TRANSCRIPT from the tape recordings of the Aburi Meeting, January 5-7, 1967
Lt.-General Joe Ankrah of Ghana (Host)
Lt.-Colonel Yakubu Gowon, Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria (announced as ‘Supreme Commander’ while whereabouts of Ironsi was ‘unknown’)
Lt.-Colonel OdumegwuOjukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria
Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, Military Governor of Western Nigeria
Lt.-Colonel Hassan Katsina, Military Governor of Northern Nigeria
Lt.-Colonel David Ejoor, Military Governor of Mid-Western Nigeria
Major Mobolaji Johnson, Military Governor of Lagos
AlhajiKamSelem, Deputy Inspector-General of Police
Mr. T. Omo-Bare
Commodore Akinwale Wey, Chief of Naval Staff
Reference: Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria, January 1966-July 1967 (Vol. 1) A. H. M. KIRK-GREENE. Oxford University, 1971
The Main Topic: Re-Organizing Nigeria
Attitudes at Aburi
a. How the military looks at the politicians
General Ankrah (Ghana): I will not like to dwell rigidly on any point whatsoever because I feel this is a domestic affair of Nigeria and, as I have always said, it is not difficult for military people to understand each other. It is a saying that if Generals were to meet and discuss frontiers, wars or even go into the details to forestall war, there will never be any differences or discrepancies but unity and understanding. There will be no war because the two old boys will meet at the frontier and tell each other: ‘Old boy, we are not going to commit our boys to die, come on, let us keep the politicians out’ and that is the end. I am quite confident that having met here to-day, you will continue and achieve what you are here for.
What I want to stress is this, that through the annals of history we have not seen failures with military statesmen and when military personnel do take over the reins of Government they have proved their worth and, I am sure and confident that the Military regimes that have been saddled with the onerous responsibility of rebuilding and reconstructing the various countries in Africa will not let us down.
You are aware that in Nigeria now the whole world is looking up to you as military men and if there is any failure to reunify or even bring perfect understanding to Nigeria as a whole, you will find that the blame will rest with us all through the centuries. There is no gainsaying this whatsoever.
Whatever the situation we are soldiers and soldiers are always statesmen not politicians. They deal with a little bit of politics and diplomacy when the time comes but they are statesmen. The people first and they themselves second but if you think like the politicians do that they want fame or they want to be heard of and neglect your people then, of course, I am quite sure that we as soldiers will live to regret, even our future generations will live to regret. They will be blaming us whenever our names are called or mentioned….