Amaechi reveals Ojukwu’s greatest political mistake
First Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi has revealed what he described as Emeka Ojukwu’s greatest political mistake.
Ojukwu was Military Governor of Eastern Region who later became leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra from 1967 to 1970.
Amaechi said that while Ojukwu’s counterparts in the Western and Northern Regions worked closely with politicians in their areas, the Eastern governor clamped politicians in the region into detention or imposed restriction of movement orders on them.
He noted that respected Igbo politicians like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr K.O. Mbadiwe, Dr Akanu Ibiam, Dr Michael Okpara, Ambassador Mbanugo and himself were either detained or had their movements restricted.
He said that while this was a correct military action, it was the greatest political blunder Ojukwu committed.
Amaechi disclosed these in an interview published by Vanguard.
According to him, the only notable Igbo politician of the time that Ojukwu worked with was Christopher C. Mojekwu, his kinsman from Nnewi.
Amaechi, who recounted the horrors faced by Igbo politicians, soldiers and civilians during the July 29, 1966 counter coup said, “Then Ojukwu was the Governor of East Central States, but I say it and believe it to be truth, Ojukwu made a political mistake. It was actually a correct military affair but he made a political mistake.
“In the West, the political leaders were under consultation, in the North, the political leaders were involved in the government of Kastina, the then military governor of the Northern region. He involved the Northern politicians including Ali Mungono and Ibrahim
Kassim; he involved the political leaders of the North, they were meeting, but in the East here, the political leaders like Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe, Ambassador Mbanugo who was Chairman of the Eastern Working Committee; Ojukwu put him in detention at Uyo; Dr Michael Okpara who was the Premier of the Eastern Region Ojukwu kept him in detention at Warri; Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the leader of NCNC and President of Nigeria, Ojukwu
restricted his movement by serving him a restriction notice within seven miles radius of his house at Nsukka; myself, Mbazulike Amaechi, Ojukwu served me a restriction notice, restricting me within ten miles radius of my house in Ukpor; Dr Akanu Ibiam, he restricted him within seven to ten miles of his house at Afikpo, and he was ruling alone with Mojekwu. Mojekwu was always beside him and the only politician in his government.
“Mojekwu is from Umudim in Nnewi, and that was because they were relations. That was the political mistake Ojukwu made; side-lining us and threatening us with restriction notices was the greatest political mistake he made with Mojekwu by his side.”