The Yorubas of Chief Awolowo and Gen. Yakubu Gowon lied.

Filed under: National Issues |

At a close call to the tale end of the civil war in 1970, Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo said to General Yakubu Gowon “my strategy finally panned out, its time you call it equal”. This is a statement that many of the Yorubas who are coming up to defend Awolowo never spoke of, let alone giving a proper and undiluted meaning of. Those of us who were around then knew what it meant and will never forget what it meant and how well it truly panned out for Awolowo and his magic-hand, Gen. Gowon.

What Awolowo was trying to tell Gowon then was, did you see how my strategy of starving these people to submission finally worked out? In order to lighten up the already crimsoned atmosphere, call it “No victor, No vanquish” and let us all go home. If Gowon will be truthful to his age, he will affirm this statement. But how will he? When i read his recent out burst that as far as he and Awolowo is concerned, that they will never regret what they did.

One of the things that made me blink twice was Gowon asking why Prof. Achebe chose this time to bring up the issue. Are you to tell a man when to recount his yam at the barn? No issue no matter how long is too late to be brought up. Achebe gave a true account of his personal experience during and after the war, and i personally think that there is nothing wrong with him saying things the way he saw it. In fact, Achebe put his lines mildly by using words like pogrom and genocide, what we experienced during the war was much more than those two words. It was pogrom, genocidal, barbaric, cruel, inhuman, and diabolic. Children whose mother went to search for food and never returned back home to them; children whom out of hunger and starvation, grew the face and body of an adult; women who looked helter-skelter for their missing children and was butchered in the process; civilians who were caught, tied hand behind their backs, set blazing fire and queued up to be burnt alive like roasted chickens. There are certain incidence that are not worthy of mentioning due to how barbaric Awolowo and Gowon made it.

Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojumwu of blessed memory, as many wrongly put, never started the war. Gowon was asking for historians, here i am; Ojukwu’s action was as a result of Gowon reneging on the Aburi Agreement as well as the continous killing of the Igbo people in the various parts of the country then (which they still do today). Gowon has been a master of suppression and distortion of truth. He suppressed and distorted truth after the Aburi Accord was striked, if that repeats today, people like me will not be surprise.

After the Aburi Agreement, Gen. Yakubu Gowon who was then a Lieutenant-Colonel, rushed back home and presented a false statement to the diplomats, saying to them that he was still in charge of the Army as the Commander-In-Chief, while it was clear from the Aburi decisions that the army will be administered by a representative military headquarters under the charge of a Chief of Staff and commanded by the Supreme Military Council. Gowon lied, big time. The Igbo people became a victim of their racial profiling.

No one asked Awolowo not to have ambition, fantastic, let him have his ambition, but why kill millions of innocent children and helpless women through Gowon to achieve his ambition? History is already pronouncing anathema to names that were instruments to those cannibalistic murder. If Achebe’s book is not allowed peace, many more dirts will be dugged up.

Professor Wilson Nnamjigboaba
United States of America