agenda was never hidden. If Mr. Awoniyi wants to dispute this account, we await his facts.
To assert that the January 1966 coup caused the civil war (therefore, blame it on the Igbos), is stretching and ignoring facts; we challenge that assertion to be consistent and extrapolate to events happening in Western Nigeria in 1965, events which paralyzed the civilian government and motivated the response of the January 1966 coup. In that instance, the Yoruba of Western Nigeria, using the same (Awoniyi’s) reasoning, caused the civil war. But, we know the facts here and we state them. Gowon and his fellow Northern military officers performed the July 1966 Arewa revenge coup. They knew that their hatred for the Igbo was total. They knew that there was no way and no sane reason to be in the same country with a group they hated so much. Had they stuck with their original plan, there would have been no civil war, because the North and the East would never belong in the same country. Instead, having avenged the killing of Northern civilian leaders—not by holding Nzeogwu and his fellow coupists accountable, but—by killing as many Igbo Military officers as they could; and in spite of realizing that there is no longer a basis for the unity of Nigeria, they later started insisting on one-Nigeria, to forcibly include Igbos and the East. That is the cause of the civil war.
While cold-blooded killing of Igbo was going on in the military, Northern and to some extent, Western Nigerian civilians fell on Igbos living among them and massacred them in hundreds of thousands in a well orchestrated pogrom and program of genocide. Not just in one phase or wave, but in three successive waves each lasting about two weeks, this unbridled orgy of killing of Igbos / Easterners went on. Today, Mr. Awoniyi wants to use the Nzeogwu-led Nigerian Military coup as an excuse to rationalize the pogrom, the genocide, and later, the Civil War against the Igbo / Biafrans?
Fellow Biafrans: the most instructive element of Mr Awoniyi’s tirade and misrepresentations is the fact that he was most likely speaking for Northern Nigeria. As the Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), he must speak the minds and attitude of this body. How sad that he and the ACF and the North do not want to face the facts, and would rather invent misrepresentations to justify their hatred of the Igbo, which pre-dates the January 1966 coup. Recall that starting even in the 1940’s, Igbos have been massacred in large numbers in Northern Nigeria by Northerners, in a cyclic campaign. .Recall that at no time have the Igbos living in Northern Nigeria ever organized themselves to go out and kill the Northern leadership or their Northern hosts. But, their Northern hosts have consistently and openly and deliberately singled out Igbo / Biafrans for religious, socially and politically sanctioned killings, from the 1940’s up till the year 2004. Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen again in 2005, and of course, in the future.
We have only one response for the Awoniyi’s of Nigeria:
”keep your Nigeria, we are not part of it and we don’t want any part of it. Since you claim we have hurt you so much, why don’t you go your different way and let us go our own different way? Why do you want to continue to force us to stay in the same structure when you hate us so much? Have you not exacted enough revenge on us?”
We know that Obasanjo uses the name, Biafra, whenever he wants to trick Nigerians, especially Northerners, into closing ranks against the Igbo and other Biafrans. If Mr. Awoniyi wanted to use the same strategy to hold his ACF organization together and win the flagging support of his fellow Northerners, he has failed, because the Northerners have broken away to form a new organization called Northern Union. Mr. Awoniyi said:
"…Inspite of such insensitivity displayed, we in the North must continue to work for genuine reconciliation. This is probably why God has preserved us to save this country by our example. In this effort, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), God willing, will not be found wanting…"
Considering that ACF is now seriously threatened with a breakup, we can only conclude that God’s response to Awoniyi’s statement was swift!
Let this be a lesson to all those Igbo-Biafrans who want to deal with Nigeria “within the context of one-Nigeria.” Igbo-Biafrans were hated in Nigeria; they are still hated today, and there is no evidence to show that this hatred is going away in the future. What we see is a brazen attempt to justify—rather, rationalize—this hatred by highly placed Nigerian officials with arguments that even a child would not advance, arguments by perpetrators blaming the victimized for the perpetrators’ unconscionable acts. We cannot, and will not, belong in a country where we are at once hated, victimized, blamed, and at the same time, we are being forced to stay in such a country.
It is up to us, not up to them, to decide our fate. That’s why we are sticking with Biafra: nothing less, nothing else.
Biafra for us, because that’s how and why God created us Biafrans and made Biafra our land—Biafra alive!
That’s the news analysis for the week. Thank you.
God bless and keep Biafra, and you, until our next broadcast. Voice of Biafra International (VOBI) broadcast continues (http://www.biafraland.com/vobi.htm) with the summary of the News Analysis in Igbo language.
Ndi Biafra, ekele e! anyi e kelee unu.
Nke a bu akuko nke anyi na a kpo News Analysis si na Voice of Biafra International radio di na Washington DC na ala Amerika na a bia ra unu na abali a.
Anyi a gutala na akwukwo newspaper ebe onye isi ndi otu a na a kpo Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), otu ndi Awusa, na a si na o wu maka Ndigbo gara gbuo ndi isi nde Awusa na coup nde Army mere na January 1966 ka agha Biafra na Nigeria (1967-1970) jiri bido. Onye a a na a kpo Sunday Awoniyi na e bo ndi Igbo na ile ebubo na o wu anyi gburu ndi isi nde Awusa na mgbe ahu a na e kwu okwu ya.
Ma na nka wu kwa nu ugha. Sunday Awoniyi a naghi e kwu ezi okwu. Onye o wula ma na January 1966, ufodu ndi Army—o wughi kwa ndi Army ndi Igbo, ma o wu—ndi Nigeria mere coup, nke ha jiri gbuo ndi isi ndi Awusa na ndi isi ndi okewara-ala a na a kpo “Regions” di na Nigeria. Ma, o nweghi onye isi e gburu na ala Igbo ma o wu na Eastern Region.
Ndi Army ndi Nigeria mere coup; o wu Awolowo ka ha choro i me onye isi-ochichi Nigeria a si na coup ha nwere isi. O wughi onye Igbo ka ha gara e me onye isi-ochichi.
Anyi ma na onye duru coup a wu Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. O wu na ezi na o wu onye Igbo, ma ndi mba ndi ozo soro na otu coup a. Na oge a, Ojukwu ka no na Army Nigeria; o wu Ojukwu si na ya a gaghi e me ihe ndi coup choro ka ya me e na Kaduna; otua ka o jiri kwusi coup ahu.
Anyi a hula nu otu Major Nzeogwu na ndi otu ya jiri me e coup ga gbusia ndia na ile. Ma o wughi ndi Igbo gburu ndi e gburu na coup ya. O wughi ndi Igbo si ka a ga a me e coup; o wughi ndi Igbo ziri Nzeogwu ka ya na ndi otu ya ga me e coup. Mana nwokem a a na a kpo Awoniyi na zi e bo Ndigbo na ile ebubo na ihe Nzeogwu na ndi otu ya ndi Army Nigeria mere.
Unu echefu kwa la ihe ndi Army nde Awusa mere na July 1966. Ha mere coup nke ha, ma na ha kwuru ya hoo-haa na o wu naani ndi Igbo ka ha choro i gbu. Ha we e ga gbuo Aguiyi Ironsi na enyi ya nwoke Fajuyi, na otutu ndi Army officer ndi Igbo, na o nweghi ihe ndi a mere ha, ka ria kwa na ha wu ndi Igbo. Onye isi coup ndi Awusa wu Gowon; o kwuru na mgbe ahu na Nigeria e nweghi ike i wu otu ozo. Ma ya bia kwuchaa ihe di otu, ga zie kwuaria onu, na a si zi na ya choziri ka Nigeria wuru otu, na ya na a cho one-Nigeria; na ya ga e ji na ike tinye Ndigbo / Ndi East na ime one-Nigeria ahu. O wu nke a wu ihe butere agha Biafra na Nigeria. O wughi maka ndi Igbo gburu ndi isi ndi Awusa maka ndi Igbo e meghi ihe di otua. O wughi kwa nu na Major Nzeogwu na ndi otu ya ndi Army Nigeria mere coup January 1966 ka agha jiri daputa na Nigeria na afor 1967. O wu Gowon na a cho one-Nigeria ebe o mara la na Nigeria e nweghi kwa nu ike i wu otu ozo, wu onye doro ogu na agha ya.
Onye ga kwanu e chefu otu Ndi Awusa (na ndi Yoruba ufodu) siri gbusia ndi Igbo bi na ugwu Awusa (na na ala Yoruba) na mgbe ahu? Na e cheta kwa na ogbugbu ndi Awusa na e gbu ndi Igbo bidoro na ebe afo 1940, site na oge ahu ruo kwa 2004; anyi ma na o ga na a gagide rue na oge na abia na ihu.
Umu Biafra: unu jiri ihe Awoniyi kwuru hu nu otu obi na echiche ndi Arewa na ndi Awusa di, na ebe ndi Igbo-Biafra di. Ha kporo anyi ugwu nke ukwu. O nweghi otu anyi na ha ji nwe ike ibi na otu obodo. Ha ga wara onwe ha, ma anyi ga wara kwa nu onwe anyi. Ha hapu zie nu anyi aka ka anyi gawa na Biafra ebe anyi na a ga.
Ma ha kwere e kwe ma ha e kweghi, anyi a hafurula ha Nigeria, gwarala onwe anyi Biafra.
Ya mere ka anyi na a gwa onye owula ka ha jisie ike na ihe ha na e me anyi i ji nweta Biafra. O nweghi kwa nu ebe ozo anyi choro i ga, ma o wu anyi ga a ga: so o so Biafra.
Biafra, ndu gi! Biafra, ndu gi!! Biafra, ndu gi!!! Ma ka Chineke nonyere la gi!
Voice of Biafra International (VOBI) broadcast continues
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