Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon has alleged that late Biafran warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu caused the civil war by announcing a different thing from what was agreed upon at the Aburi Conference which preceded the struggle.
Gowon shared the first-hand narration in a small version of “General Gowon’s War Memoirs”. He opened up on some incident that occurred just before the nation was plunged into a three-year civil war.
He said in the memoir: “The purpose of going to Aburi was to try and find a means of coming together again and know ourselves and try to co-operate and work together in the interest of the country. And so, we went there with no set position but to be able to discuss generally and work together to restore the trust and confidence that we used to have in the army which unfortunately was broken by the event of January 1966 of which I was the only lucky beneficiary to be alive among the senior officers from the same school, from Barewa College. The coup plotters happened to have come from Umuahia Government College. For me, this is quite interesting. And of course, I went to Sandhurst with quite a number of them like Alex Madiebo and Pat Anwuna. They were together at Sandhurst but they were not part of those who did the coup.
“At the Aburi Conference, Ojukwu was the only one who came with set papers and a list of demands, what he wanted to be done. And every demand was read from that particular paper. And it was written on a pink paper. And during our staff college training days, if you have anything written on pink paper, it means it is the S-solution, the staff-solution answers to the subject that you are discussing. And so we joked about that, his solution to the problem. With the rest of us, myself and the other governors from the West, from the North, from the Midwest at that time, I said let us go there with an open mind to discuss the issues or whatever it is with a view to bring us all back together. Because as at that time Ojukwu had really cut off from the meeting with the rest of us all this time and even after Aburi.
“After the Aburi meeting, we scheduled a meeting to discuss the agreement that we reached at Aburi and to bring out a decree that would really represent the decision that we took there but Ojukwu would not come to that meeting. Instead, he came immediately after that meeting to Benin to meet with David Ejoor to know the outcome of our meeting which he deliberately absented himself from. And the outcome of that decree was honestly to give Ojukwu practically everything that he wanted in order to have him back to the team so that we can work together to try and solve the problem of the country. My stand was this: You cannot undo what had already happened. I mean the crisis that we’ve had from that coup to all the killings that took place in the northern part of this country at that time. Those things you cannot undo but at least we can now work together to try and get to the bottom of it and deal with any perpetrator and try to ensure that it does not happen again in the country.