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Opinion : The Fajuyi spirit – By Femi Fani-Kayode

50 years ago today, on July 29th 1966, a man by the name of Major General Fajuyi gave his life in defence of the Head of State General Aguiyi-Ironsi. His killers were a group of northern officers who participated in the so-called northern “revenge coup” of July 29th 1966. 300 Igbo army officers were slaughtered that night together with a handful of yoruba soldiers, including Fajuyi.

He was a yoruba man who opted to die in defence of an Igbo Head of State. He was a selfless hero and a man that we shall honor and immortalise in the new Nigeria that is to come.

Those that murdered him, Aguiyi-Ironsi and the famous 300 in cold blood that night are still running the affairs of our country today. As a matter of fact their hegemony and evil intentions are even worse than they were in 1966 and their grip on the levers of power in our country is even stronger.

Yet despite their intention to dominate and destroy the rest of us one thing remains clear: the Fajuyi spirit of southern unity, selflesness and sacrifice has imbued millions of others in the southern and Middle Belt zones of our country.

These are men and women that are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed of our nation, whether they be Niger Deltans, Igbos or anything else.

These are men and women that are prepared to resist the religious and ethnic agenda of the “born to rule” and that recognise the fact that they regard the rest of us as nothing but slaves.

When it comes to southern rights and interests we the Yoruba particularly must learn from our own son Fajuyi and emulate his example.

Like him, if necessary, we must also be ready to sacrifice our lives in defence of any or all of our southern bretheren that are facing persecution, genocide and injustice at the hands of the slave masters.

It is also time for us to appreciate the fact that if we truly want to be free we must extend our hand of friendship across the River Niger to the Igbo and we must see their travails as ours. We must appreciate the fact that there can never be southern, or indeed Middle Belt, emancipation without southern unity.

Fajuyi understood that point 50 years ago and he opted to die for it. He paid the supreme price for his fellow southerner and he stood against northern domination and hegemony. It is time for the rest of us to do the same.

May the gallant and beautiful soul of General Fajuyi continue to rest in eternal peace and may those that murdered him 50 years ago be brought to justice.

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