Igbo Soldiers Plotted Coup from Independence Day – David Ejoor

Lt-Colonel David Ejoor

Lt-Colonel David Ejoor

Igbo soldiers plotted coup from independence day – Ejoor

From the Nigerian Compass
In a three-part thriller that is sure to send historians about the Nigerian Civil War back to library shelves, the Military Governor of the… defunct Midwest Region, Major General David Akpode Ejoor, says military coups in Nigeria began right from independence in 1960.

In this interview with BIMBO OGUNNAIKE and AZEEZ FOLURUNSHO, he shredded several claims and set-positions about the country’s past and future. Firing from the hips, like a war veteran that he is, and in a no-holds-barred interview, [b]Ejoor maintains that the political and military leaders of Igbo extraction had nursed the ambition of upturning the Nigerian political space because their leading light, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, emerged only as a nominal Governor-General while power resided in another geo-political zone. [/b]The concluding parts of the rare interview will be served you, dear readers, next Saturday and the week after. Excerpts:

You appear to be more of an enigma to Nigerians, most of whom know very little about you despite being an open-book; one about whom so much has been said and written. Who, really, are you, sir?

A woman called Uvwerhero gave birth to me. I was born in 1932. She put me in school and when I finished my school, she sent me to the Government College , Ugheli. When I finished college, I didn´t have money to continue to do the HSC or to enter the university. My school principal gave me a letter to the Comptroller of Customs in Warri. I didn´t know what was in the letter and so when the Comptroller read it, he said your principal said I should give you a job. He asked me: “When are you starting?” I said now. He said: “All right, come tomorrow”. That was how I started work in the Customs.

What year was that?

In 1953. After the first six months, one of my colleagues came from the college to say that they were looking for the people to join the army. I told him that I was already working but he gave me the form. Out of interest, I filled the form and by September 1953, they replied me and said that I should come to Enugu for examination to join the army. I didn´t know that day, I didn´t know Enugu . To tell the Comptroller of Customs that he should excuse me to go to Enugu for exam, I couldn´t do it. I had to resign and go to look for money because at that time any money they gave to me at the end of the month, I gave it to my elder brother to keep for me. I did not keep the money. When I wanted to resign, I didn´t have any money. so, I had to rush to him in school and told him that he should give me money; that I wanted to resign. He said. `you are playing with your certificate.´ He gave me money and I went to the treasury, paid and dropped my letter to the Comptroller of Customs and I didn´t allow him to read it before I left. I just ran away from him because I knew he would not let me go. The following day, I asked my mother to get me some money and three days after, I found my way to Enugu to do the exam there.

How many of you sat for the examination that day?

We were six, but at the end of the day, we were asked to come for an interview in Lagos . I was the only one who passed from Enugu . We did the interview in Lagos and only four of us passed. The four of us were then sent to Ghana to do our initial training at the Regular Officers Training School . After six months, those of us who passed, about four, were selected to go to England to do the Officers Cadet Training. When we got to England , we went to another selection board and it happened that two of us passed — that is I and Victor Banjo, who worked with Ojukwu. So, Banjo and I went to England to do first, the Short Service Commission Course which lasted for six months. At the end of the six months, we were asked to go to Sandhurst for interview. At Sandhurst , we did almost three years course. We were commissioned in 1956 by the Queen, the present Queen, and then we came back to Nigeria . Some of us later went back to England for other military

When you were about joining the army, what was your parents´ attitude?

The immediate brother by my mother was killed by some people in 1951. So, as far as Army was concerned at that time, people would say when you join the Army, you were going to die. So, I couldn´t tell my mother that I wanted to join the army because she would never agree. I did all these, went to Accra for the training and after the training I now told her that I was going to England but it would be training in the army and she couldn´t say no then because I was the only boy left and the other two sisters were the only three left out of seven children which she had before.

Do you share the view that Biafra was a tragic mistake in Nigeria ´s history?

First of all, let me tell you this, when the British were here, we were the last Nigerian officers to be commanded by the British soldiers. (He called for a picture hung on the wall of his sitting room to be brought down to show the first set of Nigerian military officers at that period).The senior person to me in Nigeria was Bassey, the second was Aguiyi Ironsi.  The Igbos wanted to rule. Why they wanted to rule was that (Nnamdi) Azikiwe was the then Governor-General and more or less Head of State. The constitution did not give any power to Azikiwe. So, this annoyed the Igbo people and they used to say: “How can we run a constitution in which the Head of State cannot advise the government, the government cannot contact the Head of State for any advice?” So, the answer was well to take over since they were already leading and yet they had no control over the government. That was why the Igbo soldiers decided to organise a coup. But at that time, there were four major leading officers which included me, Yakubu Gowon, Bassey and Ojukwu. Igbo people relied on Ojukwu for the coup and they were able to convince the Yoruba. Ojukwu and Banjo now contacted me and Gowon for a coup. But we refused.

How many of you refused to participate in the planned coup then?

Gowon and I refused and they went on their own. But we then reported to that European officer, General Foster. I and Gowon reported to him that some people were trying to plan a coup. He called all of us — the Nigerian Army officers — and advised us not to organise any military coup. When Ojukwu´s father heard about this, he put a memo into House of Assembly that all Europeans should leave the army. It was that year that all the Europeans in the army were sent back to their country. Then, Ironsi, who was Number Two, took over the command of the army. While he was there, Ojukwu still had the coup plot in his mind. He told Ironsi that he should not allow Ejoor and Gowon to be in Army Headquarters, saying as long they remained in Army headquarters, they would not be able to execute the coup. So, Ironsi sent Gowon on a course in the United Kingdom but he left me alone.[/b] When Igbos were worrying him that Ejoor was still there, he told them that: “This man from that small state, minority state? You can handle him, he cannot do anything. Go away, and leave me.” So, he left me. By December when Gowon came back, it was like a small war in Ironsi´s office. Some army officers told Ironsi that: “We told you to send these two people away, now Gowon has come back. What can we do now? Ironsi was embarrassed and after Gowon came back on the 20th and on the 23rd of that month, Ironsi now sent me away from Army headquarters to Enugu, saying: “He should be hidden there.” I went there and then they tried again but the one they tried was in January 1966 after I had left the Army headquarters. But at that time, they said whatever happened, Ejoor and Gowon must die. They threatened the person who was to organise a coup on behalf of the Igbos in Lagos side.

Who was that person?

Emmanuel Ifeajuna. The one in Kaduna , Nzeogwu. I think you know that one. Ifeajuna was holding a very big post in the Brigade then. He was a Chief of Staff to Maimalari. He sent a message that we had this meeting which would last a week; that I should come to Lagos . He was the one who booked me into Ikoyi Hotel in Room 17 and my number in the army was 17.. It was a lucky number for me. I got to Lagos for the meeting and then the meeting started on Monday. Then on Thursday, I can’t recall what happened in my hotel room. I just complained that I didn’t like the room. They couldn´t change it on Thursday. It was on Friday, the last day of the meeting that I came back to the hotel by 4.30 pm. When I got to the hotel, they had changed my room because they knew that the following day, I would leave. I said all right. Because of the cocktail party which Maimalari organised for us, we could not come back on time. I left the cocktail party at about 11 p.m when
we should have left at 8.00 pm.There was no need for us to come on time. Although he called it a cocktail party, it was like a buffet dinner. So, I ate to my satisfaction and when I got to the hotel, I didn´t go to the dining room to eat again; I just went straight to my bed and slept off. It was at three o’clock that night that the coup plotters came. [b]They killed my colleague, the one commanding the Western Region, and after putting his body in the booth of the car, they rushed to my room, to Room 17, to kill me thinking that I was there. According to their story, they didn´t want me to see them. So, when they kicked the door open, they just sprayed the bed with bullets and then round before they switched on the light. When they switched on the light, nobody was there and they started saying to themselves, “he is gone, he is gone” and I was snoring downstairs. That was how, at least, I can tell that God saved me from the coup.[/b] Now, for Gowon.

Gowon had just come back on the 20th of December and he was posted to take over a battalion in Ikeja. He had not moved to his official house.. He was staying in one of the Officers Mess accommodation. On that night, he did not come back to where he was staying because he went to see his prospective in-law. He did not come back in time, so when the coup plotters went there, they did not see him. They were now saying it is me and Gowon that would counter their coup and on the following day the news was that there was a coup. The following day, I was told that my colleague was killed and I went to his room and all what I saw was just blood. His body was not in the room and so I went to the person who was in charge, Brigadier Pam to come and take the blood sample and check. But when I got to that place, his wife told me that his husband was taken away in the middle of the night around 3.00 a.m. to a rendezvous where he was killed. Then, I rushed to Maimalari’s house who was then our commander where we had the cocktail party. When we got there, his soldiers just told me that Maimalari was killed in Ikoyi, Awolowo Road by the petrol station that night. I now told myself, ‘how can I just rush to Enugu when I have heard this bad news.’ So, I went to Ironsi´s house whether he could tell me anything before I went to Enugu . But when I got there, his soldiers said he left his house at 4..00 o’clock in the morning. What do I do? The head of the army, we could not find him. So, I said to myself, let me go to the Army unit, maybe I would get more information from them. I rushed to Ikeja Battalion and it was there, luckily, I saw his car in a car park. I sent my guard to check his office if there was anybody, and to ask if I should come in. And then I heard them all shouting: “Tell him to come. Tell him to come.”  So, I went in. He opened the door for me and when I got in, I saw Ironsi sitting opposite the door pointing a gun at me, saying: ” David, are you with me or against me?” It was a surprise to him because he thought I was dead. So, I shouted back at him that “you are our father. Whatever it is, I am with you. What is it, anyway?” He said: “All right, sit down.” So, I sat down and he told me how the Prime Minister contacted him to say that he was being attacked with Okotie- Eboh and all that. He promised me he was going to get some help, but he couldn´t raise any help and that was why I had to go to the battalion itself, to get some soldiers under his command. He told me that he had to send Gowon out with soldiers to trace the coup plotters. I couldn´t see Gowon at that time. After I had told him the story, then he said he was going to the Police headquarters for a meeting where he was appointed Head of State. I told him I was going to Enugu to join my troops and also to join my wife and children. He just turned round to me and said, “David, I cannot order you to Enugu now.” He did not want me to go to Enugu.
Why did he not want you to go to Enugu ?

Probably, in their plan, I was to have been killed. I was not in their team. He said I should not go to Enugu and he left. I now concluded that Ironsi was part of the coup and that I could no longer rely on him because he was part of the coup plotters. I said to myself that my loyalty is to my country and I would not take any instruction from any officer anymore. I said if I went to Enugu by road, I would not arrive there. So, I went to the airport for an aircraft to take to Enugu . When I got to Enugu , everybody was shaking. The officer, my Second in Command, Major Gabriel Okonweze, told me that he was not expecting me. I asked him why he was not expecting me. He said he was given instruction to take over the command of the battalion, that I was not coming back. I said how did you get this information? Is it by radio, telephone or what? He said no and put his hand in his pocket and brought out a letter saying he should take over the command of the battalion. When I put the letter inside my pocket, he said no, that it was his letter and I said, “but I am still the commander.”

I left the battalion and went to see Dr. Opara, the governor of Eastern Region, came back to the battalion and ordered that all soldiers that were deployed outside the battalion should be brought back to the barrack. I assembled them by 4.00 o’clock and addressed them. My second-in-command was telling me, “don´t tell them that anybody is dead. Don´t tell them anything?” I said I would tell them; these people were taken to unknown destinations, I will not say I saw any dead body, I saw blood. Yes, I cannot say so but if I do not mention it that way, when they get to know, you and I would be the first victim of Hausa soldiers. I told them what I knew and then we ran the battalion with peace. Then on the third day when Ironsi was made the Head of State, he withdrew me from Enugu and called me back to Lagos .

Why do you think he removed you from Enugu ?

He removed me from Enugu because since I was still not dead, he could not trust me in Enugu . When I got to Lagos , he now said that I should be the Governor of the Mid- West.

Did he do that to compensate you?

More or less. But, you know that he had to behave in a way to show that he still liked me. Having removed me from Enugu , he brought me to Benin and that time, most of the officers in the Mid-West were from Anioma area, predominantly Igbo, because as it was, we were nine Lieutenant-Colonels in the Mid-West. I was the only Urhobo and the remaining eight were Anioma. Now that the person they wanted to kill was the governor, how was I to rule that place with satisfaction? I worked with them. I did not know that they were against me. I worked with them in the day time, but in the night, they worked against me. It wasn´t easy. God just preserved me because they did all sorts of things to see whether I could die.
When General Ironsi came on a visit to your region, 24 hours after he left your zone, he was kidnapped by some sections of the army along with the Governor of the Western Region where they were killed.

What was in your mind when you heard the news?

The fact was this. He visited Western Region after leaving my place. The idea was that he did not want my killing to take place while he was there

Your own killing?

Yes. When he got to Ibadan , the counter-coup people, Brigadier Danjuma, waylaid him. It was there they waylaid him and killed him in Ibadan . When he was with Fajuyi, Fajuyi did not want them to take Ironsi away just like that. That was why they killed Fajuyi with Ironsi, not that they had anything against Fajuyi at that time. That was how I escaped death for the second time. As I am talking to you, I have looked at death, where there was nothing I could do, I was just waiting for death to come, for seven times. How many people have gone through that? Looking at death, not that I was told. The other ones that happened when I did not know is different, but the ones I saw, I know.

Are you saying the lack of trust and the in-fighting among the top generals at that time led to Nigeria ´s civil war?

The civil war was straightforward. the Igbo wanted to take over the ruling of Nigeria . When all these cunny-cunny actions that people who were preventing them from organising a coup had not been killed, that is Gowon and I, the only thing left was to have a civil war. That was why there was a civil war and in the civil war, the first place Ojukwu attacked was the Mid-West. Now, I do not know that he was already in league with all the officers from Anioma area. When the Federal Government was suspecting them, most of them ran away to the East and joined Ojukwu in the Biafran army. At that time, Banjo himself, being a friend to Ojukwu because they joined the army the same day and commissioned, was suspected to be organising a coup. Ironsi had sent him, well not to prison but more or less arrested but sent to the East where he was detained in one of the prisons there. But being a friend to Ojukwu, Ojukwu released him and made him the Commander of the Biafran troops. And he was the one who commanded the Biafran soldiers to come and attack Mid- West before moving to Lagos . The Igbo tried to rule Nigeria by force, what they cannot do through the ballot box; they tried it through coup. They tried the coup, it failed and now decided to do a civil war. It was a contract. That is the basic thing.

During this war, you said Ojukwu was coming from the East through your zone to Lagos . What were the things you put in place to checkmate him at that time?

As I told you, I did not know. It was just that morning that I heard firing in the State House where I was told that the Biafran Army was in the Mid- West. I could not believe that Banjo would be the person to kill me because he was the nearest person to me in the army. What happened was that when they got to Ikpoba Hills in Benin , the person that was sent by Ojukwu to kill me was ordered to take me dead or alive to Enugu was different because Banjo did not know about this. When they got to Ikpoba Hill, this officer from the Mid West, from Anioma, told Banjo he should give him time; let him go and find out where I was in Benin and take me to Enugu , dead or alive. The firing started at about 7.00 o’clock. I just managed to get the radio to tell Gowon that I was being attacked by the Biafran army. I took the weapon of the operator and ran down to the gate to join the soldiers who were firing and we started firing together. But after sometime, we ran out of ammunition.

What do we do? I knew that if they came in, they were coming for me to kill me. These soldiers who were defending me, why should I allow them to die? And then if I leave this place they would be killed, including my wife and children. Why should I allow any of these people to be killed? I said they had to kill me first so that other people would survive. I jumped down from where I was and walked towards where they were firing. I thought that that was the end. I didn´t know what was happening and then I found myself in a veranda in one of the houses not far from the State House. I decided to move my leg but I couldn´t move any part of my body. I looked up and I saw somebody holding my leg and my hand. He was kneeling down when I was thinking about other things. I did not know that somebody was holding me. I now asked him who are you? He said he was Chief Asemota. I thanked him and said I had to go now. He sad “no, you can´t go, they are everywhere.” When he got up and started dragging me in, I asked him have you not seen any of the Biafran soldiers here? He answered that they were two in this veranda. It wasn´t long when they left that you came.These are the ones that would have killed you. I said: “My time has come; those who sent me here want me dead. My time has come. Let me go so that you or any of your family members will not die.” He said no. I argued and argued but he did not agree. So, I got up annoyed, to walk out. But before I could get to the door, he ran past me, he locked the door and threw the key out through the window. So, what do I do now? I could not break the door like that. Then I persuaded him that he should go and look for an Urhobo person around the area who could take me away from Benin . I waited for him and he found somebody from Urhobo who said he was coming. In the afternoon, in the night, we did not see him.

So, I said he was not interested. The following morning, around 7.00 o’clock, I heard a woman shouting: “There is war; you are going there if they kill you now, who will bury me?” That was what he was saying in Urhobo. I peeped through the window and I saw the woman running after the son, and returning into the compound I recognized him as one of the people with whom we grew up together.

What is the name of that person, sir?

John Ebuche. So, I opened the door and told him, “look, take your mother home,” and turned. He took his mother home.

A Generals´General

That Major General David Akpode Ejoor (rtd) parades an intimidating profile is an understatement. Commissioned in 1953 in the United Kingdom , he is a Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) and an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR). Ejoor also holds the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), UK ; a Pass Staff College (PSC) and a honorary Doctor of Letters (LL. D), of the University of Benin (UNIBEN).
He was a member of the Supreme Military Council from 1966 to 1975, the first Military Governor of Mid-Western State between 1966 and 1967; Chief of Army Staff, from 1972 to 1975, when he retired.
His medals include the Congo , Independence , Republic, Defence Service, General Service and National Service. He is a Grand Commander of the Republic of Togo , and has received the Order of the two Niles-Ist Class Sudan , the Grand Officer O.N. Du Lion Senegal and Kt. Order of the Crown, Belgium . His chieftaincy titles include the Olorogun Oloho of Olomu, Okakuro-Egbe of Agbon, Okakuro of Ovu, Onotuku of Ebor and Orhuerakpo Ru Ughelli.

67 responses


  2. This is an incredible interview. Simply fascinating.
    It’s a bit incoherent and quite a bumpy ride.
    But fascinating nonetheless.
    Ejoor’s account is at certainly at odds with just about every other account about those monumental and explosive events which culminated with the Biafra War.
    Gowon himself stated in an interview posted on this site that he returned to Nigeria from his course in the UK about 3 or so days before the
    coup of Jan.15,1966. Ejoor claims that Gowon returned in late Dec.’65.
    The official police Special Branch Report of the Jan.15,1966 coup
    gives a meticulously detailed blow by blow account of that coup and makes
    not one single mention of Ejoor’s name throughout the entire lengthy
    Ejoor’s account is the first time I have ever heard that he was a target
    that night in Ikoyi Hotel along with Col. Abogo Largema.
    I find this very difficult to believe.
    Ademoyega never mentioned Ejoor as being a target that night.
    Neither did Ben Gbulie in his book.
    Why would the coup-plotters themselves fail to mention this?
    As far as his assertion that Ironsi was involved, that is utter nonesense.
    Ironsi was the one who mobilised the crushing of the coup.
    Moreover, Ironsi himself was targeted for elimination that night.
    Major Donatus Okafor was specifically assigned to eliminate Ironsi but
    Ironsi was nowhere to be found that night. This lead to the coup’s
    ultimate failure. Furthermore, Nzeogwu himself has stated that Ironsi
    was targeted and should have been eliminated.
    Ejoor’s claim about Ironsi’s conversation with Balewa that night
    has to be bogus. There is no way Balewa could have called Ironsi to
    tell him that he and Okotie-Eboh were being abducted that night. Once
    Ifeajuna arrested Balewa, Balewa no longer had access to a phone nor did
    he know where he was to be taken next.
    This account in incredulous!
    Ejoor’s account is full of so many holes and inconsistencies and definitely raises more questions than it answers.
    I find it interesting, fascinating and totally unbelievable.

    1. Thank you very much liki malafa for your insight. What I hate in my life is lying expecially when an elderly person lies. This is why Nigeria never move forward.
      Again Mr. Ejoor has ealier stated that a woman gave birth to him without a legitimate father which means David Ejoor was a ” Lucky Bastard ” and an ungratefull bitch for framing all this lies against the Ibos.

    2. liki,where can i get the text of The official police Special Branch Report of the Jan.15,1966 coup you speak about?

  3. Everyone of them soldiers wanted his name to be heard as a local champion of his time. Look at how David Ejoor wanted to claim to be unbeatable soldier of his time with many fake awards he claimed both home and abroad after the actions were over for 43years in order to gain recognition.
    We all knew David Ejoor by then as an instigator, ass kisser and a yes man in the millitary.He always instigate for Ironsi when he was a supreme commander that is what created oppotunity for him to be appointed as Governor when Ironsi became the Head of State.Then immediately the nothern coup was imminent and ready to be executed then David Ejoor turned to kiss Yakubu Gowons ass which maketh way for him to be appointed as the chief of army staff during Gowons administration. We are all living witness.
    David Ejoor was the last official person Ironsi visited less than 24hours before proceed to Ibadan where he was killed. David Ejoor was sure and aware that Ironsi will be killed in less than 24hours after leaving his house at Benin on that 29th of july 1966 but refuses to inform him because the Notherners promised him of a higher position if the mission is accomplished.
    Now, Ejoor, Danjuma, Gowon and the rest of them has gain the whole world and their ages is up and their death is approaching fast fast, they have started regreting what they did to the man of peace (Ironsi) with his tribe (Ibo)just because of their selfish interest in Goverment treasure.
    That is why Theophillus Danjuma and David Ejoor is making indirect confession and fabricating all this lies to back up their action of july 29th 1966 while showing the world their low self esteem, personality trait, coward and inferiority complex on them.

  4. Not much new info in the interview. Ejoor gave a very detailed reconstruction of events that occurred in 1966 in his book “Reminiscences”. Ejoor’s interview differs in some respects from his book. Interesting to note that he thinks Ironsi was aligned with the coup plotters. However in his book Reminiscences, Ejoor stated that Ironsi was “marked for death” by the plotters and describes in great detail, how Ironsi scrambled to mobilise officers to counter-attack the Majors.

    Interesting to note that he also alleges that the officers who staged the Jan 1966 coup kicked open his hotel room door, and sprayed the bed with bullets (after he had changed rooms). Strange though that such a violent event is not mentioned at all in the extraordinarily detailed police report on the coup, which reports even mundane conversations the plotters had among themselves. Even more strange when you consider that one of the plotters (Gbulie) claimed that had their coup succeeded, they had earmarked Ejoor to head the army.

    The part about Ojukwu approaching Ejoor and Gowon to stage a coup is not a new allegation. Ejoor said the same thing in his book Reminiscences, and Gowon also corroborated Ejoor in his own biography.

  5. Max, the approach by Ojukwu to Gowon and Ejoor about staging a coup
    was not in 1966. I believe that was in 1964 or thereabouts, long before
    Nzeogwu & co. struck.

  6. Liki, I know the Ejoor-Ojukwu-Gowon coup allegation was from 1964. Just to clarify, I did not actually say it was in 1966 (see my post above).

  7. Essentially a pack of outright lies and/or twisting of the truth.

    I wasn’t alive in the time period in question, but the ff. factual errors are contained in Mr. Ejoor’s “account”:

    – Nigeria declared war on Biafra, not the other way around, so it’s hilarious to think the Igbos really wanted to rule Nigeria.

    – Ejoor’s memory of his seniority in the Nigerian Army is false. He claims that only Bassey and Ironsi were senior to him BUT later says he was NA 17 (i.e. the 17th-commissioned African officer in the Nigerian Army) and that Banjo (who wasn’t close to being one of the most senior officers) was his coursemate. Furthermore, everyone knows that the likes of Ademulegun, Maimalari (admittedly fast-tracked), Ogundipe, Shodeinde, Kur Mohammed, Adebayo and even fellow Lt.Cols like Hilary Njoku, were senior to Ejoor.

    – If Ejoor was a target of the coup, it would have been corroborated by Ademoyega, Gbulie and even less sympathetic commentators about the January 15 coup like the Special Branch, Gowon and several others who’ve written extensively about the coup – and most of them wrote about the incidents within 10 years of the coup, when their memories were still fresh. Of course, these days, every Tom, Dick and Harry officer in 1966 Nigeria claims they were a target – it’s the only way they can justify their brutality and war crimes towards Biafra.

    – How does he explain people like Ironsi, Njoku, Madiebo, Nwawo, etc. playing key leading roles in crushing Nzeogwu’s coup, despite being Igbo as well?

    – Ojukwu (as much as I detest his leadership), was the only SMC member who went to Aburi with a genuine desire to solve the problems of Nigeria. The likes of Ejoor and Gowon, who couldn’t gain admission to University, were there thinking it was an old boys’ club – smiling and showing their teeth while the country was on the brink of collapse.


    – He mentions absolutely nothing about the impact of the massacres of innocent Igbo men, women and children in the North and West on the declaration of Biafra – unless of course, this was all part of the mythical “grand Igbo masterplan”. While Ojukwu has certainly had his delusions of grandeur vis-a-vis leadership, it was the migration caused by this that led to the creation of Biafra, not some desire by Igbos to dominate the country.
    If anything, the actions of the North could lead to the conclusion that they planned to dominate the country at any cost – and I think history bears this out.

  8. Ejoor’s account of being targeted on the night of the Jan 15, 1966 coup is strange. Especially given that the extraordinarily detailed police report (which chronicles even mundane events such as the plotters’ conversations among themselves) makes no mention of Ejoor’s hotel room door being kicked open and his bed being sprayed with bullets. Odd that such a violent event was not recorded in the police report.

    Stranger still, the murder of Lt-Col Largema (who was in the same hotel as Ejoor the night of the coup) is covered in detail by the police report which details how the plotters lay in wait for, ambushed Largema, then disposed of his body. This was based on the testimony of the hotel staff.

  9. This is errant nonsense. Max Siollun I am not sure what your agenda is but you need to give a balanced view.Everybody please watch the link below. David Ejoor is a tribalistic bufoon and the BIGGEST LIAR IN NIGERIA. His accounts in this interview is so different to the documentary. The real reason for the Biafran war, was the killing of innocent Igbos nothing more nothing less. If he says Ironsi and Ojukwu where party to the coup, while will they try and put down the coup ( even if the cynical think it was a ploy ). Also you had Ademoyega ( one of the 5 majors who excecuted the coup ) and Banjo not exactly Igbo sounding names, Yoruba to teh core.So how would this have been an Igbo coup. Also after the revenge killing of Ironsi and a real Nigerian Hero Fajuyi, why start killing innocent Igbo people. If I kill you mother and father, why not target my family why start killing my friends,people I do busines with etc. Anyway the sooner people like David Ejoor pass away and his like the better for Nigeria. Nigeria will ONLY SEE PEACE AND PROSPERITY WHEN TRUE AND GENUINE RECONCILIATION IS DONE.

  10. Sorry in my disgust i left the link out.I can assume dementia is at an advanced stage in David Ejoor’s brain…LOL.

    1. Dr Joe Igboko | Reply

      Whilst most of the videos that were included were true but unfortunately those who pursuited that Igbos were planning ceasation from 1960 need to be remainded why Action Group against NCNC led by Zik was planned.

      Secondly they need to be reminded of the reason for the first on January 1966, and those who planned.

      Thanks for the forum

    2. EJIKE ANYADUBA | Reply

      Max, i do not wish to accept that Ejoor said all that in that interview.However,if he did,i presume he was not oriented in person and time when he did, in which case, he must be suffering from premature senility. His story was quite incoherent,his English was pedestrain and his attempt at heroism was a fly in the face of accounts given by major actors in both the coup and the attendant war.Never in history,have i heard that a man should reward another even when the beneficiary was not only vulnerable to death in the hands of his rewarder but had no contributions whatsoever in the making of the office he later occupied.
      It sounds rather amazing that Ejoor even contradicted Obasanjo when he reeled out his heroics in defying death when Benin fell into the hands of Biafran campaigners. Or did Obasanjo not record his book MY COMMAND that Ejoor cowardly fled the onslaught of Biafran Army led by Col. Victor Banjo. Of course,not thinking highly of him as a soldier Obasanjo called him THe BICYCLE-RIDING-FUGITIVE. As i said earlier,Ejoor’s account was a shabby attempt at reconstruction of history. Personally, even before now he never struck as a soldier capable of any exploits in the army. And now he has unwittingly confirmed it with his bundle of lies which he spewed out from his unlettered English.

  11. Most interesting debate. How did Ejoor finally escape from Benin?
    He then went to Lagos for the rest of the war I think. Is that correct?
    I was Australian High Commissioner in Lagos from August 1965 when I presented my credentials to Azikwe, until August 1967 when I took leave of Gowon in Dodan Barracks and went to the UN General Assembly then about to meet in mid-September in New York. In October 1966, I travelled by road from Lagos to Enugu to talk to Ojukwu in an attempt to help towards a peaceful settlement, end the massacres of the Ibos and keep Nigeria intact. (You will see many newspaper and other media accounts of my talks with Ojukwu at this time.) I undertook these talks with Gowon’s knowledge and consent. After my talks, the atmosphere between Lagos and Enugu seemed to improve for a time and was one factor which led to the Aburi Agreement in January 1967. That Agreement then fell apart, largely I think because of problems Gowon had with it – or more accurately perhaps, problems that those who kept him in power had with it. As Ojukwu told me, the great problem in reaching a peaceful settlement was, from the Ibo side, the problem of dealing with the North after the appalling massacres of so many Ibos on and after 29 July 1966. Could the Ibos ever really regard their fellow Nigerians of the North as “brothers” after those terrible events?
    Do you have any views or data on the extent to which foreign governments, including African neighbours and major Western Governments – Britain, the United States, Russia and France etc – influenced the course to war and contributed to its outcome? Some evidence suggests that that foreign influence was considerable.
    Perhaps you might also like to tell me what, in your view, influence the United Nations and the Organisation for African Unity had on the course to war and its outcome.
    All best wishes to you.

  12. This is all rubbish. You don’t waste your time on the filty history of a group of ill bred cheap military officers who do not understand what their professions expected of them. Save your breath and allow these lots fade away. Nigeria is better off without them we are not interested in their stories.

    1. If u re not interested, some persons out there is very much interested…

  13. As a northerner, I am striving to get to the bottom of the hatred the southerners (especially those from eastern Nigeria) have against us in general and amazingly all my investigation keeps coming back to the same root cause. The fisrt “Unlawfull” bloodshed of January 1966. We may have been going through very difficult times then, corruption, bad politicians and so forth but there was no justification for the sacrifice that was initiated which resulted in even more sacrifice and perhaps I would even say remains the one event that has created distrust between us.

  14. As a niger deltan ,i feel scandalized and embarrassed by david ejoor’s account of history .Just as liki malafa and max siollun have pointed out, his narrative of events is filled with so much inconsistencies as to damage the credibilty of the account itself.What is most saddening to me however, is the anti-igbo sentiments that permeates through his narrative.An objective mind can’t help but notice it.I am informed that this feeling of animosity towards the igbos was all prevalent in nigeria amongst non igbos then for reasons i am not yet able to get to the bottom of other than a tentative reason given me by an elderly man who lived through that period and who offered as a reason the fact that the igbos then were considered too aggressive in nature and so were regarded with a mixture of fear and resentment.In that sense then, the tragedy of the civil war was just waiting to happen.It was only a matter of time.

  15. This is why Nig. will never get developed. ‘Am sorry for you Nig. of today. The feelings then and now is the same. Ibos are never wrong, according to Ibos, Yorubas, Hausas, and other tribes feel the same. When are we going to put all these things behind us and come together to do the right thing for our dear country…..develop her. It’s a shame that what happened in the 60s remaind the same 50 years later. In retrospect, if Nzeogwu had succeded in his plans of Jan 1966, maybe Nig. would have been better-off for it.. Look at Ghana today..’was a joke in 79.. Who is laughing now… GHANANIANS

  16. Dr. Uwakwe.

  17. Dr. Uwakwe. After viewing the video clips and reading the interviews, one important element in the tragic history of Nigeria remains hidden and never mentioned. What role did Britain play in all these besides arming one side of the conflict. It is very obvious now that even people like Ejoor and many of the so called officers had no clue what was going on. It should not surprise anyone why Nigeria and every other African countries continue to deteriote politically and economically.

  18. That Ejoor was a target to be eliminated was a pretentious claim. Ejoor was not a target because he was neither an obstacle nor a potential candidate for action. He should have been the leader of boys scout of church choir instead of joining the army. Now he is making up stories to obscure his namby pamby personality. Ejoor was a joke.

  19. Gowon and Ejoor were not relevant. The two were not targets. Getting rid of them required no tactics. Killing Ejoor could not have helped any agenda. His presence or absence did not help any soldier or civilian. Gowon was not a target. If any body wanted to get rid of Gowon, that person must be Ojukwu and the Biafran soldiers after Gowon abandoned the Aburi Accord. If those soldiers had wanted to get rid of Gowon from the beginning, they could have done so. Ejoors interview was driven by thirst for self-importance. I will not employ him as gateman. He is a pusillanimous deserter.

  20. it is only fools that can comment on what they dont know about, the story of ejoor is the true fact of what happened in the nigeria civil war , during the gowon and ejoor military regime, they where the only honest and trusted which we cn’t find in nigeria today during their teniun when they declair budget the suplus will be retured to government purse so many people open their dirty mouth and make false comment they don’t know about, many of them weren’t born before the nigeria civil war took place.

  21. Ejoor is a monkey

  22. I think we NOW know that Ironsi knew about the coup. According to Hillary Njoku in his book, Gowon held a grudge against him because they were both at Police HQ when Ironsi said “they told me they were not going to kill anyone” or something to that effect, and he (Hilary) did not act like he heard. Based on this, Gowon was convinced that Njoku also knew about the coup. (I was disapointed that this was not mentioned in Max’s book).

    We also already know that Fajuyi knew about the coup (according to Ademoyega).

    What’s new for me is the context that Ejoor puts his narrative — that it was an Igbo coup and the Igbo’s in the army were not happy that one of them was not in charge of the affairs of state.

    1. To the anonymous poster above…. Ejoor’s account in this interview differs from his account in his book “Reminiscences”. In his book he is much more circumspect in drawing conclusions about the coup.

      I did not include Njoku’s reference to the alleged “but they said they would not kill anyone” comment by Ironsi for a number of reasons. Firstly, Gowon (who was alleged to have overheard it too) has never made reference to hearing it in the various accounts he has given to his biographers and in interviews. Also, the comment could be highly speculative/inflammatory because it could be taken out of context. Senior officers received intelligence reports about a coup and knew something was being plotted. Thus even if Ironsi did make such a comment, how do we know who “they” was? Was he referring to the intelligence warnings received? Or to someone else? Who was “they”?

  23. Thank God for today.Yesteryears must have been scary.This beloved Country of God shall never see another crisis again. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

  24. Gerald J. A. Nwankwo (gnwankwo@ccp.edu)
    David Akpode Ejoor writes like a hungry patriot, who joined the Nigerian Army out of family poverty rather than for national patriotism. He shouldn’t have been commissioned an officer because he doesn’t have what it is to be one. He has a soft stomach, and he writes from there – soft and undigested verbage, seemingly true accounts but bereft of solid evidences; his #17 hotel room account is speculative as he wanders from party to somewhere other than the #17 which was a lucky number for him. Where is the connection between not being in #17 and its magical shield for him? He is not a soldier with the pep of one, “…I souted back at him that ‘you are our father. Whatever it is, I am with you.'” A soldier who talks like that is the Dia type of soldier who cannot keep to his conviction even at the cannon’s mouth. He wore a camoflage all the time just to save his little skin. Poor soldier, no guts, no aota of patriotism. Yoro, yoro soldier. Why hasn’t Gowon ever mentioned this account during or after the war? Why didn’t Gowon ever use that “Igbo plot” clause to convince the world of his brutality against the Igbos to their unborn children when he starved them to death? David Akpode Ejoor lied. None of these accounts ever surfaced in his earlier accounts. Isn’t this surrealism coming from age? I think so.

    1. A bunch of narrow minded guys attempting to portray themselves as analysts of an interview by someone who saw it all. The problems with Nigerians is that; they think of themselves as know it all when it comes to a thing of history which they know naught of. Especially the Eastern and western block see themselves as superstars of Nigerian politics and socio-economic issues. The moment you all remove yourselfs from the quagmire of tribal and ethnic politics the better for Nigeria. What we need is revolution in technology but not empty struggle of who organised and carried out coups in which millions were killed.

      1. Especially the Eastern and western block see themselves as superstars of Nigerian politics and socio-economic issues.
        >> Son, I tell you what :You sure as hell are full of yourself with that trite comment. How on earth then do we rely on a bunch of murderous barbarians who’d never think twice before slaughtering an innocent youth corper to analyze squat the rest of us?

        The moment you all remove yourselfs from the quagmire of tribal and ethnic politics the better for Nigeria. What we need is revolution in technology but not empty struggle of who organised and carried out coups in which millions were killed.

        >>> We sure as hell would wanna remove OURSELVES from… but it boggle the mind how the hell we are going to remove “YOURSELFS” from … The sun sure ain’t shining where your head is. Second of all I ain’t never heard no one say that millions were killed in the coup. How the hell are you talk about? Is this your socalled reliable analysis of events?God save us all if people like you are the only thing the country can showcase. As for Mr. Ejoor’s interview, the man for some reason strikes me as someone who never grew into a full blown adult. Every time I listen to him talk I have flashback to this seemly cowardly boy-child army general, a product of tokenism gone awry.

        1. toochukwu henry | Reply

          Charlse King, bravo my broda. since ejoor did not mention his father, it is most likely that a northerner would ve fathered him. the man bu anu ohia.

      2. charles king | Reply

        “East and western Nigeria saw themselves as super stars of Nigerian politics and socio-economic issue” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        Offcourse that was what they realy are. “You are not supposed to pocess what you are not willing to pursue” (1) East and Westerners strongly fought for the independence of Nigeria while the Northerners were the beneficiary. (2) The first bloody coup detach was crushed by an Easterner while the lazy Nothern soldiers became the beneficiary through their cheap and cowardly counter coup which led to brutal civil war/genocide that ruin Nigerian future hope as a Nation till today.(3) East and west produces the wealth and economy of Nigeria while the Northerners were on top these wealth with no thanks or appreciation to East and west rather than slaughtering, behading and kidnapping their children that live in the North. Should I go ahead? The same group that carried out the genocide including David ejoor were still alive today injecting wicked and senseless ideas to the new generations.
        “David ejoor saw it all” with his peers, we all believe that, but the question is “David ejoor had no wisdom, no conscience or human brain to gave the correct account of what he saw that time” This is typical Nothern Nigerian mentality which gave birth to their numerous slaughtering and kidnaping of other tribes dating from Colonial time till today. I can assure you that a Nothern man must had fathered David ejoor since he was born to a woman out of marriage according to his interview statement above.

      3. toochukwu henry | Reply

        Mr Anonymous. what exactly are u talking about? If u ve been priviledged to read some accounts of major players in d events of those days u will appreciate d fallasy and cheap lies that make up this so-called Ejoors story. From history, Ejoor was a lilly livered opportunist in d army. was he not the man who ran away from his supposed domain on a bicycle. And now he claims he collected a weapon and went a shooting at the gate when the Biafran soldiers arrived Benin. This country doesn’t old people like him bcos they fill the youth with so much lies that we loose direction. He’s such a BLATTANT LIER and TRIBALIST!

  25. My oh my!! how far will some people go in their sick hatred of Igbos??? Just reading through this piece, one couldn’t help being tempted to hate everything that sound or look like ‘Urhobo’, if indeed this evil man is from there and not a bastard from elsewhere (At least he said it himself, that no known father could be attached to him)!!!
    What on earth did the Igbos did to this sick man to made him hated them so much (Even when the same people made him what his was, what he may not have dreamt of), to turn his entire arsenal against them?
    If the Igbo’s really wanted to rule ‘so called Nigeria by force as he sickly insinuates, how come that with their military status and even with Ironsi being the military chief at the time of the coup, still decides not to take over but instead foil the coup of ‘supposed’ Igbos who ironically wanted to rule Nigeria ‘by force’.
    The last part of this interview clearly shows a mad man that has probably lived his life insane, and due to that has helped in causing more death to million without feeling.
    If I were to be an Urhobo person, after reading this, I would simply bury my face in shame, but since that would not matter much, I would simply call the Urhobo people to come out and disown this evil man, because not doing so, means they approved all his evil even the ones not written or said.

  26. Biafra_Arise (Their enemies in confusion) | Reply

    Wonder why that ‘British imperial space’ will end up eating up all those that still sickly support and refer to it as a ‘country’
    With Moron like this being referred to a…..’A general of general’ with one useless title after the other. think of the names of those titles and judge if having such idiots occupying important positions can ever get anything anywhere… Regardless of what morons like this come up with to ‘justify’ their genocidal crimes against innocent people (Of Biafra). He and his likes will be sure that there will be no rest for them even in their grave and continued with their linage, until such linage take the right steps to denounce the evil man.
    More importantly, the spirit of Biafra can only be strengthened with this kind of evil men exposing their despicable atrocities against the Igbos/Biafrans. The independent Biafra will never die away, in fact the real work in progress, this time it will no longer be the same British and their allied governments that helped in the genocide then. This time, the likes of Ejoor and Ukpabi Asika etc.., will feel the hot water will chilly on their useless souls!

    ‘A Generals´General’

    That Major General David Akpode Ejoor (rtd) parades an intimidating profile is an understatement. Commissioned in 1953 in the United Kingdom , he is a Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) and an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR). Ejoor also holds the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), UK ; a Pass Staff College (PSC) and a honorary Doctor of Letters (LL. D), of the University of Benin (UNIBEN).
    He was a member of the Supreme Military Council from 1966 to 1975, the first Military Governor of Mid-Western State between 1966 and 1967; Chief of Army Staff, from 1972 to 1975, when he retired.
    His medals include the Congo , Independence , Republic, Defence Service, General Service and National Service. He is a Grand Commander of the Republic of Togo , and has received the Order of the two Niles-Ist Class Sudan , the Grand Officer O.N. Du Lion Senegal and Kt. Order of the Crown, Belgium . His chieftaincy titles include the Olorogun Oloho of Olomu, Okakuro-Egbe of Agbon, Okakuro of Ovu, Onotuku of Ebor and Orhuerakpo Ru Ughelli.


    1. The real reason Gowon was easily overthrown was that Katsina was replaced by Ejoor( a very weak candidate)as Chief of Army Staff. The coupist knew Ejoor was going to be a walk-over and proceded with the coup anyway.I mean this was a guy who, when he heard the sound of gunfire, jumped on a bike(a bike, folks!) and fled his region. What else can one add to this behaviour in assessing the man’s abilities as a soldier? I just said it all my friends.Let us keep things in perspective here.

      1. Ejoor was actually senior to Katsina and by right was a more senior candidate to be COAS than Katsina. The only other army officer senior to Ejoor was Adebayo.

        1. You are quite correct in asserting that Ejoor was senior to Katsina who was a major by January 15, 1966 while Ejoor was a Lt. Col then. Seniority has never maent squat when it came to northerners in the army. One can also assert that both Adebayo and Ogundipe were senior to Gowon just Bisala was senior to Danjuma though technically Bisala had to defer to Danjuma (as COAS) after the Murtala regime came to power. Bisala was Danjuma’s GOC at one point in time!!!!By the way Obasanjo held a slight seniority over Murtala and Musa Yar’Adua as Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters was quite a leap.The point I was trying to make is that even Ejoor himself alluded to the fact that some northern officer despiced taking orders from him.

          1. Max, what is that snow flake floating on your website? Is that some new tracking device or what? A little christmassy though but I only recently noticed it .Snooping?

            1. Where is the snowflake?

          2. True, Ejoor did complain that some northern officers resented his position as COAS. Not sure what there was to resent as he was senior to all of them!

  28. from gen ejoors’ statement it was visitably clear gen ejoor as called was in nigeria army but he did not know rudiments of army. he is bias about the igbo extraction of nigeria because he tell us killings in the northern.please i will advise go and genesis of civil war because he did not understand what he is saying.

  29. After reading this lengthy interview of the general, i still couldnt make out how the igbos started the war. If anything, i’m more amused than in awe. His account of how the civil war started was largely incoherent. He merely shed more light on how he escaped being killed those days and nothing more.

    1. My book on the 1965 to 1967 period “Conflict of Brothers” refers to Ejoor and my meetings with him several times during the first coup and after the second. He tends to pop up in certain situations but a significant role one way or another to difficult to define.
      “Conflict of Brothers” is now available on Amazon Kindle.

      James Cumes

      1. James, is your book also available in HB and PB?

        1. Not yet, Max. I could get it out quickly and attractively in Kindle and I could discover from the Kindle edition how it appealed to Nigerian, Australian and other demand. From what I’ve seen in the feedback so far the demand is strong for a print edition which I’ll arrange as soon as I can.
          All best wishes, Max. Your “stuff” is terrific. James Cumes

          1. Ekuson Debango | Reply

            Dear clean up your language a bit.Moderate the tone of your invectives a little.We are all grown boys and girls here.We can prettymuch tell when one is angry even when one says not a word in anger.Thank you.

  30. Painful Truth | Reply

    Leroy, We all feel your pain, we are Biafras and will continue to be1 Only a foolish Biafra will deny such to appease the same demons that are out to annihilate us!
    Although we Biafrans are peace loving people that believes in justice and peace for all. Yet, the millions of innoncent Biafra souls that was terminated thanks to the British genocidal, weapons of mass destruction, will never allow our enemies or their lineages to rest (Psalm 35)! Their killers will meet the same pain they doled at them a 1000 fold! Unless they repent and ask for forgiveness and atonement.
    My brother, if your dad know his Igbo names (Especially the last name), it may be easy to trace his family. The Internet can make it easy.

    1. mac algambini adams | Reply

      the general is one man i have even see in my life,haldy lies take it or live it.ejoor,hummmmm.only God can pay him of his good works.mind you am from benue,ok.

  31. After reading this,I wonder if this man was in the Army. Even secondary school students could do better than this. This man is a surprise to me.This is so muddled up, its a pity. Moreso haven gone through the following books;
    Nigeria’s five majors, by Ben Gbulie;
    Why we struck, by Wale Ademoyega;
    Reluctant Rebel, by Fola Oyewole;
    Requiem Biafra, By J. O. G. Achuzia;
    No place to hide (Crisis and Conflicts inside Biafra) by Bernard Odogwu;
    The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War, by Joe Garba; Danjuma:
    The making of a general (written by Lindsay Barrett, but based on extensive interviews with the subject, a combatant).

    Ejoor’s account is simply childish.

  32. long live david ejoor………….even u igbos u don,t even like you selves

  33. its was ojukwu dats betray u igbos not ejoor………………….ojukwu bcos of is teast for power drag the igbos in a war they are not fully prapared for, and what ejoor did was to refuse to joint the eastners…………and that is better than identifying with igbos and be kill in an un prapared war so,is common sense.chikina……………………

  34. Abu sultan M J | Reply

    Ejoor have said it all, what an objective account of the 1966 Igbo coup #long_live_David

  35. innocent Nwankwo | Reply

    David Ejoor is a bloody liar. The Igbo wanted a coup since 1960 he said. The Igbo that were massacred in thousands from May 1960 all over the North. The continued massacres after the July counter-coup. The Aburi meeting he also participated. All these not counting. Ejoor the coward and false tale-bearer. Nobody reckons with him anyway. Looking at his face, his duplicity and cowardice are boldly written.. Even inferred Ironsi was part of January coup. Bloody liar.

  36. christopher okpala | Reply

    Whether Ojukwu or Ironsi had nursed the feeling for a coup or not, the fact is that those two were not part of the January 1966 event. My conjecture is that Ojukwu and Ironsi rejected that coup because they spoiled it and made sure the plotters lost. However, our individual growth and understanding differ, and this is why small minds settle with the conclusion that Igbos want to take over Nigeria. I believe that all the educated adults back then, including Gowon, now have realized the Igbos did not hold a meeting to take over Nigeria. Igbos have been able to achieve many things other than hold meeting and collaborate for common agenda. If the Igbos can unite, then believe it that they can take over Nigeria. Gowon and the rest of Nigeria realized the misconstruction they put on the January 1966 coup. Igbos are not group thinkers; they are independent thinkers, unlike northern and western part of Nigeria.


  38. It is a pity that those who commented above and tried to exonerate Ironsi and Ojukwu and poured insults on Maj-Gen Ejoor did not learn from history or they did not know the history. The same game of deceit of trying to quell a coup was played out by General Iliya Bisalla during Lt-Colonel Buka Suka Dimka’s coup, whereas he was one of the members of the inner circle that planned the coup. Even it seemed Gen Bisalla was a member of the panel that supposed to try Dimka. It was when Lt-Col Dimka saw Gen Bisalla on the panel that he exploded saying he planned the coup with Gen Bisalla.

    Now, did anyone of these commentators above who denigrated the viewpoint if David Ejoor asked pertinent questions such as: (1) Why didn’t Gen Ironsi arraign the 1966 Coup plotters for a military trial? (2) What is the military tradition if coup plotters were suppressed and arrested? (3) Why did Ironsi lock up the mutineers, who were believed to be enjoying special treatment in the military custody or guard rooms? (4) Did Ironsi use the summary confinement of the mutineers to the military custody/prison without court marshall and trial was a tactical move to conceal his conspiratorial involvement? (5) Did Ironsi try to play to the gallery by deploying Gen Bisalla’s game of ”suppressing the coup”, whereas he is actively involved behind the scene? (6) Why did Ironsi fail to hand over power to the remaining members of Balewa’s Government, especially the Senate President, Nwafor Orizu, who was serving as Acting President in the absence of the substantive President, Nnamdi Azikiwe? (7) Can this act be interpreted that it was a furtherance of the Igbo plan to seize power at all costs?

  39. It is a pity that those who commented above and tried to exonerate Ironsi and Ojukwu and poured insults on Maj-Gen Ejoor did not learn from history or they did not know the history. The same game of deceit of trying to quell a coup was played out by General Iliya Bisalla during Lt-Colonel Buka Suka Dimka’s coup, whereas he was one of the members of the inner circle that planned the coup. Even it seemed Gen Bisalla was a member of the panel that supposed to try Dimka. It was when Lt-Col Dimka saw Gen Bisalla on the panel that he exploded saying he planned the coup with Gen Bisalla.

    Now, did anyone of these commentators above who denigrated the viewpoint of David Ejoor asked pertinent questions such as: (1) Why didn’t Gen Ironsi arraign the 1966 Coup plotters for a military trial? (2) What is the military tradition if coup plotters were suppressed and arrested? (3) Why did Ironsi lock up the mutineers, who were believed to be enjoying special treatment in the military custody or guard rooms? (4) Did Ironsi use the summary confinement of the mutineers to the military custody/prison without court marshall and trial was a tactical move to conceal his conspiratorial involvement? (5) Did Ironsi try to play to the gallery by deploying Gen Bisalla’s game of ”suppressing the coup”, whereas he is actively involved behind the scene? (6) Why did Ironsi fail to hand over power to the remaining members of Balewa’s Government, especially the Senate President, Nwafor Orizu, who was serving as Acting President in the absence of the substantive President, Nnamdi Azikiwe? (7) Can this act be interpreted that it was a furtherance of the Igbo plan to seize power at all costs? (8) Will Ironsi gladly send the mutineers to the military custody if they were from other tribes in Nigeria? (9) Why did Ironsi fail to arraign the coup plotters for trial when the military authorities ordered that they should be tried? (10) Can we conclude that Ironsi knew if he should order full military trial that his role in the coup would be exposed? (11) If the story we heard about the few minutes before his assassination was true, why did the Northern counter-coup plotters asked him about his role in the 1966 coup before they kill him? (12) Ojukwu was still alive when Ejoor granted the interview. What was his response to the interview?

    These and many more questions should be answered logically, not emotionally, before we can conclude that David Ejoor fabricated this interview.

  40. Aba Goddey Ogheneovo | Reply

    I fear igbo people’s but i will for ever fear them,; they could have kill our hero just like that we their cunny-cunny and waylaid way. May god held those people’s because the devil is far better than tham.

  41. i have heard general gowons view on this,ibrahim babangida,olusegun obasanjo and many more. there are some inconsistency in this historic story. i believe the author described events without proper analysis. he mentioned his room was changed but did not tell us the number it was changed to. that means someone changed his room fast from 17 to an unknown room. maybe the person wants to save his life but he didnt understand. secondly aguiyi ironsi would not counter a coup that is to his own advantage. he was the chief of army staff, which ment that he could have allowed the coup succeed totally to his maximum advantage. in the military at the time coup periods are characterized with total distrust and aguiyis approach to ejoor was accurate. he needs to know if he was sent to kill him. aguiyi himself was earmarked to be killed in that same coup. now if aguiyi was not in the same page with gowon he would not have used gowon to fend off coup which he actually wished had succeeded. when a coup is fouled,the leader appoints people he trust into sensitive positions and from what i saw. aguiyi posted military administrators based on area of nativity. ejoor was from the mid west, ojukwu was easterner,Adekunle Fajuyi was a westerner and Hassan Usman Katsina was a northerner, all lt col at the time. if aguiyi ironsi wanted to kill ejoor from the time of the coup, he would have been dead. anyway the confusing twist is that he accepted the fact that the man aguiyi liked him. for those who don’t know the man ironsi, he is a jolly good fellow with high standard discipline, he likes to drink and hang out but his weakness is he is too easy going to be a firm leader. he can be careless because he uses spiritual protection but he was never part of the coup. war is cruel and blood is the cost, no history of war is a sweet tale. soldiers of the same camp can even kill each other, its an animals world. once the civil war came, the biafrans and nigeria are fatal enemies and weapons of death in such situations are brutal.i wish i can meet the man ejoor because there are some event he probably saw and can discuss but the deep intention of those times, he may not explain. thanks to other historical accounts that narrated everything in clear mirror

  42. i guess nigeria can never be one,cos we simply hate each other. peace is the only way out for us to forgive one another. lets dissolve this unity so we all can go and build our world how we are

  43. To begin with, I personally regret the loss of lives of both the victims of the 1966 coup and the innocent victims of the counter-coup both civilians and military.

    I can also understand the mindset and zeal of Major Nzeogwu, the coup leader and the political context in which he unfortunately acted. Going by what I read, he was rather motivated by chauvinistic zeal to stop the ship of nation from sinking. However, any killing is wrong and cannot be justified as there are other rational ways to find a solution to Nigeria’s problems even at the time. Having said that much, I’m adamant that nothing will ever justify the genocide of the igbos in 1966.

    David Ejoor has shared his recollections of what happened. However, he chose to present his version, I don’t think it was necessary to call him names as that tends to whip up sentiments and makes us lose our focus on the real facts. Anybody who is literate and clever will be able to compare the different accounts and arrive at the truth.

    Here’s what I make of all that I have read, including what I knew growing up as a child during the crisis: A few military officers, some not sticking to the original plan, selectively killed important civilian and military figures. Another group of officers took it upon themselves to carry out a revenge mission. Unfortunately, their target was not those who carried out the bloodshed, but innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the crime of those officers! They planned and embarked on a pre-meditated, gruesome, comprehensive and chilling ethnophobic cleansing of a group of people who had no business with the agenda of those coup plotters. Having read a sizeable amount of available literature on the events of 1966, I believe that the sporadic killing of igbos was indicative of the hatred of the igbos as an ethnic group, otherwise why were INNOCENT igbo civilians targeted and slaughtered in the most atrocious and barbaric manner, under the tacit acquiescence and supervision of those in authority? Any right-minded or fair-minded individual should really dig deep into this question as it goes a long way to explaining why igbos needed protection and why the war became inevitable.

    The key question remains: Why did those who plotted the counter-coup not arrest Ironsi and other potential threats in the army, then try the coup plotters and bring them to book, instead of targeting one ethnic group, even though evidence showed it was a mixed group that was responsible for the initial coup and bloodshed? This would have been a civil way of dealing with the situation.
    It is my personal conviction that Nigeria will never move forward until ethnic sentiments are actively denounced by our leaders showing the way, rather than being promoted under different guises as is glaringly and palpably the case with David Ejoor.

    1. For both the January and July 1966 coup plotters: it was a case of good intentions and dreadful consequences.

  44. Farce!

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