Advertisements
Image

50 Years Ago: Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia Was Igbo From Igbo Akiri Not Igbanke

Samuel Ogbemudia                                                   Samuel Ogbemudia

By Mr Emma Okocha

A columnist at Dailysun Newspaper – He covers a column that titled: Blood On The Niger. A complete history of what happened before and after Biafran/Nigerian civil war.

His recent column titled: 50 years ago….. Ogbumedia was Igbo and Igbanke, Igbo Akiri

“From time immemorial, the people that are called Igbanke today were known and called Igbo-Akiri. It was in 1967 when Ogbemudia became the military governor of the Midwest State that he changed the name of the town from Igbo-Akiri to Igbanke…

It would have been unthinkable at that time to reveal that an Ibo man or an Ibo town produced the military governor of the Midwest State…. Ogbemudia, including the prominent Evangelist Rev. Isaac Idahosa, are all Ibo and they hail originally from Igbo Akiri.”

(See Blood On The Niger, Gomslam Books 2012 pages 33, 216)

Captain Fred Anuku, the Commander of the Biafran Navy was the first Nigerian naval graduate from Dartmouth. While his fellow Ika-Ibo Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia joined the Federal troops, Fred, who was married to the Caribbean, fled Lagos during the 1966 Igbo pogrom and was offered the command of the fledging young Navy by the Biafran high command.

At the same time, Major Nzeogwu’s involvement on January 15, 1966, Revolution brought suspicion and calamity to his own people of Asaba, Okpanam and environs. As we prepare to organise a programme for the Anioma and Asaba 50th Year Genocide Anniversary, we shall today mention some of the top actors, commanders from the western Ibo nation of both forces whose roles led to the genocide in Asaba, Isheagu, Ogwashi, Igbodo, Ubulu Kingdom, Ibusa and Ndi Oshimili.

These prominent Commanders include Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, Col. Conrad Nwawo, Col. Joe Achuzia, and Captain Fred Anuku on the Biafran side. On the Nigerian side, we shall record the memorable activities of Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia, General Godwin Alabi Isama, General Cyril Iweze and Commander O.Z. Chiazor, the first black man to be commissioned by the Queen in the Royal Canadian Navy.

ALSO READ:  Igbo man, Okeke, buys Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Bugatti for $2.5m

Significantly, at this time, charismatic Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu had been released from the Calabar prison. He had disagreed with Ojukwu’s war aims and military strategy, and obviously discountenanced the declaration of Biafra. He advised that the East should resist for, at least, four months, cultivate foreign and local support and then prepare and get into the position with more arms and training to resist a total war.

He opposed any frontal engagements against the superior-armed federal troops at that initial stage of the war. At the 1967 Abakiliki military exercise, Nzeogwu demonstrated his extraordinary military acumen and proved beyond doubt that he was the Rommel of the Nigerian Army. A commander’s dream, endowed with a peculiar knowledge of the sub-savannah battlefield terrain, he exuded a rare combat capability and commanded the battle simulation with such confidence and precision that he drew tears of adulation from the awed subalterns.

He inspired most of the officers with his unmitigated improvisations. To most of the top brass of the Biafran Army, who were seeing the dawn of real combat action for the first time, this fighting leatherneck was a military institution all by himself, a study in combat readiness and tactics.

After his release from Calabar, Nzeogwu managed to reach his boys still in the Nigerian Army in the Midwest and in the West. The plan to enter the Midwest was originally his and that was his own way of setting a stage for the cessation of hostilities, an end to the war, and the restoration of the ideals of the January 15 Revolution.

To this end, he was disappointed by his friend, Major Olusegun Obasanjo whom he had not heard from and whom he learnt had gone back to Kaduna. On the other hand, he was confident in and had some respect for Major Samuel Ogbemudia, his colleague at the Nigeria Military Training College (NMTC), Kaduna.

Furthermore, Wole Soyinka revealed that the Westerners had agreed on the opposition against the North but also disagreed with Ojukwu on the declaration of Biafra, and for that matter, the declaration of Benin Republic. Declaration of Biafra, the Revolutionaries reasoned would isolate the Easterners and put the West and the Midwest in a bad position whereby sympathies from the West and the Midwest would end up being restrained.

They would do better fighting as Nigerians. Whatever was the final consensus, Ogbemudia turned tail. He was next heard of leading the triumphant entry of the Federal Forces into Benin.

Few days after the war, the Biafra Research and Production Bureau made two secret and instant contacts with the high command of the Nigerian Army. Willy Achukwu, the Onitsha-born multi-talented improvising scientist, led one team to the Commander of the 82 Division, Enugu. Before the meeting, a team of Biafran Scientists were directed to put down sketches of the scientific equipment, designs, take measurements of the weapons, guns.

A special house with good illumination was erected to keep safely all the Biafran designs and prototypes. They also produced a new Ajuala flying Ogbunigwe to supplement the ones produced at Awo Idemili. Research at this time resumed on what I might term the first world “Smart Bomb” was redesigned as the much-needed facilities and spare parts, lacking with the exigency of the war were becoming available after the war. (Pse., see Biafra, a Legacy Lost TELL Magazine Special Report No. 14 April 8, 2002. Page 37)

While Willy Achukwu led one group to the Commander 82 Division Enugu, Professor Ezekwe and Professor Nwosu went to Benin and handed over their Biafran scientific designs to Governor S.O. Ogbemudia. Ogbemudia raced to Lagos and desperately tried everything to convince General Gowon to seize the opportunity and convert that Biafran scientific ingenuity and like the Americans absorbed the German-Jewish war scientific breakthrough, and transform Nigeria to a modern powerful black nation. Gowon shilly-shallied and meanwhile the Willy Achukwu group were lucky to escape the gallows.

General Bissala the Commander of the 82 Division before their tearful eyes, poured gasoline over the designs and materials, brought out a box of matches and set the huge collection of the scientific fabric of Black civilisation on fire!

Ogbemudia’s shock and depression on learning of the outcome of the meeting with the GOC and the burning of the Biafran war prototypes and designs were enough to transform him from Saul to Paul.

For the third time, the Brigadier deflected and returned to his original base and more than any other post-war governor was very prominent in the rehabilitation projects to return the war-weary Igbo to Jerusalem. He offered grants to poor students, donated buses to the University of Nigeria and rehabilitated the former Biafran Army officers, returning home to Bendel.

All the same, he cannot run away from the serious war crime charges of changing the name of a whole community, the heritage of his people Igbo Akiri to Igbanke. To this day, the people of this community yearn to return to their kith and kin in the Ika province of Delta State.

On his triumphant entry into Benin, in company with the Butcher of Asaba, General Murtala Mohammed, can he absolve himself and other officers and men of the Federal Second Division, of complicity in the wanton killing of Igbo in Benin that started on September 21, 1967, to the end of that war?

This post was first published on Dailysun Newspaper

 

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

Biafra: The Great Men Of Ideas And Inventions From Igbo West Of The Niger

By Mr. Emma Okocha

“From time immemorial, the people that are called Igbanke today were known and called Igbo-Akiri. It was in 1967 when Ogbemudia became the military governor of the Midwest State that he changed the name of the town from Igbo-Akiri to Igbanke…

It would have been unthinkable at that time to reveal that an Ibo man or an Ibo town produced the military governor of the Midwest State…. Ogbemudia, including the prominent Evangelist Rev. Isaac Idahosa are all Ibo and they hail originally from Igbo Akiri.”

(See Blood On The Niger, Gomslam Books 2012 pages 33, 216)

Captain Fred Anuku, the Commander of the Biafran Navy was the first Nigerian naval graduate from Dartmouth. While his fellow Ika-Ibo Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia joined the Federal troops, Fred, who was married to a Caribbean, fled Lagos during the 1966 Igbo pogrom and was offered the command of the fledging young Navy by the Biafran high command.

At the same time, Major Nzeogwu’s involvement in the January 15, 1966 Revolution brought suspicion and calamity to his own people of Asaba, Okpanam and environs. As we prepare to organise a programme for the Anioma and Asaba 50th Year Genocide Anniversary, we shall today mention some of the top actors, commanders from the western Ibo nation of both forces whose roles led to the genocide in Asaba, Isheagu, Ogwashi, Igbodo, Ubulu Kingdom, Ibusa and Ndi Oshimili.

These prominent Commanders include Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, Col. Conrad Nwawo, Col. Joe Achuzia, and Captain Fred Anuku on the Biafran side. On the Nigerian side, we shall record the memorable activities of Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia, General Godwin Alabi Isama, General Cyril Iweze and Commander O.Z. Chiazor, the first black man to be commissioned by the Queen in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Significantly, at this time, charismatic Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu had been released from the Calabar prison. He had disagreed with Ojukwu’s war aims and military strategy, and obviously discountenanced the declaration of Biafra. He advised that the East should resist for, at least, four months, cultivate foreign and local support and then prepare and get into the position with more arms and training to resist a total war.

He opposed any frontal engagements against the superior-armed federal troops at that initial stage of the war. At the 1967 Abakiliki military exercise, Nzeogwu demonstrated his extraordinary military acumen and proved beyond doubt that he was the Rommel of the Nigerian Army. A commander’s dream, endowed with a peculiar knowledge of the sub-savannah battlefield terrain, he exuded a rare combat capability and commanded the battle simulation with such confidence and precision that he drew tears of adulation from the awed subalterns.

He inspired most of the officers with his unmitigated improvisations. To most of the top brass of the Biafran Army, who were seeing the dawn of real combat action for the first time, this fighting leatherneck was a military institution all by himself, a study in combat readiness and tactics.

After his release from Calabar, Nzeogwu managed to reach his boys still in the Nigerian Army in the Midwest and in the West. The plan to enter the Midwest was originally his and that was his own way of setting a stage for the cessation of hostilities, an end to the war, and the restoration of the ideals of the January 15 Revolution.

To this end, he was disappointed by his friend, Major Olusegun Obasanjo whom he had not heard from and whom he learnt had gone back to Kaduna. On the other hand, he was confident in, and had some respect for Major Samuel Ogbemudia, his colleague at the Nigeria Military Training College (NMTC), Kaduna.

Furthermore, Wole Soyinka revealed that the Westerners had agreed on the opposition against the North but also disagreed with Ojukwu on the declaration of Biafra, and for that matter, the declaration of Benin Republic. Declaration of Biafra, the Revolutionaries reasoned would isolate the Easterners and put the West and the Midwest in a bad position whereby sympathies from the West and the Midwest would end up being restrained.

They would do better fighting as Nigerians. Whatever was the final consensus, Ogbemudia turned tail. He was next heard of leading the triumphant entry of the Federal Forces into Benin.

Few days after the war, the Biafra Research and Production Bureau made two secret and instant contacts with the high command of the Nigerian Army. Willy Achukwu, the Onitsha-born multi-talented improvising scientist, led one team to the Commander of the 82 Division, Enugu. Before the meeting, a team of Biafran Scientists were directed to put down sketches of the scientific equipment, designs, take measurements of the weapons, guns.

A special house with good illumination was erected to keep safely all the Biafran designs and prototypes. They also produced a new Ajuala flying Ogbunigwe to supplement the ones produced at Awo Idemili. Research at this time resumed on what I might term the first world “Smart Bomb” was redesigned as the much needed facilities and spare parts, lacking with the exigency of the war were becoming available after the war. (Pse., see Biafra, a Legacy Lost TELL Magazine Special Report No. 14 April 8, 2002. Page 37)

While Willy Achukwu led one group to the Commander 82 Division Enugu, Professor Ezekwe and Professor Nwosu went to Benin and handed over their Biafran scientific designs to Governor S.O. Ogbemudia. Ogbemudia raced to Lagos and desperately tried everything to convince General Gowon to seize the opportunity and convert that Biafran scientific ingenuity and like the Americans absorbed the German-Jewish war scientific breakthrough; and transform Nigeria to a modern powerful black nation. Gowon shillyshallied and meanwhile the Willy Achukwu group were lucky to escape the gallows.

General Bissala the Commander of the 82 Division before their tearful eyes, poured gasoline over the designs and materials, brought out a box of matches and set the huge collection of scientific fabric of Black civilisation on fire!

Ogbemudia’s shock and depression on learning of the outcome of the meeting with the GOC and the burning of the Biafran war prototypes and designs was enough to transform him from Saul to Paul.

For the third time, the Brigadier deflected and returned to his original base and more than any other post war governor was very prominent in the rehabilitation projects to return the war-weary Igbo to Jerusalem. He offered grants to poor students, donated buses to the University of Nigeria and rehabilitated the former Biafran Army officers, returning home to Bendel.

All the same, he cannot run away from the serious war crime charges of changing the name of a whole community, the heritage of his people Igbo Akiri to Igbanke. To this day, the people of this community yearn to return to their kith and kin in the Ika province of Delta State.

On his triumphant entry into Benin, in company with the Butcher of Asaba, General Muritala Mohammed, can he absolve himself and other officers and men of the Federal Second Division, of complicity in the wanton killing of Igbo in Benin that started in September 21, 1967 to the end of that war.

The Republican News

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Igbanke Wants To Be Part Of Anioma, Wants Out Of Edo State, Asks NASS

 

IgbankeAnioma1

– The Igbanke National Progressive Alliance, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Igbanke town in Oriomwhon Local Government Area of Edo State has urged the National Assembly to include Igbanke in the proposed Anioma State.
.
“The Igbanke National Progressive Alliance has, after due consultations with the generality of Igbanke indigenes at home and in Diaspora as well as other stakeholders, upheld the age-long choice and agitation for Igbanke to be included in the proposed Anioma State that will be carved out of Delta State. This can be actualized if the people are simply included in closer Ika Local Government umbrella where we rightly belong. The present situation in which our people have been unduly separated from the rest of their Ika kith and kin was born out of the wish to satisfy the desire and selfish interest of those who sought to increase the kingdom they survey. The dumping of our town, Igbanke in Edo State is an age-long oversight that has brought nothing but neglect, untold attendant socio-political and economic hardship and the feeling that we are outcasts or outsiders, having been treated as such. Now is the time to correct this anomaly that we have been subjected to over the past two decades,” the group stated in an email statement Wednesday.
.
“We welcome with rapturous joy the determined resolution and efforts of the current National Assembly of Nigeria to create more states in the country……. and believe that the National Assembly and others who believe in the creation of more states in the country as a way of bringing development closer to the people, are on the right track as the course of action will correct the imbalance in which some ethnic groups have existed only in names, being dominated by others in the nation. The exercise should also offer the existing geo-political zones of the country equality and fairness with the accompanying developmental values for the nation,” it added.
The group in the statement signed by Eric Uwagbai, Executive Member; Godday Oyibo, Executive Member; Gloria Eluebo Adagbon, Convener, Igbanke National Progressive Alliance and General Secretary, Umu Anioma Worldwide, gave the following reasons why Igbanke should be aligned with the proposed Anioma State:
“(i) Igbanke is an autonomous community with villages, each with sovereign traditional ruler called Eze’ that are not answerable to any monarch in authority whether in Edo or elsewhere.
(ii) Igbanke people are of Ika stock thickly concentrated in the North West of Delta State, linguistically sharing a border in the west with the Edo speakers, Ishan speakers in the North, in the East with the Aniocha language speakers and in the south with the Ukwuani speakers. Historically, Igbanke is believed to have been founded by Agbor, Mbiri and Ishan migrant farmers
(iii) Igbanke is closer to Agbor, Mbiri, Owa and Abavo than it is to Benin City.
(iv) Igbanke has a long history of ancestral relationship with Agbor than Benin City which we have continued to maintain till date.
(v) In recent times, our people have had to rely on facilities put in place in neighbouring Agbor community by the Delta State Government such as hospitals, banks, petrol stations, state ministries and government parastatals so that the Delta State Government is now the surrogate cater-taker for Igbanke and Ekpon communities. The situation has always been that if our people have a choice to make in running to Benin or Agbor, they will surely prefer to, and gladly too, Agbor for linguistic reasons.
.
(vi) Igbanke has never been a tenant or vassal community of Benin or any other community in history not even in this century.
.
Our view is still that states should be created along the lines of ethnic nationalities with each group kept together as intact as possible. It is unfortunate that a major group is still claiming to own a minority group in these present times but collectively, the message from our people is that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We cannot all be slaves to another distant ethnic group in an independent nation like Nigeria where unlimited equality is guaranteed as enshrined in the constitution. We warn that anything short of our placement in the proposed Anioma State where we rightly belong will be resisted by the good people of Igbanke no matter the threat of invocation of curses on anyone or activities of sell-out minority of Igbanke chiefs with infinite chieftaincy titles from foreign lands. A boundary adjustment that would move us to Ika in Delta State, where we rightly belong, is the only other alternative we are prepared to accept.
.
In response to the rumours making the mills in Edo State, let us put on record that while still part of Edo State, the people of Igbanke will not accept anything short of her own Local Government Area with its Headquarters at Igbanke. We have the population, we have the resources and we have the economic centre to run our Local Government Area effectively. We will resist any attempt by anyone giving us a Greek gift of an Igbanke Local government area with headquarters at Oronigbe. Igbanke is part and parcel of Nigeria; we are Nigerians and we are no longer prepared to tolerate any nonsense from anyone, whether from the state government, any traditional ruler, or the ‘sell-out’ elites and selfish Igbanke politicians.
.
We call on the National Assembly to expedite action on the commencement of the constitutional amendment process that will support the creation of more states and boundary adjustments in the country, which will, in turn, assure us of a speedy exit from Edo State. Anything short of this will continue to make certain, our unnatural confinement in the hands of our oppressors. The earlier we are constitutionally relocated to the Anioma area, the better for our people.
.
Our people have been an integral part of the Anioma nation and are actively participating, in official capacities, in Anioma organisations and Associations; this will send the signal of seriousness on our part to pessimists and all the doubting Thomas about our intentions to fight for our right. We have the full backing of Anioma people.” (Naij.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: