Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo Plan Heroic Celebration of Ironsi, Fajuyi

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Shola Oyeyipo

Leaders of the South-west and the South-east wednesday unveiled plans to recognise the heroic contributions of former military president, General Aguiyi Ironsi and former governor of the Western Region, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, to national unity and as a mark of the long- existing cordial relationship between the two regions 41 years after both military officers were killed in a counter coup.

Celebrating Ironsi, who was Nigeria’s head of state from January 16, 1966 till he and Fajuyi were murdered on July 29, 1966 and buried in a shallow grave in a village in nowadays Oyo State as soldiers’ masterminded a countercoup against his government is considered as a new vista in Igbo-Yoruba relationship in the federation.

The trio of Senator Chris Anyanwu, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and Mr. Idowu Sowunmi who addressed a press conference at Balarabe Musa Street, Victoria Island, Lagos on behalf of the organisers, ‘Friendship Across the Niger,’ said leaders of the South-west and the South-east under the auspices of Ohaneze Ndigbo and Afenifere and other friends of the two regions from all over the country will be celebratibg the duo they tagged as “martyrs” come January 11, 2018.

According to Odumakin, “The event billed to attract all the who-is-who across Nigeria is an indication that “It is a new day as the best of Yoruba and Igbo gathering in the East to celebrate Ironsi and Fajuyi and further construct the East-West bridge of mutual understanding which we have been building.”

The event is scheduled to hold under the joint chairmanship of former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe and the Olu of Ado-Ani, Gen Olufemi Olutoye (rtd).

Lagos State Governor and chairman, Southern Governor’s Forum (SGF), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the Chairman South-east Governor’s Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, governor of Ironyi’s home state, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and governor of Fajuyi’s home state, Governor Ayodele Fayose including the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the Obi of Onitsha, His Imperial Majesty, Igwe Alfred Achebe are billed to be special guests and royal fathers at the event.

According to Odumakin, “It will be the biggest gathering of Igbo and Yoruba with their friends all over Nigeria. We hope to begin a new paradigm of relationship among our groups as a worthy commendation to the whole country as real devepment will continue to elude us. In the atmosphere of suspicion, acrimony and mistrust.”