Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 15, Fajuyi And The Northern Christians

By Emma Okocha
 “Colonel Francis Fajuyi was the Commander of Operation Baby Chimra, the mock battle at Lenlete before Abeokuta few days to Operation Damisa…. Even if a tree stands in Yoruba land, Akintola will rule that tree!”
– Colonel Fajuyi addressing the Revolutionaries at the mock battle, Lenlete.
*Fajuyi
Revisionists of the Nigerian Civil war history distort the role, diminish the active participation of Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi’s support to the boys of the January 15 revolution. Without any scientific evidence, they have gone forward to present the Colonel as a hero, who sacrificed his life in solidarity with his condemned high priced guest. Encircled by the blood-thirsty Phalangists, who were in the Ibadan Government House to kill the Head of State and effect a change of government, the story went on to say that the Governor was offered an option… “The Governor decided to die with his guest when it was inevitable that the coup plotters wanted General Aguiyi Ironsi dead…” Bla bla bla.
Our researches on the other hand, counter that fable. In the first place, Adekunle Fajuyi did not belong to the same philosophical school of his guest. The late Colonel was a hero alright but his heroism was built out of his exceptional gallantry, as a field commander during the United Nation’s Peace Intervention in the Congo. Recently, in a Punch interview, Fajuyi’s sister shocked our present Roman leaders and governors when she revealed that her brother started to avoid her when she asked him to influence a contract job she had quoted for in one of the ministries under his government in 1966!
Like Kaduna Nzeogwu, who was going to die in the South African Liberation war, hence he refrained from getting married. Governor Adekunle Fajuyi had no house and would not allow his sister “disgrace his reputation” by getting him involved in contract jobs. Adekunle Fajuyi and the leaders of the January 15 revolution were pioneer African Revolutionaries, who were primarily motivated into action by their experience in the Congo. Kaduna Nzeogwu principally did not forgive the African conservative Monrovia Group led by Nigeria for their complacency, following the C.I.A conspiracy, which overthrew the legitimate government of the elected Prime Minister of the Congo. Since that despicable putsch and the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo has remained on the cliff hanger. Indeed, Kaduna Nzeogwu’s January 15 spontaneous Declaration of the Revolution was as arresting and in delivery, a carbon copy of Patrice Lumumba’s independent speech, which challenged Imperial Belgian’s enslavement of the Congo.
In that speech, Lumumba declared, “Men and women of Congo, who have fought for and won the independence we celebrate today, I salute you in the name of the Congolese Government… I ask you all, friends who have fought unrelentingly, side by side, to make this 30th of June, 1960, an illustrious date that remains ineradicably engraved on your head… No Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that independence has only been won by struggle, a struggle that went on day after day, a struggle of fire and idealism, a struggle in which we have spared neither effort, deprivation, suffering nor even our blood. This struggle, involving tears, fire and blood, is something of which we are proud of in our deepest hearts, for it was a noble and just struggle, which was needed to bring to an end the humiliating slavery imposed on us by force.”
Elsewhere, we have noted that Major Kaduna Nzeogwu was a true revolutionary, who was ahead of his time and generation. His inspiration to change the Nigerian government was motivated by his experience, serving under the UN interventionist force in the Congo. He was saddened by the outcome of the conflict and as the foremost intelligence officer, he was conflicted by Nigeria’s sell-out to the West and the consequent assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Armed with enough classified information, he frowned at the Nigerian Commanders, disregarded the orders of his Platoon Commander, Colonel Maimalari. Remember, Nigeria’s greatest hero at that UN operations was Adekunle Fajuiyi and the boys recognised him and it was the Colonel that made sure the Revolutionaries would release Awolowo from prison.

Pointedly, when the July 29 Coupists struck at Ibadan Government House, they did not give Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi any chance. Theophilus Danjuma, Jerry Boy Useni, Lieutenant Shelleng, etc. knew the commanding role Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi played during the January 15 revolution. Their leader, Captain Danjuma had the audacious effrontery to condemn his Supreme Commander and the Nigerian Head of State. According to an eye-witness, Emmanuel Wey, Federal Cabinet Secretary, who was in the Head of State’s entourage, “I saw Captain Theophilus Danjuma accost the Supreme Commander and Colonel Francis Fajuyi, the Governor. He was brandishing a grenade… without any respect, he pulled off the Supreme Commander’s epaulets and still holding to his grenade on the left hand, he also pulled off the Governor’s epaulets…”
In the military tradition, the pulling off of any officer’s epaulets is tantamount to instance condemnation. In other words, there was no option given to Fajuyi. By the nature of their gory death (Jerry Useni and his boys dragged the two to their deaths in their army Land Rovers before finishing them off on a side road). The senior officers were blacklisted for their antecedent. Equally July 29 was according to the authors Araba! And to them Blood was for Blood.
Whatever have been the distortions, the Christian officers of the North owe the rest of Nigerians major apologies for their genocidal wipe out of their fellow officers in July 29, 1966. These Christian Northern officers and men, who descended on and debauched scores of their fellow Southern officers in Ikeja cantonment, were led by a blood-suckling, Sergeant Dickson. At the Island based Nigerian brigade of guards was another hyena named Lt. Paul Tarfa. Christian brother Tarfa was the one who offered the bound handsome six-footer, Gogo Nzeribe, to cockroaches.
According to Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka in his book The Man Died, Gogo, Kings College old boy, was a trade union leader kidnapped by Lt. Paul Tarfa and imprisoned for days without food and water. In his struggling last days, the officer offered the innocent citizen to rats and cockroaches for dinner. Dickson on his part was the one, who led his killer squad all over Ikeja pouring acid into the throats of officers and like what the Jews did to Jesus, executed Major Okafor on a cross. (See Elliot Uko, Report of the Justice G.C.M Onyiuke Tribunal – Massacre of Ndi Igbo in 1966, also see Chief Asemota, President Nigerian Christian Association, The Christian Officers and the Coup of 1975.)
Whatever is happening today in Agatu, Tiv land, especially in Jos and Southern Kaduna, which are areas dominated by Christians is regrettable. It is also regrettable that the Christian Association of the North is crying “Abba Father” now. At the same time, our fellow Christians after all these years should find time to pray and acknowledge that a genocide of unprecedented magnitude took place in Nigeria and the spearheads of that bloodletting, including the Christian beast that cut off the head of an escaping refugee in Makurdi in 1966, were all our own Christian brothers of the North.
*Okocha, an author and historian, is a commentator on public issues

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