- Nigeria was being ruled by a ruthless and reclusive military dictator called General Sani Abacha.
- General Olusegun Obasanjo was in prison, along with over 50 other army officers were in jail (some awaiting execution) on charges of coup plotting.
- Nigeria had become a pariah nation after being expelled from the Commonwealth for executing Ken Saro-Wiwa and other activists who were campaigning for a fairer share of Nigerian oil revenues and against the environmental damage caused to their lands by the drilling and spills of big oil companies.
- Lt-General Oladipo Diya, Major-Generals Abdulkareem Adisa and Tajudeen Olanrewaju, and several other officers were on death row awaiting execution for their role in another coup plot.
- The winner of the acclaimed June 12 1993 election Chief…
My book Soldiers of Fortune is now available as an e-book on mobile devices via Okadabooks. I will do a live Twitter interview on Nigeria with OkadaBooks this Friday, May 27, at 1.30am (8:30am USA Eastern Time).
You can download the book here and get a N2000 Naira Okadabooks credit.
You can follow the interview on Twitter via the hashtag #OkadaRideWithMax
Someone who knew Majors Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Adewale Ademoyega well during their days in Kaduna, Nigeria, in the 1960s sent asked me to post the photo of Ademoyega above and the article below. I will not add to or subtract from the text, except to say that the writer was well acquainted with, and knew both men well.
I have pasted the text verbatim below without any editing.
By Kate Rosentreter
The fifty-year anniversary of the January 1966 coup seems an appropriate time to share a photo of Adewale Ademoyega. During the two years I taught school at the Government College Kaduna, Tim Carroll and I (both serving as Peace Corps volunteers) had the unique experience of befriending two intelligent and delightful army officers: Adewale (Wale) Ademoyega and Chukwuma (Chick) Kaduna Nzeogwu. When Wale learned I was teaching Nigerian History, he suggested a book he’d authored, The Federation of Nigeria, might provide a more balanced view of Nigeria’s history than the British text in use at the time. The book sparked interesting and spirited conversations with Wale and eventually led to a treasured friendship.
On 15 January 1966, I could not fathom the violence perpetrated by a group of Nigeria’s army majors, especially in the North where I’d lived. Nor could I imagine how later in the same year, there were Nigerians capable of the carnage visited upon Igbo civilians living in the North. That said, Wale’s involvement in the first of those events, Nigeria’s first coup, continues to haunt me and causes me to reflect again and again upon the goals he and the other majors espoused.
The Adewale I knew was a Nigerian first and foremost. He never indicated he favored the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Hausa, or any other ethnic group over another, and I firmly believe he would not have knowingly allied himself with those who did. He regularly expressed concern about how little the government was doing to promote economic prosperity, better living conditions, and universal education, and used his free time to research rumors of corruption within the government.
In retrospect, I remind myself that in the 1960’s the United States was locked in conflict with the Soviet Union. At that time it would have been difficult for me and others to support the socialist society Wale described in his book, Why We Struck. However, as I observe the problems facing Nigeria today and the trend of governments in Europe, Canada and the United States toward democratic socialism, I wonder if some of the economic and social plans the majors envisioned for Nigeria may have been well ahead of their time.
Patriotic Nigerians all over the world, here are 9 things you probably did not know about your beloved country Nigeria. Although Nigeria is always the hot topic of the day, she has some interesting history and facts we should familiarize ourselves with.
Did you know that… … … … … …
1.Nigeria is home to seven percent (7%) of the total languages spoken on earth. Taraba state alone has more languages than 30 African countries.
2. The National Youth Service Corps was established by the decree No.24 of 22nd of May,1973, during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon.
3. The Nigerian civil war/ Biafran war lasted for 2 years, 6 months, 1 week and 2days (6th of July, 1967 to 15th of January, 1970).
4. The Nigerian National flag designed by Micheal Taiwo Akinkumi in 1959, originally have a red quarter sun on the white part as a symbol of divine protection and guidance, but this was removed by the committee.
5. The Walls of Benin (800-1400AD), in present day Edo State, are the longest ancient earthworks in the world. They enclose 6500 square kilometers of community lands that connected about 500 communities and is over 16000 km long.
6. Ile-Ife, was paved as early as 1000AD, with decorations that originated from Ancient America suggesting there might have been contact between the Yorubas and the Ancient Americans half a millenium before Columbus ‘discovered’ America.
7. The Niger Delta is the second largest delta on the planet. It also has the highest concentration of monotypic fish families in the world, and is also home to sixty percent of Nigeria’s mangrove forests. Nigeria’s mangrove forests are the largest in Africa and third largest on earth.
8. Sungbo’s Eredo, a 160 km rampart equipped with guard houses and moats, is reputed to be the largest single pre-colonial monument in Africa. It is located in present-day Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State and when it was built a millennium ago it required more earth to be moved during construction than that used for building the Great Pyramid of Giza (one of the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World). The most astonishing thing is that Sungbo’s Eredo was the biggest city in the world (bigger than Rome and Cairo) during the Middle Ages when it was built!
9. Nigeria boasts of being the most habitable place for ‘Butterflies’. It is widely believed that areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River in the Southern part of Nigeria is home to the world’s largest diversity of butterflies.
This is an article I wrote for Foreign Policy magazine regarding Nigeria’s war with Boko Haram. The group has evolved and is starting to resemble the Lord’s Resistance Army – which has terrorised Uganda for decades.
The Death of MKO Abiola: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02w68yg
The Death of General Abacha: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02vyxqq
How quickly we forget. Almost exactly 17 years ago, the political situation was as follows:
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“Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition”
Full video of the Chatham House event: