Nzeogwu

"Nzeogwu"alt

Today is January 15. On a day like this in 1966, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu staged the first coup in Nigerian history. It took over thirty years before his best friend Obasanjo told the world what he knows about him in a book titled Nzeogwu. I have reviewed below and reached three important conclusions: 1) Youths who appear self-disciplined and daring should be watched closely. This is further confirmed by the recent unfortunate story of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. 2) Though the January 15 coup did change the history of the country, it did not change any of the fundamental flaws in its composition or improved the quality of its administration. Nzeogwu's maiden speech would perfectly suit the listeners of today if a coup were to be staged. 3). Nzeogwu was simply a scapegoat. He was not alone. The complicity of even some northern officers who might have been working in tandem with some powerful figures in the region can clearly be discerned from the manner they spared and honoured the assassins.

I have since developed my doubts about the popular theories proffered to explain the sad event. His story is akin to that of Murtala, who suffered the same fate of betrayal of his principles. Incidentally, while Obasanjo was the closest friend of Nzeogwu when the latter staged his coup in 1966, he was as well the deputy of Murtala ten years later. And, as some said, he went into hiding in far away Maiduguri after the 1966 Coup, he also disappeared soon after Murtala was killed. Mhm.

I will be very glad if my readers would send me their well reasoned opinions on January 15. I understand that it means different things to different people. Though the atmosphere in the country remains the same if not more desperate, it is incapable of producing another Nzeogwu. Happy reading.

Parents, elders and leaders throughout history have had cause to keep an eye on a rare type of youth who has the capacity either to bring success or attract disaster to his people. Such youth tends to have a largess of candor, self-discipline, determination and other meritorious habits. If he will attract disaster, however, some blameworthy ones, especially exuberance and impatience, will escort these praiseworthy habits.

Nzeogwu, the biography of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, written by his best-known friend, General Olusegun Obasanjo, makes an interesting reading in this respect. There could be dozens of hypotheses on January 15, 1966 coup. Many commentators, like Kirk-Greene in Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria I, said, "The truth will never be satisfactorily established", given the death of its chief actors. Many of those hypotheses were postulated not to explain, but to conceal the truth for sheer mischief in some intellectual-cum-political provinces. What cannot be disputed, however, was the role played by Nzeogwu, its principal architect. His published biography has given additional insights into the personal traits that led to the unfortunate event.

We are bound to believe Obasanjo in his narration, given the fact that he was the closest friend of Nzeogwu, and vice-versa. He gave us a picture of this young man, growing away from his roots in the South-east, among his parents in the new city of Kaduna. He attended a missionary school where he portrayed hard work, zeal, rectitude, discipline and so on. A lovely chap, in short. The same beautiful picture was painted to describe his carrier in the army: still hard working, amiable and disciplined. Even when women, cigarettes and beer were the habits of his colleagues, Nzeogwu exercised restraint, paying attention to his carrier, books and music.

What would, however, be relevant to the psychologist is any information that will give ‘clues' to the emergence of a rebel, clues that will be cast against the background of social factors that obtained in Nzeogwu's environment, within the army and the Nigerian society at large. Fortunately, the book Nzeogwu has a lot to offer in this respect.

As a child, Obasanjo wrote, Nzeogwu "consistently showed his strong will and determination. When he fought his playmates he was always determined and never gave up, even against the bigger boys." I would say this is typical of most Igbo children. In his early school days, he was "very inquisitive and precocious. He would ask his teachers endless questions." Growing in neighborhood of soldiers during the Second World War, he came into contact with the army and became fascinated with them. "He began to gather his little admirers together, and with a rough wooden stick, he would line them up on parade and shout orders in a high pitched military fashion."

Later at Saint John's College, Kaduna, "he was nicknamed "major" for his soldier-like behavior." At this stage, the rebel in him started to manifest, glaringly. Not surprising, he was certainly not the favorite of his teachers. He protested against what he perceived as injustice. In the final year he was rusticated for leading a student protest against what one would consider a strictly official matter, an examination policy.

Another aspect was the contribution of the revolutionary literature he was exposed to as a teen. "He was fond of giving lectures on Marshall Tito and his guerilla activities in Yugoslavia during the Nazi era... Nzeogwu spent long hours in the library, immersed in the stories of famous people…" Elders and teachers are not usually impressed by such students, who fail to concentrate on what is relevant at school, who are in a hurry to pull the future nearer and faster than usual. I remember my father used to detest this habit in me at the university. No wonder the teachers at Saint John's were not impressed by this behavior from an average student. His classmates "thought him rather eccentric."

An "eccentric" Nzegwu was to manifest again in his military carrier. We were told how he refused to carry out an assignment as directed by his company commander, the late Brig. Maimalari. When Maimalari warned against disobedience without being specific, Nzeogwu confided in Obasanjo, saying, "You know he was referring to me but I have finished the work the way I believe it should be done and there is no need for change." But the rancour did run deeper. When Maimalari left them for Nigeria, Nzeogwu told his friend: "I know that our being together might have cost me my career…"

Background and immaturity might have connived to accentuate detest in Nzeogwu's perception of his society. Unfortunately for Nigeria, other members of his privileged group of army officers shared this shortcoming. Thus, the country has for over three decades been held hostage by their inexperience. In Leadership and Governance in Nigeria, Dr. Mahmud Tukur said, "Reform, revolution and even rebellion have an aura of romance about them. They evoke excitement and enthusiasm in many hearts and minds – especially the youthful and the inexperienced. The unfolding events of 1966 to date (1993) have amply demonstrated this."

Without skills in politics, Nzeogwu must have swallowed the propaganda of the media. Nowhere was this expressed than in his maiden address on January 15. He announced that "our enemies are the political profiteers, swindlers, the men in the high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten per cent, those that seek to divide the country permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers and VIPs of waste, the tribalists, the nopotists…that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds." Suffice it to say that in the decades that followed, his former compatriots must have read his rhetoric as immature. Let him rise from his grave and see in them the more profound expression of the very habits he renounced.

His inexperience has made it difficult for him to differentiate between the real and the fictitious. He thought, from his ‘revolutionary' scholarship and the few weapons at his disposal, that a revolution targeted at killing some "key" personalities in the regime will pave way to the establishment of a society that is "free from fear and other forms of oppression..."

It was unfortunate that Nzeogwu's lessons in practical politics started with this blunder and from the very day he made that speech. He must have been surprised at how the whole mission was interpreted as a tribal affair, emanating from the conduct of his comrades in the South, the group to which Obasanjo and his friend always shifted the blame of failure.

Out of the despair evoked by his comrades in the South, Nzeogwu, the ever self-confident young officer, started planning to invade the South. He was soon surprised again to learn that it is not possible as even Ojukwu in Kano refused to cooperate with him. The next four days, which saw him as a "local Brig", to use his own terminology, ended in surrender and retreat to safety at Kiri-Kiri Prison. The tone of the surrender was definitely filled with the characteristic smack of failure. He said: "We have pledged allegiance to General Ironsi on behalf of all men who were for some unknown reasons, referred to as ‘rebels'. We feel that it is absurd that men who risked their lives to establish the new regime should be held prisoners. We wanted to change the government for the benefit of everybody else..."

Nzeogwu, for some reasons, was spared the brunt of the law though he did complain about the beatings meted on some of his comrades. He wrote Obasanjo, grumbling, "Koboko & bayonet wounds all over the face & body! It is terrible."

Our Nzeogwu, guaranteed of survival, suddenly took a gentle slide off the ‘revolutionary' track to become engrossed in the mundane, hoping to come out soon to enjoy the very life he denied others, barely a week earlier. Hence, he pleaded with Obasanjo saying, "Please look after my property & my car. At a later stage, I may want the car disposed off if I can get enough to pay off UDC & secure little profit." It was a station of pity, undoubtedly.

In the Sardauna and his policies, the North, the media propaganda and the craze for revolution sweeping across Africa then, there was enough impelling force in the society to ignite what Obasanjo called the "impulsive" Nzeogwu. This in turn resulted in the killings of innocent, mostly northern, senior military officers in addition to Tafawa Balewa, who, as contained in a condolence sent by Dr. Nkrumah, was "a life that might not have been intended as part of the price." For its sympathy, Nkrumah's condolence was rejected.

However, to me, the most surprising thing is how the assassins went Scott-free, despite appeals for an enquiry from personalities like the Sultan. (So, insensitivity of leaders is nothing new.) Nzeogwu and his colleagues were never court-martialed. Instead, they remained on government payroll and were set free after some few months of protective custody. They were allowed to communicate with their families and friends. Nzeogwu had even the chance to fight on the Biafran side until he was killed. What is still more perplexing was that the Federal Government, then led by a northerner, Gowon, returned his body to Kaduna and gave it the honour of a military burial. This guy, I concluded, must have done something grossly appreciating to both governments of Ironsi and Gowon! This act alone suggests that Nzeogwu was simply a tool in the hands of superior officers, including some northerners, who emerged as major beneficiaries of his action.

As a friend, Obasanjo refused to be critical in the biography. He tactfully avoided any direct condemnation or explicit support for Nzeogwu or his action, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, three remarks would have been avoided because they contradict the good picture of Nzeogwu that the author laboriously attempted to paint in the concluding part of the book. In one place, describing his shock to the massacre in Kaduna, January 15, Obasanjo wrote: "I thought that even if thugs from Lagos and the West had invaded Kaduna, they would not have committed such an act." So, Mr. Obasanjo, was your friend worse than a thug? In another, he slightly exposed the weak side of his friend, saying, "of course, revolutions have a way of changing their leaders. In an attempt to survive, he (Nzeogwu) may have turned to tribal sentiments for succour and support." So, Obasanjo, do we take it that Nzeogwu died a tribalist? Lastly, as a last tribute, he said his friend "had a dream of a country free of graft and greed..." Yet, this same friend was "even thinking of one day building a hotel in Benin City!" So, in what way was Nzeogwu a revolutionary?

Well, it is a pity that while the impatience of Nzeogwu did not allow him to realize his petit-bourgeois dream, his colleagues in the army – Obasanjo and co – were ‘patient' enough to realize theirs. He only paved the way for them.

January 15, 1966 was undoubtedly the precursor of our unfortunate civil war. It caused the death of a million Nigerians and meted untold hardship to millions more, largely among our Igbo brothers. A stitch in time saves nine. We should endeavor to check the excesses of our youths who appear to be determined but "in a hurry." When Brigadier Ademulegun got wind of the coup, he promptly advised the Army Headquarters in Lagos. He described Nzeogwu as a "young man in a hurry who should be closely watched". It was too late. That might have cost him his life. Perhaps he did not know that the 29-year old was likely behaving with the approval of some of his seniors in the army. By this advice alone, the nation would have been saved the agony of the devastating civil war.

On 20 June 1966, Nzeogwu wrote Obasanjo requesting him to put a defence on his behalf against some inaccuracies in the reporting of Jan 15 events in Kaduna and his status in the army by the media. He said: "As you would appreciate, I am not out there with you to defend myself & so I expect you people to do so for me." Well, it took decades for his best friend to muster the courage to respond. But if its expectation was to improve the image of its subject, the book must have achieved only very little. This is so because public opinion on Nzeogwu has remained divided since January 15, 1966 without any significant cross-carpeting




1 2 3
Nzeogwu
Dr Aliyu U. Tilde posted on 01-15-2010, 13:56:13 PM

"Nzeogwu"alt

Today is January 15. On a day like this in 1966, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu staged the first coup in Nigerian history. It took over thirty years before his best friend Obasanjo told the world what he knows about him in a book titled Nzeogwu. I have reviewed below and reached three important conclusions: 1) Youths who appear self-disciplined and daring should be watched closely. This is further confirmed by the recent unfortunate story of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. 2) Though the January 15 coup did change the history of the country, it did not change any of the fundamental flaws in its composition or improved the quality of its administration. Nzeogwu's maiden speech would perfectly suit the listeners of today if a coup were to be staged. 3). Nzeogwu was simply a scapegoat. He was not alone. The complicity of even some northern officers who might have been working in tandem with some powerful figures in the region can clearly be discerned from the manner they spared and honoured the assassins.


I have since developed my doubts about the popular theories proffered to explain the sad event. His story is akin to that of Murtala, who suffered the same fate of betrayal of his principles. Incidentally, while Obasanjo was the closest friend of Nzeogwu when the latter staged his coup in 1966, he was as well the deputy of Murtala ten years later. And, as some said, he went into hiding in far away Maiduguri after the 1966 Coup, he also disappeared soon after Murtala was killed. Mhm.


I will be very glad if my readers would send me their well reasoned opinions on January 15. I understand that it means different things to different people. Though the atmosphere in the country remains the same if not more desperate, it is incapable of producing another Nzeogwu. Happy reading.


Parents, elders and leaders throughout history have had cause to keep an eye on a rare type of youth who has the capacity either to bring success or attract disaster to his people. Such youth tends to have a largess of candor, self-discipline, determination and other meritorious habits. If he will attract disaster, however, some blameworthy ones, especially exuberance and impatience, will escort these praiseworthy habits.


Nzeogwu, the biography of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, written by his best-known friend, General Olusegun Obasanjo, makes an interesting reading in this respect. There could be dozens of hypotheses on January 15, 1966 coup. Many commentators, like Kirk-Greene in Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria I, said, "The truth will never be satisfactorily established", given the death of its chief actors. Many of those hypotheses were postulated not to explain, but to conceal the truth for sheer mischief in some intellectual-cum-political provinces. What cannot be disputed, however, was the role played by Nzeogwu, its principal architect. His published biography has given additional insights into the personal traits that led to the unfortunate event.


We are bound to believe Obasanjo in his narration, given the fact that he was the closest friend of Nzeogwu, and vice-versa. He gave us a picture of this young man, growing away from his roots in the South-east, among his parents in the new city of Kaduna. He attended a missionary school where he portrayed hard work, zeal, rectitude, discipline and so on. A lovely chap, in short. The same beautiful picture was painted to describe his carrier in the army: still hard working, amiable and disciplined. Even when women, cigarettes and beer were the habits of his colleagues, Nzeogwu exercised restraint, paying attention to his carrier, books and music.


What would, however, be relevant to the psychologist is any information that will give ‘clues' to the emergence of a rebel, clues that will be cast against the background of social factors that obtained in Nzeogwu's environment, within the army and the Nigerian society at large. Fortunately, the book Nzeogwu has a lot to offer in this respect.


As a child, Obasanjo wrote, Nzeogwu "consistently showed his strong will and determination. When he fought his playmates he was always determined and never gave up, even against the bigger boys." I would say this is typical of most Igbo children. In his early school days, he was "very inquisitive and precocious. He would ask his teachers endless questions." Growing in neighborhood of soldiers during the Second World War, he came into contact with the army and became fascinated with them. "He began to gather his little admirers together, and with a rough wooden stick, he would line them up on parade and shout orders in a high pitched military fashion."


Later at Saint John's College, Kaduna, "he was nicknamed "major" for his soldier-like behavior." At this stage, the rebel in him started to manifest, glaringly. Not surprising, he was certainly not the favorite of his teachers. He protested against what he perceived as injustice. In the final year he was rusticated for leading a student protest against what one would consider a strictly official matter, an examination policy.


Another aspect was the contribution of the revolutionary literature he was exposed to as a teen. "He was fond of giving lectures on Marshall Tito and his guerilla activities in Yugoslavia during the Nazi era... Nzeogwu spent long hours in the library, immersed in the stories of famous people…" Elders and teachers are not usually impressed by such students, who fail to concentrate on what is relevant at school, who are in a hurry to pull the future nearer and faster than usual. I remember my father used to detest this habit in me at the university. No wonder the teachers at Saint John's were not impressed by this behavior from an average student. His classmates "thought him rather eccentric."


An "eccentric" Nzegwu was to manifest again in his military carrier. We were told how he refused to carry out an assignment as directed by his company commander, the late Brig. Maimalari. When Maimalari warned against disobedience without being specific, Nzeogwu confided in Obasanjo, saying, "You know he was referring to me but I have finished the work the way I believe it should be done and there is no need for change." But the rancour did run deeper. When Maimalari left them for Nigeria, Nzeogwu told his friend: "I know that our being together might have cost me my career…"


Background and immaturity might have connived to accentuate detest in Nzeogwu's perception of his society. Unfortunately for Nigeria, other members of his privileged group of army officers shared this shortcoming. Thus, the country has for over three decades been held hostage by their inexperience. In Leadership and Governance in Nigeria, Dr. Mahmud Tukur said, "Reform, revolution and even rebellion have an aura of romance about them. They evoke excitement and enthusiasm in many hearts and minds – especially the youthful and the inexperienced. The unfolding events of 1966 to date (1993) have amply demonstrated this."


Without skills in politics, Nzeogwu must have swallowed the propaganda of the media. Nowhere was this expressed than in his maiden address on January 15. He announced that "our enemies are the political profiteers, swindlers, the men in the high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten per cent, those that seek to divide the country permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers and VIPs of waste, the tribalists, the nopotists…that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds." Suffice it to say that in the decades that followed, his former compatriots must have read his rhetoric as immature. Let him rise from his grave and see in them the more profound expression of the very habits he renounced.


His inexperience has made it difficult for him to differentiate between the real and the fictitious. He thought, from his ‘revolutionary' scholarship and the few weapons at his disposal, that a revolution targeted at killing some "key" personalities in the regime will pave way to the establishment of a society that is "free from fear and other forms of oppression..."


It was unfortunate that Nzeogwu's lessons in practical politics started with this blunder and from the very day he made that speech. He must have been surprised at how the whole mission was interpreted as a tribal affair, emanating from the conduct of his comrades in the South, the group to which Obasanjo and his friend always shifted the blame of failure.


Out of the despair evoked by his comrades in the South, Nzeogwu, the ever self-confident young officer, started planning to invade the South. He was soon surprised again to learn that it is not possible as even Ojukwu in Kano refused to cooperate with him. The next four days, which saw him as a "local Brig", to use his own terminology, ended in surrender and retreat to safety at Kiri-Kiri Prison. The tone of the surrender was definitely filled with the characteristic smack of failure. He said: "We have pledged allegiance to General Ironsi on behalf of all men who were for some unknown reasons, referred to as ‘rebels'. We feel that it is absurd that men who risked their lives to establish the new regime should be held prisoners. We wanted to change the government for the benefit of everybody else..."


Nzeogwu, for some reasons, was spared the brunt of the law though he did complain about the beatings meted on some of his comrades. He wrote Obasanjo, grumbling, "Koboko & bayonet wounds all over the face & body! It is terrible."


Our Nzeogwu, guaranteed of survival, suddenly took a gentle slide off the ‘revolutionary' track to become engrossed in the mundane, hoping to come out soon to enjoy the very life he denied others, barely a week earlier. Hence, he pleaded with Obasanjo saying, "Please look after my property & my car. At a later stage, I may want the car disposed off if I can get enough to pay off UDC & secure little profit." It was a station of pity, undoubtedly.


In the Sardauna and his policies, the North, the media propaganda and the craze for revolution sweeping across Africa then, there was enough impelling force in the society to ignite what Obasanjo called the "impulsive" Nzeogwu. This in turn resulted in the killings of innocent, mostly northern, senior military officers in addition to Tafawa Balewa, who, as contained in a condolence sent by Dr. Nkrumah, was "a life that might not have been intended as part of the price." For its sympathy, Nkrumah's condolence was rejected.


However, to me, the most surprising thing is how the assassins went Scott-free, despite appeals for an enquiry from personalities like the Sultan. (So, insensitivity of leaders is nothing new.) Nzeogwu and his colleagues were never court-martialed. Instead, they remained on government payroll and were set free after some few months of protective custody. They were allowed to communicate with their families and friends. Nzeogwu had even the chance to fight on the Biafran side until he was killed. What is still more perplexing was that the Federal Government, then led by a northerner, Gowon, returned his body to Kaduna and gave it the honour of a military burial. This guy, I concluded, must have done something grossly appreciating to both governments of Ironsi and Gowon! This act alone suggests that Nzeogwu was simply a tool in the hands of superior officers, including some northerners, who emerged as major beneficiaries of his action.


As a friend, Obasanjo refused to be critical in the biography. He tactfully avoided any direct condemnation or explicit support for Nzeogwu or his action, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, three remarks would have been avoided because they contradict the good picture of Nzeogwu that the author laboriously attempted to paint in the concluding part of the book. In one place, describing his shock to the massacre in Kaduna, January 15, Obasanjo wrote: "I thought that even if thugs from Lagos and the West had invaded Kaduna, they would not have committed such an act." So, Mr. Obasanjo, was your friend worse than a thug? In another, he slightly exposed the weak side of his friend, saying, "of course, revolutions have a way of changing their leaders. In an attempt to survive, he (Nzeogwu) may have turned to tribal sentiments for succour and support." So, Obasanjo, do we take it that Nzeogwu died a tribalist? Lastly, as a last tribute, he said his friend "had a dream of a country free of graft and greed..." Yet, this same friend was "even thinking of one day building a hotel in Benin City!" So, in what way was Nzeogwu a revolutionary?


Well, it is a pity that while the impatience of Nzeogwu did not allow him to realize his petit-bourgeois dream, his colleagues in the army – Obasanjo and co – were ‘patient' enough to realize theirs. He only paved the way for them.


January 15, 1966 was undoubtedly the precursor of our unfortunate civil war. It caused the death of a million Nigerians and meted untold hardship to millions more, largely among our Igbo brothers. A stitch in time saves nine. We should endeavor to check the excesses of our youths who appear to be determined but "in a hurry." When Brigadier Ademulegun got wind of the coup, he promptly advised the Army Headquarters in Lagos. He described Nzeogwu as a "young man in a hurry who should be closely watched". It was too late. That might have cost him his life. Perhaps he did not know that the 29-year old was likely behaving with the approval of some of his seniors in the army. By this advice alone, the nation would have been saved the agony of the devastating civil war.


On 20 June 1966, Nzeogwu wrote Obasanjo requesting him to put a defence on his behalf against some inaccuracies in the reporting of Jan 15 events in Kaduna and his status in the army by the media. He said: "As you would appreciate, I am not out there with you to defend myself & so I expect you people to do so for me." Well, it took decades for his best friend to muster the courage to respond. But if its expectation was to improve the image of its subject, the book must have achieved only very little. This is so because public opinion on Nzeogwu has remained divided since January 15, 1966 without any significant cross-carpeting







..Read the full article
Re: Nzeogwu
Tiger posted on 01-15-2010, 13:56:13 PM

"Nzeogwu"alt

Today is January 15. On a day like this in 1966, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu staged the first coup in Nigerian history. It took over thirty years before his best friend Obasanjo told the world what he knows about him in a book titled Nzeogwu. I have reviewed below and reached three important conclusions: 1) Youths who appear self-disciplined and daring should be watched closely. This is further confirmed by the recent unfortunate story of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. 2) Though the January 15 coup did change the history of the country, it did not change any of the fundamental flaws in its composition or improved the quality of its administration. Nzeogwu's maiden speech would perfectly suit the listeners of today if a coup were to be staged. 3). Nzeogwu was simply a scapegoat. He was not alone. The complicity of even some northern officers who might have been working in tandem with some powerful figures in the region can clearly be discerned from the manner they spared and honoured the assassins.


I have since developed my doubts about the popular theories proffered to explain the sad event. His story is akin to that of Murtala, who suffered the same fate of betrayal of his principles. Incidentally, while Obasanjo was the closest friend of Nzeogwu when the latter staged his coup in 1966, he was as well the deputy of Murtala ten years later. And, as some said, he went into hiding in far away Maiduguri after the 1966 Coup, he also disappeared soon after Murtala was killed. Mhm.


I will be very glad if my readers would send me their well reasoned opinions on January 15. I understand that it means different things to different people. Though the atmosphere in the country remains the same if not more desperate, it is incapable of producing another Nzeogwu. Happy reading.


Parents, elders and leaders throughout history have had cause to keep an eye on a rare type of youth who has the capacity either to bring success or attract disaster to his people. Such youth tends to have a largess of candor, self-discipline, determination and other meritorious habits. If he will attract disaster, however, some blameworthy ones, especially exuberance and impatience, will escort these praiseworthy habits.


Nzeogwu, the biography of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, written by his best-known friend, General Olusegun Obasanjo, makes an interesting reading in this respect. There could be dozens of hypotheses on January 15, 1966 coup. Many commentators, like Kirk-Greene in Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria I, said, "The truth will never be satisfactorily established", given the death of its chief actors. Many of those hypotheses were postulated not to explain, but to conceal the truth for sheer mischief in some intellectual-cum-political provinces. What cannot be disputed, however, was the role played by Nzeogwu, its principal architect. His published biography has given additional insights into the personal traits that led to the unfortunate event.


We are bound to believe Obasanjo in his narration, given the fact that he was the closest friend of Nzeogwu, and vice-versa. He gave us a picture of this young man, growing away from his roots in the South-east, among his parents in the new city of Kaduna. He attended a missionary school where he portrayed hard work, zeal, rectitude, discipline and so on. A lovely chap, in short. The same beautiful picture was painted to describe his carrier in the army: still hard working, amiable and disciplined. Even when women, cigarettes and beer were the habits of his colleagues, Nzeogwu exercised restraint, paying attention to his carrier, books and music.


What would, however, be relevant to the psychologist is any information that will give ‘clues' to the emergence of a rebel, clues that will be cast against the background of social factors that obtained in Nzeogwu's environment, within the army and the Nigerian society at large. Fortunately, the book Nzeogwu has a lot to offer in this respect.


As a child, Obasanjo wrote, Nzeogwu "consistently showed his strong will and determination. When he fought his playmates he was always determined and never gave up, even against the bigger boys." I would say this is typical of most Igbo children. In his early school days, he was "very inquisitive and precocious. He would ask his teachers endless questions." Growing in neighborhood of soldiers during the Second World War, he came into contact with the army and became fascinated with them. "He began to gather his little admirers together, and with a rough wooden stick, he would line them up on parade and shout orders in a high pitched military fashion."


Later at Saint John's College, Kaduna, "he was nicknamed "major" for his soldier-like behavior." At this stage, the rebel in him started to manifest, glaringly. Not surprising, he was certainly not the favorite of his teachers. He protested against what he perceived as injustice. In the final year he was rusticated for leading a student protest against what one would consider a strictly official matter, an examination policy.


Another aspect was the contribution of the revolutionary literature he was exposed to as a teen. "He was fond of giving lectures on Marshall Tito and his guerilla activities in Yugoslavia during the Nazi era... Nzeogwu spent long hours in the library, immersed in the stories of famous people…" Elders and teachers are not usually impressed by such students, who fail to concentrate on what is relevant at school, who are in a hurry to pull the future nearer and faster than usual. I remember my father used to detest this habit in me at the university. No wonder the teachers at Saint John's were not impressed by this behavior from an average student. His classmates "thought him rather eccentric."


An "eccentric" Nzegwu was to manifest again in his military carrier. We were told how he refused to carry out an assignment as directed by his company commander, the late Brig. Maimalari. When Maimalari warned against disobedience without being specific, Nzeogwu confided in Obasanjo, saying, "You know he was referring to me but I have finished the work the way I believe it should be done and there is no need for change." But the rancour did run deeper. When Maimalari left them for Nigeria, Nzeogwu told his friend: "I know that our being together might have cost me my career…"


Background and immaturity might have connived to accentuate detest in Nzeogwu's perception of his society. Unfortunately for Nigeria, other members of his privileged group of army officers shared this shortcoming. Thus, the country has for over three decades been held hostage by their inexperience. In Leadership and Governance in Nigeria, Dr. Mahmud Tukur said, "Reform, revolution and even rebellion have an aura of romance about them. They evoke excitement and enthusiasm in many hearts and minds – especially the youthful and the inexperienced. The unfolding events of 1966 to date (1993) have amply demonstrated this."


Without skills in politics, Nzeogwu must have swallowed the propaganda of the media. Nowhere was this expressed than in his maiden address on January 15. He announced that "our enemies are the political profiteers, swindlers, the men in the high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten per cent, those that seek to divide the country permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers and VIPs of waste, the tribalists, the nopotists…that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds." Suffice it to say that in the decades that followed, his former compatriots must have read his rhetoric as immature. Let him rise from his grave and see in them the more profound expression of the very habits he renounced.


His inexperience has made it difficult for him to differentiate between the real and the fictitious. He thought, from his ‘revolutionary' scholarship and the few weapons at his disposal, that a revolution targeted at killing some "key" personalities in the regime will pave way to the establishment of a society that is "free from fear and other forms of oppression..."


It was unfortunate that Nzeogwu's lessons in practical politics started with this blunder and from the very day he made that speech. He must have been surprised at how the whole mission was interpreted as a tribal affair, emanating from the conduct of his comrades in the South, the group to which Obasanjo and his friend always shifted the blame of failure.


Out of the despair evoked by his comrades in the South, Nzeogwu, the ever self-confident young officer, started planning to invade the South. He was soon surprised again to learn that it is not possible as even Ojukwu in Kano refused to cooperate with him. The next four days, which saw him as a "local Brig", to use his own terminology, ended in surrender and retreat to safety at Kiri-Kiri Prison. The tone of the surrender was definitely filled with the characteristic smack of failure. He said: "We have pledged allegiance to General Ironsi on behalf of all men who were for some unknown reasons, referred to as ‘rebels'. We feel that it is absurd that men who risked their lives to establish the new regime should be held prisoners. We wanted to change the government for the benefit of everybody else..."


Nzeogwu, for some reasons, was spared the brunt of the law though he did complain about the beatings meted on some of his comrades. He wrote Obasanjo, grumbling, "Koboko & bayonet wounds all over the face & body! It is terrible."


Our Nzeogwu, guaranteed of survival, suddenly took a gentle slide off the ‘revolutionary' track to become engrossed in the mundane, hoping to come out soon to enjoy the very life he denied others, barely a week earlier. Hence, he pleaded with Obasanjo saying, "Please look after my property & my car. At a later stage, I may want the car disposed off if I can get enough to pay off UDC & secure little profit." It was a station of pity, undoubtedly.


In the Sardauna and his policies, the North, the media propaganda and the craze for revolution sweeping across Africa then, there was enough impelling force in the society to ignite what Obasanjo called the "impulsive" Nzeogwu. This in turn resulted in the killings of innocent, mostly northern, senior military officers in addition to Tafawa Balewa, who, as contained in a condolence sent by Dr. Nkrumah, was "a life that might not have been intended as part of the price." For its sympathy, Nkrumah's condolence was rejected.


However, to me, the most surprising thing is how the assassins went Scott-free, despite appeals for an enquiry from personalities like the Sultan. (So, insensitivity of leaders is nothing new.) Nzeogwu and his colleagues were never court-martialed. Instead, they remained on government payroll and were set free after some few months of protective custody. They were allowed to communicate with their families and friends. Nzeogwu had even the chance to fight on the Biafran side until he was killed. What is still more perplexing was that the Federal Government, then led by a northerner, Gowon, returned his body to Kaduna and gave it the honour of a military burial. This guy, I concluded, must have done something grossly appreciating to both governments of Ironsi and Gowon! This act alone suggests that Nzeogwu was simply a tool in the hands of superior officers, including some northerners, who emerged as major beneficiaries of his action.


As a friend, Obasanjo refused to be critical in the biography. He tactfully avoided any direct condemnation or explicit support for Nzeogwu or his action, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, three remarks would have been avoided because they contradict the good picture of Nzeogwu that the author laboriously attempted to paint in the concluding part of the book. In one place, describing his shock to the massacre in Kaduna, January 15, Obasanjo wrote: "I thought that even if thugs from Lagos and the West had invaded Kaduna, they would not have committed such an act." So, Mr. Obasanjo, was your friend worse than a thug? In another, he slightly exposed the weak side of his friend, saying, "of course, revolutions have a way of changing their leaders. In an attempt to survive, he (Nzeogwu) may have turned to tribal sentiments for succour and support." So, Obasanjo, do we take it that Nzeogwu died a tribalist? Lastly, as a last tribute, he said his friend "had a dream of a country free of graft and greed..." Yet, this same friend was "even thinking of one day building a hotel in Benin City!" So, in what way was Nzeogwu a revolutionary?


Well, it is a pity that while the impatience of Nzeogwu did not allow him to realize his petit-bourgeois dream, his colleagues in the army – Obasanjo and co – were ‘patient' enough to realize theirs. He only paved the way for them.


January 15, 1966 was undoubtedly the precursor of our unfortunate civil war. It caused the death of a million Nigerians and meted untold hardship to millions more, largely among our Igbo brothers. A stitch in time saves nine. We should endeavor to check the excesses of our youths who appear to be determined but "in a hurry." When Brigadier Ademulegun got wind of the coup, he promptly advised the Army Headquarters in Lagos. He described Nzeogwu as a "young man in a hurry who should be closely watched". It was too late. That might have cost him his life. Perhaps he did not know that the 29-year old was likely behaving with the approval of some of his seniors in the army. By this advice alone, the nation would have been saved the agony of the devastating civil war.


On 20 June 1966, Nzeogwu wrote Obasanjo requesting him to put a defence on his behalf against some inaccuracies in the reporting of Jan 15 events in Kaduna and his status in the army by the media. He said: "As you would appreciate, I am not out there with you to defend myself & so I expect you people to do so for me." Well, it took decades for his best friend to muster the courage to respond. But if its expectation was to improve the image of its subject, the book must have achieved only very little. This is so because public opinion on Nzeogwu has remained divided since January 15, 1966 without any significant cross-carpeting





..Read the full article
Re: Nzeogwu
Harmonious posted on 01-15-2010, 13:56:13 PM

"Nzeogwu"alt

Today is January 15. On a day like this in 1966, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu staged the first coup in Nigerian history. It took over thirty years before his best friend Obasanjo told the world what he knows about him in a book titled Nzeogwu. I have reviewed below and reached three important conclusions: 1) Youths who appear self-disciplined and daring should be watched closely. This is further confirmed by the recent unfortunate story of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. 2) Though the January 15 coup did change the history of the country, it did not change any of the fundamental flaws in its composition or improved the quality of its administration. Nzeogwu's maiden speech would perfectly suit the listeners of today if a coup were to be staged. 3). Nzeogwu was simply a scapegoat. He was not alone. The complicity of even some northern officers who might have been working in tandem with some powerful figures in the region can clearly be discerned from the manner they spared and honoured the assassins.


I have since developed my doubts about the popular theories proffered to explain the sad event. His story is akin to that of Murtala, who suffered the same fate of betrayal of his principles. Incidentally, while Obasanjo was the closest friend of Nzeogwu when the latter staged his coup in 1966, he was as well the deputy of Murtala ten years later. And, as some said, he went into hiding in far away Maiduguri after the 1966 Coup, he also disappeared soon after Murtala was killed. Mhm.


I will be very glad if my readers would send me their well reasoned opinions on January 15. I understand that it means different things to different people. Though the atmosphere in the country remains the same if not more desperate, it is incapable of producing another Nzeogwu. Happy reading.


Parents, elders and leaders throughout history have had cause to keep an eye on a rare type of youth who has the capacity either to bring success or attract disaster to his people. Such youth tends to have a largess of candor, self-discipline, determination and other meritorious habits. If he will attract disaster, however, some blameworthy ones, especially exuberance and impatience, will escort these praiseworthy habits.


Nzeogwu, the biography of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, written by his best-known friend, General Olusegun Obasanjo, makes an interesting reading in this respect. There could be dozens of hypotheses on January 15, 1966 coup. Many commentators, like Kirk-Greene in Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria I, said, "The truth will never be satisfactorily established", given the death of its chief actors. Many of those hypotheses were postulated not to explain, but to conceal the truth for sheer mischief in some intellectual-cum-political provinces. What cannot be disputed, however, was the role played by Nzeogwu, its principal architect. His published biography has given additional insights into the personal traits that led to the unfortunate event.


We are bound to believe Obasanjo in his narration, given the fact that he was the closest friend of Nzeogwu, and vice-versa. He gave us a picture of this young man, growing away from his roots in the South-east, among his parents in the new city of Kaduna. He attended a missionary school where he portrayed hard work, zeal, rectitude, discipline and so on. A lovely chap, in short. The same beautiful picture was painted to describe his carrier in the army: still hard working, amiable and disciplined. Even when women, cigarettes and beer were the habits of his colleagues, Nzeogwu exercised restraint, paying attention to his carrier, books and music.


What would, however, be relevant to the psychologist is any information that will give ‘clues' to the emergence of a rebel, clues that will be cast against the background of social factors that obtained in Nzeogwu's environment, within the army and the Nigerian society at large. Fortunately, the book Nzeogwu has a lot to offer in this respect.


As a child, Obasanjo wrote, Nzeogwu "consistently showed his strong will and determination. When he fought his playmates he was always determined and never gave up, even against the bigger boys." I would say this is typical of most Igbo children. In his early school days, he was "very inquisitive and precocious. He would ask his teachers endless questions." Growing in neighborhood of soldiers during the Second World War, he came into contact with the army and became fascinated with them. "He began to gather his little admirers together, and with a rough wooden stick, he would line them up on parade and shout orders in a high pitched military fashion."


Later at Saint John's College, Kaduna, "he was nicknamed "major" for his soldier-like behavior." At this stage, the rebel in him started to manifest, glaringly. Not surprising, he was certainly not the favorite of his teachers. He protested against what he perceived as injustice. In the final year he was rusticated for leading a student protest against what one would consider a strictly official matter, an examination policy.


Another aspect was the contribution of the revolutionary literature he was exposed to as a teen. "He was fond of giving lectures on Marshall Tito and his guerilla activities in Yugoslavia during the Nazi era... Nzeogwu spent long hours in the library, immersed in the stories of famous people…" Elders and teachers are not usually impressed by such students, who fail to concentrate on what is relevant at school, who are in a hurry to pull the future nearer and faster than usual. I remember my father used to detest this habit in me at the university. No wonder the teachers at Saint John's were not impressed by this behavior from an average student. His classmates "thought him rather eccentric."


An "eccentric" Nzegwu was to manifest again in his military carrier. We were told how he refused to carry out an assignment as directed by his company commander, the late Brig. Maimalari. When Maimalari warned against disobedience without being specific, Nzeogwu confided in Obasanjo, saying, "You know he was referring to me but I have finished the work the way I believe it should be done and there is no need for change." But the rancour did run deeper. When Maimalari left them for Nigeria, Nzeogwu told his friend: "I know that our being together might have cost me my career…"


Background and immaturity might have connived to accentuate detest in Nzeogwu's perception of his society. Unfortunately for Nigeria, other members of his privileged group of army officers shared this shortcoming. Thus, the country has for over three decades been held hostage by their inexperience. In Leadership and Governance in Nigeria, Dr. Mahmud Tukur said, "Reform, revolution and even rebellion have an aura of romance about them. They evoke excitement and enthusiasm in many hearts and minds – especially the youthful and the inexperienced. The unfolding events of 1966 to date (1993) have amply demonstrated this."


Without skills in politics, Nzeogwu must have swallowed the propaganda of the media. Nowhere was this expressed than in his maiden address on January 15. He announced that "our enemies are the political profiteers, swindlers, the men in the high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten per cent, those that seek to divide the country permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers and VIPs of waste, the tribalists, the nopotists…that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds." Suffice it to say that in the decades that followed, his former compatriots must have read his rhetoric as immature. Let him rise from his grave and see in them the more profound expression of the very habits he renounced.


His inexperience has made it difficult for him to differentiate between the real and the fictitious. He thought, from his ‘revolutionary' scholarship and the few weapons at his disposal, that a revolution targeted at killing some "key" personalities in the regime will pave way to the establishment of a society that is "free from fear and other forms of oppression..."


It was unfortunate that Nzeogwu's lessons in practical politics started with this blunder and from the very day he made that speech. He must have been surprised at how the whole mission was interpreted as a tribal affair, emanating from the conduct of his comrades in the South, the group to which Obasanjo and his friend always shifted the blame of failure.


Out of the despair evoked by his comrades in the South, Nzeogwu, the ever self-confident young officer, started planning to invade the South. He was soon surprised again to learn that it is not possible as even Ojukwu in Kano refused to cooperate with him. The next four days, which saw him as a "local Brig", to use his own terminology, ended in surrender and retreat to safety at Kiri-Kiri Prison. The tone of the surrender was definitely filled with the characteristic smack of failure. He said: "We have pledged allegiance to General Ironsi on behalf of all men who were for some unknown reasons, referred to as ‘rebels'. We feel that it is absurd that men who risked their lives to establish the new regime should be held prisoners. We wanted to change the government for the benefit of everybody else..."


Nzeogwu, for some reasons, was spared the brunt of the law though he did complain about the beatings meted on some of his comrades. He wrote Obasanjo, grumbling, "Koboko & bayonet wounds all over the face & body! It is terrible."


Our Nzeogwu, guaranteed of survival, suddenly took a gentle slide off the ‘revolutionary' track to become engrossed in the mundane, hoping to come out soon to enjoy the very life he denied others, barely a week earlier. Hence, he pleaded with Obasanjo saying, "Please look after my property & my car. At a later stage, I may want the car disposed off if I can get enough to pay off UDC & secure little profit." It was a station of pity, undoubtedly.


In the Sardauna and his policies, the North, the media propaganda and the craze for revolution sweeping across Africa then, there was enough impelling force in the society to ignite what Obasanjo called the "impulsive" Nzeogwu. This in turn resulted in the killings of innocent, mostly northern, senior military officers in addition to Tafawa Balewa, who, as contained in a condolence sent by Dr. Nkrumah, was "a life that might not have been intended as part of the price." For its sympathy, Nkrumah's condolence was rejected.


However, to me, the most surprising thing is how the assassins went Scott-free, despite appeals for an enquiry from personalities like the Sultan. (So, insensitivity of leaders is nothing new.) Nzeogwu and his colleagues were never court-martialed. Instead, they remained on government payroll and were set free after some few months of protective custody. They were allowed to communicate with their families and friends. Nzeogwu had even the chance to fight on the Biafran side until he was killed. What is still more perplexing was that the Federal Government, then led by a northerner, Gowon, returned his body to Kaduna and gave it the honour of a military burial. This guy, I concluded, must have done something grossly appreciating to both governments of Ironsi and Gowon! This act alone suggests that Nzeogwu was simply a tool in the hands of superior officers, including some northerners, who emerged as major beneficiaries of his action.


As a friend, Obasanjo refused to be critical in the biography. He tactfully avoided any direct condemnation or explicit support for Nzeogwu or his action, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, three remarks would have been avoided because they contradict the good picture of Nzeogwu that the author laboriously attempted to paint in the concluding part of the book. In one place, describing his shock to the massacre in Kaduna, January 15, Obasanjo wrote: "I thought that even if thugs from Lagos and the West had invaded Kaduna, they would not have committed such an act." So, Mr. Obasanjo, was your friend worse than a thug? In another, he slightly exposed the weak side of his friend, saying, "of course, revolutions have a way of changing their leaders. In an attempt to survive, he (Nzeogwu) may have turned to tribal sentiments for succour and support." So, Obasanjo, do we take it that Nzeogwu died a tribalist? Lastly, as a last tribute, he said his friend "had a dream of a country free of graft and greed..." Yet, this same friend was "even thinking of one day building a hotel in Benin City!" So, in what way was Nzeogwu a revolutionary?


Well, it is a pity that while the impatience of Nzeogwu did not allow him to realize his petit-bourgeois dream, his colleagues in the army – Obasanjo and co – were ‘patient' enough to realize theirs. He only paved the way for them.


January 15, 1966 was undoubtedly the precursor of our unfortunate civil war. It caused the death of a million Nigerians and meted untold hardship to millions more, largely among our Igbo brothers. A stitch in time saves nine. We should endeavor to check the excesses of our youths who appear to be determined but "in a hurry." When Brigadier Ademulegun got wind of the coup, he promptly advised the Army Headquarters in Lagos. He described Nzeogwu as a "young man in a hurry who should be closely watched". It was too late. That might have cost him his life. Perhaps he did not know that the 29-year old was likely behaving with the approval of some of his seniors in the army. By this advice alone, the nation would have been saved the agony of the devastating civil war.


On 20 June 1966, Nzeogwu wrote Obasanjo requesting him to put a defence on his behalf against some inaccuracies in the reporting of Jan 15 events in Kaduna and his status in the army by the media. He said: "As you would appreciate, I am not out there with you to defend myself & so I expect you people to do so for me." Well, it took decades for his best friend to muster the courage to respond. But if its expectation was to improve the image of its subject, the book must have achieved only very little. This is so because public opinion on Nzeogwu has remained divided since January 15, 1966 without any significant cross-carpeting





..Read the full article
Re: Nzeogwu
Bamaguje posted on 01-15-2010, 15:39:32 PM
QUOTE:
Youths who appear self-disciplined and daring should be watched closely. This is further confirmed by the recent unfortunate story of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.


This is probably the most nonsensical and insulting disservice to Major Nzeogwu that I've ever read. To compare Nzeogwu, a national hero (albeit misguided) who was motivated by patriotism to positively change our country, with a lowlife Muslim terrorist (AbdulMutallab) infatuated with prostitutes in Islam's brothel paradise (Al-Jannah), is unpardonably idiotic.

Granted that there was obvious ethnic bent in the January '66 "Igbo coup", which selectively targeted northern leaders, while sparing Igbo leaders.
But then it must be understood that Nigeria's political power then resided in the North with Ahmadu Bello, the Northern Premier teleguiding his lieutenant Tafawa Balewa the supposed Prime Minister.
Igbo (NCNC) participation in the first republic Federal government was largely ceremonial as the real executive power lay in Arewa.

Since coup d'etats are about toppling those in power, it's no surprise therefore that northern leaders were preferentially massacred.
Thus even Northern officers realised that despite the apparent Igbo coloration of the coup, Nzeogwu's agenda was nationalistic not tribal. Hence the post-coup Northern dominated military made no attempt to prosecute him, or as Tilde writes - Nzeogwu was spared the brunt of the law.

QUOTE:
We are bound to believe Obasanjo in his narration, given the fact that he was the closest friend to Nzeowgu.


We are not bound to believe anything the treacherous Ota farmer writes.
I seriously doubt that Obasanjo and Nzeogwu were "best friends", otherwise OBJ would have been among the January '66 coup plotters.

In the cloak & dagger world of coup plotting where trust is vital, best friends would be working together. That OBJ was not involved in the Jan' 66 coup suggests that Nzeogwu didn't trust him...unless there's something Aremu isn't telling us.
Re: Nzeogwu
Harmonious posted on 01-15-2010, 16:58:51 PM
QUOTE:

We are not bound to believe anything the treacherous Ota farmer writes.
I seriously doubt that Obasanjo and Nzeogwu were \"best friends\", otherwise OBJ would have been among the January '66 coup plotters.

In the cloak & dagger world of coup plotting where trust is vital, best friends would be working together. That OBJ was not involved in the Jan' 66 coup suggests that Nzeogwu didn't trust him...unless there's something Aremu isn't telling us.


Obasanjo and Nzeogwu were best of friends. The recent book by Mrs. Remi Obasanjo (Obasanjo's estranged wife) corroborates this fact. The coup was planned while Obasanjo was abroad on a military course and executed just days after his return to the country. When Nzeogwu received shrapnel wounds from a grenade exploded at Sir Ahmadu Bello's compound and had to be operated, he refused to receive anesthesia unless Obasanjo was present while he was unconscious.

While in prison he wrote to Obasanjo more than anyone and asked him to look after his family if anything happened to him. After his death Obasanjo cared for Nzeogwu's mother and siblings and single handedly educated them all.

When Obasanjo was released from prison in 1998, his first port of call before going to Otta was to visit Nzeogwu's mother at Okpanam before he went to Otta. Remaining close to her till her death while he was president.

Going by the above I would say that Obasanjo and Nzeogwu were best of friends and confidantes to each other.
Re: Nzeogwu
Agidimolaja posted on 01-16-2010, 00:57:10 AM
Dr. Aliyu and others, pls lend me your ears.

1.The truth is that the coup of Jan 15, 1966 was not staged by Major Nzeogwu,he was only an active participant in the coup.It is therefore incorrect to call it "Nzeogwu's coup".

Although Nzeogwu wasgreatly involved inthe coup and he was more popular in it than others,possibly because of his assignment,thekilling of Sir Ahmadu Bello, neverthelessthe coup was nothis brain work.

The architect of the coup and its chief planner was Major Ifeajuna. It was Major Ifeajuna who first concieved the coup and then recruited the other Majors of like mind.Remember Nigeria's five Majors - Majors Ifeajuna, Nzeogwu, Okafor, Ademoyega and Anuforo.

2.Obj was Nzeogwu's close or best friend, there should be no doubt about that.Consider also the fact that,Obj,after returning from abroad on coursewent all the way to Kaduna to spend time with his friend,Nzeogwu,before he{Obj} will report back for work.

The planning of the coup was already at an advanced stage when Obj surfaced inNzeogwu's house where finishing touches was being put on the coup. Sensibly speaking, it was too late to bring in a new person regardless of how close he is to one of the plotters hence Obj was not even informed of the coup let alone be brought into it.

It therefore had nothing to do with the issue of best friend or not.

3.It is not true that Obj went into hiding somewhere in Maiduguri. Whoever told you so lied to you.

Obj did not do anything wrong by briefly going into hiding on the morning of Feb13, 1976 when Muritala was brought down. Others went into hiding too, at least briefly.

Also, Obj could not have written any book on Nzeogwu while he was still in service hence the writing of the book came few years after his disengagement with the military. Is that not normal enough?

4.Nzeogwu was not tribalistic, so also were other chief coup planners. Those that were slated to be brought down cut across tribal lines as there were Igbos among of them like Gen. Ironsi and Premier Okpara.

Some of those that were later brought into the coup's execution however displayed some aspects of tribalism which gave the coupbad name and which contributed to its failure and other unfortunate events that followed.

Trust me, if Gen.Ironsi and Premier Okpara were brought down like others from other Regions, the coup would never have been any kind of tribal suspicions.

But the sparing of Eastern leaders painted the coup with horror paintbrush and the rest is history.

5.Whoever told you that the coup plotters were released and were walking around freely and collecting their salaries etc as you alleged also lied to you.

They were detained at Kirikiri Prison before Col Emeka Ojukwu advised Gen. Ironsi to move them out to prisons in the East for security purposes' hence some were moved to Uyo Prison and some to Koko in Mid-West.

Those detained in Uyo regained their freedom after the declaration of Biafra while those detained in Mid-West also regained their freedom when Biafra invaded Mid-West.

6. The fact that no head rolled inEastern Region while most of the coup plotters were Easterners was among thereasons the North gave for staging the coup of July29, 1966 whereby Gen. Ironsi was killed.

It was widely rumoured that Papa Zikwas informed of the coup and was made to leave the country before the day leopard will leap just as Gen. Ironsi was informed and escaped on the night of the coup.

Nevertheless, tribal consideration was not in the planning of the coup.

7. It is not true also that Nzeogwu and his men were tools at the hand ofsome masquerades, either Southern or Northern. The plotters acted on their own.They did not get anyassistance from any person or group of persons. Their efforts were however hijacked as personal successes by others who worked against theminbringing down the revolution. They reapedhuge hrvest from where they did not sow!

8. It is unfortunate that Nzeogwu ended like someother leaders ended, poorly! I'm still wondering why he was buried in Kaduna with full military honour,considering the fact that he died as a rebel fighting Federal troops but not as revolutionary army Major that he used to be.

J. S.Tarka was a MIddle Belt advocate and crusader. For several years he fought against NPC with his own Middle Belt Movement political party.

Instead for Tarka tobring the fight and the struggle into the second republic, he however buried his revolutionary ideology and teamed up with NPN political party which was the new version of NPC that he was waring against in the first republic.Poor Tarka!

Emeka Ojukwu boasted offighting till the last man in Biafra. There were however millions of people left in Biafra when Emeka gave up and fled without even informing his followers.

I possibly could have continued to consider Nzeogwu a hero if he did not make thefatal mistake of fighting on Biafra's side against Nigeria which hesaid that he still believe in and is still part of.

But Nzeogwu took up arms and fought against Nigeria, possibly killing as many as he was opportuned to kill before he too was killed.

He did not die as a revolutionary individual, neither did he die as a hero, therefore I cannot consider him a hero.

9. Why did Gen.Gowon order his dead body to be brought up to Kaduna and be buried with full military honour, who can tell?
Re: Nzeogwu
Bamaguje posted on 01-16-2010, 06:29:32 AM
Agidimolaja thanks for your highly informative contribution.

Ditto Harmonious.
Re: Nzeogwu
MrOneNaija posted on 01-17-2010, 19:34:25 PM
MISSING THE POINT

I believe some of the guys here are missing an essential point made by Dr. Tilde, namely, that their "progressive" rhetoric notwithstanding, with rare exceptions, military coups in the Nigerian environment have been, at best, a disaster, veritable tools for psychotic or troubled characters to satisfy depraved and anti-people fantasies. The proof is there: Who can point to a coup that, by and large, did lead to a systematic taking to task of the status quo? Au contraire, the evidence is all over the place pointing to the fact that the intervention of soldiers in our polity has left us in worse shape than the time they forcefully seized power. To a large extent, military coups have tended to be looting bazaars on the part of corrupt soldiers and their civilian allies.

Nzeogwu and co.'s intervention, instead of acting as an anodyne of sorts, actually did exacerbate the already precarious situation in the country in 1966. Where is the "revolutionary" or "patriotic" wisdom in all the depraved savagery that witnessed the decapitation of key political figures? In the final analysis, it is immaterial whether or not Nzeogwu or his so-called best friend did consider the man as a non- tribalist. The proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. In judging the actions of a putative political leader, deeds are as important as words. A "planned" coup that was truly intended to benefit the average citizen should have been thorough by, amongst other things, considering the probable consequences - in the short and long term - of the kind of blood-letting that attended Nzeogwu's "revolutionary" orgies. It is no surprise that the man ended as an anti-hero.

Regarding the late Sarwuan J. Tarka (J.S., as he was known by his admirers), I think it is unfair to compare his decision to join the NPN with the compromises or reactionary decisions made by certain military officers in the course of our collective history. Nigeria of the late 1970s was very much different from the one of the critical pre-Civil War period which saw J.S. Tarka's United Middle-Belt Congress (UMBC) battle the hegemonic Northern People's Congress (NPN) of the Sardauna of Sokoto for the souls and minds of the region and beyond. When the military under the ex-dictator, Obasanjo, decided to disengage and organize elections, in much of the Middle-Belt and especially in Tiv land, Tarka's primary constituency, there was very little fear and suspicion of Hausa-Fulani hegemony, thanks, in part, to the past political efforts of the likes of Tarka and the new administrative structure in the country which saw the creation of states. In 1978 or thereafter, politicians from both minority and majority ethnic backgrounds freely joined the NPN or any other political parties, mostly for pragmatic and opportunistic reasons, just like today. And in Benue, Tarka's home state, the point needs to be made that no governor, military or civilian, has so far been able to match the administrative successes realized by a Tarka protégé, the late Aper Aku of the NPN!
Re: Nzeogwu
Anioma777 posted on 01-17-2010, 20:39:54 PM
Major Chukwuman Kaduna Nzeogwu alongside Lt. Colonel Francis Fajuyi are my heroes. Nigeria in the present day needs men and women like Nzeogwu. If as he stated the coup plotters in the South East had not for some bizarre reason not killed off the Igbos leaders in the East who knows what Nigeria will be today.

Love him or hate him Major C.K Nzeogwu had the balls that 99.9% of we Nigerians lack today and hence we continue to wallow in extreme poverty and ever decaying morals. Nzeogwu was not TRIBALISTIC. Given the choice will you not fight on your people's side after the brutal killings of many Igbo officers, soldiers and innocent men,women and children that had no clue or knowledge of the coup plot.

It is high time Nigeria honours this man that believed in the ONE NIGERIA. Call it folly or whatever but as many say we should not be one country what are they doing to change it.

The writer needs to read the book by OBJ and a few others because there are some inaccurate information in his article. First of all Okpanam where Nzeogwu comes from is in present day Delta State north ( Anioma ) and not the SouthEast. Also has stated by another villager OBJ was not in the country when the coup was carried out. Some may not like OBJ but having had the chance to speak to his brother, Colonel Nwajei, Colonel Morah and Colonel Conrad Nwawo OBJ's account is as authentic as they come.
Re: Nzeogwu
Agidimolaja posted on 01-17-2010, 23:49:05 PM
Mr.One Naija Sir,



Iagreed with you thatmilitary coups and military goverments did more evil than good{if there is any good at all} for the country.The records are there to justify that assertion.

It is a pity though that the way I presented your homeboy J. S.Tarka did not sit well with you.I can understand that blood is thicker than water which is one of the reasons we are faced with several monumental problems today.

How else should one in his right mind see J. S. Tarka if not as a failed leader?

Going by what I knew about the late Middle Belt political crusader and the records he left behind, I can't see him from any other standpoint other than that of a leader who ended up so poorly.

I refused also to agree with you that the problems that Tarka was waring against in the 60s were no more there as at late 70s.

Trust me, in 1978, the problems that Tarkawas crusading against before were still there and quite alive even up till now.

If the problems that the guy was waring against in the 60s havebeen solved as you alleged, why then was Hausa/Fulani aristocrats became angry with Obj when he appointed Northerners from your Benue and also from Kogi into certain key positions? Did they not say it loud and clear that you people from Benue are not Northerners enough? Did they not register their protest that your people don't deserve or rather not fitfor such positions? It was then the strange word "core North" came into use.

It is quite laughable for anyone to assume{especially, a knowledgeable individual like Tarka} that those problems have all been solved and the best thing to do was to team up with the new version of the aristocratic Hausa/Fulani oriented political party, NPN,a carbon copy of NPC.

The last person that one would have expected to act so absurdly was J. S.Tarka.His blunder of such great magnitude cannot be excused no matter how much anyone loved the man.

I will remain standing by my words to the end,that Tarka is among great leaders that ended so poorly. What a great human tragedy!

Regardless of how much Tarka worked with NPN or for NPN, it is shameful today that Hausa/Fulani by using the word "core North" still see your Benue people{including Tivs} as inferior to them.

Was that not amongwhat J. S.Tarka denounced in the 60s before he abruptly closed down his office of Middle Belt Movement?

Obafemi Awolowo refused to team up with Sir Tafa Balewa's Federal Government when he was asked to do so on the grounds of political ideology.He as well turned down similar offerby Shewu Shagari's Government.

J. S.Tarka's political ideology was "progressive" while NPC/NPN's political ideology was "anti-progressive" as evidenced by their records.

It is so disturbing that Tarka threw away his progressive ideology and picked up NPN's anti-progressive ideology by teaming up withperversed NPN political party.Poor Tarka!
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