How Oba Erediauwa of Benin caused the Nigerian Civil War

How Oba Erediauwa of Benin caused the Nigerian Civil War

(birds cawing) At 5:00 a.m. on July 6, 1967, the first
shot of the Nigerian civil war was fired at Ogoja, present-day Cross River State. The 30-month brutal war had begun and
over 3 million people would lose their lives in a needless and bloody war; three
million people who would have contributed to the growth of the nation. Gowon supporters argued that Ojukwu caused the war. While Ojukwu’s camp
pointed fingers at Gowon for the bloodshed. But no one has blamed Oba Erediauwa of Benin for his role. So you would ask, how did the Oba of Benin cause the war? The answer to that question will come right up after this. When in March 2016, the Secretary of the
Benin Traditional Council, Mr. Frank Irabor announced that “the leopard is ill
in the savanna bush”. Anyone familiar with Benin traditions knew exactly what had
happened to the Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa I, the 38th Oba of Benin, who was born on June 22nd, 1923, and ascended the Benin throne on March 23rd, 1979. The Oba of Benin is the traditional ruler
of the Edo people and head of the historic Eweka dynasty of the Benin
Empire. However, before becoming an Oba, Erediauwa was an outstanding civil
servant. He, in fact, rose to become the Federal Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Health before he retired in 1973. He was then known as Prince Samuel Akenzua. Akenzua was part of the Nigerian contingents that traveled all the way to Aburi, Ghana to attend, what is now called, “the Aburi Meeting” or “Aburi Accord” where the Nigerian conflict was discussed between January 4th and 5th, 1967. Those who attended the meeting were Lieutenant-Colonels Yakubu Gowon and Emeka Ojukwu, Commodore J.E.A. Wey, Major Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Kam Salem, and many others. The chairman of the Ghana National Liberation Council,
Lieutenant-General Joseph Arthur Ankrah declared the meeting open in his
capacity as the then head of state of Ghana. At Aburi, Gowon and Ojukwu agreed on the following resolutions: That the Army would be governed by a Supreme Military Council under a Chairman, who would be known as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Head of the Federal Military Government. An establishment of a military headquarters comprised an equal
representation from the regions and headed by a chief of staff. The creation of
area commands corresponding to existing regions and under the charge of area commanders; and that the Supreme Military Council will deal with matters of policy,
including appointments and promotion to top executive posts in the Armed Forces
and the Police. They also agreed to set up a military committee on which each
region will be represented to prepare statistics which will show the present
strength of the Nigerian Army. As far as the regions were concerned, it was
decided that all the powers vested in the Nigerian Constitution in them, which
they exercised prior to the January 15, 1966 coup d’etat, should be restored to
the regions. The decisions at Aburi in terms of political and military
control of the country amounted to Nigeria being governed as a Confederation.
It should be noteworthy that the vocal military officers like, Lieutenant-Colonel Murtala Muhammed and Major Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma did not attend the Aburi meeting. Back home in Lagos, Prince Akenzua along with other top permanent secretaries reviewed all that was agreed in Aburi. However, Akenzua discussed with the head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, and raised objections to what was agreed in Aburi. He went further to cite his concerns in a memo dated January 8, 1967. Akenzua said in the memo that Gowon had given way too much away in Aburi and that it would lead to the
destruction of the country. He further added that Gowon had legalised total
regionalism which will make the center very weak. Prince Akenzua pointed out in
his memo that a weak center would lead to a Confederation and total disintegration of Nigeria. It was this memo that prompted Gowon to summon a meeting of the secretaries to the military governments and other officials
which was held in Benin City between February 16 and 18, 1967. The Benin
meeting was a total rejection of what was agreed upon in Aburi. After the meeting, Ojukwu started the “On Aburi I stand” slogan. Thereafter,
the Federal Government promulgated Decree Number 8 of 1967 on March 10, 1967, which gave total powers to the centre. It has been so since and the
ghost of that decree still haunts us today. Many years after the war, Gowon and
Ojukwu interpreted what was agreed upon in Aburi in their own way. One of the problems at Aburi was that a portion
of the meeting was not recorded. The military excused the civilians, like Akenzua, at a certain stage during the meeting and it was alleged that during
this informal chat, Gowon made certain commitments to Ojukwu, especially on full regionalism. As long as Nigeria remains under one federalism, the memo of Prince Akenzua, who later became Oba Erediauwa I, which made Gowon cancel the Aburi agreement and ultimately led to the Civil War will forever be remembered.


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    John Sheppard

    This video is a bunch of stupidity. So the fact that the then crown prince of Benin Kingdom didn't like the aburi accord now means he caused the civil war ? You've got to be kidding ! What kind of useless school produced you ?

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