"...Where was Yakassai when, as a young major in the Nigerian army, Danjuma risked his life in the name of the North (and for its sake) to effect the arrest of the then much dreaded General Aguiyi Ironsi? ..." S. N-I. July 2004"
"...much dreaded General Aguiyi Ironsi...."?
The above excerpt was taken from a recent write-up by a Northern Nigerian. The elevation to hero status of the murderer of General Ironsi compels us to open a page on Aguiyi Ironsi. We have two contemporary articles which open a shutter to provide a glimpse into history and the real Ironsi.
Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi was a complete gentlemen and a true soldier of impeccable character. He never took part in a coup, but actually frustrated and stopped the very first soup in Nigeria in January 1966. He never took over (as in usurp) power; but was asked to lead a military government which at the time was actually begged to take over the reigns of a tattered civilian government, by a confounded, battered and effete civilian administration, much to the latter's relief and the cheering of the entire population of Nigeria at the time. He never stole money from the nation's coffers. He never made himself rich off the resources of Nigeria.
Aguiyi Ironsi had two flaws, viz:
These "flaws" were counted as "crimes" against him by Northern Nigerians. And, for that, Danjuma, a much junior Northern Nigerian officer, arrested and killed Ironsi in a coup d'etat in 1966, a true crime committed on behalf of Northern Nigeria, planned and executed on the instructions and desires of Northern Nigeria, as the excerpt above proudly indicates.
Following Danjuma's crime and his coup, Nigeria was to go through continuous raping and looting by Northern Nigerian military officers until the present times. When out of uniform, they have used their loot and power to continue to run and ruin Nigeria. And, yes, believe it or not, this Nigeria was still one-Nigeria (recall they killed Ironsi for defending one-Nigeria); because, as they were to find out later, such a structure allowed the North to control Nigeria, seize, use and abuse the resources. The best and most of these resources are to be found in the South, especially in Biafraland. All the while, the North maintained, fashioned and extended its Muslim traditions and culture, independent of, and regardless--sometimes, in spite--of, the corporate Nigeria, or the rest of what made up that corporate. Until his recent retirement, Danjuma served in all these bumbling and rapacious military regimes and the occasional civilian=pseudo-military governments, collecting praise and awards.
Such is the irony--the story of Biafra. Nobody worked harder for Nigeria remaining one than Igbo-Biafrans. Yet, no group was penalized or victimized more for working to keep Nigeria one. Nevertheless, the handwriting is clearly on the wall that Nigeria will never be one; yet one-Nigeria--the pretense and excuse thereof--will be used as a weapon for and by Northern Nigerian Muslims to subjugate, enslave, suppress and exploit all the other Nations currently living and suffering in Nigeria.
Now that, and although, many Igbo-Biafrans have embraced and committed to the Biafra alternative, the irony continues. We bring out the facts, experience and history of Igbo-Biafrans dying in support of one-Nigeria, in a negative and lethal exercise in futility. Far too many Igbo-Biafrans still insist, for one reason or another, in trying to keep Nigeria one.
Ironsi was killed (while being regarded by his Northern killers as an Igbo villain) strictly because he was Igbo, and because he wanted one-Nigeria for Nigeria. Nigerians have written this history otherwise, and popular lore thusly carry the falsities. Ironsi's killer is today decorated and celebrated as a hero by Nigeria, and he is presently enjoying all that Nigeria has to offer to her very best in pension and encomium. That is the reality of Nigeria today.
Great lesson for Igbo-Biafrans who may be tempted to continue their support of one-Nigeria. The question is: will they learn from history and from facts?.