Authored by Maj. Adebowale Ademoyega with elegance and grace, “Why We Struck” is a classic that tells the story of the first military intervention in Nigeria’s politics, which led to the first military coup d’etat that was witnessed in the country.
The author, being one of the trios that planned and executed the coup, narrated the infamous event, which took place on 15 January 1966, as a witness, in the ten chapters book containing 194 pages.
As stated in the book, Maj. Adebowale Ademoyega explains with clarity the issues that signaled the attention of the coup plotters.
And notable among them was the division within the political classes, which was as a result of the politician’s selfish interest. The unbreachable gap lying between a few elite and the masses, economically, was also another factor.
The three main conspirators of the coup were Maj. Kaduna Nzeogwu, Maj. Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Maj. Adebowale Ademoyega (Author).
Without leaving anything unturned, Ademoyega went as far as revealing the ins and outs of their preparation as well as admitting to the flaws in the execution stage which led to their failed plot.
“The next most important cause of our failure was the behaviour of Ifeajuna himself. Having seen that Ironsi had got loose and was already raising troops against us, Ifeajuna took Okafor with him and both of them suddenly disappeared from our midst.
“This raises the serious question of whether or not there was a common collusion between the two of them, and whether Okafor’s failure to arrest the GOC was not a case of deliberate or willful omission.
“To my mind and to be quite honest, Ifeajuna should have been angry with Okafor the same way that I was angry with him. Then, if Ifeajuna had been faithful to me like I was to him, he should have stuck with me and both of us together would have planned the next line of action.
“This ought to be the natural course of things because Ifeajuna and I had worked together alone on this Lagos sector project for the previous three months, and more or less to the exclusion of the other majors who were brought in individually as the need for them arose.
“Why the sudden change of front? This matter later brought a serious argument between myself and Ifeajuna when we were both detained together at the Uyo Prison…”
However, the author debunks the claim of most Nigerians, especially those of the Hausa tribe, who believes till this day that the coup was an Igbo coup; stating that the interest of the plotters had nothing to do with tribalism but
Because it was this notion that provoked a reaction which led to the ills that birthed the Biafran War.
Covering the totality of the war, the author made clear the events that transpired between Gowon and Ojukwu. He also went on to question the actions taken by Ojukwu during the war. And the unthinkable pains that befell the Igbos after the war.
Unarguably, “Why We Struck” is a library of Nigeria’s most historical events; an invaluable gift for students of Nigeria history, being the original work of the only surviving member ( till 21 February 2007) of the trio that plotted the coup.
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Review rating: I rate “Why We Struck” 10/10. It is one of those books whose name you will not forget after reading.