■AuthorChinonso Igwebuike Mbah
■ Twitter: @Umuchiukwu_writ
■ May 08,2017
The first sign of trouble for Ironsi regime came from Ahmadu Bello University where it was alleged that a group of expatriate and Nigeria lectures was inciting northern students against southerners shortly after the coup; these lectures were said to be openly advising the students of the north on need for immediate counter-coup to restore Nigeria political power to the North. The alternative they claimed was for them to be enslaved by the South for an indefinite period. General Ironsi who surrounded himself with the Northern appointed Alhaji Kam Salem the Inspector General of Police and Lt Colonel Gowon the army chief of staff and also the commander of Nigeria Army. Northern officers were becoming increasingly aware that Ironsi was prepared to do anything to please them, and for this, they were becoming more darling in their open criticism and even mockery of him and his entire government. A young major under artillery command, when writing from America where he was at the time of the coup bitterly condemned and criticized Ironsi and his team and threatened that on his return he would ensure that another coup was organized to overthrow Ironsi's government. One morning, the governor of the North organized a conference of all Army officers in northern Nigeria, addressing the conference in an angry voice, the governor charged that an individual military officers of southern Nigeria origin according to his information were unhappy and jealous of him for being the governor of the North. He went on to accuse certain southern officers of trying to displace top civil servants in the North from their jobs. Northern Army officers were very bitter against Ironsi and expressed this feeling freely inside Army Headquarters. Major Murtala Muhammad was particularly bitter and on few occasions made it clear that northern Nigeria would deal with Ironsi and his regime ruthlessly, he went as far as calling Ironside a fool, he said the people of the North were prepared to fight with their bows and poisoned arrows on their horsebacks against the band Army of Ironsi. Ironsi visited the North and there was an arduous effort to restrain young northern Nigeria officers from seizing advantage of his visit to commence their coup; rather, what actually happened was that the matured northerners and their advisers did not want Ironsi killed in the North, neither did they want to risk a confrontation with him in Lagos where all the main units were being commanded by Ibos with whose help he could easily foil the coup before it gained momentum. Midwestern Nigeria was most unsuitable for such an operations because no troop towards that region would have survived. It was clear that western Nigeria was going to be the battleground for it satisfied all the necessary requirements. The only battalion in western Nigeria as at then was under the command of a northerner. When Ironsi came back from northern Nigeria he left Midwestern Nigeria on 27the of July 1966 and as expected never returned, Ironsi and Fajuyi had been kidnapped from the government house at Ibadan after he telephoned the Brigade Headquarters from Ibadan at 07:30 hours to say that the government house where he was staying have been surrounded by soldiers. Ironsi also informed the Brigade that he had already made several attempts to get a helicopter sent to him from Lagos but had failed. Ironsi Airforce ADC captain Nwankwo who was with Ironsi at the time of his death told how General Ironsi died. According to Nwankwo at 06:30 hours on the 29th of July 1966 Ironsi and Fajuyi the governor of western Nigeria were arrested at government house Ibadan by Northern troops under the command of Captain Danjuma. The captives were driven to an isolated jungle just outside Ibadan; by the time they got there, the two prisoners had been so thoroughly beaten that Ironsi and co could hardly stand up.
Shortly after Fajuyi was shot, Ironsi was also shot to death by northern troops. This proves that no matter how much you try to love an Hausa-Fulani man, as long as you are a Biafran they can never love or like you. The southern elites and politicians should learn from the mistakes of others who worked hard to win the heart of Hausa-Fulani terrorists. The case of Rotimi Amaechi, Orji Uzo Kalu, Ken Sarowiwa, Adaka Boro, etc., should serve as a case study; recently, Ifeanyi Ubah has joined the list.
Edited by Ugochinyere Onyechere, Published By Umuchiukwu Writers.