Only surviving member of 1966 millitary coup, Colonel Emmanuel Nwobosi, has fully opened up on the issue. The 80-year-old former soldier spoke on the coup in a broadcast made on Radio Biafra on January 15th, 53 years after the coup.
Below is the text of the broadcast.
Dear Biafrans and Progressive Nigerians. I welcome you to this historic January 15th broadcast on behalf of all those who carried out the Januarv 15 Revolution in 1966. I bring to you a message of Truth and Freedom for It is only the truth that can set us free from the bondages of War and Propaganda, which we confuse as history.
My name is Colonel Emmanuel Nwobosi I am 80 years old, It is time to be bold, I am too old to lie. I am not afraid to die. It is time to tell you why, we had to try.
I am the last of the original coup planners of January 15, 1966 with Major Kaduna Nzeogwu. I knew Nzeogwu well. We went to school together. We trained at Sandhurst Military Academy, UK. We lived together. Nzeogwu was our first Head of Military Intelligence and uncovered terrible plans to wreak havoc across the country. We organised a group of progressive military officers to carry out a coup on 15th January, 1966 to stop a Jihad and bring sanity to a Nigeria steeped in nepotism, corruption and mass murders. The Government of Tafawa Balewa, controlled by the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello, were using us in the army to repress the Middle Belt and Western Nigeria. Houses and cars were burnt. Thousands were killed. All these happened between 1962-66.
There were nine of us that planned the January 15 Revolution: Majors Nzeogwu, Anuforo, Ifeajuna, Ademoyega, Chukwuka, Okafor, Onwuategwu, Obienu and myself. However, four of us started it. Major Ifeajuna and Major Ademoyega in the South; and Major Nzeogwu and myself in the North. We then united as a single revolution. I am the last of the four original revolutionaries. None published the complete truth. Only me, Colonel Nwobosi, is alive today, to tell the Final Truth, so that the lies will not triumph forever.
They used us to repress the Middle-belt and the Yorubas. When we saw genocide, we began to disobey orders and swore to stop them. For instance, Major Anuforo refused to release mass murderers caught with weapons, and was court martialled. He was replaced by Major Hassan Katsina, a Northern Muslim, willing to act. I was in Abeokuta but refused to repress Yorubas, instead I opened our barracks as a safe place for them to run to. They told many lies about the January 15 boys, to justify their genocide, but it is those of us that planned the revolution that they should have killed, not the three million innocent Biafrans that knew nothing.
For years I kept quiet, blaming myself and wondering whether at 27, I was too radical that my actions led to the deaths of millions. Today, the same evil in 1966 is being unleashed. As I watch, my sense of guilt has vanished, because we were not the evil. We were trying to stop the evil. That Evil is Radical Islamism. I have decided to speak out and warn the world of the impending disaster if we do not stop it.
Each time Radical Muslims plan a Jihad, in their religious mission to conquer the world, they will fail, but in the attempt, thousands and even millions will die. That happened to us in Biafra. At this point let me differentiate between peaceful, law-abiding Muslims and Radical Muslims who want to kill others to force their religion on them. The problem is that wherever peaceful Muslims are, there are some Radical Muslims amongst them. That is why they began a Jihad in 1966. That is why we had to stop it. That is why they killed millions of our people. That is why we declared Biafra, because we are a peaceful people and oil and water can never mix.
My story is a warning to Nigerians. For years, I was prevented from speaking the truth by exile, prison, harassment, poverty, surveillance and death threats held over many of the actors like Ojukwu, Zik, Awolowo, Ibiam and the January 15 boys that survived. But as I watch today, many of the events that led to our revolution are happening again: Boko Haram, Fulani Militia, Niger Delta Militants, Shiites, IPOB and mass murders.
Some people think we acted wrongly in carrying out the January 15 revolution, but they may not be fully aware of the realities then. We were trained by the British to be patriotic, to give the ultimate sacrifice for Nigerian and to stop anyone acting against the nation.
Instead of our leaders using us to defend Nigeria they were using us to suppress citizens. We, decided to arrest them for their atrocities because no one was willing to act. Not Zik, the President, who was powerless, not Ironsi, the Head of the Army, who was a conservative. There were many reasons why we had to act:
1. To stop the killings in Yoruba land and the Middle Belt by NPC the ruling Party;
2. To stop the invasion of Yorubaland on 17th January, 1966;
3. To correct the massive rigging of the 1964 elections;
4. To free Awolowo from Prison and make him the Prime Minister;
5. To stop the terrible corruption, nepotism and regionalism of the NPC, the Ruling Party;
6. To stop Ahmadu Bello’s planned Jihad.
It was good that we acted to save the Yoruba and the Middle Belt people, and we thought that was enough to stop the Jihad. We could not foresee that they would massively attack innocent Igbos. Blame those who decided to massacre our people for their evil. Today we are fighting Buhari. He is killing Shiite Muslims and IPOB members. With the benefit of hind-sight we can see other ways of dealing with such evil, but for us in 1966, we just wanted to save the people from massacre.
I wish to congratulate Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB for the good work they are doing to free our people from Nigeria and Radical Islamism.
Many of our people do not understand how vast IPOB is, as an organisation and the quality of the people that run it. On arrival in Israel, I started meeting high quality professionals and I was amazed. I don’t know how IPOB united power professionals abroad, power traders at home and ordinary people from market women to even riff raff all under one IPOB family, with world-wide Radio and Television.
Every Igbo and Biafran should be proud of them. They are the strongest force we have today to achieve freedom for all Nigerians. No wonder they can take on the Nigerian Government and win. However, it is money that makes things work. I shall donate 10% of all the profits of my new book to IPOB. It is my tithe to freedom. Tithing is God’s tax to raise money for the government of the children of God. I urge you all to regularly do the same so we can have the resources to achieve our objectives.
On this day of 15th January, 2019, the anniversary of our Revolution, I want to hand over to Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, the baton of the January 15 boys, so you can complete the revolution we started. I am the Ogene Obosi, a Chief and elder of the Obosi people. I bring to you the blessings of the Ancients. I fought for Biafra; I was wounded for Biafra and I shall die for Biafra. Iseeee.
We carried out the coup and partially succeeded. We went to Kirikiri Prison with Nzeogwu and other coup planners, where we shared our stories some of which were recorded by Major Ademoyega and Captain Ben Gbulie in their books. I fought with Nzeogwu who died at the Nsukka Sector. I mourned my leader and friend. I also knew Ojukwu well. I was his Chief of Operations in the Biafra War. We went into exile together. On our return he made me his ADC. I put it all in my book, 1966: THE DARK TRUTH.
Watch the video of the broadcast below