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Biafra 'Ojukwu lied his way into civil war', Gowon says

Gowon calls Ojukwu a liar, blames late Odumegwu for bloody civil war of the '60s.

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Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu play

Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

(New Telegraph)

Former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), says the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was  to blame for the civil war that engulfed Nigeria from 1967 to 1970.

Ojukwu was the Governor of the Eastern region when a spate of attacks and reprisal attacks in the South and North of Nigeria, plunged the West African nation into a civil war that ended the lives of over a million Igbos.

The scars from that war remain, in a nation still in search of its soul.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ojukwu was the leader of the Republic of Biafra. play Ojukwu inspects guard of honour (Buzz Nigeria)


In 1967, delegates from the federal government and the eastern region led by Gowon and Ojukwu, trooped to Aburi, in Accra, Ghana for a meeting that was supposed to prevent an all out war.

However, the accord broke down; no thanks to a difference in interpretation from both sides of the divide.

The civil war ensued.

Speaking during a breakfast program on AIT on Tuesday, October 24, Gowon said Ojukwu's interpretation of the accord was a tissue of lies.

“We agreed to put our heads together, to regain the trust and confidence of Nigerians. We went to Aburi, to agree to deal with the situation of our country, by ourselves", Gowon said.

“We did not go with any prepared position on the federal side, but Ojukwu came with a paper he prepared. His prepared position was on a pink paper. Usually, pink paper at the Staff College is directing staff solution to the problem.”

Gowon said one of the resolutions reached in Aburi was that he would be the first to make a statement as Nigeria's Head of State, upon return.

play Yakubu Gowon joins other former leaders to sing Christian hymns (Presidency)


Ojukwu however took the wind off his sails and reneged on the agreement, Gowon alleged.

“But, by the time I returned, I was ill; I had fever. I could not make any statement. But, Ojukwu went to the radio, to make a statement and said the things we never agreed on.

“David Ejoor was the one who called me one early morning to ask if I had heard what Ojukwu said, and I said no. He then reeled out all that Ojukwu had said and I asked David, in all honesty, if that was what we agreed. He said no.

“To keep the country together was not a task that I could do alone. I needed the cooperation and understanding of every Nigerian. And, in order to ensure we kept the country together, I reckoned that we needed to have discussions among ourselves. We had a civil servant who was exceptionally experienced and good".

play Ojukwu in the '60s (Punch)


Gowon also said Ojukwu was hell bent on achieving secession at whatever cost.

ALSO READ: Ojukwu's son says Biafra agitation is valid but must not be violent

“We went there (Aburi) to restore the trust of our country. If we were working together, anyone with conscience will assuage the feelings (of the South-easterners). But, Ojukwu thought otherwise. He had in mind all along, based on what happened to his people in the North, that secession was the only way out. But, we were thinking of the whole country, because all parts of the country were involved. The military was not involved in the killings of South-easterners in the North,” Gowon said.

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