“Ghost of 1966 Coup Haunts Nigeria”, says ASUU Scribe
Dr John Edor, a lecturer in the University of Calabar and Secretary of the University’s branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has stated that “the ghost of the 15 January 1966 coup still haunts Nigeria nation state till date”.
He stated this yesterday, while presenting a keynote lecture to mark “Citizens Summit”, a public awareness and enlightenment program organised by the National Association of Seadogs, Calabar Municipal Chapter in Cross River State, Nigeria. Dr Edor’s lecture was titled “The Ghost of 15 January 1966 coup, the Gliding Python and the Jurisprudence of Secessionist Agitations in Nigeria”.
He cited the formation and operation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a recent event that manifests the ghost of that coup.
Dr Edor recalled history and said that leaders of the 15th January 1966 coup except one were Igbo while its prominent victims were mostly non Igbo.
The ASUU scribe mentioned that “the external and final beneficiary of the 15th January 1966 coup was an Igbo man-General Aguiyi Ironsi who became the Head of State”. For this reason, he said that public analysts, historians and political commentators have tended to describe that coup as “an Igbo coup”.
However, he differed from that position and said “other facts available to me suggest that the coup was not an Igbo coup. The facts earlier referred to appear to me to be mere coincidences”. According to him, the ultimate objective of that coup was to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, “leader of the Yoruba people”, from prison.
He said that after that coup, “a group of officers of the Nigerian army mostly from the north staged a counter coup where they wrestled power from General Ironsi and held unto the rein of Nigeria leadership till date”.
The ASUU scribe regretted that “subsequent major political events in Nigeria are coloured by the ethnic imputation of the January 15 1966 coup”. He said: “Such ethnic imputation is a misconception, which haunts Nigeria so vigorously”.
Dr Edor added that the ghost of that coup and its counter coup was responsible for the declaration of the state of Biafra in 1967. He blamed the ghost for the civil war that accompanied that declaration. According to him, the same ghost is responsible for the emergence of IPOB.
The lecturer stated that although the right to self-determination states that people can freely choose their sovereignty and international political status without interference, the Nigerian constitution of 1999 forbids any person or group of persons from taking control of the government of Nigeria “except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution”.
Therefore, he submitted that “it will be difficult to find a Nigerian President who will support, directly or indirectly, the secession of any part of Nigeria under his/her watch. I don’t see even an Igbo President doing that. State secession is better achieved lobbying the international community”.
Earlier in his address, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, President of the National Association of Seadogs, Calabar Municipal Chapter, said that his Association is obliged to constantly enlighten the citizenry and engage in healthy dialogue with the public, especially in the wake of recent events such as agitations for self-rule by some sections of Nigeria.
He enjoined members of his Association and the general public to be prepared for the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria by getting their voters cards and by acting with decorum in the discharge of their civic duties.
Etinyin Etim Okon Edet explained to guests at the event that the National Association of Seadogs shuns tribalism and upholds humanistic ideals.