Tag Archives: history

Interview with Max Siollun – This Friday, 1:30pm #Nigeria Time


Chat With Max Flier114

 

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

 

Max Siollun Twitter Interview This Friday – 1:30pm #Nigerian Time


Chat With Max Flier114

 

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

 

26th Anniversary of the Orkar Coup in #Nigeria


Today is the 26th anniversary of the April 1990 coup attempt against General Babangida in Nigeria. Rather than rehash the events  (which I have written about before) in this post, I have instead included links where you can read all about the coup in an account by one of its plotters, and another view of the coup by General Babangida’s former Chief Security Officer.

That coup was a watershed in Nigeria, and accelerated the turn of events that led to the insurgency in the Niger Delta, and indirectly to the controversy that followed the June 12, 1993 election annulment, and the “power shift” to the south in 1999.

If you want to read more about the Orkar coup and these tumultuous years, you can of course do so in my book “Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993)“.

Have a great weekend everyone.

 

 

40th Anniversary of Murtala Muhammed’s Assasination



4-murtala-muhammed-car-bullet-holes-cap_naijarchives

 

 mutala-car

 

Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Nigeria’s former military head of state General Murtala Muhammed. He was assassinated on February 13, 1976, on his way to work during an abortive coup. Full details of Murtala’s life and the events that led to his death are in my book Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture.

 

Murtala’s car was ambushed by a group of soldiers in Lagos and he was shot to death. Above is a photo of the bullet riddled car in which he was killed. Note the bullet holes in the windscreen.

 

Brigadier Murtala Muhammed Overthrows General Gowon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw8iHwN-V0s

 

US State Department Report on Murtala Muhammed: https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/us-state-department-report-on-murtala-muhammed/

 

Murtala Muhammed’s speech on Nigerian democracy: https://www.facebook.com/157457414278806/videos/1851800698475/

The assassination of Murtala Muhammed:
https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/the-assasination-of-murtala-muhammed/

 

https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/february-13-1976-the-death-of-murtala-muhammed/

Brigadier Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Speaks to the press about Coup Plot: https://www.facebook.com/157457414278806/videos/1849886570623/

Lt-Colonel Dimka speaks to the press: https://www.facebook.com/157457414278806/videos/1851800698475/

Lt-General Obasanjo announces execution of coup convicts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjEA83pgstg&list=PLTCNM3JtW0UlisCGV98STnBtiGoS7YTaZ&index=3

Max Siollun (@maxsiollun) | Twitter

The Nzeogwu and Ademoyega I Knew – #Nigeria


My beautiful picture

Adewale Ademoyega

 

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.

 

 

#Nigeria’s January 15, 1966 Coup: 50 Years Later


nzeogwu

Today is the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s first military coup. Rather than rehash it I have included video clips and audio interviews below with the key participants that will tell you all you need to know about it.

BBC interview with coup participant Captain Ben Gbulie:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01pgpz4

Interview with coup participant Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu:

Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi’s first press conference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTK4t2HxEkU&list=PLTCNM3JtW0Ukwz47bhjpSRpN1tm_L7FLu&index=5

President Azikiwe speaks about the coup:

https://www.facebook.com/157457414278806/videos/1853976352865/

Prime Minister Balewa’s corpse found: https://www.facebook.com/157457414278806/videos/1853738186911/

20 years in Nigeria: 1960-1979:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YwzBzEWhSk&list=PLTCNM3JtW0Ukwz47bhjpSRpN1tm_L7FLu&index=17

Ironsi’s funeral: https://www.facebook.com/157457414278806/videos/1100564156634789/


https://twitter.com/maxsiollun


http://allafrica.com/stories/201601080057.html

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.

The Man Who Designed #Nigeria’s Flag


http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/my-nigeria/2015/09/nigerian-flag-150901092231928.html

Great story about Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, the man who designed Nigeria’s iconic green-white-green flag.

What Really Happend to Abacha and Abiola?


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:

  • 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 MKO Abiola had been in jail for 4 years, kept incommunicado from the outside world.
  • General Abacha was on the verge of transforming himself from a military ruler to civilian President having strong armed all the 5 political parties (“five fingers of the same leprous hand”) into adopting him as their presidential candidate.
  • Genuine democracy seemed far, far away.

abacha3.jpg

Plus a lot of the “pro democracy” activists shamelessly abandoned Abiola to join Abacha (Olu Onagoruwa, Baba Gana Kingibe). Even ministers in Abacha’s regime were not safe. The Guardian Newspapers (owned by Abacha’s minister Ibru) was proscribed by a newspaper proscription Decree and shut down after it criticised the government. It was the paper’s continual criticism of Abacha’s regime that led to the near fatal assassination attempt on Ibru.

The Abacha -v- Abiola power struggle was holding the entire country hostage (Abacha’s desire to remain in power and Abiola’s unrealised mandate). Even if Abacha was removed, what would the country do about Abiola who won a credible election five years earlier?

Then the following cataclysmic events happened in the space of 30 days:

  • On June 8 1998 Abacha dies of a heart attack and is hurriedly buried without an autopsy by the time the news filters through to most Nigerians. Nigerians publicly celebrate the death of a reviled leader with wild jubilation. General Abdulsalam Abubakar quickly replaces Abacha and announces that Abiola will be released but that he had to realise that his mandate had expired. A lot of chicanery was used to get Abiola to renounce but he refused. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is sent to talk to him and explain that his “term of office” had expired since 5 years had passed since the June 12 1993 election. All to no avail.
  • Exactly one month after the death of Abacha, Abiola suddenly dies of a heart attack on July 7 1998.
  • With Abacha, Abiola and the June 12 issue out of the way, General Abubakar announces a swift 10 month programme for a return to civilian democratic rule. Just 10 months after Nigeria seemed doomed to perpetual military rule under General Abacha, the military steps down and a new democratic government is elected under President Obasanjo.
  • The speed with which Abacha’s infrastructure was dismantled just seemed too contrived. With Abacha alive and Abiola incarcerated, most people thought democracy was years away in Nigeria. Just 10 months after his death everything he did was undone: his killer squad was dismantled, coup convicts and pro democracy activists released, Nigeria back in the Commonwealth, democracy restored, and the army back in the barracks. Note that a lot of Abacha’s supporters survived in office and resurfaced in subsequent dispensations (Sarki Mukhtar – NSA, Jerry Gana etc).

Somehow exactly 30 days apart, both men die of heart attacks. Abacha is prevented from becoming a civilian ruler, from executing the condemned men like Diya, Adisa and Olanrewaju, and a recalcitrant Abiola (who refuses to renounce his mandate) also dies. Problem gone, debate over, fresh start. All rather convenient isn’t it?…. How easily we forget….

How Well Do you Know #Nigeria? (Part 2)


I am restarting a feature I began (and wisely discontinued) a few years ago:

https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/how-well-do-you-know-africa/

https://maxsiollun.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/how-well-do-you-know-nigeria/

Do you think you know lots about Nigeria? Well, here is a chance to show off how much you really know about that country.  Take the 10 question quiz below. Answers to the questions will be posted here in due course.

NO CHEATING, no use of Wikipedia or Google (or other web search engines!). ;-)

NIGERIAN QUIZ

1)    Who coined the name Nigeria?

2)    In what year was Nigeria’s current national anthem adopted?

3)   Nigeria’s first Prime Minister was Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. What does ‘Tafawa Balewa’ mean in English?

4) What was the last military post held by president-elect Muhammadu Buhari before he became head of state on December 1, 1984?

5)  What was former president General Obasanjo’s career before he joined the army?

6)    Abuja succeeded Lagos as Nigeria’s capital city. Which city was the capital before Lagos?

7) Which school counts among its alumni, four different Nigerian heads of state?

8)   Who is the longest reigning head of state in Nigeria’s history? (single uninterrupted reign)

9)   Who is the only Nigerian to have commanded the air force of two different countries?

10) What was the first political post held by president-elect Muhammadu Buhari?

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