War veteran, Col. Lambert Ihenacho has declared that there is a limit to the level of subjugation and injustice a people can tolerate, no matter how small or weak they may seem. He was referring to the impunity and butchery of Igbo race that preceded the civil war and noted that only the ignorant would blame Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu for insisting on separation from Nigeria.
He said, “It became crystal clear that Ndigbo were an endangered species in the present Nigerian project. If government could look away when a section of the people it claimed to protect was systematically being eliminated by its own agents, then that government has no moral right to govern.” Continuing Ihenacho said, “Well, that was Nigeria under Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon. Can anybody tell me the difference between this and what happened to the Jews?
Yet someone could open his mouth to blame Lt. Col. Ojukwu for insisting on separation. Tell me, what level of massacre of a particular group of people would qualify as genocide?
The humiliation of Ndigbo was simply unbearable.” Narrating the ordeal of the Igbo nation in his landmark autobiography, ‘A Guided Life’, Ihenacho inferred that the July 1966 coup was just a part of a larger plot that would have become the most horrifying incident of ethnic cleansing in the history of the African continent. I
henacho wrote, “Gowon was the visible Head of State and the mask, but there were ambitious and vicious men behind him.
They were men who wanted nothing but total subjugation of a people.
In spite of the terrible things that happened, Ndigbo in particular and the East in general must be grateful to God that the coup of July 1966 did not get to its planned conclusion. It would have been the worst annihilation of a people in African history. It predated Rwanda and could have remained unbeaten by it in its scale of wickedness and savagery.”
Ihenacho is of the view that if Ojukwu had listened to the plea of some misinformed people, doom would have been the harvest of Ndigbo and their neighbours.
According to him, it was sheer bravery and determination to survive that helped Biafra sustain the war for as long as it lasted. “Ojukwu clearly exploited this fact and he was right to have taken the risk to fight back instead of sitting there and complaining to the world that would not listen and thereby accepting the mass execution of his people,” Ihenacho stressed.
Discussing further, the implication of the January and July 1966 coups, Ihenacho opined that, “They started a process which they were totally ill-prepared for and incapable of handling.
Their ill-fated experiment threw up people like Yakubu Gowon, who, in my view, had not the capacity to act decisively and who had to depend on the likes of Major Theophilus Danjuma, Lt. Col. Murtala Mohammed and a few other hotheads to decide the fate of our country.
Gowon’s emergence as Commander-in- Chief, therefore, became the worst misfortune that befell the Nigerian nation at such a pivotal time.”
Ihenacho however noted that Nigeria’s problems neither started with Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi nor with Gen. Yakubu Gowon, apparent beneficiaries of the coups, but noted that the two men had the opportunities to point Nigeria in the right direction early enough in true resolution of the nation’s ills armed with truth and depth of vision.
DISCLAIMER:Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of ABN TV