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What Whent Wrong in 1967 at Aburi Accord Ghana



By: Gbojom.com.ng

my heart was pondering and wandering and sourcing for what went wrong before the civil war out outbreak well the truth is Nigeria will never be the same again 52 years ago, the future of Nigeria and how it affects the relationship between the three major tribes - Yoruba Hausa and Igbo - rested on a meeting in Ghana in January 1967. It was the Aburi Accord. In this series, gbojom.com.ng looks at how the Biafra civil war which took place between July 1967 and January 1970 would have been prevented. Following the second coup in Nigeria that took place in July 1966 that led to the death of the head of state, Aguiyi Ironsi, tension between Igbos and the rest of the country began to strain. The second coup which came six months after the first one and was considered a reprisal coup. Ironsi was accused of not taking actions against the Igbo soldiers that were responsible for the first coup and it was reported that although they were in detention, they were still being paid. The killing of Igbos across the northern part of Nigeria began in May 1966 and this was fuelled by (false) reports that northerners were suffering the same fate in the eastern region. By November of that year, there was tension between Lt-Col Yakubu Gowon who was the head of state and Lt-Col Odumegwu Ojukwu who was the governor of the eastern region. All attempts at salvaging the impending danger proved abortive within Nigeria as Ojukwu reiterated that he would not hold any meeting with any Nigerian officer within the country. By then, Igbos had started moving to the eastern region and the secession of the eastern region out of Nigeria seemed inevitable. Then came the Aburi Accord, a move that should have prevented the Biafra war. Ojukwu led delegates from the eastern region to Aburi in Ghana to meet with Gowon who also led the delegates of the federal government and were hosted by Joseph Arthur Ankrah between January 5 and 6, 1967. The atmosphere at the neutral ground was tensed although the officers tried to disguise the real nature of the situation by sharing food and laughing at small jokes. However, an accord was reached and it was agreed that “the legislative and executive authority of the Federal Military Government should remain in the Supreme Military Council, to which any decision affecting the whole country shall be referred for determination provided that where it is possible for a meeting to be held the matter requiring determination must be referred to military governors for their comment and concurrence. “Specifically, the council agreed that appointments to senior ranks in the police, diplomatic, and consular services as well as appointment to superscale posts in the federal civil service and the equivalent posts in the statutory corporation must be approved by the Supreme Military Council. The regional members felt that all the decrees passed since January 15, 1966, and which detracted from previous powers and positions of regional governments, should be repealed if mutual confidence is to be restored.” Sadly however, the result and recommendation of the accord were not honoured by both parties leaving the country to further degenerate into ethnic discord. On July 6, 1967, Ojukwu officially declared secession from Nigeria signalling the beginning of the Biafra civil war. The war would go on for two and a half years and by the time it ended, more than two million people lost their lives. How Aburi Accord failed to stop Biafra war Gowon has been blamed for not honouring the agreements reached in Aburi although he has always denied this. “I was fascinated by that because I can assure you that that (Aburi) meeting was to break the ice and for all of us, the military leaders at the time, be allowed to be able to agree to be discussing our problems in Nigeria and to solve them.‎ “What happened to us at Aburi was that I couldn’t make it down (to Nigeria) because I was unfortunately down with a fever. “Ojukwu got back (before me) and made a statement and that wasn’t what we discussed and that was the beginning of the misunderstanding"
 Source Google. Com

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