Remembrance Day! What You Do Not Know About January 15, 1966!
January 15 is a day to be forever remembered in this country. Beyond the sale of emblems, other memorabilia the grand parade by the military and, to a lesser degree, the paramilitary and the Nigerian legion,
- Do you know the first military coup d’état that toppled a democratically elected government took place on that day in 1966?
- Do you know it was on that day that the nation lost her innocence, truncated a fledgling six – year post – colonialism democratic experiment and ushered in the military in the nation’s public life till now?
- Do you know the first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, lost his life on this day in 1966?
- Do you know the first Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, lost his life on this day in 1966?
- Do you know the premier of Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola,lost his life on this day in 1966?
- Do you know the then Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh also died on this day in 1966?
- Do you know they were killed by soldiers, the five Majors, led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu?
- Do you know that gallant soldiers like Brigadiers Zakariya Maimalari and Samuel Ademulegun; Colonels Ralph Shodeinde and Kur Mohammed; Lieutenants Colonel Abogo Largema, Yakubu Pam and Arthur Unegbe, among many others, died trying to foil that coup?
- Do you know it was the spin-off of events of today in 1966 that led to the counter-coup that killed the first military Head of State, Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi – Ironsi and his host, that brave Nigerian son and Military Governor of Western Region, Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, who died honourably like a true soldier, protecting his guest?
As the families of these patriots go about in the mass media marking 50 years of their departure today, we all need to be reminded that some people lost their lives to redeem the nation. As we mark the day delivering emotion-laden speeches and laying beautiful wreaths at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier; as we empathise with the families they left behind, it is pertinent for us to emphasise that we all need to appreciate its import and historical significance.
We salute and Celebrate our fallen heroes and Patriots this day! Happy 50th Remembrance Day!