MOHAMMED SHUWA [known in Borno as Mamman Shuwa] was a Nigerian Army Major General and the first General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army’s 1st Division. He also served as Commander 5th Battalion, Kano.

MOHAMMED was Born on 1st September 1939. Educated at Barewa College and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Shuwa commanded the Nigerian Army’s 1st Division during the Nigerian Civil War. He attended Kala Elementary School (1946-1947), Bama Central Elementary School (1948-1950), Bornu Middle School (1950-1952), and Barewa College, Zaria for his secondary education (1952-1957). He was classmates with Gen. Murtala Muhammed at Barewa and at subsequent military institutions. He also a classmate with Illiya Bisalla, and Ibrahim Haruna, Shuwa joined the Nigerian Army on September 19, 1958 and pursued his preliminary cadet training at the Regular Officers Special Training School in Teshie, Ghana.

In July 1961 after completing officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant

What He did during 1966 mutiny

Then Lt. Col Shuwa was Commander of the 5th Battalion in Kano during the Nigerian Army Mutiny of July 1966 where many Igbo military officers were systematically murdered by their northern counterparts for what the northern officers perceived as retribution for the January 15, 1966 coup (which was led by mostly Igbo officers). Shuwa’s deputy at the 5th Battalion, then Major James Oluleye took the initiative by asking his company commanders to lock up the battalion armory and hand over the armory keys in Olulye’s armory safe. As a result of Shuwa and Oluleye’s leadership, the lives of many Igbo officers during the July mutiny were saved.

Gen. Shuwa was murdered in his Maiduguri home on November 2, 2012 by suspected Boko Haram militants


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See Nigerian Slave Girl who was also Queen Victoria’s Daughter


Sara Forbes Bonetta was in 1843 at Oke Odan, Ogun State. Her small village was raided by a Dahomeyan army in 1884 by King Ghezo,the most notorious slave trading monarch in West Africa in the early 19th century. This attack led the death of her parent and she ended up as a slave at the age of five. although Intended by her captors to become a human sacrifice,the girl was not killed and remained at Gezo’s Court until 1849 when British Commander Frederick Forbes’s landed the HMS Bonetta in Dahomey to persuade Gezo to give up slave raiding and trading.

She was rescued by Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria and also renamed her Sara Forbes Bonetta, Bonetta after his ship HMS Bonetta. Due to her special skills and talents at that tender age;Commander Forbes wrote that “She is a perfect genius; she now speaks English well, and [has] great talent for music… She is far in advance of any white child of her age in aptness of learning, and strength of mind and affection…”. She eventally got the attraction of queen victoria,and by november 1850,sarah was taken to Great Britian where the Queen entrusted her care to the Schoen family in Palm Cottage, Gillingham.Also The Queen declared Sarah her goddaughter and paid her tutorial expenses. This eventally made Young Sarah became a regular visitor to Windsor Castle.

As this couldn’t last so long,becasue less than a year after she arrived, however, young Bonetta developed a cough believed to be caused by the climate of Great Britain. Queen Victoria arranged for her to be sent to what she believed was a better climate for Bonetta in Sierra Leone. There she was educated at the Female Institution, a Church Missionary Society school in Freetown. Bonetta excelled in music and academic studies but was unhappy prompting the Queen to bring her back to England in 1855.

In August 1862,Sarah got married to marry Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a 31-year-old wealthy Yoruba businessman from Sierra Leone;after the permmission was granted by the queen.The couple married in an elaborate wedding at St. Nicholas Church in Brighton, England. Sarah arrived at the ceremony in an entourage that included ten carriages. The couple lived in Bristol, England briefly before returning to Sierra Leone.


Being a successful businessman,Captain Davies after their wedding,moved back to their native Africa.They gave birth to their first baby in 1863 who under Queen’s permission named her Victoria[after the queen’s name],thereby making her Queen’s goddaughter as well.Other Children are :-Arthur Davies (1871), and Stella Davies (1873).Sarah enjoyed a very close relationship with the queen a close relationship with Queen Victoria to the point such that she[sarah] and Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther were the only Lagos indigènes the Royal Navy had standing orders to evacuate in the event of an uprising in Lagos.


Sara Forbes Bonetta died of tuberculosis on 15 August 1880 at the age of 37 years in the city of Funchal, the capital of Madeira Island, a Portuguese island located in the Atlantic ocean.But her descendant still lives in lagos till today.

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Meet 1st Nigerian (African) Inspector-General of Police

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Mr. Louis Orok Edet, appointed April 1, 1964, taking over from the last expatriate Inspector-General Mr. J.E, Hodge; who Retired in August, 1966. Mr Louis was Born on August 29, 1913 in Duke town Calabar, Cross River State, Edet attended Sacred Heart School, Calabar; Bonny Grammar School in Rivers State and he Joined the Nigerian Police force (NPF) as clerk in 1931.

He was Promoted as a sub-inspector – August 1945. in 1948, later transferred to the western provinces a promoted Assist Superintendent of Police (ASP) – 1949. He also Attended training courses at Rython-on-dunesmore in England in 1953, 1057, and 1960.

He was Promoted Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in 1960. In December 1960-1961, commanded the 1st Contingent, NPF, to serve under the United Nations in the Congo. In 1961, he became Commissioner in charge of the police in the federal capital. From there he was Promoted to Deputy inspector-General – 1962; appointed inspector-General –March 1964.

On retirement, Mr Louis Edet was appointed Recruitment Attaché in the Nigerian High Commission in London, 1966-1968; Commissioner for Home Affairs and Information in the then South-Eastern State, 1968-72. Conferred CFR, Queen’s Police Medal (QPM), and CBE.

Mr Louis Orok Edet Died January 17, 1979.

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The Biography of Pastor Samuel Bilehou Joseph Oshoffa.


Prophet Samuel was born on May 19, 1909 in Porto-Novo, then capital of the French colony of Dahomey, presently in Benin Republic. His father was a Muslim and an Egba man who later became a Methodist and his mother was a traditionalist who later became a Christian. In 1922, at age 13, his father sent him to the mission house to receive basic Christian training. He was there with many other boys of his age group. It was at this point that he adopted the name ‘Joseph’ and also anglicized the spelling of his surname from Osofa to Oschoffa. He was thereafter called Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oschoffa.

The white missionary father Rev. Garner once asked him to join other young boys in the construction of a seminary, he defied the order and did not participate, Rev Garner sent him away and refused to accept him back even after his father Osofa pleaded for him. As such the old man took his son in as an apprentice carpenter in his own workshop. The rejection offended Pa Osofa so much that he pulled out from the Methodist church with his family and joined the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. Samuel Bilewu Joseph soon became the talk of the town carpenter in his community, with specialty in roofing, kiosk construction and wood planning. On June 15, 1939, Pa Osofa died peacefully at Porto Novo. The death of his father marked a turning point in Samuel’s life. He soon began to take an active part in church activities. He was a member of the singing band and tried the trumpet and other musical instruments. He also served on many committees in the Methodist Church at Porto Novo. Samuel however, still continued to work as a carpenter after his father’s death, keeping the family profession alive.

In December 1946, seven years after his father’s death. Samuel left carpentry and moved on to supplying of timber logs to fellow carpenters in and around Porto Novo and for exports. They were few of them in timber log business, and it was generating more income than carpentry. He goes into the forest and after 2-5 days and sometimes a week, he will return back to town, when he was not in the forest, he was at home studying his Bible, his basic achievement while at the Missionary school, was the fact that he learnt how to read the Bible.

On May 3, 1947, Samuel bought his canoe to explore the swampy areas of the forest of Port Norve, he tried to take lessons on how to paddle it, and discovered there was need tasking his brain to know all things, so he opted out to employ a paddler. On May 23, 1947, he left home for Toffin forest and swampy area in the Ganvie area to carry out his usual business. He went his newly engaged paddler. They set off in the morning for the forest specifically to look for mahogany and ebony trees, to be chopped down for export. He had with him, food, drinking water and other personal effects for the trip. At the shore, before he walked into the forest, he instructed the canoe paddler to keep an eye on the canoe and the items inside it while he goes in make a search in the forest.
He took his time moving from one tree to another with utmost care to be able to identify and differentiate a tree from the other. As he progressed in the search little did he realized that he was moving away from areas of known to the unknown all in his effort in tree identification. After sometime he noticed a sudden change in the weather, the sky darkened, immediately he reached for his Bible and went straight to the book of Psalms as he tried to read the environment became ‘black’. All he could do as at the then was to kneel and pray in the midst of the forest, while he was wandering what was going on he was also worried about the younger man he left with the canoe.

It was while he was praying that he claimed to have heard a strange voice shouting, “Luli, Luli, Luli.”. He went on to narate the incident of that day thus: To his greatest surprise he saw a white monkey with wings, on a branch of tree above, with its mouth wide open. Beside the monkey was a multi-coloured bird which resembled a peacock. While he was busy contemplating the interpretations of the strange appearances, he noticed a short snake, about thirty centimetres long, right in front of him, making little or no efforts to run away. At that point the thought of killing the snake came, but he remembered that it was a taboo, an abomination to kill snake among the people of Dahomey (Republic of Benin). Snakes were considered sacred creatures, and was worshiped among the Dahomeans. In fact the Dangbe god of Porto Novo was a python god.

When the sky cleared, Samuel returned to where the canoe was and behold canoe paddler was writhing in pain. He walked round him, prayed for him and his pain was gone. He roamed about in the forest for three months and found himself in ‘Fagbe’ located near the village of Zinvie. Here, he met a man, Michel. Michel led Samuel to the nearest village called Hungon. When he emerged from the forest, family members concluded that he has resurrected from the dead. It was while he was in the forest that he received the call to serve his God and was empowered with the gifts of healing and prophecy, on September 2, 1947. On September 29, 1947, while meditating with some well-wishers in his house, Oschoffa claimed to have witnessed a mysterious and divine appearance where a winged angel bathed in an intense light stood before him. The angel of the Lord allegedly delivered the following message to Oschoffa in the Egun language which reads in English:
“Peace be with you. It is the wish of God to send you on an errand of preaching to the world. Many nominal Christians when confronted by difficulties and problems of this world, run after fetish priests and other powers of darkness for all kinds of assistance. Consequently, at their death they cannot see Christ because, by their action, Satan has left his spiritual mark on them. To assist you in your work so that men may listen to and follow your miraculous works of healing: divine healing will be carried out by you in the name of Jesus Christ. These works of divine healing and God’s spiritual mark on you will testify to the fact that God sent you.”

Oschoffa’s name became synonymous with miraculous healings and people in Porto Novo and beyond anxiously waited for the day he would visit them. The Celestial Church of Christ grew by leaps and bounds. Oschoffa was soon proclaimed a prophet by the ever increasing followers. Apart from being called a prophet of God, Oschoffa was also allowed to use the title of “pastor” though he did not attended any seminary nor been ordained as such. Through divine orders, the use of the name Epastoral, which was believed to have been uttered by an angel was conferred on him. The term was allegedly translated to him as pastor. Thus, the founder of the Celestial Church of Christ became known as Pastor, Founder, Prophet S. B. J. Oschoffa. He died years later after a motor accident.

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Sam Okwaraji’s Best Quotes and uncommon Picture

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In continuation of our celebration on the late Nigeria Football Legend,Sam Okwaraji.We  goes into its archives to bring you 25 memorable quotes by the soccer maestro and on the national hero;first curated by thecables.

We hope you enjoy them.

Football is always a war.

Nigerians are yet to see my best. This is just the beginning. You will see more of me very soon – Sam, after making his debut for Nigeria against Algeria at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu in a Seoul Olympic Games’ qualifier.

Discipline wise, Hoener is good; physical-fitness training wise, Hoener good; technically, I think he’s average, maybe, because he’s young coach – SO on then Green Eagles coach, Manfred Hoener.

I know I am a good player. I am not afraid of football.

It was not the system that made us fail in Seoul. The system is not important and I don’t know why people attach so much importance to it. It is only good players that win matches – SO, on why Green Eagles failed at the ’88 Olympic Games.


Some people want to sabotage me, otherwise, why on earth should they have made me play in a strange position? Moreover, just when I was adjusting to the game, I was substituted. I think there is some foul play somewhere – SO after a World Cup qualifier against Gabon in Enugu.

I am not boasting, but I think I am good enough to play for any club in any country of the world – SO.

I am a lawyer you know and signed to play football for certain conditions but I don’t think it included reselling my services to my country. You or your club cannot stop me from playing for my country. Let me tell you, I am going to represent my country whether you like it or not – SO tells SSV 1846 manager who tried to stop him from honouring a call from Nigeria.

Talents abound in Nigeria, but the only problem is how to encourage and guide them.

Whatever confidence I have in my goalkeeping career today, Sam was instrumental to it. I’ll be grateful to him forever – David Ngodigha, 1991.

Picture Source :

He represented, for me, the new generation of midfield players with a very good foundation in football. Good techniques all around, great vision, impeccable style and finesse; and [he was] a true patriot – Segun Odegbami, 1989.

How could he just die like that? – Abiodun Idowu, 1989.

None of us apparently thought Sam would die like that, and that was why we continued the match with a settled mind. But when the news of his death reached us at the hotel, it shattered me personally – Samson Siasia, 1989.

I was lucky to be only shot and wounded then, but Okwaraji is dead and that is difficult to believe – Etim Esin recounts his ordeal two years earlier as he reflects on Sam’s death, 1989.

A patriot who never worried about what his country will give to him, but shed strength and sweat to the country’s glory – Sports Minister, Tonye Graham-Douglas, 1989.

If Sam was sick, Antwerp, which signed him on this year, would not have paid that much money ($450,000) for his release from his former club, Eintracht Frankfurt. White men are very thorough when it comes to things like these – Patrick Okwaraji, Sam’s brother, 1989.

Adieu Samson: the nation misses you; football fans miss you; your colleagues will miss you. May your football soul rest in perfect peace. Hero Okwaraji. – Frank Ilaboya, 1989.

The whole occurrence has been a great shock to me. A great shock indeed – Ademola Adeshina, 1989.

You just dazzled us with your performance and before we could even have the chance to say thank you, you were gone – Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase, 1989.

Sam had a tremendous drive of patriotism and commitment to football, despite having had two law degrees (LLB and LLM) – John Obakpolor, 1990.


To me, it seems he had gone back to Belgium and will soon return – Bala Ali, 1990.

Sam was a very social person, talented as a footballer and a motivator on the field of play – Christian Obi, 1990.

My wearing the No. 6 jersey at the Algiers ’90 tourney was as instruction from the coaches. There’s nothing bad in wearing a hero’s jersey. Beside, while in camp, Sam and I contested for the same role and I think he was far better than me, even though I tried my best – Thompson Oliha on Sam’s Jersey No. 6.

He told me back then that he had three ambitions in life and these were to play professional football abroad, obtain a doctorate degree in law and play for the Super Eagles. He actually achieved each and every one of these things before he died – Meinkeme Fekete, coach, Bayelsa United, the man who discovered Sam Okwaraji, 2007

Source :TheCable

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First Nigeria Presidential Speech made in 1960

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TODAY is Independence Day. The First of October 1960 is a date to which for two years every Nigerian has been eagerly looking forward. At last our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent sovereign nation.Words cannot adequately express my joy and pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness these Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s independence. It is a unique privilege, which I shall remember forever,and it gives me strength and courage as I dedicate my life to the service of our country.

This is a wonderful day, and it is all the more wonderful because we have awaited it with increasing impatience compelled to watch one country after another overtaking us on the road when we had so nearly reached our goal. But now we have acquired our rightful status and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: It has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well built upon firm foundations.

Today’s ceremony marks the culmination of a process which began fifteen years ago and has now reached a happy and successful conclusion. It is with justifiable proud that we claim the achievement of our Independence to be unparalleled in the annals of history. Each step of our constitutional advance has been purposefully and peacefully planned with full and open consultation between representatives of all the various interests in Nigeria but in harmonious co-operation with the administering power which has today relinquished its authority.At the time when our constitutional development entered upon its final phase, the emphasis was largely upon self-government. We, the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria, concentrated on proving that we were fully capable of managing our own affairs both internally and as a nation.


However, we were not to be allowed the selfish luxury of focusing our own interest on our own homes. In these days of rapid communications we cannot live in isolation, apart from the rest of the world, even if we wished to do so. All too soon it has became evident that for us Independence implies a great deal more than self-government. This great country, which has now emerged without bitterness or bloodshed, finds that she must at once be ready to deal with grave international issues.This fact has of recent months been unhappily emphasised by the startling events, which have occurred in this continent. I shall not labour the point but it would be unrealistic not to draw attention first to the awe-inspiring task confronting us at the very start of our nationhood. When this day in October 1960 was chosen for our independence it seemed that we were destined to move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage. Recent events have changed the scene beyond recognition. So that we find ourselves today being tested to the utmost, We are called upon immediately to show that our claims to responsible government are well-founded, and having been accepted as an independent state we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilisation.

I promise you,we shall not fail for want of determination.And we come to this task better-equipped than many.For this, I pay tribute to the manner in which successive British governments have gradually transferred the burden of responsibility to our shoulders. The assistance and unfailing encouragement which we have received from each secretary of state for the colonies and their intense personal interest in our development has immeasurably lightened that burden.All our friends in the colonial office must today be proud of their handiwork and in the knowledge that they have helped to lay the foundations of a lasting friendship between our two nations. I have indeed every confidence that based on the happy experience of successful partnership, our future relations with the united Kingdom will be more cordial than ever, bound together, as we shall be in the Commonwealth, by a common allegiance to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whom today we proudly acclaim as Queen of Nigeria and Head of the Commonwealth.

Time will not permit the individual mention of all those friends, many of them Nigerians, whose selfless labour has contributed to our independence. Some have not lived to see the fulfillment of their hopes – on them be peace – but nevertheless they are remembered here, and the names of buildings and streets and roads and bridges throughout the country recall to our minds their achievements, some of them on a national scale.Other confined, perhaps, to a small area in one division, are more humble but of equal value in the sum total.Today, we have with us representatives of those who have made Nigeria Representatives of the Regional governments, of former Central Governments, of the Missionary Societies, and of the banking and commercial enterprises, and members, both past and present, of the public service. We welcome you, and we rejoice that you have been able to come and share in our celebrations. We wish that it could have been possible for all of those whom you represent to be here today.


Many, I know, will be disappointed to be absent, but if they are listening to me now, I say to them: Thank you on behalf of my countrymen. Thank you for your devoted service, which helped to build up Nigeria into a nation. Today we are reaping the harvest, which you have sowed, and the quality of the harvest is equaled only by our gratitude to you. May God bless you all.This is an occasion when our hearts are filled with conflicting emotions: we are, indeed, proud to have achieved our independence, and proud that our efforts should have contributed to this happy event. But do not mistake our pride for arrogance. It is tempered by feelings of sincere gratitude to all who have shared in the task of developing Nigeria politically,socially, and economically. We are grateful to the British officers whom we have known, first as masters,and then as leaders, and finally as partners, but always as friends. And there have been countless missionaries who have laboured unceasingly in the cause of education and to whom we owe many of our medical services. We are grateful also to those who have brought modern methods of banking and of commerce, and new industries. I wish to pay tribute to all of these people and to declare our everlasting admiration of their devotion to duty.

And finally, I must express our gratitude to her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Kent for personally bringing to us these symbols of our freedom, and especially for delivering the gracious message from her Majesty, The Queen.

And so, with God save our Queen, I open a new chapter in the history of Nigeria,and of the Commonwealth, and indeed of the world.

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Detailed Account on how Pa Awolowo was Buried

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On Sunday May 31 :- His last journey home commenced when, his body arrived the National Stadium through the Oworonshoki-Oshodi-Apapa expressway. It was a wet day but that did not stop the crowd who were eager to see and even feel AWO. While the body was lying in state and the crowd were eager to see the body the organisers agreed that the
best option was that the pall bearers should carry the casket into the open,
from its covered podium. This was done on two occasions and even with that the
crowd were just not satisfied and not happy as they wanted to see and feel his
body, so they started singing, All we are saying gives us Awo. wife
Mrs. Hannah Idowu had to come out to acknowledge the cheers of the demanding
crowd and plead with them to bear, with them since it was raining.

On Friday, June 5:-  his body arrived Ibadan, probably to show respect that his political life started there. Ibadan received his body with salutes from their Dane-guns and shouts of Awo! The crowd was massive like never seen before; one will think that the entire Ibadan people left their homes for that honour. Everyone that has eyes, even if
crippled was there to say good bye to Awo. Roof tops, balconies and tree tops
were occupied. It was estimated that the crowd was over 4,000 on the street and
most of the invited dignitaries and family members were dressed in white. There
was a commendation service held in his honour at the liberty stadium in Ibadan,
with about 50,000 people in attendance.

Dr James Raphael Standing in front of Pa Awolowo Square

After the stadium, his body was received inside the church, by six member of the Wesley Group, (Awo was a life patron), the church sang. For all the saints who from their labours rest; as their processional hymn. Bishop E. A. Idowu of Lagos Cathedral read the scripture from Ecclesiastical Chapter 44 verse 1-4,7,11-15, during the fifty minutes
commendation service. Between 3.00 ; 3.10 p.m., there was a light shower of
rain while, the Bishop of the Ibadan Methodist Diocese; Bishop T.T Solaru, was
giving his sermon. At the Ibadan event, there were about 1000 policemen to help
control the crowd. The body was taken to his former office as Premier in the
, the parliament building in Agodi, were a special parliamentary session
was held in his honour with a funeral oration by the state Governor Colonel
Adetunji Olurin, who addressed him as the prophetic Jeremiah of Africa.

On Saturday, June 6th, the body left Lagos for the final journey to Ikenne where it lay in state. In Ikenne, mourners peacefully filled past his body. The Rosicrucian Order (AMORC)
performed their funeral rites on him, the members filed in, wearing bishop-like
robes, walked round the body. Their leader Kenneth U. Idiodi, Grand Regional
Administrator and President of the Rosicrucian Order in his funeral citation
explained that they believe in life after death. They presented to Mrs Awo her
husband apron of life. In all Awo had 14 orations. Relaxed as if he was sleeping
and smiling, he was laid in the golden casket and was placed in the monologue.
As his body was carried into the church, it was received with a rendition of
one of his favourite tunes: All hail the Power of Jesus

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Timothy Olusofoye, in his sermon read from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 13, verse 36, he recounted
Awo’s excellent works on earth. The church service ended by 1., the SAN Members mounted a guard of honour while the bishops and other officiating ministers filed past. By 1.30 pm the SANs wheeled the casket slowly on its final exit from the church, with the recessional hymn: Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord” and the chorus:Glory, Glory Alleluia; Glory, Glory, Glory Alleluia; Glory, Glory Alleluia; His Truth is marching on; we all headed to the chapel-like mausoleum in his compound, his final resting place. The construction of the two level tomb was said to have cost about #400,000 then.

Source DrRaphaelJames

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Eye Witness Account how Sam Okwaraji Died

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The August 12, 1989 Italia ’90 World Cup qualifying match with Angola could had just been another match day. But it is now ever recalled, not for the result, which was favourable to Nigeria at least in the short run, but for the bizarre happenings. It was just a day to the 10th anniversary of a previous disaster that claimed 24 lives at the National Stadium, Lagos.

Nigeria desperately needed to win the tie against Angola to be in contention of leading a World Cup qualifying group that also had Gabon and Cameroon. The result of the penultimate match in Gabon which Nigeria against formbooks had lost 1-2 made the August 12, 1989 match the more important. Besides, it was to be the first match after a long closure of the National Stadium, Lagos which was undergoing upgrading for an anticipated hosting of the then World Youth Championship (now u-20 World Cup) in 1991.

Nigeria had had to play their home matches at the low-capacity Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan until the National Stadium, Lagos was reopened. Expectedly, the stadium was jam-packed for a teeming crowd that appeared to have been starved for close to two years that the stadium had been closed for refurbishment.

The crowd thronged the 40,000 capacity stadium, filling it nearly 20,000 over. About 4,000 others were stranded outside, making rounds to the 12 ramps leading into the main- bowl. Announcements blared from the public address system directing the crowd outside to gates D, E and F leading to the southern pavilion at the Lagos end of the field. Gates had been opened nearly seven hours to kick off. The spectators’ stands were overfilled, resulting in jostling and pushing, chokes, suffocation, exhaustion and soon, deaths! Moments before kick-off, some of the spectators around the covered terraces began to faint in ones and twos.

Hon. Nduka Irabor and some members of the Nigerian Football Supporters’ Club helping the fainted fans into an ambulance.
Other Fans that died on that same day as Sam Okwaraji

Few people might have noticed the unusual incident of an ambulance moving on the just refurbished tartan tracks to convey the fainted fans after efforts at reviving them by medical personnel had failed. Then another ambulance came again. Ambulance movements became a common sight. The stadium’s clinic with only three beds became jam-packed with unconscious people. Medical personnel said there were so many of them and they had to be treated on the bare floor. Fifteen of them had to be taken to the General Hospital in Lagos.

One Mutiu Salami, a 14-year old victim who was rushed to the General Hospital and regained consciousness three days later narrated his experience: “As the match drew to an end, everybody was rushing. They rushed me and I fell down. The next thing I knew was finding myself at the hospital”. He was lucky. It was more disastrous for others. Five of them died. Niyi Mosuro, a 15- year-old schoolboy from Ijebu-Ode was one of the victims identified. August 12, 1989, was the first time he would watch a football match at the National Stadium. It was the last day he lived. Wale Mosuro, his uncle, said Niyi was not quite a football enthusiast. His body was discovered in the morgue. Others identified were bodies of Shehu Tijani and Okorie Agwu.

Everything went awry that sunny August 12, 1989. Sad incidents that would catch worldwide attention were unfolding. From the sidelines, five football fans were suffocated to death. Football, a national passion, overnight turned a national horror. The standard of soccer in the Nigeria-Angola match fell below expectation even though both teams paraded a pack of tested professionals. Tackling was rough. Each side lost a penalty kick. Austin Eguavoen lost that of Nigeria.

The moment Okwaraji slumped…
The moment Okwaraji was carried out of the pitch
A caution from the referee, which in a twist of fate was a ‘red card’ from life. This is the last known photograph of Okwaraji alive. His first match at the Lagos National Stadium turned the last time he played and lived.

But the biggest disaster of the day was imminent. As the drab match progressed, an Angolan player slumped. Medical personnel rushed to administer treatment. It was barely 10 minutes to the end of the match. As attention focussed on the injured player, and while some fans that had fainted by the sidelines were being attended to, the unexpected happened. Also,dreadlocks haired Samuel Okwaraji, the Nigerian bubbling mid-field maestro, collapsed and fell face down. Few people would have thought it was mere exhaustion.

“We all thought he merely fainted and that he was going to recover,” Etim Esin, a teammate, remarked the following day at the then Durbar Hotel (now Golden Tulip, Festac Town) abode of the team. The nearest player to Samuel Okwaraji, Samson Siasia, rushed to the prostrate form and tried him to face up. What he saw was frightening as he put his hands on his head in despair.

“The way I saw him, he was gasping and foaming. His teeth were gritty… No one could easily ascertain the cause of his death. It still remains a mystery.

But one of the doctors that first attended to him told this reported that Samuel Okwaraji died “very fast”. He may have died on the pitch.

Contributed by KUNLE SOLAJA

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The Ibadan-Ijaye War (1861-1862)

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The Ibadan-Ijaye war broke out in 1861 between Ibadan and Ijaye over who to succeed the old Oyo empire as the political head of Yorubaland. The two rebelling towns sprang up from the ruins of the Old Oyo empire which was destroyed in 1836 by the Fulanis. Ibadan, Ijaye and the new Oyo, also called Oyo Atiba, succeeded the Old Oyo empire after its destruction. According to Latisosa, a Balogun of Ibadanland, “the war was a feud among three brothers over how to share common properties.” The three brothers, Ibadan, Ijaye and Oyo-Atiba failed to reach conclusion on who should succeed the Old Oyo as the political head of Yorubaland.

In 1855, Ibadan being the largest and the most populated of the three towns convened a meeting with the other towns to carve out the best way of restoring the fading unity and dignity of the land. At the meeting, the Alafin of the new Oyo (Oyo-Atiba) was said to be the most senior among the three towns, and as a result of this, other towns in Yorubaland should pay tribute to the new Oyo. Finally, Yorubaland has another head therefore proposing peace among some Yoruba towns like Ijebu and Egba.

In the same atmosphere, the Ijayes, Egbas and Ijebus raised some doubts on the policies of the Ibadans. Kurumi of Ijaye suspected that Ibadan’s intention was to create an empire of her own and not to set up the leadership of the New Oyo (Oyo-Atiba). This suspicion rose as Ibadan continue to accept annual tribute from her own subjects while she encouraged those of Ijaye to send theirs to the Alafin.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the succession issue to the throne of Oyo-Atiba after the death of Atiba in 1859. Ibadan supported the idea that Atiba’ son should succeed him so as to ensure the continuation of the Ibadan tribute policy. Kurumi of Ijaye opposed this claiming it was against the tradition of throne succession in Oyo. Kurumi’s opposition was supported by the Egbas and the Ijebus. Ibadan saw this as another attempt to bring an end once more to the unity of Yorubaland and vowed to prevent this by all means. Ibadan didn’t want Kurumi, the then Are-Ona-Kakanfo, to become another disobedient Afonja, and it was on this ground that the Ibadan-Ijaye war broke out.The war was fought in the forest between Ibadan and Ijaye. The Egbas joined the war on the side of Ijaye in order to prevent Ibadan form becoming a colossus in Yorubaland. The Ijebus also joined the Ijaye side in order to foil Ibadan’s attempt of creating enmity between them and Remo in order to secure a route to the coast. Later on, the Fulanis also joined the Ijaye to punish Ibadan from preventing them to spread Islam in Yorubaland.
The Ibadan army camped at Ilora, 13 miles north of Ijaye while the Ijaye forces, led by Ogunbonna of Abeokuta, camped at Olokemeji on the River Ogun. The Ijaye, Egba, Fulani and Ijebu forces set a blockade to cut Ibadan off from the supplies from the British in Lagos. Ibadan retaliated by blockading Ijaye from food supplies. The British merchants in Lagos lobbied the Remos of Sagamu and the Ikorodus to smuggle ammunition from Lagos to Ibadan. The support Ibadan received from the British made her brought the Ijayes on their knees in 1862 following Kurunmi’s death in 1851. The cause of his death is still unknown, but however, it is believed he committed suicide. Other towns supporting Ijaye retreated immediately.

The Egbas were displeased with the actions of the Remos and Ikorodus and sought to punish them, but the British army prevented this by defeating the Egba army. The Egbas avenged this in 1867 by expelling all British missionaries in Egbaland and burned the printing house of Iwe Irohin, the first newspaper in Nigeria by Rev. Henry Townsend. The Ijebus also punished the British by not allowing any British nationals to enter Ijebuland. This was the foundation of the Battle of Imagbon (1892) also known as the 1892 Ijebu expedition.

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