Yakubu Gowon is 80 plus, I wouldn’t know. But there are matters arising on his roles and related issues about the Biafra-Nigeria civil war.
One of the most enticing is the counterfactual history that Gowon was the best tragedy that would have befallen the Biafrans. The assumption is that but for the choice of Gowon, the lot would have fallen on Murtala Mohammed as head of state. According to the makers of this tale it would have been counterfactually worse for the Igbo.
It is not clear how the proponents of this conjecture arrived at such imaginings. However, one thing is clear. It is that the purveyors of this counterfactual history are messed up in logic and in history. The details are as follows.
First of all, counterfactual history is projecting what would have happened if certain imagined scenarios are given. It is actually a mental history, nothing real. It is more fiction, more artwork, than history.
The point however is that like in all good art, there must be a pattern to it all. Counterfactual history is not a completely unmoored and un-coordinated list of assertions. You got to build a logic around a list of assumptions. But those assumptions must not be fantastical. In other words, you cannot assume that a character in conflict has the powers of a god etc. Such as this is not tenable.
With this given, a question is indicated: what are the counterfactual basis that Murtala Mohammed would have made a better Gowon for Nigeria and a worse Gowon – could anything be really worse? – to Biafrans?
Built on facts it is clear Biafra would have happened had a Murtala Mohammed been head of state rather than Gowon. In other words, it would have been to the greater glory of Biafra and thus the black man if Mohammed was the placeholder and not Gowon.
The reasons are these. Murtala Mohammed as a hero is a fictive creation of the media. And this it is well to remind ourselves is the captive and collusive media of the north and the southwest. They had an interest in the matter, in forging history.
Now, beyond Murtala’s participation in the countercoup, his public records are in the open. His records as a war commander is disastrous. And it was so much he was recalled from his theatre command against ”his will” on poor performance and disobedience of orders.
It is not implausible that it was his frustrations as a failed theatre commander that prompted his unprecedented cruelty and inhumanity. That is in the matter of exacting and or supervising genocide in Asaba.
Additionally, it is a notorious fact that after being recalled by Gowon, for his signal field failures, etc. Murtala became an unruly officer and never obeyed orders. By one account he fled to London etc. that is despite or even in contradiction to evidence, Murtala considered himself a bleeding genius, militarily. He thought only he knew. These are matters of public records.
Next, as head of state by coup, what really did Murtala Mohammed achieve? Quite frankly I can’t point at anything. However I did be glad to be so tutored.
Despite, the ignorance of a collusive media, a nation is not ruled by ”immediate effect.” In fact Murtala’s imposition of immediate effect as a tool of command and governance is a failure on two planks.
Firstly, he never understood people are not sheep or beasts and that a nation is not an animal farm. Second, the fact of using immediate effect dehumanizes. So people were remade in the image of animals under his control. That they obeyed is not the issue. People obeyed Hitler etc. The tragedy is that he, in being human, deemed others, fellow citizen, as no more than cows, than animals. And the collusive media and ignorant majority are applauding?
It is also being noised abroad that he did things for the freedom of South Africa under apartheid. Really? But a question. Could a guy who has conducted genocide at home be baying for humanism abroad? Boy, things first have roots, they don’t just sprout. If Murtala was a humanist, his first duty would have been humility and openness. Rather than do coups to allegedly be doing good abroad, he should have been bedecked in torn clothes begging his gods for forgiveness. Humanism starts from our admitting to our fallen state. Humanism does not start with the fallen jumping to supposedly good deeds. If you don’t admit to being fallen, you can’t leap to goodness. This is the iron lore.
What all these point to is a fact that should have been in the open. Murtala is an impulsive and largely misguided officer. And this explains his immediate effect syndrome and its consequential disruption of the national processes. In fact, Murtala single-handedly totaled the Nigerian civil service into the irredeemable wreck it is today. And that is a monument to his impulsiveness, to his immediate effect syndrome.
In other words, as a counterfactual Gowon, that is the head of state prosecuting the Biafra-Nigeria war his impulsiveness would have been a blessing to Biafra. He would have ruined his own war command. And examples abound.
Now, there is an Italian dictator called Benito Mussolini. Part of the secret prayers of Allies commanders during the World War 2, was that Mussolini would be given more and more leverage by the Nazis. Why? He was as impulsive, and always bungling things and operations. In fact, a great deal of German operations was to save Mussolini from himself. Consequentially, Italy was the underbelly of the Axis Powers.
As a Biafran war veteran myself, scars and all, I can confess that enthusiasm alone is never a double for strategic or tactical acuity. Murtala had enthusiasm and that was just about all for him. The rest, well, very well…. So on the basis of facts as are, not as imagined, Murtala Mohammed would have bungled the war effort and would have been a blessing to Biafra. And finally to Africa. This is counterfactual history. All else is humor.
Dear Sir, I beg to apply…. Moghalu?
I am at a loss what to make of Professor Kingsley Moghalu. Is it visit him with pity? Or report him to the Igwe of his village? What exactly should such as one merit? Or perhaps, one should see things in the following light. Moghalu having just squandered his own millions – in his own fictive or real-life accounts – in pursuit of his presidential delusion, is now out of job. And possibly not too buoyant, perhaps broke.
So, a little distrust, if not desperate, he thrashes around. And he is about the best he can, to get back at power and office, it appears. As everybody knows power is a script currency for cash – at least in Africa. And Moghalu, a professor of economics, is in knowledge of these things.
Now, dear reader, following is a piece. It is by the way penned by a commentator, his name given. And I don’t know him. His is just one of those threads one runs into in his social media inboxes. It deserves further circulation. Enjoy:
”Sometimes I am miffed at the intelligence quotient of many of our leaders or aspiring leaders and shudder in pain at their insensitivity.”
”I have no problem with anyone felicitating with Gowon on his birthday but when people like Kingsley Moghalu and Reno Omokri begin to insert the word “humane” in their felicitation it makes me wonder if there is any other thing they knew that is hidden from the rest of us.”
”For the avoidance of doubt, Gowon was the Head of State under whose watch more than 30,000 Igbos were rounded up in the North and massacred in cold blood after the revenge coup of July 1967. A crime where his people largely participated in. He was in a position to stop this or reduce that act of terror but he didn’t.”
”Under Gen. Gowon, many Igbos fleeing massacre in the hands of the Northerners were rounded up and murdered at head bridge near River Niger in Benue by those they ordinarily refer as brothers. As Head of State, he was in a position to stop this but he didn’t.”….
”Kingsley Moghalu is a good speaker who could have made a better choice of President in 2019 but the reason I was sceptical about supporting him was because he will end up as one of the clowns which indeed he is.” Written by Marvelous Marvel Nnatu”
Our conclusion is that Moghalu, largely unemployed and perhaps currently unemployable, save in Nigeria, is applying for job to the federal authorities and is begging Gowon to endorse and recommend him. So he toadies up to hell against his own peoples.
Well, we wish him luck. In all, let him be wary of the fable of the man who sold his scrotum to marry a wife.