Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
Reports indicate a vast majority of soldiers involved in Turkey attempted coup d’état of Friday 2016 July 15 were misled into participating.
The soldiers, many of whom were fresh military recruits and military students, were informed by superior officers that they were engaged in a military drill.
The secret operation turned out to be a military intervention in an elected civilian government – the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The realisation they had just provided aid to a takeover of government caused some soldiers to drop their weapon and walk away in tears.
As of now, 1,200 military personnel have been released from detention in the post-coup investigations.
Thoughts are with every soldier who inadvertently took arms against the people of Turkey.
The trust soldiers reposed in senior officers have been shattered.
That reminds of a similar secret army operation that halted and went into combat mode outside the Kaduna residence of Premier Of Northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna Of Sokoto.
By the end of this military exercise, several principal government officials, significantly Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Sardauna, were dead.
Some civilian wives of targeted political and military officers were not spared the bullets.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım survived attacks on his convoy.
Three soldiers were among the martyrs that gave the ultimate against the Turkey coup.
Unlike the Turkey coup when government officials became aware of the attempt to take over the helms of government some 15 minutes into the coup operations, some Nigerian officials were alert to the Nigeria coup several hours before it commenced.
Incidentally, while the Sardauna met news of the coup plot with cynicism, Samuel Ladoke Akintola the Premier Of Western Region prepared to defend himself and his household with an automatic rifle.
Both men did not survive the night of the coup.
Little timely assistance came from security agencies.
In Turkey, at least 17 police officers attached to Gölbaşi Police Special Operations Department, Ankara, died resisting the coup soldiers.
In total 60 police officers, six of whom were women, were killed during the night’s acts of terrorism.
Turkish intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Service ~MİT, in collaboration with the Armed Forces at 16:00 hours on the evening of Friday 2016 July 15 commenced a counter-coup operation.
That was 5 odd hours before the coup plotters at gun point forced Tijen Karaş to announce on national television that a military coup was in progress.
Although some members of Turkish Armed Forces ~TSK defied government and military instructions to rout the putschists, several others from the Air Force, Navy and Army responded gallantly that night.
Other officers rejected orders from military chiefs to supply tanks and armoured vehicles in support of the coup.
A critical stand against the insurrection was taken by tens of thousands of Turkish men and women who heeded the call of the people’s President to take to the streets and overcome the coup plotters.
Allah Akbar! rang through the air.
That night, 145 civilian Türkler, men and women, gave their life for peace and security in the Nation.
President Erdoğan’s hotel in Marmaris was attacked; he narrowly missed the onslaught by about 10 minutes and was safely en route to Istanbul to organise the mass resistance.
President Nnamdi Azikiwe was on a vacation in the Caribbean, and was not to return until 1966 February 25 to the military government of Major-General Ironsi.
Imagine having an enemy in one’s home, in the office and aware of all of one’s plans and movements, smiling and comforting one, waiting for the moment to strike.
That is a deadly blunder revealed in both coups, as coup plotters had unrestricted access to principal government and military officers.
Just as soldiers in Kaduna were informed that firing at the Sardauna’s home was a meritorious part of the mission, troops assigned to Marmaris were ordered to apprehend a high-target “terrorist leader”!
What followed in both Countries was the usual jubilation among a section of the population.
In Nigeria, another section were clearly not amused.
The best of their leaders had been assassinated in the most inhumanely fashion.
Vengeance brewed and spilled into years of pogrom against Ndi Igbo.
Retribution was not for civilians alone, for six months later, Northern soldiers [Christians and Muslims of various ethnicities] turned on the Head Of State, Major General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo.
Many Igbo military officers were either murdered or purged from the Armed Forces, as was any officer linked to the January 15 anarchy.
Another year passed, and as a direct result of the massacres of Ndi Igbo, commenced the Civil War between Nigeria and secessionist Biafra.
Interestingly, that caused the massacre of even more Ndi Igbo; thousands were lynched across the Nation and millions more perished from starvation.
That was the first coup led by Major Chukwuma Patrick Kaduna Nzeogwu.
The year was 1966 and the day Saturday January 15, right in the middle of Ramadhan 1385.
Some members of both violent putschists joined the respective Armed Forces of each nation precisely to influence political life and to awe the populace.
An interesting occurrence was that though Chukwuma was killed in Nsukka on 1967 July 29 in the early days of the Biafran War, his body was accorded an honourable military burial in Kaduna, the starting point of the entire cycle of anarchy.
How many civilians who died from the consequences of Chukwuma’s venture into politics received a burial ground, let alone a dignified funeral?
What did the same military officers who considered – and still regard – Chukwuma worthy of honour do to prevent the ethnic cleansing of civilians who had nothing to do with his actions?
Available information suggests there was no deployment of Nigerian Armed Forces to safeguard innocent civilians during riots across several Northern cities.
That was to be the introduction to widescale genocide across Nigeria of persons identified as Igbo in the years of the Biafra War.
The January 1966 coup of army majors must have played well into the hands of anyone who had issues with Ndi Igbo.
That might well explain the double standards – honour the lead assassin while pointing the gun at civilians or looking the other way as helpless civilians were butchered by fellow civilians.
Now, the 1966 January 15 coup was a script well enacted.
Violence has never been an instrument used by us, as founding fathers of the Nigerian Republic, to solve political problems.
We are happy to claim that not a drop of British or Nigerian blood was shed in the course of our national struggle for our place in the sun.
I consider it most unfortunate that our ‘Young Turks’ decided to introduce the element of violent revolution into Nigerian politics.
No matter how they and our general public might have been provoked by obstinate and perhaps grasping politicians, it is an unwise policy.
As far as I am concerned, I regard the killings of our political and military leaders as a national calamity. ~>President Nnamdi Azikiwe