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6 Nov 2017

It's Wrong to Blame Igbo for 1966 Coup, Ojukwu Never Supported Biafra Secession - Chief Iwuanyanwu

Peoples Democratic Party stalwart and publisher of Champion newspaper, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has said that it's wrong to blame the Igbo for the January 1966 coup.
Chief Iwuanyanwu
While speaking during the celebration of his 75th birthday in Abuja at the weekend, influential politician and chieftain of the Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu debunked the belief that Igbo political leaders instigated the January 1966 coup that ended the first republic.

According to Vanguard, Chief Iwunyanwu, said it was wrong for anybody to insult Igbo by claiming that political leaders from the region masterminded the coup, when in the real sense, the same Igbo leaders stopped the coup from  actualising its main objectives.

He said; “Before I die, I want to correct the erroneous belief being fed to Nigerian youths that the January 1966 coup was instigated by Igbo leaders. It is not true. Yes, the person who led it was an Igbo from Delta State but he had with him people from other tribes: Yoruba, Niger Delta and other places. It was a purely military coup. It was not Igbo coup. There was no time Igbo leaders told the military to carry out the coup.

“If for anything, Nnamdi Azikiwe was very sad at the death of Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello and others. I want the younger generation of Nigerians to know that they  are being told lies.”

Speaking on why the coup failed, he said: “I want them also to know why the coup failed. It failed because an Igbo man, General Aguiyi  Ironsi took up arms and arrested the coup plotters and put them in prison.

”Ironsi was the one controlling the army then. If he had supported  the coup, it could have succeeded. So,it was Igbo that stopped the coup. Ironsi was eventually killed because all of us said we do not want unitary government. We wanted political restructuring. We are very serious about it and  many Nigerians have said it.”

Further on the civil war, Iwuanyanwu said although the  war ended with no victor and vanquish, Federal Government is yet to give Zik the credit he deserved, and urged the Federal Government to give Zik the honour he deserved as an icon that sacrificed so much for the country.

On Ojukwu’s role in the war, he said that contrary to popular belief, Ojukwu never supported secession of Biafra.

He said; “When he went to Aburi, he went to negotiate political restructuring of Nigeria. He never talked about secession in Aburi.

"It was when Aburi collapsed, I am talking as a witness, and he came back, that a constituent Assembly was established in the East. That Assembly declared Biafra, not Ojukwu. It is important for me to tell you this before I die.”

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