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1966 coup altered Nigeria’s history – Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

TVCE (LAGOS) – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo  on Friday in Lagos described the January 15, 1966 coup as a monumental error, which altered the history of the country.

Obasanjo made the  remark  at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the  assassination of First Republic politician and Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh.

Also killed in that coup were Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; Northern Region Premier Ahmadu Bello and Western  Region  SLA Akintola,among others.

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“Exactly 50 years ago darkness enveloped Nigeria. Many who were around then were confused; many of us were taken by surprise,” Obasanjo said.

 “That we are able to gather here today to remember and in a way acknowledge the life of our early leader who, whatever may be his deficiency , is a testament to the fact that he gave us the best.”

Okotie-Eboh’s colleague, Alhaji  Yusuf  Maitama Sule, said the former Minister of Finance was a true Nigerian.

He said: “Festus was a friend of the people; he was a friend of the East, friend of the West and  friend of the North.

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“He had  fantastic public relations. That was why he was loved by all; you could  never guess the political party he belonged to.”

He said  that whenever  Okotie-Eboh walked  into parliament, his nickname, Omimiejor would rent the air.

“He was full of humour, even when members of the opposition were attacking him. But, it was not the kind of attack you have today,” he added.

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The coup,led by the late Major  Chukwuma Nzeogwu he said, brought  the military into politics.

In a tribute read on his behalf, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola called for the establishment of a foundation in Okotie-Eboh’s name, to teach  young Nigerians the country’s history.

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