Looking Back, Now I Know Major Nzeogwu Was A Hero – Fani-Kayode


Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, in a statement on Sunday said Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu would be honoured even in death “in a new Nigeria”. Speaking to commemorate the anniversary of the January 15, 1966 coup, The former minister of Aviation said history will be the judge.

His statement reads:

 “In the early hours of Jan 15 1966, 51 years ago today, Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, led a coup of junior army officers of mainly of Igbo extraction.”

“Many were killed that night. The coup failed but the issues he, and later in 1991 Major Gideon Orkar raised in his own coup, are still pertinent.”

“When will the yoke of internal colonialism and subjugation be finally broken in our country?

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“I have always condemned Nzeogwu and, to a lesser degree Orkar, but given what is happening in Nigeria today I have to say that both of them were not just heroes but men that fought to ensure that we were freed from what is nothing less than injustice, wickedness and slavery.”

“They failed in their quest for power and they were both killed: one was shot at the stake by General Babangida’s government and the other was shot on the war front by Federal troops whilst fighting for his beloved Biafra.”

“As far as I am concerned, they are both martyrs and their deaths shall never be in vain.”

“Continue to rest in peace O Christian soldiers and martyrs of the faith. In the new Nigeria we shall name streets, buildings and airports after you”.

In the early hours of January 15, 1966, Nzeogwu led a group of soldiers to attack the official residence of the premier of the north, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

The bloody coup saw the murder of Premiers of Northern and Western Nigeria. Others killed were the Prime Minister, a federal minister and some senior Army officers.

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The coup failed, and Nzeogwu was arrested in Lagos on January 18, 1966.

In his coup speech, Nzeogwu said

“Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.”