90-gun salute for Madiebo

Thank Heavens for Gen. Alexander Atta Madiebo whose documented account of the Nigerian civil war remains a global intellectual reference point. Much of what transpired in the various theatres did not escape his memory.

What Madiebo did firstly as battalion commander, then brigade commander and majorly as Chief of Staff, Biafra Army was to put everything down, everyday, in his diary. That should not come as a surprise because he attended Government College, Umuahia (GCU).

Historians are still following Madiebo. He is an everyday study in military strategy. The man is also a course in management. How he was able to face a better equipped Nigeria Army with his hungry and ill clad troops continues to draw attention all over the world.

It was so bad that his soldiers were made to share assault rifles. Bullets were rationed in such a way that fighters did not pull the trigger unless they were sure of hitting target. One bullet par combatant a day became the norm.

As an Awka man, Madiebo did not give up. To show frustration was treasonable. Suicide sounded like cowardice. The Army chief looked inwards and relied on Biafran engineers who came out with home made rifles, bombs and even armoured cars.

As the most senior Sandhurst trained combatant during the war, Madiebo made the difference. His seniors: Zakari Maimalari,Kuru Mohammed, Abogo Largema and Yakubu Pam were killed in the January 1966 coup. Kurubo ran away from Biafran and was sent to the Soviet Union by Nigeria as envoy.

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