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Thursday 9 November 2017

Biafra: Gowon And The Lagos-Revised Edition Of The Aburi Accord

By Odira O. Udozo | Biafra Writers
November 9, 2017

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. One wish that many would have made today would be to have the time machine of H.D Weil’s science fiction published in 1895. According to Weil, the machine afforded one the opportunity to travel in time either into the future or into the past. Imagine exploring the events of all the years since creation; the religious and the atheists can once and for all decide if we came from the Supreme being or the big bang, Christians and Muslims can watch in 3D the real passion of Christ to decipher if it was really Christ that was crucified or a clone, or going into the future to see if Arsenal football club will ever win the champions league title. It will help decimate many high degree conspiracies that have continued to oil the wheel of discord in our everyday lives.

In some cases, however, with a lot of written and even audio conversations, many might not undergo a time travel to arrive at the most likely scenario. One of such cases is the Aburi meeting of 1967 held in Ghana; a meeting hosted by Gen. Ankrah of Ghana, and attended by Nigeria's Eastern Military Government led by Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and the then Federal Military Government of Nigeria led by Gen. Yakubu Gowon (both having served with Gen Ankrah in African Peace Mission prior to 1967).

This is because recently, Gowon stated in an interview with a media house that Ojukwu’s lies caused the brutal civil war. According to the former Head of State, Ojukwu unilaterally announced something different from their agreement at Aburi, and that they agreed on keeping Nigeria one. What then stops Gowon from telling us what he agreed to in Aburi, being conscious of the fact that the audio recordings are still available till date? For the people to concur with Gowon's assertion that Ojukwu announced a false version of their agreement at Aburi, he should furnish us with the ‘Original version then, but it seems Gowon’s ‘original version’ was decided and fabricated in Lagos.

The Accord which can be accessed with this address; [], states amongst others; “With a view to promoting mutual confidence, all decrees or provisions of decrees passed since January 15, 1966, which detracted from the previous powers and positions of the Regional Governments should be repealed. Law officers of the Federation should meet in Benin on January 14, 1967, and list all the decrees or provisions of Decrees concerned, so that they may be repealed not later than January 21, 1967, if possible”.

Now, how does returning to the regions as we had earlier in 1960 amount to secession? Some said that regionalism at that time will afford Ojukwu ample time to plan for secession. One thing is certain, people are not judged on what they intend to do or on presumption but on what they have done. At that period when the East was hemorrhaging, nothing but a return to regionalism would have led us out of the woods. Today, the consequences of unitary system led by the northern hegemony abounds for all to see; perhaps there wouldn’t have been a Biafra war, no Asaba massacre, no Niger Delta uprising and the development in the regions today would have been miles away from the pitiable Nigerian state, where many states can’t even pay salaries to their workers anymore.


From most accounts of other Nigerian government delegates at Aburi, they never said Ojukwu announced a false agreement. A perusal of the interview of Chief Phillip Asiodu with the Nigerian voice dated April 11, 2012, one could infer from Asodu’s narrative the perception that either Gowon never understood fully what he agreed to, or he understood but was made to see the negative implication such agreement will have on selfish northern and colonial interests when he arrived Lagos.

Furthermore, the memo dated January 8, 1967, which began with: “Your Excellency, in view of my discussion with you last night, I am raising this memo in the interest of our fatherland, Nigeria” by Prince Samuel Akenzua; a then permanent secretary in the ministry of health (he later became Oba Erediauwa, the 38th Oba of Benin); gives credence to Ojukwu’s belief on why Gowon reneged on their agreement. Ojukwu in one of the interviews on NTA was of the opinion that Gowon was not the problem, but rather some permanent secretaries, regional stalwarts and even foreign diplomats in Lagos, because so long as the meeting at Aburi was concerned, everything went vizuri (as said in Swahili). If on reaching Nigeria, the Federal military government decides to renege on the Accord reached for whatsoever reason, they should be bold enough to own up and not try to mutate history.

It has been 50 yrs since Aburi and we are yet at another crossroad in the Nigerian odyssey, some are calling for a return to Aburi, some are yelling Araba while the descendants of the powerful permanent secretaries and regional hegemonies want the status quo untouched. Whichever route being taken, negotiations and agreements must be involved, and if those reached 50yrs ago are still being coated with falsehood by obvious quarters, then new ones that may be made in the course of navigating out of the political impasse in Nigeria today, may end up as Aburi did.

Edited By Chukwuemeka Chimerue
Contact us: [email protected]

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