By Baron Roy
After the series of events that started in January 1966, Northern Nigeria seceded from Nigeria in July 1966 on murdering Aguiyi Ironsi. The putsch was led by Theophilus Danjuma and Muritala Mohammed. Over 200 officers of Midwestern and Eastern extraction were killed especially in a locker room at the Lagos International Airport. For that singular act of reckless murder, the Lagos International Airport was named after the Murderer-in-Chief.
The secession of Arewa Republic was called “Araba” which translates loosely into “Divide”. Mr. Ojukwu; the then president of Biafra waved it off and told them to go to blazes. Arewa Republic lasted only a few hours.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria; Baron Thurlow was sent by the British Government to reveal the true extent of the oil deposits in the Eastern Region. Suddenly, the Caliphate did not want their Arewa Republic any longer. Mr. Gowon was made the Head of State as against the irrational Muritala Mohammed. And the pogrom against the Easterners and Midwesterners continued in the North.
In January (4-5th) 1967, the Ghanaian maximum ruler invited Messrs. Ojukwu, Gowon and Adebayo (I think) to Aburi, Ghana to settle the national question. After days of deliberations, all parties agreed on the new model (confederal regionalism) and the limitations of powers. They returned to Nigeria with hopes.
The British High Commissioner got details of the meeting, and called Mr. Gowon and the leadership of the caliphate to reject the accord. The British never met with Mr. Ojukwu in secret for any negotiations but met with Mr. Gowon. In frustration at the unrelenting Arewa Republic antagonism to Biafra Republic, Ojukwu and his cabinet declared independence on 30th May, 1967. Mr. Gowon declared One Nigeria and declared war on the Republic of Biafra on May 31st, 1967.
Mr. Gowon declared that the war would be won in 6 months. By the middle of 1968, the war was turning against Arewa Republic and One Nigeria. In desperation, Mr. Gowon and Arewa, made a deal with the devil……. and Nigeria was auctioned to the highest bidders in November 1969.
The desperation of the Arewa not to lose the oil deposits made Mr. Gowon to accede to the demands of the multinational oil firms. In order to secure their interests in the Sweet Crude already found in the Old Eastern Region, they promised to help Mr. Gowon and acolytes win the War. The USA had shown some sympathy towards Biafra but the lure of oil as told them by the British was too great. OPEC was already in its belligerent infancy and Biafra was most likely to go Russian. The US capitulated. Along came Mobil and Chevron (from the US), Shell BP (from the UK and Netherlands), AGIP (Italy) and Total (France). Among them, they divided up Nigeria (which was a single oil block at the time) into several oil blocs. These companies wrote the Petroleum Act of 1969 with little input from Mr. Gowon’s government. Upon the secret signing of the decree in 1968, the US and Britain provided weapon and intelligence for Mr. Gowon’s Army. The war turned late 1969, and the 1969 Petroleum Act came into force in November of the same year.
It is interesting to note that the Petroleum Act of 1969, was made for, and on behalf of an area which was under the jurisdiction of another country as at the said date. This itself makes it questionable.
In January 1970, Biafra sought peace and surrendered to Nigerian sovereignty. Gowon, tongue – in – cheek, declared ‘no Victor, no Vanquished’…the oil producing areas returned to Nigeria, with their resources fraudulently and mischievously taken away by the international community. Till date, the Niger Delta and Oil Producing areas in the East are still reeling from the daylight robbery and are yet to forgive Nigeria.
Yet, people from the oil producing areas kept stirring. Mr. Muritala had become head of state and wanted to wiggle out of the agreement. Too late. He got bumped! Mr. Obasanjo saw what happened to his principal and did not make a sound when asked to “secure our interests”. Obediently, he passed the Land Use Act of 1978. With that act, the oil acreages were finally secured. He was allowed to leave with his gratuitous loot, and was venerated afterwards as a “true African leader”! The Niger Delta and others had lost their patrimony. The caliphate backed federal government now owned Nigeria. Till date, both Nigeria and the oil producing areas are losing while the multinationals are grooving. You see why we must remain one and unstable to them?
Dear Readers, nothing happens perchance in Nigeria. The Biafra War, Petroleum Act, Land Use Act, 1979 Constitution, and many more were orchestrated. For those young legal pups that love interpreting the Nigerian Laws on face value, I do implore you to always check historical facts before coming out to defend the ridiculous and attack the sane!
We ought to know our past so as to enable us plan for the future. We fight no one; we might not be perfect but we put up the truth here!
There’s more where this came from. We dare Mr. Gowon and company to challenge us openly here or anywhere and deny these. And we’d reveal more!
We, the People, want our own Constitution. We are sick and tired of your sham elections!
(Roy first published this article in 2018)