Categories: Your Say

Danjuma’s eye for an eye

The late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi is my relative. I didn’t know of him until I was 12 and started living with my grandparents in Ekiti. 

I grew up with Colonel Fajuyi’s extended family. His immediate family was lucky after he lost his life in the 1966 counter coup. One of his widows married General Omojokun and I guess some of Colonel Fajuyi’s kids were well looked after by their step dad. Both of his first two sons even became lawyers and enjoyed somewhat successful careers as politicians in Ekiti State.

But Colonel Fajuyi’s extended family is effectively still living in penury. I read an interview recently where Colonel Fajuyi’s son thanked Dr Kayode Fayemi and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for rebuilding the Fajuyi family home. This rebuilding must be after 50 years or more of his death.

In a country where poverty statistics are gut wrenching, the penury of Colonel Fajuyi’s extended family is not a big issue. However if you look at all the rich people around us today, majority of them are ex – generals with oil wells. Maybe Colonel Fajuyi’s extended family would have done better if the patriarch of their family had not met with an untimely end in 1966.

Growing up, I was regaled with Colonel Fajuyi’s heroism. How he sacrificed himself for his Igbo boss, General Ironsi and for Nigeria. How he refused to betray his boss and save his own skin.

When I started living in Ado Ekiti, I couldn’t believe why his memorial in that town was derelict. It was only the civilian governments in Ondo / Ekiti States that paid more than lip service to the memories of Late Colonel Fajuyi. I just could never understand why such a national hero was never recognized as such.

After I graduated from University and became a bit more aware of the politics of Nigeria. I started to understand. The people who had been in power since Colonel Fajuyi was horribly murdered did not like him. Why?

In this link

Dr Nowa’ Omoigui, Cardiologist and Nigerian Military Historian quoting Major Ademoyega’s book “Why We Struck” said Colonel Fajuyi “was opposed to any trial” of the January 1966 coup plotters.

In the same link Lt. Col. William Walbe (rtd) who was supposedly part of the soldiers who should have been protecting Ironsi and Fajuyi said the following:

“…We arrested him as we arrested Ironsi. We suspected him of being party to the January coup. You remember the Battle Group Course which was held at Abeokuta….Fajuyi was the Commander of the Battle Group Course…All those who took part in the January coup were those who had taken part in that course. It gave us the impression that the Battle Course was arranged for the January coup, so he had to suffer it too. I am sorry about that but that is the nature of the life of a military man…”

“General Danjuma confirms this opinion. He says that at another training camp in Kachia commanded by Lt. Col. Fajuyi, Major Nzeogwu rehearsed the assault on Sardauna’s house in the presence of some northern mortar officers who did not appreciate the significance of the exercise until after the coup. In Danjuma’s words, “The chaps could not stomach Fajuyi such that if there was anybody who should die first, as far as they were concerned, it was Fajuyi, not even Ironsi.”

The following quotes are have also been taking from Major Ademoyega’s book by Dr Omoigui:

“Ademoyega states that Fajuyi supported the first coup, knew of it and made suggestions to plotters on how it could be best carried out. According to Ademoyega, that he did not actively participate was only as a result of his posting at the time the coup was launched. However, Ademoyega eulogizes the late Colonel for opposing all efforts in the Supreme Military Council to bring the January 15 coupists to trial.”

If you read the whole of that link, you will see General Danjuma’s role in the murder of both General Ironsi and Colonel Fajuyi. Personally I don’t blame him. But he bears some responsibility for the action of his troops. There is nothing to suggest he planned to kill Ironsi and Fajuyi but he didn’t care whether they were murdered.

From these you can see why successive federal military government did nothing to commemorate Colonel Fajuyi. He was their enemy and he was no hero to them.

General Danjuma is lucky though that there are no blood feuds in Nigeria. While all of the General’s actions were purportedly done in the national (sectional) interest, a member of the Fajuyi family could have taken his recent advice to mind and hunt down generations of the Danjuma family in retaliation. But we don’t want that do we? No country wants armed vigilantes roaming round in the name of protecting their kind.

Or do we? Seeing as that was what General Danjuma was advocating in his recent public comments.

General Danjuma and those supporting his comments will do well to read up on Hobbesian trap or Schelling’s dilemma.

A few words is enough for wise people

Baba Grumpy works in financial services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football at His Twitter handle is @BabaGrumpy

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