Featured Nigerian Biafran War - Beyond the Surface.

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by izu, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Izu

    Izu Admin Staff Member

    Although this writer cannot point to what he is writing on Adekunle as entirely factual, it was and still is, a calculation based on the acts and sayings of Adekunle himself. Of course it is the result of what was obtained after summing up the utterances and acts of Benjamin Adekunle. Therefore, whereas this may be labeled as assumptions hinged on the man’s body languages, the final result has in many ways, pushed the author’s allegationnearer to facts than assumptions.

    And so we have it that Benjamin Adekunle was among many of those unhappy with the promotion in the military carried out under the administration of Aguiyi Ironsi whom as we know was ignorantly nationalistic – like Nnamdi Azikiwe. It was Aguiyi Ironsi that tampered the regional system of government he inherited from the overthrown government and as a fanatic of Nigeria who somehow believed that to be Igbo, Hausa, Ijaw, Yoruba or Fulani before Nigeria is ‘uncivilized’. Uncivilized because in the thinking of Aguiyi Ironsi and his likes, the British colonial administration had given us a better identity, more civilized and more befitting than our primitive Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Ijaw, Hausa, Jukun, Igala, Edo, Urhobo, Fulani, Idoma, Kanuri identities. These identities according to J.T Aguiyi Ironsi, were to be private and never to be displayed in the public because they threaten the existence of the marvelous identity given to us by European colonial masters – Nigeria. Armed with this and other delusions, Aguiyi Ironsi removed the quota system from the federal character. This means people in the public service would now be promoted and appointed based on individual qualification and not on regional or tribal slot. So during the promotion in the military, J.T Aguiyi Ironsi, ‘patriotic Nigerian’, promoted people in the military based on qualifications. And the result of his actions produced the Benjamin Adekunles of this country.

    Benjamin Adekunle saw the promotion exercise in the military under J.T Aguiyi Ironsi as favoring the Igbos more than the rest Nigerians. And he was not alone in such sentiments, almost every military personnel in the North saw the exercise in the same angle and the result was a massive anti Igbo sentiment that started first among the military and spread like wildfire throughout the North and Western part of the country. What happened in the promotion was that before the unfortunate emergence of Aguiyi Ironsi, promotions in the military and civil service were shared among the regions and tribes in the country and not on individual qualifications or merit. With this system, a BSC holder would be bypassed once his or her region has already taken the slots allocated to them and a primary school testimonial holder from another region with less educated service personnel would be promoted and sometimes, transfers would directly place the BSC holder under the command of the primary school testimonial holder. Thus people were getting promoted into positions they were naturally not qualified to be and on the other hand, educated and more qualified people were made to work under the supervisions of their subordinate officers all due to federal character of quota system.

    In a normal country, such abnormally wouldn’t have existed. And if it had existed what the administration of J.T Aguiyi Ironsi did would have been applauded. But even within the military that floats a ‘Nigeria first’ ideology, was deeply rooted in tribal and sectional mentality. My blame here goes to Aguiyi Ironsi who was also in the military but refused to play it the sectional or tribal way like every other military personnel and officer.

    The promotion carried out by the Ironsi administration bypassed Benjamin Adekunle, then a major and three others – Olusegun Obasanjo, Oluwole Rotimi, and Emmanuel Sotomi who all happened to be Yoruba. Although many other Yoruba officers were promoted, and many of those bypassed took it without pain – because that was often the results of promotions especially when the vacant positions are limited – everyone who qualified must not be promoted at same time. For instance, in 1964, Yakubu Gowon, then a Major was promoted to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel and his ‘course-mates’ at sandhurst in the likes of Alexander Madiebo, Anthony Ezeh, Michael Okwechima and Patrick Anwunah were bypassed.

    I have said it earlier that the Igbo with their education then were naturally placed to be at the top whenever things are to be done in accordance to educational qualifications. Their direct contact with the British colonial administration did not only result in the eroding of the Igbo culture and the harsh trauma of being under another human, it also gave them a direct advantage of western education. So when Aguiyi Ironsi’s administration decided that promotions would henceforth be done in accordance with the qualifications of the individual, he had knowingly or unknowingly given the Igbos an advantage. And there was virtually nothing he could do to stop many of the qualified Igbo officers from being promoted.

    To understand this, we must place it at the back of our minds that J.T Aguiyi Ironsi was a nationalist and I have mentioned his likes which included the Nnamdi Azikiwes, the Akintolas and the Herbert Macaulays of this country. So the aim of the promotion under Aguiyi Ironsi’s administration was to place Nigeria first above every interest. Ironsi believed that we are all Nigerians and the very best for any position must be picked – no matter where the person hails from. He was probably looking at the system as obtainable in the USA without realizing that the USA was and still is, a country populated by 75% immigrants.

    A good number of the officers promoted under the Ironsi administration were Igbos. But several majors promoted by the administration were already acting colonel and so the Ironsi administration only confirmed it. Moreover, the Igbo officers promoted were not promoted below their qualifications, they were educationally qualified. Even when the British administration needed to replace the all British officer corps in the military at the end of their stay in the country, they looked for indigenous men and women with the required western education. These they found mostly among the nationalities that occupied the lower Niger areas and Igbo land lay in the heart of the lower Niger. Because the Yorubas occupying much of the South Western Nigeria had somehow not fully forgiven the British colonial administration for their excesses and the subjugation of the Yoruba during colonialism, they were very active in the aversion of military enlistment. So the British administration had no option than recruiting the qualified Igbo young men who made themselves available for recruitment. Given a chance for an alternative, the British would on their own not want to pick the Igbo men because they believed that the Igbo were incompatible colonial subjects due to their exceptional democratic societal settings so left with no alternatives, the Igbos were made to replace the British outgoing officers.

    In his essay, BENJAMIN ADEKUNLE: “THE POTRAIT OF A GENOCIDIST”, published by Sahara Reporters, E.C Ejiogu said:
    “As for the Igbo, this writer observed somewhere that, ahead in western education, and being a nationality in which the individual is free in society to embark on pursuits for personal advancements without securing the approval of the ruling elite, the Igbo quickly took advantage of the window which opened in the officer corps and enlisted in record numbers.
    In 1956 and in 1960 when colonial administration ended, 68% of the colonial corps was composed of the Igbos. In contrast, only 17% and 14% respectively, where from nationalities in the north and Yoruba.
    Furthermore, due to the preponderance of men from the nationalities that inhabit the upper Niger in the junior ranks of the officer corps, and the non commissioned officer (NCO) RANKS, the promotion exercise benefitted the north and its political establishment in the main.

    One researcher put it quite succinctly: ‘Conversely, most junior officers and NCOs where northerners and primary beneficiaries of the promotion exercise in the junior ranks were logically also northerners. The promoted northern soldiers included Theophilus Danjuma, Muhammadu Buhari, Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua, Abdullahi Shelleng, Ibrahim Bako, Muhammadu Jega, Garba Dada (“Paiko”) and Paul Tarfa. Strangely, there were no complaints about the preponderance of Nothern promotions in this category. All eyes remained formed on the Igbo majors promoted to it – Colonel. A group of northern Air Force cadets were also dismissed due to their underwhelming educational achievements. The exercise seemed to be part of a broader leaning by Aguiyi-Ironsi away from the quota towards more merit based system.’
    Of the five northerners who were promoted, - Murtala Mohammed, Joe Akahan Hassan Kastina and Mohammed Shuwa were the most generously favored: ‘the promotion to it – colonel of Murtala (Muhammed), Shuwa and Haruna was particularly generous because at the time of the promotions, all three were only substantive captains (holding temporary ranks as majors), yet they were promoted to it – colonel.”
    So why did Benjamin Adekunle the scorpion became anti Igbo because of a normal promotion? The answer is simple: because he was not involved. Had the promotion affected him positively, we have every reason to believe that he wouldn’t have turned ant Igbo the way he did.

    We can all agree that while Gowon may be fighting to keep Nigeria one, Benjamin Adekunle saw the exercise as an opportunity to descend on Aguiyi-Ironsi’s people – Igbos. In the heat of the war, we heard a statement by Benjamin Adekunle which showed clearly that while Nigeria sent him to fight the ‘Biafran rebels’ as they were called, Benjamin Adekunle embarked on a personal mission of killing Igbo civilians he could set his eyes on. In an interview, the Economist of London reported him (Benjamin Adekunle) as saying:
    “I do not want to see any Red cross and Caritas, any World Council of Churches, any Poe, any Mission, or any United Nations Delegation. I want to prevent even one Ibo having even one place to eat before their capitulation.”
    – Major Benjamin Adekunle. The Economist August 14 1968.

    Again, when the same paper asked of his modus operandi on the war, Benjamin Adekunle replied thus: “We shoot at everything even at things that don’t move.” It was theorized that based on this act of shooting at anything that moves, most of the Ijaw fighters who enlisted into the Nigerian army were shot and killed by Adekunle’s men in this process. It was as well believed that he masterminded the killing of Isaac Adaka Boro. Many of the southern Igbo people had to begin de-igbonizing themselves just to save their people from being wiped out by Benjamin Adekunle. It was during these times that some Ikwerre people named their children Rotimi and other Yorubaic names. Had the Ikwerre not renounced being Igbos, we have sufficient data to suppose that there wouldn’t be anything left of the Ikwerre stock today courtesy of Benjamin Adekunle the scorpion.

    CULLED FROM BIAFRA AND THE NIGER DELTA QUESTION: Beyond the surface by Carlos Chinwendu.

Share This Page