“As an eyewitness, the body that I saw was a fresh body … no marks of bullets. It could be that (January 21, 1966) or overnight that the body was put there. The first thing my Editor told me about the story as I got to the office that day, “don’t embellish your report, don’t be flamboyant just be factual, and the facts I stated have never been denied. The evidence Fani-Kayode is producing are fluid third party; ‘General Danjuma told me, MD Yusuf told me’… Kayode’s father was abducted and captured, if the culprits did not kill his father, what makes him think they would kill all those they abducted? If they did not kill his father, who was highly controversial, what makes him believe that Balewa, a gentleman, highly respected, loved by Nigerians for his mild disposition, would be killed?”
– See “Balewa Is Dead, Found By The Roadside”
His Excellency, Segun Osoba, as a reporter, Daily Times, January 21, 1966
Furthermore, in his recently released book, Prime Minister Balewa’s most favored Minister, Matthew Mbu revealed that the late Nigerian Head of Government died of a heart attack. He was conclusive that he did not die as a result of any violent attack from the revolutionaries and his boss was an asthma patient.
Few days to another anniversary of Nigeria’s only and last revolution, we celebrate the extraordinary lifetime award coming to the quintessential war reporter, urbane editor, remarkable newspaper managing executive, politician and governor. His Excellency, Segun Osoba, a polly-facetic newspaper guru who grew up with printing mills, would have been presented the lifetime award on the justified account, courageous contributions of his eclectic forays towards the development and the reshaping of the true historic narratives of the Nigerian civil war.
For whatever he has accomplished in his eventful life on the sands of our time, we consider his greatest moment under the sun indeed his lifetime’s climatic achievement to be that day January 15, 1966, when this young reporter summoned the exceptional courage riding out of town on a scooter in a week that was too dangerous to scavenge the street. If that frightening exclusive of locating the corpse of the kidnaped Prime Minister was not enough bravado, his professional confirmation of what he saw on January 21, 1966, in many ways absolved the revolutionaries from the deliberately woven murder blamed on them. And might as well have debunked the fable that the Igbos planned the coup of January 15 and killed others, sparing their Zik, Okpara and Osadebey!
That was the unchallenged intellectual dishonesty of General Danjuma when in an Interview with Dr. Edwin Madunagu of the Guardian he attempted in futility to justify his revisionist putshe of the July 29, 1966, by accusing the revolutionaries of “killing my brother northern officers.”
Drawing on the intimate profiles of the major actors of the January uprising, we reveal the soul of soldiers who were Napoleonic in faith for the country and were ready to sacrifice themselves to accomplish their mission. Significantly, the majors elected to lead and stay in front without employing any surrogates as was the case with the series of the other Nigerian coups that followed. Suffice it to ask who are indeed these brother northern officers that fell on the night of January 15? We had expected the respected Mathematician Edwin to press it on. Nonetheless the late Col. Yakubu Pam was tainted by the Tiv genocide operations. The late Col. Aborgo Largema, commander of the Ibadan second battalion, was accused of using the federal troops against the popular and violent anger in the streets of the Wild West. The British intelligence, according to Smith, was aware that this commander had finalized plans with the conservative power bloc, and with the understanding of Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun were to destroy the intellectual and the human rights progressive movement of the West.
These Ibadan school were the brain and the fuel of the violent resistance of the unstable West in 1966. On target to be eliminated were Wole Soyinka, Tunji Otegbeye, Christopher Okigbo, Tai Solarin, etc. It is possible that as the chief of the Nigerian Army Intelligence, Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu must have intercepted the Sitrep and, decades after, we confirm that the singular reason the revolution was rushed to January 15 was to preempt the Northern Coup of January 17, 1966. (Pse See Emma Okocha, Jan. 15 Awo and the Death of the Prime Minister Summer 2019). Continuing Wole Soyinka in ‘The Man Died’, speculated that “the Human rights fighters were to be crushed and the West totally normalized by force by January 17, 1966. It was to be very bloody.”
We at this point rely extensively on writings of the Nobel laureate and his 1966 confidential conversations with the late Governor of the West, Brigadier General Francis Adekunle Fajuyi:
“You know, he was here sitting just where you are. I sent for him. I was very anxious to meet the man who was responsible for all the chaos in the West; when people no longer believe that they can obtain justice in the courts then they must take the law in their hands. So I take the view that the Chief Justice is personally responsible for the death and destruction which took place here. The day he deliberately adjourned those election petitions then back to announce that the cases had been overtaken by events, he became responsible for the mess, murder, rape, the whole lot. They say we soldiers are simple people; it’s true. Anyway, I sent for him. When he came, I knew that my simple judgement was right. I said to him, tell me exactly what happened that day in court. I want you to give me your own version. You know, he began to tremble. He was shaking so much that I thought he was going to fall off the chair”