Friday, 27 February 2015

92nd birthday of Dexter Gordon

(Born 27 February 1923, Los Angeles, US)
Tenor saxophonist and composer, towering jazz ambassador who stars as “Dale Turner”, a composite character of himself, fellow tenor saxophonist Lester Young and pianist Bud Powell in the 1986 movie Round Midnight directed by Bertrand Tavernier

(Dexter Gordon Quartet, “Body and soul” [Gordon, tenor saxophone; George Gruntz, piano; Guy Pederston, bass; Daniel Humair, drums; recorded: live, Jazz Prisma, Brussels, Belgium, 8 January 1964])
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Thursday, 26 February 2015

This long trail of reckoning?

“On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot” (Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian commander, northcentral Igboland during phase-III of the Igbo genocide, 6 July 1966-12 January 1970, addressing a meeting at Chatham House, London, England, 1000-1030 Hours GMT, Thursday 26 February 2015)
Very much interpellated in this thought process in Muhammadu Buhari’s mind of not-force and the fall of the Soviet Union must be his realisation, even if belated, that despite the staggering pulverising force his genocidist military deployed to destroy Igbo people during the genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the Igbo survived whilst contemporary Nigeria is a withering wretch.

The Soviet Union supported the genocide by sending in the squadrons of MiGs to Nigeria flown by loaned Egyptian pilots, specialists in the carpet bombing of Igbo homes, offices, markets, churches, shrines, schools, childrens playgrounds, hospitals, railway stations, trains, cars, car parks, refugee centres… This same Soviet Union, the seemingly redoubtable state, soon, beginning January 1990, collapses “without (sic) a single shot fired” (!) but its constituent peoples survived – a reminder, if ever one is required, that the state is transient; peoples endure ( 19 February 2015)).

It should now be evident to Buhari (and others) that those epaulettes for “majors” and “sergeants” and “corporals” and “generals” and lieutenants” and “colonels” garlanded by genocidists who streamed to Igboland during those 44 dreadful months to murder 3.1 million Igbo children, women and men are nothing else but signifiers for perpetrating this heinous crime against humanity.
(Sam Rivers Trio, “Afflatus” [personnel: Rivers, tenor saxophone; Cecil McBee, bass; Steve Ellington, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, NJ, US, 17 March 1967])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A COMMENT on Claudia Moscovici, “The siege of Leningrad: Genocide by starvation”, Literatura de azi, 16 February 2015

Twenty-six years later, beginning on 31 March 1967, Nigeria, very similar to this reviewed Nazi Germany’s strategy in Leningrad, the Soviet Union (, accessed 17 February 2015), embarks on the comprehensive land, naval and aerial blockade of Biafra in the second phase of the Igbo genocide which it enforces till 12 January 1970 with devastating consequences in this Africa’s most densely populated region outside the Nile Delta. Nigeria employs starvation as one of its critical weapons to prosecute the genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, formally launched earlier on 29 May 1966 (phase-I). Obafemi Awolowo (lawyer and senior advocate of the Nigerian bar), Nigeria’s chief genocidist “theorist”, deputy head of the prosecuting regime in Lagos and head of the powerful finance ministry publicly states, right from the outset, that starvation of the Igbo is a “legitimate instrument” of the campaign, a policy voiced openly and variously, throughout the period, by several other senior regime officials including, especially, Anthony Enaharo (head of information ministry), Allison Ayida (special regime advisor), and field commanders Benjamin Adekunle and Olusegun Obasanjo.


Benjamin Adekunle, one of the most notorious of the genocidist commanders in south Igboland, reminds the world of his regime’s starvation strategy in an August 1968 press conference which includes foreign correspondents: “I want to prevent even one I[g]bo having even one piece to eat before their capitulation. We shoot at everything that moves, and when our forces march into the centre of I[g]bo territory, we shoot at everything, even at things that don’t move” (The Economist, London, 24 August 1968). It is also in pursuit of this starvation strategy that Olusegun Obasanjo, who takes over this sector’s command from Adekunle later in 1968, orders his air force, in May 1969, to shoot down any Red Cross planes flying in urgently-needed relief supplies to the millions of surviving but encircled, blockaded and bombarded Igbo. Within a week of his infamous order, 5 June 1969, Obasanjo recalls, nostalgically, in his memoirs, unambiguously titled My Command (London: Heinemann, 1981), genocidist air force pilot Gbadomosi King “redeem[s] his promise”, as Obasanjo clinically asserts (Obasanjo, 1981: 79) – the “promiseGbadomosi King shoots down a clearly marked, incoming relief-bearing International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) DC-7 aircraft near Eket, south Biafra, with the loss of its 3-person crew.  Obasanjo’s perverse satisfaction over the aftermath of this crime is fiendish, grotesquely revolting. He writes: “The effect of [this] singular achievement of the Air Force especially on 3 Marine Commando Division [name of the death squad Obasanjo, who subsequently becomes head of Nigeria regime for 11 years, commands] was profound. It raised morale of all service personnel, especially of the Air Force detachment concerned and the troops they supported in [my] 3 Marine Commando Division” (79).


The British government under Prime Minister Harold Wilson is Nigeria’s principal ally in this campaign – militarily, politically, diplomatically. Britain had since been riled by the Igbo vanguard role, begun in the 1930s, to terminate its conquest and occupation of Nigeria (one of the very prized lands of the British conquest of Africa). By supporting the genocide, Britain seeks to “punish” the Igbo for the latter’s historic role in the liberation of Nigeria. During the course of the 1968/69 gruesomely catastrophic apogee of the campaign when thousands of Igbo are dying daily from starvation, disease and enhanced land and aerial bombardment of survivors in ever-shrinking territory encapsulated by the siege, Harold Wilson is totally unfazed when he informs C. Clyde Ferguson, the US state department special coordinator for relief to Biafra, that he, Harold Wilson, “would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took” Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide (Roger Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy [London and New York: Quartet Books, 1977]: 122).  For the record, Wilson’s “a half a million dead Biafrans” represents 4.2 per cent of the Igbo population at this time; by the time that this third phase of the genocide comes to an end, 6-9 months after Wilson’s wish-declaration, 25 per cent of this nation’s population or 3.1 million Igbo people are murdered by the genocidists. Undoubtedly, the Nigerians have handsomely obliged Harold Wilson’s wish... 

It must be stressed that Harold Wilson’s “[W]ould accept a half a million dead Biafrans”-wish is not a declaration made by some dictator, some leader of a loony party, a fascist party or anything of that ilk; on the contrary, this is a declaration made by an elected politician, a politician in an advanced western representative democracy, the leader of the British Labour party, one of Europes leading social democratic parties. “[W]ould accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took”-declaration is made by the prime minister of Britain; not the prime minister of some “peripheral”, seemingly inconsequential country but the prime minister of a “centre” state and power that was part of the victorious alliance that defeated a fascist global amalgam in a global war that ended barely 23 years earlier. This is a prime minister of a “centre” state and power (sixth to occupy this exalted position since the end of the war) that was one of the key countries that worked on the panel that drafted the historic 1948 United Nations “Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide” – in the wake of the 1930s-1940s deplorable perpetration of the Jewish genocide and other genocides in Europe. 6 million Jews were murdered then by Nazi Germany. It is to ensure that no human beings are ever subjected to what the Jews and others went through in central Europe and elsewhere that this genocide convention is rated as one of the key international documents of the new age. Britain is a signatory to the convention. Surely, Harold Wilson’s “[W]ould accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took”-declaration cannot fit into the hallowed pages of the UN “Convention on the prevention of the Crime of Genocide”.


Finally, a senior British foreign office official, who echoes Harold Wilson’s disposition to the Igbo slaughter, is no less chilling in their own characterisation of Britain’s strategic goal. Describing the British response to the concerted international humanitarian effort to dispatch urgently needed relief material to the blockaded and bombarded Igbo, this official notes that the British government position is designed to “show conspicuous zeal in relief while in fact letting the little buggers starve out” (Morris: 122). In a courageous and admirable public admission he makes in 1970, Colonel Robert Scott breaks ranks with his employer, the British diplomatic mission in Lagos where he works as military advisor, to acknowledge, gravely, that as the Nigerian genocidists unleash their Adekunleist campaigns across Igbo cities, towns and villages, they are the “best defoliant agent known” (Sunday Telegraph, London, 11 January 1970).

(John Coltrane Quartet, “Wise One” [Coltrane, tenor saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 27 April 1964])
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101st birthday of James Cameron

(Born 25 February 1914, La Crosse, Wisconsin, US)
Courageous lynching survivor in Marion, Indiana (7 August 1930), engineer, educator, founder of  Milwaukee’s America’s Black Holocaust Museum dedicated to the history of African Americans from enslavement to the quest for freedom, author of A Time of Terror (1982)

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Monday, 23 February 2015

147th birthday of WEB Du Bois

(Born 23 February 1868, Great Barrington, Mass, US)
Sociologist, historian, African-centred scholar and freedom activist, towering public intellectual – decades before “public intellectual” becomes in vogue

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Sunday, 22 February 2015

77th birthday of Ishmael Reed

(Born 22 February 1938, Chattanooga, Tenn, US)
Prolific poet, essayist, novelist, pianist, composer, academic
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 21 February 2015

82nd birthday of Nina Simone

(Born 21 February 1933, Tryon, NC, US)
Pianist, composer, singer, human rights activist
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Friday, 20 February 2015

88th birthday of Sidney Poitier

(Born 20 February 1927, Miami, US)
Celebrated actor, director, diplomat
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

55th anniversary of 1st French nuclear bomb “test” in Sahara Desert

(13 February 1960, explodes bomb at Regganne, west Algeria)
In flagrant disregard for the lives of African peoples and their environment, and those of future generations, France carries out an atomic bomb “test” over the Sahara Desert, the first in the year (later blasts would be be carried out in April and December) – exploded bomb has plutonium with yield of 70 kilotons, equivalent to about four times the power of the atomic bomb the United States air force dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 1945

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96th anniversary of the start of the 1st Pan-African Congress, Paris, France, 19 February 1919

(Working session of the congress with WEB Du Bois in the middle of the picture)
The February 1919 Pan-African Congress in Paris, convened by WEB Du Bois and Ida Gibbs Hunt, is the first of five high-profile international congresses after World War I (1914-1918) that demands the restoration of African independence from the European World conquest and occupation in continental Africa/the Caribbean/Americas and enhanced cooperation among African peoples globally

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60th birthday of David Murray

(Born 19 February 1955, Oakland, California, US)
Tenor saxophonist, bass clarinettist, composer, who has, since 1976, been one of the most prolifically recorded jazz artists
(David Murray & Black Saint Quartet, “Murray’s steps” [personnel: Murray, tenor saxophone; Lafayette Gilchrist, piano; Jaribu Shahid, bass; Hamid Drake, drums; recorded: live, Radialsystem V, Berlin, Germany, 17 November 2007])
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

84th birthday of Toni Morrison

(Born 18 February 1931, Lorain, Ohio, US)
One of the United States’s preeminent writers – novelist, academic, essayist, editor, commentator, winner of 1992 Nobel prize for literature

(God Help the Child, new novel to be published 21 April 2015 [New York: Knopf, 198pp, US$18.60 hc, US$10.22 kindle] and 23 April 2015 [London: Chatto & Windus, 208pp, £13.48 hc, £6.64 kindle])
Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another (Toni Morrison)

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it” (Toni Morrison) 

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Muhammadu Buhari: The portrait of another genocidist***

(Muhammadu Buhari)
By EC Ejiogu

As the Igbo, amongst whom democratic approach to the course of daily existence is the norm often posit, irrespective of the fame and standing in society, whenever a deity becomes way too restless, the proper way to call it out is to reveal to it the choice of wood, which it was carved from.  That exactly, is what I have resolved to do here in this piece about General Muhammdu Buhari.  Any honest observer of the political scene in the “Nigeria project” would not dispute the fact that Buhari’s restlessness has become most irksome, and as a result, needs to be addressed.

Vital rehash

For everyone whose knowledge of Buhari’s antecedents is sparse—that, for the benefit of the doubt includes someone like former Lagos state governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the rest of his Yoruba compatriots who have elected to bring Buhari back to power through their All Progressive Congress (APC)—rehashing how he cut his teeth on public affairs and sordid antecedents in the “Nigeria project” is absolutely vital.

Muhammadu Buhari was one of the substantial number of secondary school “leavers” from the upper Niger of Nigeria who were spurred by Ahmadu Bello, the sardauna of Sokoto and then premier of the north region, and his fellow chieftains of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) in a spirited campaign to join the army.  That was towards the end of de facto colonial rule as the Nigeria colonial army officer corps was undergoing the so-called Nigerianization process, which the imminent departure of the predominantly British personnel in the corps elicited.  The quota system regime, which had been put in place by the NPC federal minister for defense, Inuwa Wada, in the period 1958-1966 to guide the recruitment of candidate cadets into the corps, had significantly altered its composition as a result in favor of the nationalities that inhabit the upper Niger.  For full disclosure, Inuwa Wada was the maternal cousin of Murtala Mohammed’s, a beneficiary of that quota system, who subsequently played one of the ignominiously perverse roles in the chequered history of the “Nigeria project” that still festers even today.  

It is not only that Buhari was a beneficiary of that lopsided affirmative action policy that allotted 50% of all cadet recruitments into the corps to the north region by de-emphasizing a uniform merit-based academic accomplishment application process in favor of individuals from the nationalities that inhabit the upper Niger to disadvantage their lower Niger counterparts.  He was also one of the “primary beneficiaries of the promotion exercise in the junior ranks” of the corps by the incipient Aguiyi-Ironsi headed regime in May 1966 “to dilute discontents in the army” (Siollun 2009: 92).  That measure “backfired and exacerbated disillusion amongst southern and northern rank and file” (Siollun 2009: 92) soldiers due to the poisoned atmosphere in the “Nigeria project” about which this piece will not engage on due to space and time constraint.  Going by recent revelations about Buhari’s certificate, it is evidently clearer now that Buhari was flat out unqualified to enlist in the corps.  That makes him a usurper.  

In any case, second-lieutenant Buhari was promoted to the rank of substantive lieutenant alongside the many soldiers from the upper Niger who predominated the non-commissioned officer (NCO) ranks and also the junior ranks of the officer corps.  Those beneficiaries included Paul Tarfa, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Ibrahim Bako, Abdullahi Shelleng, Garba Dada, who was nicknamed “Paiko”, and Muhammadu Jega (Siollun 2009: 92).  These individuals named would subsequently become fixtures in the roll of infamy with specific regard to the persecution of the Igbo in the “Nigeria project”.  The reason being that all of them cut their teeth in public affairs by participating in the wanton spillage of innocent Igbo blood in 1966 and 1967.  As if those were insufficient, they consolidated that ignominious feat with their ruthless roles in the genocidal war which Nigeria levied on the Igbo in Biafra.  Since the shooting phase of their war ended in January 1970, they have unrelentingly sustained their persecution of the Igbo using the structures and power of the Nigerian supranational state which they usurped and still control.  Buhari’s relentless quest to once again capture the helms of state power as president is in line with their mindset to keep the Igbo “in their place” in the project.  What that means is that the Hausa-Fulani grand project of controlling the Igbo and stalling their recovery from the genocide is still “a task that must be done”.

When the research for this piece began more than three months ago, this writer felt that it would amount to a digression to delve into certain accompanying details in the story of Buhari’s involvement in the Igbo genocide.  But as the research progressed and the drafting of the story progressed, recent developments have made it necessary to bring in those details.

Some of those details relate specifically to the May 1966 promotions in the Nigeria army. According to Max Siollun, “Under normal circumstances those promotions would not have raised eyebrows.  Moreover (sic) they could be justified on the basis of merit and correcting the anomaly of deserving officers that had been passed over for promotion in the past” (Siollun 2009: 92).  The predominance of Igbo in the rank of majors entailed that 18 out of the 21 who were promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel were “Igbo speaking”.  The perception especially amongst mischief makers and soldiers from the upper Niger was “that their superior officers were murdered in January with the deliberate intention to create vacancies for Igbo officers to fill” (Siollun 2009: 91).  No one cared to objectively recall that merit underscored every factor that entailed the preponderance of Igbo in the rank of major.  In the main, it was mostly the Igbo who possessed the requisite educational qualification for enlistment in the officer corps when the approach of self-rule opened up the corps for the recruitment of indigenous men given that the all-British face of the corps was about to change.

Furthermore, there were two other factors in play, and both of them were also underscored by merit.  As Siollun puts it: “In fact (sic) two things happened: several majors were promoted acting lt-colonel and others were promoted substantive lt-colonels.  The latter group included several officers who before the coup were already acting lt-colonels, and simply had their temporary/acting ranks confirmed” (Siollun 2009: 91).  Siollun elaborates: “Several of those promoted had been passed over for promotion in the past.  For example (sic) Majors Patrick Anwunah, Mike Okwechime, Tony Eze and Alex Madiebo were [Yakubu] Gowon’s course mates at Sandhurst.  However, while Gowon had been promoted to lt-colonel in 1964, by mid-1966 the three men were still majors and were now junior to their former course mate, Gowon, even though they were no less capable than him” (Siollun 2009: 92).

Noteworthy: As Siollun again rightly puts it, “Conversely, most junior officers and NCOs were Northern and the primary beneficiaries of the promotion exercise in the junior ranks were logically also Northern … Strangely (sic) there were no complaints about the preponderance of Northern promotions in this category.  All eyes remained focused on the Igbo majors promoted to lt-colonel.  A group of Northern air force cadets were also dismissed due to their underwhelming educational achievements.  The exercise seemed to be part of a broader leaning by Aguiyi-Ironsi away from quota towards a merit based system.  Increased emphasis on academic achievement would indirectly discriminate against Northern soldiers” (Siollun 2009: 92).

But in the actual fact, one would not rightly talk about discrimination in this case given that on the merit factor of prerequisite educational qualifications, those individuals from the nationalities that inhabit the upper Niger were flat out unqualified to even show at the enlistment centers.  Knowing what we know today, Aguiyi-Ironsi did not even touch the tip of the matter not to talk of going any meaningful far.  If he did, one like Buhari and many others from the upper Niger should not have been in the corps at all.  The true reason being that unlike their counterparts from the lower Niger, they lacked the requisite educational qualification.  The appeasement of one’s natural enemy hardly helps matters in the one’s overall interests at all.

Elsewhere in the true world, Buhari should not have the effrontery and characteristic arrogance to stride around the way he does in public affairs in the “Nigeria project”.  I will cite a quick example to further underscore my immediate assertion above.  Some years ago in the US, there was a certain naval officer who committed suicide for the simple reason that it was revealed in the media that he wore a medal of achievement and merit that was not awarded to him.  Rather than face a disciplinary panel, that officer walked to the back of his office in the navy yard in southeast Washington, DC, one fine spring morning and blew out his brains with his service revolver.  That’s a gentleman officer right there!

A parade of genocidists—Buhari et al

Even in the light of concrete and irrefutable evidence that the January 15, 1966 majors’-led coup d’état was neither planned, nor executed to singularly target upper Niger politicians and military officers, every commissioned officer, NCO, and rank and file soldier from the upper Niger relied on speculation and sectional prejudice against the Igbo, and circumstantial evidence to convince themselves and believe otherwise.  Thus, their justification of their resolve to systematically plot, target and eliminate their Igbo colleagues.

Across the board, the conspiracy and planning involved all officers and rank and file soldier from the upper Niger: “Although senior Northern officers were involved in the planning, most of the spade work … would be carried out by Northern NCOs and lieutenants…” (Siollun 2009: 98).  “[T]he de facto leader and co-oordinator … was the Inspector of Signals Lt-Colonel Murtala Mohammed, ably assisted by Majors Martin Adamu and Theophilus Danjuma” (Siollun 2009: 92).

Their coverage of their planning was wholesome, and no army formation was left out.  Joseph Garba, then a captain opened up his house on 4 Lugard Avenue in Ikoyi as a regular meeting venue.  The more “prominent plotters” in the south, according to Garba, are as follows: “Lagos: Joe Garba, Murtala Mohammed, Yakubu Danjuma, Martin Adamu, Muhammadu Buhari, Paul Tarfa, William Walbe, John Lougboem, Musa Usman, and Shittu Alao … Ibadan: Jerry Useni, Ibrahim Bako and Garba Dada; Enugu: Lieutenant Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Abeokuta: Lieutenant Pam Mwadkan” (Siollun 2009: 99). 

There were many more.  Years later, Garba gloated and admitted that “virtually all other northern officers serving in Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ikeja and Lagos became involved … in one way or another” (Siollun 2009: 99-100).  They included Lieutenants Malami Nassarawa and Nuhu Nathan in Lagos, Abdullahi Shelleng and I. S. Umar, and Adjutant Garba Dada in Abeokuta (Siollun 2009: 100).  Ibrahim Babangida admitted to an interviewer in the 1990s that one “Captain Ahmadu Yakubu acted as a messenger by driving all the way from Lagos to Kaduna in order to update Northern soldiers in Kaduna” (Siollun 2009: 99).

After the successful and wholesome massacre of Igbo officers and men began in Abeokuta July 28 night, it spread to Lagos when some of the forerunners of the orgy in Abeokuta arrived Ikeja in the morning of July 29 to ignite the operation, which was swiftly commenced there “by Lieutenants Nathan and Nassarawa, who managed affairs until their superiors Lt-Colonel Murtala Mohammed, Majors Martin Adamu, Shittu Allao, and Musa Usman arrived” (Siollun 2009: 104).  Siollun points out that the “Other active participants in Lagos included Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari of 2 brigade transport company, Lieutenant John Longboem, Captains Ibrahim Taiwo and Alfred Gom, Lieutenant Tokkida of the LGO [Lagos Garrison Organization], and a notoriously violent sergeant from … Idoma … named Paul Dickson” (Siollun 2009: 104).

A few samplers of some of the heart wrenching acts of massacre committed by this horde and the soldiers they commanded against their Igbo colleagues in just Lagos alone where Buhari operated are necessary at this point to underscore the gravity of this genocide: “Igbo soldiers were shot dead in their quarters, some as they rose in the morning, others as they reported for physical training.  Northern soldiers had pre-selected Igbo soldiers for elimination.  The casualties in Ikeja included Lieutenant Pius Onyeneho [he happened to be from my town, Onicha in Ezinihite in the now Imo State] and the unit education officer Captain John Chukwueke, who was shot in the presence of his wife, children and mother in-law.  Lieutenant John Odigwe attempted to rescue Onyeneho but was unable to do so after he too came under heavy fire.  Ironically Onyeneho was a former classmate of one of the mutineers, Nuhu Nathan.  Lieutenant Godson Mbabie and his wife were both shot, along with Mbabie’s brother in-law (a school boy).  Mbabie’s wife survived her wounds.  Captain Kevin Megwa and his wife hid in their wardrobe while their young nanny went around the barracks weeping, carrying their two-month-old baby girl, pretending they had been killed. Furthermore:
The Ikeja airport in Lagos also turned into an execution ground under the command of … Sergeant Paul Dickson.  Captain Okoye (from Ojukwu’s hometown Nnewi) who was passing through Ikeja airport, was captured, tied to an iron cross, beaten, whipped and left to die an agonizing death in the guardroom in what bore the appearance of a ritual murder.  Some of the Igbo survivors (military and civilian) at the airport were flogged on Dickson’s orders.  Dickson stayed on as head of security at the airport for several years and somehow bagged himself and automatic promotion to captain in the process (and later again to major).  The air force officer that had been briefed to fly to Calabar to release Awolowo from prison (Major Nzegwu) was also killed. Ironically (sic) many of the Igbo officers attacked in Lagos were the same officers who played prominent roles in putting down the January coup.  Two examples illustrate this.  In January (sic) Captain Ugoala had actually interrogated the coup detainees.  His anti-coup role in January was forgotten and he was killed by the Northern mutineers.  The house of the 2nd battalion’s commander Lt-Colonel Henry Igboba was also targeted even though he was one of the officers that were instrumental in putting down the January coup and had been accused of meting out brutal treatment to January detainees.  Northern soldiers surrounded Igboba’s house but Igboba managed to escape and shelter at the police college Ikeja.  (Siollun 2009: 104).
Igbophobes and islamists: Murtala and Buhari joined at the hips

The relationship, which Buhari and the other genocidists that included Martin Adamu, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Baba Usman et al struck with Murtala Muhammed at the expense of innocent Igbo blood that they spilled evolved during the course of the war against Biafra and endured thereafter.  Buhari’s lack of respect for higher authority and his characteristic ruthlessness were no doubt forged at the time.  He witnessed, firsthand, his idol Murtala Mohammed’s characteristic disdain for and “little respect for authority” (Ibrahim Haruna, in Siollun 2009: 165) throughout his time as warfront commander in Benin, Asaba, and during his three-time ill-fated attempts to invade Onitsha from across the River Niger.  He witnessed and probably participated in the war atrocities that Murtala Mohammed ordered in Benin, and Asaba.

The apparent unity of purpose that prevailed amongst all the genocidists from the upper Niger before and during the massacre of their Igbo colleagues, and their prosecution of the war against Biafra, began to fray and give way at the seams a little after the war ended.  Murtala Mohammed’s disdain and rivalry with Gowon grew, and “Muslim soldiers from the far north such as Lt-Colonels Muhammadu Buhari, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Ibrahim Babangida” were at the top of the list of those who lined up support for Murtala Mohammed against Gowon.  They—“Colonels Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Ibrahim Taiwo, Abdullahi Muhammed, Ibrahim Babangida, the director of supply and transport Muhammadu Buhari” (Siollun 2009: 176) spearheaded the plot that removed Gowon and installed Murtala Mohammed head of junta in 1975.  Their coup d’état against Gowon “was a watershed in that it was the first time in Nigeria’s history that executors of a coup apportioned political appointments between themselves” (Siollun 2009: 185).  They have not left the scene ever since.  The “Nigeria project”, indeed the Igbo have been worse off for it.


Siollun, M., Oil, Politics, and Violence: Nigerias Military Coup Culture, New York:  Alegora, 2009).
EC Ejiogu is the author of the paradigm changing The Roots of Political Instability in Nigeria: Political Evolution and Development in the Niger Basin (Farnham: Ashgate Publishers, 2011).

***See also Professor Ejiogu’s  “Benjamin Adekunle  The portrait of a genocidist”, (accessed 16 February 2015).

Saturday, 14 February 2015

197th birthday of Frederick Douglass

(Born c14 February 1818, Talbot county, MD, US)
One of the most outstanding intellectuals of his age – author of the classic Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass (1845) and other publications, orator, expansive traveller, activist of African American freedom

(Sonny Rollins Trio, “The freedom suite” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 7 March 1958])
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Friday, 13 February 2015

FWD: “Friday the 13th”

(Joe Henderson Trio plays Thelonious Monk’s composition, “Friday the 13th” [personnel: Henderson, tenor saxophone; Ron Carter, bass; Al Foster, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York, US, 14-16 November 1985])

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

202nd birthday of Harriet Jacobs

(Born 11 February 1813, Edenton, NC, US)
Writer, author of the historic Incidents in the life of a slave girl (1861), influential activist of African American freedom movement

(Wynton Marsalis Quintet, “Thick in the South” [personnel: Marsalis, trumpet; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone; Marcus Roberts, piano; Bob Hurst, bass; Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums; recorded: BMG Studios, New York, US, {? ?} 1991])
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Monday, 9 February 2015

FWD – Announcing new journal: Journal of West African History

Founding Editor-in-chief: Nwando Achebe
Associate Editors: Hilary Jones and John Thabiti Willis
Book Review Editor: Harry Odamtten
Editorial Assistant and Office Manager: Joseph M Davey
Published semiannually: Issue 1, Spring (March delivery); Issue 2, Fall (September delivery) (please click on the follow-up link for journal details)

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Saturday, 7 February 2015

132nd birthday of Eubie Blake

(Born 7 February 1883, Baltimore, MD, US)
Pianist and prolific composer, including celebrated musicals (especially Shuffle Along [co-written by Noble Sissle] and Eubie), enjoying a career that stretches for eight decades, beginning in 1898 

Blake plays “Charleston Rag”, which he originally composed in 1899 as “Sounds of Africa”, in New York, 1980
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 6 February 2015

117th birthday of Melvin Tolson

(Born 6 February 1898, Moberly, Missouri, US)
Award-wining prodigiously creative poet, playwright, essayist and academic whose works include Rendezvous with America ([poetry] 1944), The Fire in the Flint ([play] 1952), Libretto for the Republic of Liberia ([poetry] 1953), Harlem Gallery, Book 1, the Curator ([poetry] 1965) and A Gallery of Harlem Portraits ([poetry] 1979) and whose mentoring and training of the celebrated Wiley College (Marshall, Texas) students’ debating society in the 1930s is the focus of the film The Great Debaters (2007), directed by Denzel Washington who also plays Melvin Tolson’s character

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91st birthday of Pius Okigbo

(Born 6 February 1924, Ojoto, Igboland)
Renowned economist, economic advisor to the Biafran resistance government during the Igbo genocide perpetrated by Nigeria, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970

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70th birthday of Bob Marley

(Born 6 February 1945, Nine Mile, Jamaica)
Iconic musician who with fellow Jamaican artists Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailers and others, beginning in the 1960s, transform reggae into a driving global music genre of social justice and change

(Bob Marley & the Wailers, “Exodus” [musicians and performers: Marley, lead vocal, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion; Aston “Family Man” Barrett, fender bass, guitar, percussion; Carlton Barrett,  drums, percussion; Tyrone Downie, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals; Alvin “Seeco” Paterson, percussion; Julian (Junior) Marvin, lead guitar; I Threes (Rita MarleyMarcia GriffithsJudy Mowatt), backing vocals; recorded: Harry J studio, Kingston, Jamaica, 1976 & Island Studio, London, England, January-April 1977])
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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

FWD: Elmhurst Art Museum presents On the Brink – new work by artist Nnenna Okore, 7 February-3 May 2015

(Nnenna Okore, “Akaraka”, 2013)
(Nnenna Okore: acclaimed sculptor and academic – professor of art, North Park University, Chicago)
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FWD: A South World portrait – John Coltrane Sextet plays “Brazilia”

(John Coltrane Sextet, “Brazilia” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Reggie Workman, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York, US, 1 November 1961])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

102nd birthday of Rosa Parks

(Born 4 February 1913, Tuskegee, Ala, US)
Eminent freedom movement activist – appositely reminds the world: “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right”

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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

FWD: Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease and other historic sequels

Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease (London: Penguin Classics, 2010), 144pp, £6.99/US$11.06, pbk

Ten of the biggest sequels from famous authors

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Monday, 2 February 2015

FWD: Molefi Kete Asante Institute Academic Award, 2015

The Molefi Kete Asante Institute would like to announce the third annual Molefi Kete Asante Institute Academic Award. The award is given to students who best represent the intellectual idea of Afrocentricity and the related concepts of African subjectivity and agency. The aim of the award is to reward students who understand the importance of maintaining a culturally-centered perspective in all manner of thought and behavior.

Two awards of $500 each will be awarded to local high school seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. In addition to the application, an essay and letter of recommendation from a teacher or school counselor is required. Applications are available through 
or by calling 215-882-9200. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 27, 2015.
Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies
5535 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144

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101st birthday of William Ellisworth Artis

(Born 2 February 1914, Washington, NC, US)
Celebrated versatile sculptor and academic
Artis working on A Mother’s Love (1963)

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Sunday, 1 February 2015

46th birthday of Joshua Redman

(Born 1 February 1969, Berkeley, California, US)
One of the most inventive saxophonists (tenor, soprano, alto) and composers of his generation

(Joshua Redman Quartet, “Sweet sorrow” [personnel: Redman, tenor saxophone; Brad Mehldau, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Brian Blade, drums; recorded: Power Station, New York, US, 8/9/10 March 1994])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

40th anniversary of first open heart-surgery in Igboland/southwestcentral Africa

(1 February 1974, operation performed, Nsukka University Teaching Hospital, Enuugwu, Igboland)
First open heart-surgery in this part of west Africa was performed at the Nsukka University Teaching Hospital, Enuugwu, Igboland, on 1 February 1974 – four years and just over a month to the day after the formal end of phase-III of the 44-month long Igbo genocide, perpetrated by Nigeria. The surgeons who worked on this operation included CH Anyanwu, DC Nwafor, FA Udekwu and M Yacoub. In the subsequent 26 years, i.e., by 2000, a total of 102 (one hundred and two) open heart-surgeries were carried out in this Enuugwu centre. Currently, Professor Martin Aghaji of the centre is one of Africa’s leading cardiologists. It should be added that Professor Aghaji is brother to Professor Alloysius Aghaji, also a leading surgeon himself, in urology, who most sadly died in an accident at his home (in Enuugwu) in August 2009.

(Wynton Marsalis Quintet, “LC on the cut” [personnel: Marsalis, trumpet; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone; Marcus Roberts, piano; Bob Hurst, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: BMG Studios, New York, US, {? ?} 1991])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe