“In this trip of life, if you are not careful….
Rumors will make you hate innocent people and love the hypocrites” (Internet)
MAN is a social animal, the only one with various tools to communicate his feelings, passions, desires and needs to others. With the introduction of mobile devices and other communication tools ,many of us spend several hours and precious moments “getting in touch”, checking out on others and passing information. We scroll, link and peruse, but sometimes we are confronted with that which is questionable, untrue and what might have gone viral. These can be harmful, untrue because they are fake and dangerous to the society or to the individual concerned.
It is therefore risky to believe everything you read in the social media. In Nigeria the social media has become the preferred platform for spreading false information because of its easy penetration to its destination and because of the gullibility of a captive audience. Fake news is dangerous because it starts out deliberately to disinform and to cause mischief. It goes viral easily through posting and reposting.
It is worse in a society with many fault lines, such as religious and ethnic cleavages . The intent is to reinforce a point of view or a mindset. To the Oxford University and the Reuters Institute, “social media personalities with large followings are often the culprits. They are considered “super spreaders”, who can very easily share inaccurate information with their impressionable followers…If you have an extremely active network, you might also frequently come across false information shared between your own friends and family.” Some platforms in Nigeria are deliberating propagating false and hate speeches and we are morally bound to challenge them. Take for instance, a write up that was disingenuously credited to me. It is titled “Know Your History”. It has been trending for weeks, or even months until some people drew my attention to it.
I am the only Professor Ihechukwu Madubuike I know. And I did not write anything with the above title anywhere. My younger brother is a Professor of Engineering, but he does not write on social matters. He is a reverend gentleman. I am also not a Professor of history.
“Know Your History” is therefore a fraud, a satanic diatribe concocted by internet rats with fake names like Lateef ,Emeka Ugwuonye and Ibrahim, of no fixed address. The sole aim is to discredit me, Nnamdi Azikiwe and, to demarket the Igbos in general. The trigger may not be unconnected with the forth coming elections.
“Know Your History” began with what the fraudsters called ‘Forgotten History of the Igbo Tribe and Northern Alliance”, and continued :” Do You know that when Tafawa Balewa was Prime Minister of Nigeria Chief of Army Staff was from SE; Chief of Naval Staff was from SE; IG of Police was from SE.; Chief of Defence Staff was from SE; Internal Affairs Minister SE; External Affairs Minister SE; Education Minister SE; Many other key ministries to SE; Parliament President SE; Unilag VC SE; The University of Ibadan VC from SE; North resisted same at ABU”.
The above extract is not my language. I do not refer to the various ethnic groups in Nigeria as “tribes”. I am too sophisticated to use such a derogatory term for highly cultured and civilized peoples in Africa. It is an act of culturecide so to do, and smacks of a colonial mentality .Secondly, I would have named the persons occupying these various offices listed in the document, for the sake of authenticity. Anybody who sees an Igbo name will recognize it. Thirdly, there was nothing like “SE” during Tafawa Balewa’s tenure in office, that is, between 1957-66, when he died as a result of the unfortunate coup d’etat. And , finally I am not used to self-immolation. I am proud of my ethnic group, and will not disparage it, as the satanic author or authors have done.
But for the sake of setting some records straight and for not misleading the general public, here are the three cabinets of Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa , from 1957 to 1966, as a point of reference.
BALEWA’S FIRST CABINET ( 1957-59)
1. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Prime Minister
2. Raymond Amanze Njoku Minister of Transport
3. Aja Nwachukwu Of Education
4. K.O. Mbadiwe Of Commerce
5. Samuel Ladoke Akintola Of Communication
6. J.M. Johnson Of Internal Affairs
7. Kolawale Balogun Minister of Information
8. Ayo Rosiji Minister of Health
9. Festus Okotieh Eboh Minister of Finance
10. Mohammadu Ribadu Minister of Lands, Mines and Power.
11. Zaina Bukar Dipcharima Minister of Works
This was a power sharing pre-independence arrangement in which mainly the majority ethnic groups were represented. The charismatic and sartorial Okotie Eboh, the Ishekiri born fashionista and business man extraordinaire was an exception. How this cabinet above translates to Igbo domination is difficult to decipher. Yet Tafawa Balewa , the then deputy leader of the Northern Peoples Congress, a man of Gere origin and ethnic formation, from today’s Bauchi State, remained an uncommon defender of the Hausa- Fulani interests.
BALEWA’S SECOND CABINET (1959-1964)
1. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Prime Minister
2. Jaja Anucha Nwachukwu Foreign Affairs
3. Teslim Oluwole Elias Attorney General
4. Muhammadu Ribadu Lands & Lagos Affairs
5. Chief Festus Okotie Eboh Finance
6. Raymond A.Njoku Transport & Aviation
7. Zanna Bukar Dipcharima Commerce & Industries
8. Inuwa Wada Works & Surveys
9. J.M. Johnson Labour and Welfare
10. Aja Nwachukwu Education
11. Maitama Sule Mines and Power
12. Shehu Shagari Economic Development
13. Olu Akinfonsile Communications
14. Usman Sarki Internal Affairs
15. T.O.S. Benson Information
16. Waziri Ibrahim Health
17. Yar’adua Nigerianization
THIRD CABINET: 1964-1966
1.Tafawa Balewa Prime Minister & External Affairs
1. Mohammadu Ribadu Defence
2. Teslim O. Elias Attorney General
3. Festus Okotie Eboh Finance
4. Zana B. Dipcharima Transport
5. Jaja Wachukwu Aviation
6. K.O.Mbadiwe Trade
7. Augustus Akinloye Industries
8. Inuwa Wada Works
9. Adeniran Ogunsanya Housing and Surveys
10. Adeleke Adedoyin Labour
11. Richard Akinjide Education
12. Maitama Sule Mines &Power
13. Waziri Ibrahim Economic Development.
14. Alade Lamoje Natural Resources/Research
15. Raymond Njoku Communications
16. Shehu Shagari Internal Affairs
17. Ayo Rosiji Information
18. Moses Majekodumi Health
19. Jacob Obande Establishment
20. Dominic Mapao Minister of State, Mines/Power.
These ministerial appointments by the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, were indicative of where political power was located in the then Nigeria. The North with the support of Britain, not the Igbos, held that power. The position of the Prime Minister was theirs uninterruptedly from 1957 to January,1966, that is until the unfortunate coup ushered in military rule.
In Balewa’s cabinet of 1959-64 Jaja Wachukwu was the Foreign Affairs Minister. In his 3rd Cabinet of 1964 -66 Tafawa Balewa retained the External Affairs portfolio, while Shehu Shagari manned the Internal Affairs Ministry. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s position, as President, was ceremonial.
Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe was the first Chief of Staff and de facto second in command, Supreme Head Quarters, under General Ironsi. When Ironsi was killed in Ibadan, he was supposed to assume office as the Acting Head of State. But he escaped to Las Palmas, and later became High Commissioner in London. The Chief of Naval Staff was Commodore Joseph Edet Olawale Wey; the Inspector General of Police was Sir Louis Orok Edet. His deputy was Kam Salem. None of these gentlemen were Igbo. The Chief Justice of the Federation, remained Justice Adetokunbo Ademola. Colonel George .T. Korubo was the head of the Air Force. All these officers were senior to Lt Col. Yakubu Gowon, who was later promoted to become the Head of State. There was nothing like “Parliament President”, a nomenclature unknown to our Constitution, but which the ignorant author “Of Know Your History”, claimed was occupied by an Igbo.
Needless to inform the internet rats that Ahmadu Bello University was a regional university, like the University of Nigeria, and the University of Ife. Their regional owners appointed their Vice Chancellors. Besides ,the Constitution did not bar the Igbos from holding high profile positions in Federal Institutions. Eni Njoku was hounded out of the University of Lagos as the Vice Chancellor in 1965, way before 1966.
Sufficient facts have also emerged to prove that the 1966 coup d’etat included persons from different ethnic groups. A Yoruba major, Adewale Ademoyega, who took part in the coup wrote a book on it, titled Why We Struck. Lt Fola Oyewole, author of The Reluctant Rebel was also involved. Atom Kpera claimed that he could not distinguish between operation Damissa and a real coup’detat in which he was involved. Soldiers from other parts of the country also participated in the coup. It is therefore a misnomer to call the military revolution of January, 1966, an Igbo coup d’etat.
We must separate propaganda from history, for the sake of posterity. We must de-escalate fake news at all costs . I am not the author of the satanic “Know Your History”.
Former Minister of Education (1979-81)
PROFESSOR IHECUKWU MADUBUIKE
Former Minister of Health (1995-1997)
Author: The Igbo Challenge in Nigeria ,without rancour or recrimination. (2012)
Abuja, August 19, 2022