Nigeria has witnessed countless ethnic and communal clashes and this predates our independence.
Some of these clashes involves some native tribes including Jukuns and Wurukuns; Tiv and Fulanis; Ogonis and Okrikans; Anang and Ibibio; Nupe and Nok; Hausa and Fulanis; Mumuyes and Hausas.
The list is long.
But the biggest ethnic clash Nigeria ever had spiraled into a civil war.
A botched 1966 coup set the stage for what has set Nigerian tribes at daggers to each other.
For starters, here is the list of the botched 1966 coup:
- Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu (Delta state).
- Major Adewale Ademoyega (Yoruba).
- Capt. G. Adeleke (Yoruba)
- Maj. Ifeajuna (Igbo)
- Lt. Fola Oyewole (Yoruba)
- Lt. R. Egbiko (Esan)
- Lt. Tijani Katsina (Hausa/ Fulani)
- Lt. O. Olafemiyan (Yoruba)
- Capt. Gibson Jalo (Bali)
- Capt. Swanton (Kaduna)
- Lt. Hope Harris Eghagha (Urhobo)
- Lt. Dag Warribor (Ijaw)
- 2nd Lt. Saleh Dambo (Hausa)
- 2nd Lt. John Atom Kpera (Tiv).
- Tim onwuatuegwu (igbo)
A critical look at this list proves one thing: The 1966 coup was not an Igbo coup.
Look at the list again!
But one outcome of the coup was a bloody extermination of over two million people from an ethnic group.
Should Igbos be exonerated from the fall out of the coup?
Well, here is a short answer: NO!
A long answer is this: Late Colonel Ojukwu was not aware of an ongoing coup.
He was informed by Mallam Hassan Katsina.
Late Kaduna Nzeogwu led the coup. He was a major arrowhead in the botched 1966 coup.
Before the coup, the plotters had agreed on key persons to neutralize.
These persons cut across diverse ethnicities.
The coup plotters of Northern extraction did their job of marked for neutralization in their region.
The coup plotters of eastern extraction, namely Igbos failed to neutralize Michael Opkara.
The Igbo coup plotters said they refrained from neutralizing Okpara because he was hosting a forign dignatory, Archbishop Makarios.
The Igbos and Yorubas both failed to neutralize Aguiyi-Ironsi in Lagos, the capital of the country at that time.
They at fired him, but he escaped their death bullets. Northerners perceived his “Escape” as a deliberate ploy.
How Zik went on Holiday to the Caribbean lit up some red flags too.
The coup plotter from the North believed someone tipped off Zik.
Recall that Nnamdi Azikiwe was also penciled for neutralization.
After the coup, the military chose Late Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo man, to lead the nation.
It was believed he was ethnically biased, favoring Igbos more.
The Hausa/Fulani were already seething from the death of Sardauna and Tafawa Balewa and other top military personnel of northern extraction.
Are these perceptions true? Well, perceptions can be deceiving but it festered.
The inability of both the eastern and western coup plotters to neutralize their targets was a big minus for them.
The Hausa/Fulani stirred up a controversy that both the East and west deceived them.
This, in a nutshell, created the hatred that pervades the North and South.
Even in the South, South-Westerners and South-Easterners are each other’s throats.
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The bile is so intense that one can palpably feel it. This hatred was built on lies. Our politicians feed on it too.
Fast-forward to 2011 and 2015 presidential elections. The same hatred was spewed again.
This hatred mutated in yester-years parents unto offsprings of today.
The hatred and bile among Nigerians stink to high heavens. Thanks to our politicians and the military.
As a hindsight: Femi Fani-Kayode and Olisah Metuh were both arrested and detained for the same crime.
Olisah Metuh has gone dead silent! Fani-Kayode still stands and speaks on what he believes.