Newsie Events:- #Opinion By Caleb Onyeabor
This year marked 53 years of the horrible Asaba Massacre. One of the biggest massacres in the history of Nigeria where innocent persons were summarily executed by ambitious soldiers and military officers during the civil war.
Among the stories of that massacre, it was reported that the then commander Murtala Muhammad, under whose watch the massacre was committed made sure the mother and family of one of his Biafran military colleagues, Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, were safe even as other innocent persons were being killed.
Two questions should come to your mind. Who is Nzeogwu and Why should Murtala save Nzeogwu’s family?
For a start, Major Nzeogwu is a military officer whose actions led to a series of other events that eventually led to the war. By participating in a coup that killed the then premier of the north, Ahmadu Bello, and the prime minister, Tafawa Balewa, all of northern extraction, Nzeogwu laid a foundation for series of crisis that led to that war. In fact, Nzeogwu is reported to have personally killed Ahmadu Bello, a revered northern leader. The Nzeogwu coup created tensions between the north and the east that led to a pogrom, a counter-coup, and a civil war. In summary, Nzeogwu was one of those who caused civil war where many individuals lost their lives.
As at the time of the war, soldiers of northern extraction were still angry with Nzeogwu and his co-coup plotters. They were right to be angry with him given his role in the coup.
It is ironic that Murtala Mohammed prevented his soldiers from killing the family of the same Nzeogwu while other families were being massacred, tortured, and raped.
This is the game elites play. They protect themselves at any opportunity despite their rift and disagreements. It is the masses that suffer.
Aside from the protection given to Nzeogwu’s family by northern military officers during the Asaba Massacre, Nzeogwu was killed by soldiers when Nigerian soldiers invaded Nsukka. On recognizing Nzeogwu, these soldiers wanted to treat him in the most inhuman way possible as payback for what he did to the North. They pulled off the eyes. Their party was cut short when senior military officers stopped them from doing any harm to the body of Nzeogwu. Instead, they sent Nzeogwu’s body to Kaduna where he was given full state burial with all national honors by the government of Gowon.
This is a person whose actions are responsible for the chaos that was going on. It’s rather suspicious that senior military officers from the north continued to romance with Nzeogwu, someone who should have been the number one enemy of the north.
The elites are always united despite their differences. Think about the number of persons that died because of Nzeogwu’s actions, none of them were treated the same way Nzeogwu was treated. In fact, to this day, Obasanjo, a friend of Nzeogwu, still caters for the family of his late friend.
This is why you shouldn’t risk your life trying to fight the battles caused by elites because it is you who will be the biggest casualty.
For instance, despite the agreement between Jonathan and Buhari or Buhari and Atiku, when things get worse, they look out for themselves. In a war between Jonathan’s army and Buhari’s army, if Buhari’s army ever gets to Otuoke, the first family they will keep safe is Jonathan’s family. If anything happens to Jonathan, the first person that will take care of Jonathan’s family is Buhari. Why then should you risk your life-fighting wars caused by these political elites?
Caleb Onyeabor writes from Enugu and can be reached on WhatsApp via +2347032829241
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