By Mazi Malaki Chukwuokikeabiamadi Ajah
20th June 2018
Permit me to start this contribution from the January coup that was called an Igbo coup which the northerners always quote to justify their genocide they claim to be a counter coup.
The January coup was widely acclaimed all over the country including the northern region of Nigeria, where top civil servants celebrated its success and apparently happy endings by holding parties both in their homes and public places. Hassan Katsina visited Ironsi and brought with him his entire entourage of police outriders and patrol cars and a carload of drinks. In his speech, he said we drank to the health of Ironsi, we drank to the health of the governors, we drank to the survival of a new Nigeria. He was actively part of the coup and during the coup while Ojukwu rendered the coup immobile, Katsina was quoted to have told Ojukwu in a telephone conversation that he takes orders from nobody except Nzeogwu.
Western Nigeria probably benefited from the revolutionary turn out of events, the military takeover brought an end to the long nightmare of bloody riots which were triggered off by the rigged western Nigeria parliamentary elections. Read ‘Why we struck’ written by Wole Ademoyega, he was also active player in the planning and execution of the coup.
In the east Midwest and Lagos, the entire people hailed the change with absolute Joy and optimism for the emergence of a New Nigeria free from corruption, tribalism and nepotism. Therefore, when people argue nowadays that eastern Nigeria where massacred in retaliation for their role in the January 1966 coup it sounds ridiculous, the January revolution was not a total failure for it achieved its primary objective and the removal of the discredited civilian regime. What went wrong was the inability of the coup to exploit its success.
The worst genocide in the history of Africa in the name of counter coup was planned by northerners in April 1966, the press and radio of the north had joined in the hostile campaign against the south. These mass information media were then fully employed in preparing the minds of the people for the upcoming counter coup.
Starting from the beginning of May 1966 radio Kaduna played every day for three weeks, recorded speeches of late Sir Ahmadu Bello and Sir Tafawa Balewa, these political campaign speeches where carefully selected to arouse tribal feelings, passion and hatred against the people of the south. While the radio networks blared the speeches, the official government newspaper, the new Nigerian, carried daily for sometimes serialized articles on Islamic war of conquest or Jihad both in English and local vernaculars.
On 29th of May 1966 was the "ARABA" TEST RIOTS that means we should separate, southerners where being beaten up and their cars smashed by northern mobs. What surprised me though, was the fact that policemen were said to be actively participating in some areas, reports of more bloody and widespread riots had been received from such big northern cities like Kano, Zaria and Jos.
On 30th of May 1966, the riots began again rather early the rioting was very fiercer than the previous day, private homes, schools, churches, and markets stalls belonging to southerners in flames, Children crying the young and old, both men and women being chased about and being beaten to death while their homes were looted. A story of a whole family that was locked up inside their house and the house set ablaze. A story of an incident in Kano Railway Station where a large number of southerners had gathered waiting to escape by train they were attacked by a mob which killed or maimed most of them and their properties were looted.
Following Katsina assurances of safety to both Ojukwu and Ironsi, Ojukwu the then Governor of eastern Nigeria encourage those who have fled the north to go back there and resume their normal lives. Even then tension in the north was on the increase but, that notwithstanding many southerners particularly those from eastern region went back in large numbers. Rumours of another Igbo coup were rife during the month of June 1966
May 1966 was a failure because even though the southerners suffered heavy casualties, the objective of changing the government in Lagos was not achieved. Northern soldiers where now been pressured to strike back, quickly in self defense before the Igbo second coup. After the May test riot, Lagos military government even redoubled effort to placate the north instead of admonishing the atrocities of the region this tended to confirm that something more drastic could be done against the regime in Lagos without meaningful opposition.
I think this is tip of the iceberg. The contraption (Nigeria) was created by fraudsters and everything that comes out from her is lies and deceit. The only option left is to dissolve this unholy marriage and then let the great people of Biafra go peacefully. Nigeria is a crime against humanity.
Written by: Mazi Malaki Chukwuokikeabiamadi Ajah
Edited by: Mazi Dimkpa Ikenna Ikenga Amadioha-Gbo
For: Rivers State Media (Igwuocha Province)