The name of Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu is squarely associated with the January 1966 coup although the mastermind was Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, and he was brought in at a stage in the plot. This is because he was the most successful in his tasks during the coup and the one that held his ground for a long time and willingly surrendered himself to the GOC Nigerian Army. He was a joiner who became leader, successfully did his duty and was never defeated by force but by reasonable persuasion. This is the portrait of a tough, intelligent and patriotic army officer who could do anything to save Nigeria. Nigeria lost the opportunity to be saved.
The main part of the story can be read, heard and watched in the following video:
Not to be forgotten is the account given by Emeka Obasi in “When intelligence failed Nzeogwu” (Vanguard, April 15, 2017). Here is part of it:
“Now it is strange that Nigeria forgot that those who foiled the Nzeogwu coup were Igbo senior officers. General Johnson Aguiyi- Ironsi, Lt.Cols Emeka Ojukwu, Conrad Chukwujimje Dibia Nwawo (NA 10), Alexander Attah Madiebo and Major Alphonso Keshi.
“As Brigade Major, 2 BDE Kaduna, Keshi informed Madiebo of the coup. Madiebo moved over to the Brigade Headquarters where Nzeogwu had taken over Ademulegun’s seat and worked on Nzeogwu. Ojukwu, Commanding Officer Third Battalion, Kano stood his ground strategically and all worked with Ironsi to fly in Nwawo, then Defence Attaché in London, and Nzeogwu’s teacher. Only then could the Major be softened.
“No non-Igbo officer was bold enough to challenge Nzeogwu. Major Hassan Usman Katsina, Inspector of the Recce Squadron in Kaduna was confused. Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon ‘ s contribution from Lagos was for Madiebo to ask the doctor to sedate Nzeogwu, a man who was in full control of Kaduna.
“The man that should have made a broadcast after the January coup was Ademoyega, a Yoruba. Their plan was to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, another Yoruba from jail and make him Prime Minister. The Army Chief would have been Lt. Col David Akpode Ejoor, an Urhobo. The young officer who secured radio Nigeria was Capt. Gibson Sanda Jalo. Among those who took part in Exercise Damissa were subalterns like John Atom Kpera, Harris Eghagha, Sani Abacha, Bob Egbikor, Fola Oyewole and Olafimihan. Of the 28 officers and men that followed Nzeogwu to the Sardauna’s house, 22 were non Igbo. Yoruba officers like Victor Adebukunola Banjo,Fajuyi, Olusegun Obasanjo and Oluchi Olutoye knew about the coup”
Finally, avail yourself of more privileged information in the following two videos.