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NIGERIA@60:The discovery Of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s body by Late Babankowa

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Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

 

Abbas Yushau Yusuf

When some young officers of the Nigerian Army assassinated Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister on the 15th of January 1966, a fine gentleman and a police officer patrolling a Road between Lagos to Abeokuta Alhaji Ibrahim Ahamd Babankowa sighted a landrover passing the Road from Lagos to Abeokuta.

 

Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmad Babankowa a native of Ringim in Present Jigawa state said when he stopped the Landrover, an Army Major, Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna peeped and wave at the Patriotic Nigerian Officer.

Ibrahim Ahmad Babankowa who died in the Late year 2015 said unknown to him the landrover was carrying Nigeria’s Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Federal Minster of Finance Chief Festus Ekotie Eboh, and Colonel Kur Muhammad.

Late Ibrahim Ahamd Babankowa

Late Ibrahim Ahamad Babankowa

The officer continued, he said he allowed Ifeajuna to pass because he is not aware of who they are carrying inside the landRover.

 

Late Ibrahim Ahmad Babankowa who retired as a Police officer in the rank of commissioner said the following morning while still conducting patrol on the highway, neighboring communities of Otta in Abeokuta said reported to him that they are disturbed by a serious Odour coming out from the bush.

 

Due to the narration by residents, Late Ahmad Babankowa took some junior Police officers to the Bush where neighboring residents complained, He said when he led police officers to enter the Bush, the odor kept disturbing, suddenly he sighted the Body of Nigeria’s Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was shot by Emmanuel Ifeajuna and his Traditional Zanna Bukar cap beside.

 

Late Alhaji Ahmad Babankowa added that apart from Sir Abubakar’s Corpse was that of his Finance Minister Chief Festus Ekotie Eboh and an Army officer Colonel Kur Muhammad.

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Alhaji Babankowa continued that on seeing the Corpse of Nigeria’s leader and his aides, he asked the police ranks and file to wait while he goes back to the city and report to the Police Headquarters where the arrangement will be made for the Evacuation of the corpses.

 

On reaching the Police Headquarters, Late Babankowa mate Major General Johnson Thomas Aguiyi Ironsi the GOC of the Nigerian Army who later became Head of State and immediately asked Babankowa in Hausa, “Officer kaine kace kaga gawar Prime Minister”,(Are you the one who discovered the body of the Prime Minister) Babankowa said Yes, on hearing that General Ironsi ordered for the detention of Late Ahmad Babankow.,

 

On learning the discovery of Sir Abubakar’s Corpse, some top Northern government official went to the Police Headquarters and demanded the release of Late Ahmad Babankowa where they threatened that if he is not released to go and show them where Sir Abubakar’s corpse was dumped by Ifeajuna there will be unimaginable chaos.

 

On hearing that the Police Headquarters in Lagos released Alhaji Ahmad Babankowa who led people to where  Sir Abubakar was dumped.

 

To the late police officers, the utmost surprise was when he arrived back, the Junior officers he left to guard the place after almost two days were very loyal to their nation and were still there.

 

He added that they marked the bodies of the deceased Prime Minister . that of Chief Festus Ekotie Eboh and Colonel Kur Muhammad and were carried on a coffin for burial to their respective Town and villages.

 

History

24 Years After:Nigerians Remember Mysterious And Sudden Death Of Military Leader ,General Sani Abacha

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Late General Sani Abacha

 

On June 8th 1998 a Monday for that matter, the Nigeria’s military leader General Sani Abacha passed away inside the country’s seat of power Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

By then the social media was not existing, but before noon on that fateful Monday rumours about his death have circulated across the country.

Even foreign broadcast stations announced the death of the Nigeria’s helmsman based on speculation while awaiting the official announcement through radio NIgeria.

Finally before six PM the sign tune of radio Nigeria rented the airwaves and in a sympathetic tone the death of the head of Nigeria’s federal military government announcement was made.

Nigerians from the North received his death with remorse but in Lagos and some south western states went in jubilation about the death of Nigerian leader.

June 8 1998: Why Announcement Of General Abacha’s Death Was Delayed
General Abacha’s rule which began from November 17th 1993 ended on June 8th, the day he went back to his creator.

But before his death, the country was thrown into confusion as it remains two month to the general elections when the country’s president was about to be elected and the Head of state happened to be the only candidate of the five political parties.

The political parties that presented General Sani Abacha for transforming from Soldiers uniform to civilian are the United Nigeria Congress Party UNCP, Democratic party of Nigeria DPN, National centre party of Nigeria NCPN, Grassroots Democratic Movement GDM and CNC .

General Sani Abacha was buried on the same day at night at his residence located at Gidado Road Nassarawa GRA Kano after his funeral prayers led by the late Chief Imam of Kano sheikh Idris kuliya Alkali.

The Provisional ruling council PRC sat after the death and appointed the chief of Defense staff General Abdulsalami Abubakar as the new Head of state and on June 9th he assumed office.

 

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Civil War:Did Awolowo Betrayed Secessionists

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Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo

 

Frederick Forsyth in his 1969 book “The Making of an African Legend: The Biafran Story,” argues:

Chief Awolowo had just returned from a visit to Colonel Ojukwu in Enugu and he had been able to witness for himself (which others scrupulously refrained from doing) the depth of feeling in the East. According to Colonel Ojukwu, Awolowo had asked if the East would pull out, and the reply had been it would not until and unless it was absolutely offered no other alternative.

After seeing the situation for himself, Awolowo sympathized with the sufferings of the Eastern people, and asked that if the East was going to pull out, he be allowed twenty-four hours forewarning and he would do same for the West. This he was promised. Later he got his forewarning, but by that time he had been swayed round by other attractions, and failed to fulfil his intent. From the point of view of the Yorubas it was a pity, for if Awolowo had stuck to his guns the Federal Government, unable to face two simultaneous disaffections, would have been forced to fulfil the Aburi agreements to the letter.

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Had it done so, Nigeria would probably be at peace today, not as a unitary state of twelve provinces, but as a Confederation of quasi-autonomous states living in harmony.
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Note:
On 1 May 1967 at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meeting in Ibadan, Awolowo listed as one of his four imperatives for peace in Nigeria that: “If the Eastern Region is allowed by acts of omission or commission to secede from or opt out of Nigeria, then the Western Region and Lagos must also stay out of the Federation.”

Defending Awolowo in his 2009 book “Awo: Unfinished Greatness,” Olufemi Ogunsanwo posits:

Chief Awolowo has defended his conduct as far as the accusations against him on the ‘Biafran question’ was concerned. What was the main grouse against him as perceived by the avarage Igbo at the time? First, it was claimed that after the Igbos, led by Ojukwu, seceded from Nigeria, Awolowo refused to follow suit by taking the West out of the federation in May 1967. Instead of doing so when he had declared in Ibadan that if the East was pushed out, the West would quit the federation, he added the weight of his political acumen and expertise in managing the economy to help Gowon’s administration to subdue the secessionists…

Chief Awolowo has refuted all these charges as a “blatant misrepresentation of the facts”. First, he denied luring anybody to secession and war. He said his speech at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meetin in Ibadan in May 1967 “could not and was not an invitation or a goading to secession or the dismemberment of the country”. He stated that his ‘Four Imperatives’ speech contained nothing to suggest secession. All he said was that the East should not be bullied out of the federation. Was the East forced out? Awolowo argued that: “It insults the intelligence of the Igbos as a group to imply that they were heartened to opt for secession on the basis of my speech.” On the contrary he had advocated on the eve of the war that: “The Eastern Region must be encouraged to remain [as a] part of the Federation”.

He did not stop with mere admonishment and platitudes in his caution. He took the risk of travelling by road to Enugu in the middle of the crisis to lead a delegation to plead with Ojukwu to relent and take the cautious road to save precious lives on the battlefield. Ojukwu refused.
===

Obafemi Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon government during and immediately after the civil war.

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Nigeria’s SG Ikoku,Who Aligned With Zik For The Struggle Of Nigeria’s Independence

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Late SG Ikoku

 

Born to Alvan and Grace Ikoku, Mazi Samuel Goomsu Ikoku was a trade unionist and politician. in 1946, As a student at University of Southampton, he supported Nigeria’s independence movement led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, writing articles printed by the West African Pilot.

He was popular for famously defeating his father, Alvan at the March 15, 1957 South Eastern House of Assembly elections.

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Dr. Alvan Ikoku lost the election with 59 votes.
Alvan heavily frowned at it but later gave his son his full support to carry on and even provided funds for his re-election in 1961.

Alvan Ikoku is the man whose face is on the ₦10 note

They hailed from Arochukwu in Abia state.

Samuel Goomsu Ikoku died on 2nd April 1997 in Awka, Anambra State.

SG Ikoku is the author of Nigeria’s Fourth coup D’etat a collection on the overthrow of Shagari’s regime by soldiers on the 31st December 1983

 

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