Former military ruler Gen. Yakubu Gowon yesterday accused the late Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, of misrepresenting the Aburi Accord to Nigerians.
Speaking yesterday at the launch of a four-part biography on President Goodluck Jonathan, Gowon said he had to correct an impression created in the book by the author, Charles Imokhai, a reverend father.
Gowon said Ojukwu’s statement on the Aburi Accord was contrary to what was discussed.
He said: “I have seen that you (Imokhai) have gone back in history in your research when Ojukwu and myself had the Aburi Accord.
“I was fascinated by that because I can assure you that that meeting was to break the ice and for all of us, the military leaders at the time, be allowed to be able to agree to be discussing our problems in Nigeria and to solve them.
“What happened to us at Aburi was that I couldn’t make it down (to Nigeria) because I was unfortunately down with a fever. “Ojukwu got back (before me) and made a statement and that wasn’t what we discussed and that was the beginning of the misunderstanding. “Since you presented that we had a meeting, I thought I should make that comment and to correct that.”
The accord was reached at a meeting held between January 4-5, 1967, in Aburi, a Ghanaian town, between delegates of the federal military government and the now defunct eastern region as part of efforts to prevent the looming civil war in the aftermath of the 1966 military coups.
Gowon was the civil war time leader of Nigeria and prevented the secession bid of the then Eastern region from the federation between 1967 and 1970. Ojukwu as governor of the eastern region led the succession bid.
He had returned from Aburi announcing that it had been agreed that the country should adopt confederalism — a political system in which every region would essentially be a country on its own with only a symbolic national government.
Nigeria eventually went to war in May of that year after different interpretations of the Aburi Accord and failed peace moves.