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Oct 2, 2017 54 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ "As the commanding officer and leader of the troops, I have no apology for those massacred in Asaba, Owerri and Ameke-Item.
2/ "I acted as a soldier maintaining the peace and unity of Nigeria," Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Haruna.
3/ Haruna said this at the Oputa Panel on 9 October, 2001.
4/ This week, people in #Asaba begin a series of events to commemorate a devastating incident that wiped the town off the map.
5/ Please follow @AsabaMemorial for more information.
6/ The very first person interviewed in this video , is @IfeanyiUraih.
7/ He is by any measure, a successful person today. He is my mother's brother. Fifty years ago, he faced a firing squad.
8/ He lived to tell the tale. His father, my grandfather, did not. Neither did some of his brothers.
9/ Another brother of his, my Uncle Medua, also survived. The bullets were taken out of him in 1978.
10/ I have told their story before, here
11/ There are two other stories I want to tell.
12/ The first, was narrated to me by an elder relative, who would rather not be named. It is a short story.
13/ "We managed to avoid being rounded up, so we survived the massacre. So we ran. A group of us, trying to make our way to #Biafra.
14/ "Around Onwe, I saw a Nigerian soldier, very well kitted. That was when I knew that #Biafra had lost the war.
15/ "The soldier saw us, eight of us, and I was afraid. I thought we were dead.
16/ "Instead, the soldier looked at us, then nodded in the direction of the river and shook his head.
17/ "We look at where he had nodded, and saw some of his fellow soldiers, so we went into the bushes in the opposite direction.
18/ "One of our company, a woman, had a baby. The baby began to cry, and one of us told the woman, 'Nwa a ga laputa anyi.'
19/ "She understood the message, and crying, she smothered her baby.
20/ "I still remember her face as she did what she did. That woman was never the same again."
21/ On October 14, 1967, the National Radio Broadcasting Service, broke off scheduled transmission to make a special announcement.
22/ The announcement, paid for by Phillip Asiodu, a federal permanent secretary, was a tribute to one of #Nigeria's finest athletes.
23/ “The Igbobi Horse”, 1963 Sportsman of the Year, Governor General’s Special Scholar- University of #Nigeria’s relay anchor leg,
24/ Graduate of Zoology, Sports Master, Hussey College, Warri – is dead!”
25/ Sydney Beliosa Asiodu entered Igbobi College, Yaba, in 1957.
26/ Up until 1959, Sydney did not show any extraordinary ability as a sportsman.
27/ He was reasonably good in athletics, football, cricket and table tennis, representing Townsend House in all of them, but not the school
28/ Then he bet with Victor Omotayo Aiyela, who was, until that time the first leg of the Igbobi College 4x400 yards relay team.
29/ Aiyela had told Sydney that he would give him a 10 yard handicap in a 100 yard dash, and still beat him.
30/ Sydney accepted the challenge on one condition, no handicap.
31/ The rest is now history. They raced five times, Sydney won four times and the fifth was a tie.
32/ Sydney went on to beat all the leading sprinters of that era and became the school’s sprinter, long jumper and hurdler.
33/ By the time he left Igbobi College in 1963, he was the Senior Prefect and the Football and Athletic Captain.
34/ His academic and sporting prowess won him the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe scholarship, and admission to read Zoology @UNNPride.
35/ As a student, Sydney was in #Nigeria’s contingent to 1966's Tokyo Olympics, and 1966's #CommonwealthGames in #Jamaica.
36/ Following the coups of 1966, Sydney converted his Hall’s porter’s lodge in Nsukka into a debating platform.
37/ Sydney preached the message of one indivisible federal #Nigeria to fellow students at Nsukka.
38/ His stance cost him a lot of his popularity as many fellow Igbos, who had lost family in the 1966 pogroms, began to scorn him.
39/ The fact that he was from Asaba, just across the Niger, did not help.
40/ Many blamed Nzeogwu, who came from Sydney's part of Igboland, for bringing down the pogroms on them.
41/ Sydney graduated in 1966 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with honours in Zoology.
42/ After graduation, Sydney accepted the position of gamesmaster at Hussey College, Warri, and moved there.
43/ However, his family believed that he would be best served by moving out of #Nigeria.
44/ On August 9, 1967, Sydney was in Asaba, and preparing to depart #Nigeria when the Biafran invasion of the Midwest cut him off.
45/ He spent the next two months marooned in #Asaba.
46/ As it became obvious from stories told by retreating Biafran troops that the invasion of the Midwest had failed,
47/ many of his kinsmen crossed the River Niger and made their way to #Biafra.
48/ Sydney Asiodu, the fastest man in town chose to stay because of his belief in one #Nigeria.
49/ On October 7, 1967, Sydney Asiodu was one of over 800 #Asaba men and boys who were rounded up by Nigerian soldiers.
50/ A message by his brother, a cabinet minister, to Ibrahim Taiwo, second in command to Murtala Mohammed was not acted upon.
51/ Despite showing the soldiers his collection of medals and prizes which had brought so much glory to #Nigeria,
52/ the Igbobi Horse was shot, and his body was thrown into the River Niger.
53/ Starting this Thursday, the people of Asaba will be holding events to remember this massacre, half a century on.
54/ Please follow @AsabaMemorial for more information. #Ozoemena.

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More from @Chxta

May 22, 2018
"Let anybody come and confront me publicly in the National Assembly. What have they been doing? Some of them have been there for 10 years. What have they been doing?"  -  @MBuhari, 22/5/18
Today while his VP was in #Benue attending the funerals on a number of our countrymen who were killed by suspected herdsmen in the ongoing #PastoralConflict, our President was busy making nonsense of @ProfOsinbajo's efforts by running his mouth in the villa at a campaign event.
While it is common knowledge that Buhari doesn't really care about the average Nigerian, and is more concerned with returning to the Villa next year, it boggles the mind that the man keeps undermining those who could have worked with him to actually give him a decent legacy.
Read 11 tweets
May 15, 2018
This retraction by @AlJazeera actually raises more questions than answers, and to my mind at least, brings to the fore, the fact that our Federal Republic of Anyhowness, has gone global...
Yesterday, asides @AlJazeera_World, other news outlets, including the Twitter only news outlet, @spectatorindex said that #Nigeria's ambassador had attended the opening of the American Embassy in #Jerusalem.
Isreali outlets such at @TimesofIsrael and @HamodiaIL also ran with the news. @haaretzcom actually went so far as to publish an infograph that included #Nigeria's name as one of the country's "celebrating with them" on the grand new opening...
Read 11 tweets
Mar 26, 2018
"Two common tales that follow attacks in this conflict (Pastoral Conflict) is that army aircraft were seen dropping supplies to armed herdsmen; and that soldiers were on hand to disarm native populations, just prior to attacks."
"Stories like these have been allowed to gain currency. I have, personally, heard such stories in Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, and Imo states."
"Heck, in March this year (2017), the lawmaker from Ethiope East in Delta state’s House of Assembly, Evance Ivwurie, told the House, in session, that soldiers had supplied Fulani herdsmen with arms and ammunition just before an attack in Ovre-Abraka."
Read 6 tweets
Nov 7, 2017
1/ I’m currently at a bar, and some young people close-by are talking about the uselessness of Nigeria, and how voting is a waste of time.
2/ Could they be right? In many ways, they are. We have seen so many people line up to vote, and in the end, get sorely disappointed.
3/ So many people place their hopes in our current messiah, and he let them down, bigly.
Read 35 tweets
Sep 26, 2017
1/ My friend, @tegasupreme, is in my view, one of Nigeria's best sports journalists, if not the very best.
2/ Okay, @AlakaJide will have a thing or two to say about that, and no, @biolakazeem is not a journalist, he's a hustler.
3/ Recently, Tega started writing a column for @DailyTimesNGR, and I wish her the best in that endeavour.
Read 27 tweets
Sep 8, 2017
1/ Let us come to equity with clean hands. The ENTIRE political class is the same. Age doesn't limit anyone from doing damage.
2/ This is the reason why I said, in this interview, that the "Not too young to run" thing is a waste of time.
3/ Let's begin by trying to understand why we are where we are.
Read 20 tweets

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