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Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. - Politics - Nairaland

Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Politics / Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. (31579 Views)

Olayinka Omigbodun, Victor Banjo’s Daughter: Ojukwu Betrayed My Dad, Killed Him / Olisa Agbakoba: As A Biafran Soldier, I Can Tell You That Biafra Is Not Viable / Victor Banjo's Children Speak 50 Years After His Demise (1) (2) (3) (4)

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Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by sujexy(m): 1:07am On Mar 07
There are few photos of Lt. Col. Banjo that do not have his wife or family in them. He was one who loved his family and his people. (Abiyamo)
There are some who believe that Nigeria’s Civil War, fought between 1967 and 1970, is not really a civil war, but a dispute between a set of tribes; Yoruba and Hausa on one and the East on the other.
This assertion does not consider people like Lt. Col. Banjo, the Yoruba soldier who rose among the ranks fighting for the Biafran Army and did so until his death at the height of the war.

Not much is known about Lt. Col. Banjo’s early life. He was born “Victor Adebukunola Banjo” as an Ijebu-man in Ogun State on April 1, 1930.

From Ogun’s foggy towns, he joined the Army as one of a generation of precocious young men in 1953 as Warrant Officer 52.

The records state that Banjo was the sixteenth Nigerian to be commissioned as an officer in the Nigerian Army, (NA 16).

In those days, Nigerian officers were entitled to training in England or nearby countries, by virtue of our colonial tie to Britain.

Banjo was a product of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he also obtained a B Sc. in Mechanical Engineering.

By the early 1960s, Banjo had risen to become the first Nigerian Director of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army.

It was the ideal life. He was a young man in his 30s with a young wife and two children.

On January 15, 1966, many of Banjo’s peers executed the decision to take power from the civilian government.


Banjo's love for his wife lives in his letters and the accounts of his children. (Abiyamo)
They went on a rampage, killing many national and regional leaders in what we have now simplified into calling the 1966 coup. It is perhaps the most important day in Nigeria’s history.

Detention
It is also the day when Banjo’s travails began, the day when life decided to throw him through filters and ask questions that make a man wonder what drives him at the core.

Shortly after Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi came to power following the 1966 coup, Lt. Col. Banjo was summoned to the office of the newly-selected Supreme Military Commander.

Three days after Aguiyi-Ironsi came to power, Banjo was summoned to the office of the Supreme Military Commander and was arrested while he was still waiting to see the Head of State.

Few people can say they understand what happened next but Banjo was accused of planning to kill the Head of State, General Aguiyi-Ironsi and summarily detained.

It has been suggested in accounts of that period that Ironsi was simply caught in the middle. The politics of the coup had been very tribal.

After a team of largely Igbo soldiers had murdered the majority of the North’s leaders, there was pressure on him.

From the North, he was expected to bring the coup plotters to justice. Eastern leaders were pleased that the perceived Northern stranglehold had been broken. Ironsi did not know what to do and the people needed scapegoats.

It was not the first time that matters of tribe would determine the course of his life.

Banjo was detained until the Northern counter-coup in the same year. In a different world, Banjo would have been released. But somewhere in the ripple effects of that coup, Banjo tried to stand up for a Yoruba soldier.

Despite protesting his innocence, he was thrown in jail for the second time. He would stay there until May 1967.

Letters from Prison
It is often said that adversity brings out the bet in men. And while he would have flourished undoubtedly outside the prison walls, it was then that Banjo showed the moral fibre and liberal system of beliefs that would make him stand out at the most trying moments in his short life.


A rare photo of Banjo and his young family. (Nairaland)
Most of these can be seen in his letters.

According to the book “A Gift of Sequins”, at the time, Banjo had a young family of four children. He did his best to staying touch and improve what was undoubtedly a hard time through constant letter writing.

Banjo’s letters revealed that he had a liberal, non-tribalistic worldview. At the core, he was a man who loved his country and wanted to see his fellow soldiers do much better.

When the Biafra War began, Banjo had been moved to prison in the East. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, the leader of the new Biafran nation, released him and made him a colonel.

Despite his tribe, Banjo sought to fight for the new country against what he saw as institutional tribalism and genocide.

Later he would say, “However when l discovered the emerging trend that followed the declaration of Independence of Biafra, it became clear to me that a war with the North was imminent."

“I decided to stay behind and assist in the prosecution of the war, both for the sake of my friendship with Colonel Ojukwu and in the hope that having assisted to fight back the Northern threat to Biafra, he would assist me with troops to rid the Mid-West and Lagos of the same menace.”

There was scepticism to his role in the Biafran Army, but Banjo quickly proved himself to his fellow soldiers and earned their belief.

The Yoruba Biafran
He proved himself as a master tactician and a fearless soldier, traits that he proved when the Biafran Army attacked Nigeria.

When the Nigerian Army invaded Biafra on July 6, 1967, Ojukwu sent Lt. Col. Banjo and Major Albert Okonkwo to invade Nigeria.


The Biafra war left many homeless. (Archive)
Banjo and his team moved quickly. He was able to capture Benin City in less than 24 hours.

By the time his division took a break, he and his soldiers were able to get within 300 kilometres of the Nigerian capital Lagos.

Something changed when they tried to enter Lagos.

The Biafran offensive on Lagos started heavily and with purpose. Reports of that time say it moved at a “lighting quick speed” but midway, Banjo, along with his fellow commanders, Okonkwo and Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna stopped and turned their army back to Biafra.

On getting back to Biafra, Ojukwu had the soldiers detained.

It is reported that Ojukwu saw their retreat as an act to sabotage Biafra’s existence.

Why they did is not exactly known. Some relations of Ifeajuna have made claims that, as the was war progressed, Banjo and Ifeajuna did not share the idea of a break up of Nigeria.

Their cases were taken to a tribunal. After the first tribunal dismissed the case, a second tribunal sentenced the soldiers to death.


Many of Ojukwu's actions during the war have been questioned. (Abiyamo)
At his sentencing, Banjo said, “ I came into the war at a moment of temporary collapse of the Biafran fighting effort, when it became quite clear to me that the fighting effort of the Biafran Army was not only being incompetently handled, but also being sabotaged.”

“Since then, it has been my fortune to command the Biafran troops on their successful exploits.”

“On the whole, l had in private, told Col Ojukwu that l could never be made to stand charged for having plotted against his office and his person. There was no plot against him”

On September 22, 1967, Banjo, Emmanuel Ifeajuna, and Philip Alale were marched into the Enugu city centre and tied to a pole. A firing squad of Biafran soldiers fired at them.

When Banjo was hit, he reportedly yelled defiantly, “I’m not dead yet!” and he had to be shot multiple times before he died.

Today, the legacy of the soldiers who fought on both sides has been largely forgotten. But in a country where tribal relations are still harsh, Lt. Col. Banjo set a template for living beyond tribe, for the greater purpose of humanity.

http://opera.pulse.ng/gist/pop-culture/have-you-heard-of-lt-col-banjo-known-as-the-yoruba-biafran-id7924183.html




we have an informative trade here.

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Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Lipscomb(m): 1:49am On Mar 07
shocked the fake Biafra will ask for head tomorrow.

9 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Emycord: 7:42am On Mar 07
LEE KWA ISI. YES BIAFRA IS NOT DEAD YET. AND EMMA POWERFUL SHOUTED DEFIANTLY IPOB IS NOT DEAD YET

2 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by NaijaMutant(f): 7:44am On Mar 07
The only Yoruba who fought and died for a worthy cause undecided

Unlike his brother who was released from Calabar prison to fight the same cause but chickened out when he was promised the VP position by those who earlier imprisoned him.


Col. Victor Banjo a beloved Biafran soldier continue to rest in peace.

63 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by maasoap(m): 8:44am On Mar 07
Backstabbers paid his goodwill back by murdering him. And the same coward that gave the order ran out of the country wearing woman dress when it was time for him to die for what he believed in. No wonder they shamed him by rejecting him at the polls when he contested for the senate. And no wonder everyone abandoned him towards the end of his journey in life. You reap what you sow.
And for betraying and shamelessly murdering Banjo, his spirit will haunt the realisation of Biafra forever.

165 Likes 14 Shares

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by ZorGBUooeh: 9:01am On Mar 07
Why dint they hang that Snitch instead?

1 Like

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Franzinni: 9:37am On Mar 07
this one go Hot today.... This thread go reach page 200... Just dey look

17 Likes 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by millionboi2: 9:39am On Mar 07
A Yoruba man with an igbo blood ...an icon not all this cowards here.

15 Likes 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by modelmike7(m): 9:39am On Mar 07
INTERESTING

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Troublemaker007(m): 9:39am On Mar 07
angry

1 Like

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by jerflakes(m): 9:40am On Mar 07
maasoap:
Backstabbers paid his goodwill back by murdering him. And the same coward that gave the order ran out of the country wearing woman dress when it was time for him to die for what he believed in. No wonder they shamed him by rejecting him at the polls when he contested for the senate. And no wonder everyone abandoned him towards the end of his journey in life. You reap what you sow.

Are you talking about awolowo?

I thought he was a great man

Igbo kwenu!!!!

Kwezuonu!!

56 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Victorakats(m): 9:40am On Mar 07
Interesting
Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by tunjiajayi: 9:40am On Mar 07
Yanmiris

4 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by drips8(m): 9:40am On Mar 07
Emycord:
LEE KWA ISI. YES BIAFRA IS NOT DEAD YET. AND EMMA POWERFUL SHOUTED DEFIANTLY IPOB IS NOT DEAD YET


Biafa isn't dead yet since it's a joke

3 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by TheAngry1: 9:41am On Mar 07
Nobody will tell Igbos this story, instead they are fed convenient balderdash. The biggest snitches and betrayals are the people from across the East of the Niger...period!

52 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by ClumsyFlimsy: 9:41am On Mar 07
Let the e war begin


Mehn it's like it's high time I deactivate my account

Before Naira land turns me to a tribalist

I love my tribe but I am no tribalist

Bleep Naira land
Bleep all the mods
And Bleep all you motherfucking naira land tribalist


Time to go offline and make an impact in my society
We can't continue like this

I want a country which would make me patriotic and proud

42 Likes 6 Shares

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Outofsync(m): 9:41am On Mar 07
enough.

stop matyrfing the idiot who threw away his life defending idiots who blame hjs tribe for. everything

7 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Dottore: 9:41am On Mar 07
Ok
Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by GlorifiedTunde(m): 9:42am On Mar 07
hmm...

Now who's the coward?

Who's the betrayer?

9 Likes 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by AbdulAdam56(m): 9:42am On Mar 07
where is nnamdi kanu?

8 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Proffdada: 9:42am On Mar 07
Ojukwu saw this man's success as a threat. If Banjo had triumphed through Lagos, he would have been the hero. Just the way Saul saw David

25 Likes 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by dragonking2: 9:42am On Mar 07
Yet the igbos will never appreciate.

They keep blaming everybody. undecided

But history tells us that people from the SW, SS joined the igbos in their quest for biafra.

Yet they make it look as if only them follow fight Nigeria. Shame

25 Likes 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by RichDad1(m): 9:42am On Mar 07
Omo Ale

1 Like

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by ghostfacekillar(m): 9:43am On Mar 07
who bring this topic for fp. Una wan start war abi

3 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by ugolinze123: 9:43am On Mar 07
maasoap:
Backstabbers paid his goodwill back by murdering him. And the same coward that gave the order ran out of the country wearing woman dress when it was time for him to die for what he believed in. No wonder they shamed him by rejecting him at the polls when he contested for the senate. And no wonder everyone abandoned him towards the end of his journey in life. You reap what you sow.

and you made sense. ewuu

10 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by alexistaiwo: 9:44am On Mar 07
Why bring this thread to front page when you know that it will only result to tribal E-war?


You people are all sowing the seeds of that which I am very sure you won't like to reap.

4 Likes 1 Share

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by remedick: 9:44am On Mar 07
millionboi2:
A Yoruba man with an igbo blood ...an icon not all this cowards here.
It is for people like this why you should at least not castigate the entire yoruba and insulting them...out of respect for this man, his people should not be attacked the way Igbos do on Nairaland.

3 Likes

Re: Victor Banjo, The Yoruba Biafran Soldier: What You Don't Know About The Lt. Col. by Beedoc: 9:44am On Mar 07
Hmmm

Btw

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