A Nigerian military officer of the Yoruba race, retired Lt. Fola Oyewole, who fought on the side of Biafra during the civil war, has explained why Nnamdi Azikwe and Remi Fani-Kayode were not assassinated during the 1966 coup.
There has been a political tilt on how the coup was carried out and it has been generating controversy till date. Critics say the coup was lopsided.
For instance, Ladoke Akintola was killed in the West, when Azikiwe and Mike Okpara “were not around,” making some to believe that it was an ‘Igbo coup.’
The argument was that Zik and other Igbo leaders got wind of what was going to happen and left.
Leaders from other parts were killed and the Igbo leaders were said to have been allowed to escape.
But explaining this in an interview with The News, Oyewole said, “I wouldn’t subscribe to that argument.
“They said Zik was ill, he was going for treatment and then he left the country and at the time of the coup, he wasn’t there, whether he got wind or he didn’t get wind of it, I would not know.
“Those who planned the coup must have taken a decision but it does appear that it was not in totality deliberate.
“I give you a specific example, the signal commencing the action in Enugu was delivered that morning and it did say: ‘Arrest, secure the key points and wait for further instructions.’
“And if you are in doubt, that was why Fani Kayode was arrested in Ibadan and brought down to Lagos, they wanted to kill him but what stopped them from killing him in his house in Ibadan was because of the instructions (waiting for further instructions) and he was brought down to Lagos.”