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November: From Zungeru to Biafra – Emeka Obasi

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Here it comes again, November the month that says so much about Nigerian leaders and legends. From  Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to  Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, there is something about this eleventh month of the year.

Zik was born in Zungeru on November 16, 1904. On November  3, 1989, some of his associates announced his passage which was carried on national television.  General  Emeka Ojukwu was born on November 4, 1933, also in Zungeru. He died on November 26, 2011.

Late Dr. Nnamdi-Azikiwe

Maj. General Philip Effiong came into the world on November 18, 1924 and departed on November 6, 2003. Ojukwu was Biafra’s first Head of State. Effiong succeeded him  shortly before the war came to an end. Both were born in November and died in that month.

General Murtala Mohammed entered the globe on November 8, 1938. His Aide de Camp[ADC], Lt. Akintunde Akinsehinwa, was born on November 11, 1944.

Jonathan was born on November 20, 1957. His grandma named him Azikiwe. On November 16, 2006,GEJ emerged as acting governor of Bayelsa State. That was Zik’s 102nd post humous birthday.

Abubakar Atiku, like Jonathan, was a Vice President. He was born on November 25, 1946. General  Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi’s deputy, Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, died on November 20, 1971. That was the day Jonathan turned 14.

Let us not forget that General Sani Abacha became Head of State on November 18, 1993. It was  Effiong’s  69th birthday. It is on record that while other Nigerian leaders neglected the Biafran leader, Abacha sent a Peugeot  505 to him.

Zik was the first Nigerian Senate President. The first Senate President under the military, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, was born on November 15, 1952. The last  Senate President under the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency, Chief Ken Nnamani, was born on November 4, 1948.

It looks like Nigeria cannot do without Dr. Azikiwe. He died on May 11, 1997. He did not die on November  3, 1989, as reported by the media.

Let us take a look at May, the month Dr. Azikiwe passed on. Zik’s friend and rival, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, died on May 9, 1987. Chief Ernest Shonekan, was born on May 6, 1936. The day he turned 74, May 6, 2010, was the day President Umaru Yar’adua  was buried.

President Yar’adua died on May 5,2010. His elder brother, Maj. Gen. Shehu Yar’adua, Deputy to General Olusegun Obasanjo, was born on May 4, 1943.It is also interesting that since 1999, all Nigerian presidents  took their oath of office in May. Obasanjo, Yar’adua, Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has benefited so much from this Azikiwe touch. GEJ became Deputy Governor on May 29, 1999, Vice President May 29, 2007, President  May 2010 following Yar’adua’s demise; was sworn in again on May 29, 2011 and left office on May 29, 2015.

Jonathan’s Deputy, Namadi Sambo ,was rechristened Nnamdi by Azikiwe’s ‘sister,’ Prof. Dora Akunyili. Ebele became Ebelechukwu. And as a corper, Jonathan was known as ‘Igwe.’

November  Babies: Zik, Ojukwu and Murtala spoke Yoruba and Hausa. Jonathan  did National Service in Yoruba land and his Deputy was Hausa. Zik got married in Accra, Ghana. Ojukwu taught Murtala in Accra ,Ghana.

Imagine the October connection. Zik became President on October 1, 1963. General Yakubu Gowon was born on October, 19, 1934. Alhaji Shehu Shagari assumed office, October 1, 1979. Vice Presidents: Alex Ekwueme, Ebitu Ukiwe, Augustus Aikhomu were born in October and Mike Akhigbe died in October.

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was Prime Minister while Azikiwe was President. The former was born in December  1912. He died in January 1966. Flora Shaw, wife our  first Governor General, Lord Frederick Lugard, was born in December and died in January[1929]. Zik’s wife was Flora too. Lugard was born in India. General Ibrahim Babangida trained in India.

Lugard died in 1945. That was the year the wives of Babangida and Abacha were born. And both share a common name: Mariam. IBB was born in August[17], assumed power in August[27] and left in August[27] his wife died on the 27th[ December 2009]. His deputy, Aikomu, died on August 17, 2011, IBB’s birthday. Augustus died in August.

And how about these: Zik came in November, refused to go in November. General Abdusalami  Abubakar  was born in June, assumed office in June. Buhari, born in December ,ascended the throne in December[1983]. Yar’adua came in May and died in May. Ironsi and Gowon married Victoria. Let us see what this November will bring.



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