Jan 15, 2016

Hidden Truth about Nigeria’s First Military Coup

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

 Picture Source: www.photoshelter.com
I have just finished listening to BBC Hausa this morning. This week, it has been marking the 50th anniversary of the first military coup in Nigeria. This morning, it hosted the Methuselah of the Nigerian political landscape, Alhaji Maitama Sule, who was a Minister of the Federal Republic at the time.  Again, he painted those leaders as saints, unblemished by any kind of sin or crime. Then the journalist called his attention to a video he watched, in which it was said that one of the reasons why those young military officers struck was the reality that there was also corruption at the time. It was only then that Maitama Sule, confessed that there was corruption, but that it wasn’t the type that causes a storm in the heart. 

Another man, named Lili Gabari, who was a member of the opposition party, the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), which was led by late Alhaji Aminu Kano, told the BBC that the coup actually helped sanitized the system, that it got rid of some people who posed as hurdles on the road to a better nation.  His reasons are that Nigerians could not get agricultural loans or jobs in the Civil Service, except if they were members of the ruling party and that members of the opposition party were getting killed in cold blood, their offence being the membership to a ruling party.

So, it is clear now that there was corruption and flaws, only that they were faint. So, the only mistake was that we failed to fight it, allowing it continued to get as intense as a rising sun.

It is an injustice to continue to hide the truth from Nigerians. There is nothing wrong in telling the truth. Telling the truth only helps in the search of a solution that opens a decent road into the future.  The fact that there was corruption at the time does not mean that we cannot fight corruption today. If those pioneer leaders had a certain level of perfection, it those not mean that we cannot find people who were absolute in their perfection.  In the United States of America, our usual model of a perfect nation, there is corruption. But the fact that they have constantly fought it explains why they are where they are today.

Nigeria is so wide, and the people are more than sand on the seashore.  It is the reason why those Nigerians, as patriotic as they were, cannot be the most perfect in the whole of Nigerian space.

We have to know where we are coming from so that we can see, clearly, where we are going to.

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