“If the January 15 coup attempt had succeeded in Lagos, the mutineers would have issued a statement claiming that, among other things, their action was a pre-emptive strike to stop Brigadier Ademulegun seizing power in collaboration with NNA political alliance. I was informed before I fled the country that, under the NNA plan, a concentration camp supervised by the military would have been established in the former Bauchi railway extension construction company’s site.
“A list of one hundred and seventeen detainees to be arrested and held there was drawn up and among them were my fellow Daily Times columnist, Tai Solarin, and I.”
-See Peter Enahoro, Then Spoke the Thunder, London 2009, pg 246
The NNA was the pre-war political alliance, which controlled the Federal Government and was made of Sarduana’s NPC and Akinlota’s NNDP in Ibadan. In his own classic, Gowon’s biographer, Moses Ihonde, explained in the first call that UPGA had been formed from an alliance between the NCNC and the AG. The formation of the UPGA encouraged Akintola, the Premier of the West, to seek a counterforce in allying with the NPC.
At Independence, three political parties, drawing their strength for the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, had predominated in the struggle for political hegemony. The Western Region election of October 1965, marked a turning point in Nigeria’s political development; people at that point had to depend on their own efforts to change an unwanted government, since that government had effectively killed the constitutional process; the people restored to drastic action, setting up of roadblocks and burning NNDP vehicles. In no time the region had the singular infamy of being the most insecure part of the country. Operation Wet tie became the symbol of the that insecurity as persons, vehicles and goods travelling by road through the South West to Lagos were set ablaze.
Nkem Nwankwo, in his Shadow of the Masquerade, noted that’ the Sardauna the bête noire of southern intelligentsia represented all that was regressive in the northern culture. Impatience of argument or debate, he imposed a feudal system and disdained the electoral process. And if elections did not go his way, he simply threw the papers away and announced his own results (see Alan Feinsten, The Life And Times of Nigeria’s Aminu Kano, Pg 211)
Evidently, the primary thrust of the January 15 coup had been to rehabilitate the Yoruba, whose people, streets, and cities were being daily set on fire, sprinkling red blood and petrol.
Ultimately, the Igbo were left to bear the brunt of the northern vendetta. The leader of the counter-coup was another northerner and today we continue to remember the dastardly fiendish terror of these often forgotten beasts whose actions on the night July 29, 1966, and afterwards would continue to haunt Nigeria till the end of time.
Wole Soyinka, on page 24 of his book, testified that, between July 29 and October ’66, Mailayi and some others raided a house at Gayu Quarters in Sokoto, where a government prison warder, Mr. Joseph Uche, an Igala, lived. Mailayi and his gang thought Uche was Igbo. They did not find him but met his younger brother Ojibo Uche who was asleep. “Mailayi struck him on the head and a warder, Maikawa, cut his throat with a knife.”
From the barracks, the large-scale horror, the most comprehensive indiscriminate savaging of a people within memory on the black continent, poured into the streets. Some 53 years later, our research findings conclude that in spite of slippery evasion of responsibilities by the principal actors and leaders of that bloody uprising, we note the deadly plans of a former Christian Chief of Army Staff and, of course, the ugly murderous hands of our friend Jerry Boy. While the others deceive themselves and organise prayer crusades from state to state, Jerry Boy without the least consideration said it: “We killed the Supreme Commander…!” And they attempted to wipe out one time the officer corps of the Igbo race and their civilian brethren in the Nigerian federation.
Genocide is contagious as we warned in “ASABA THE DANCE OF THE DEAD: Abraham Taiwo, Paul Tarfa, Paul Dickson the Ikeja executioner, William Walbe..(odi ndu onwo kanma), Corporal John Shagaya Cobra Gora, all those that spilled so much innocent Igbo blood; their communities would be swallowed one by one by the now sprawling, unforgiving genocide, if they don’t confess.