A forum where the issues of Biafra are discussed. "Igwebuike" 

  • Victor Banjo & THE THIRD FORCE

  • Everything about Biafra before the war should be discussed here.
Everything about Biafra before the war should be discussed here.
 #55  by Dikebiafra
 Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:16 am
By Don Kingsley (Radio Biafra)

The Third Force was a mysterious Nigerian political group in the mid 60s prominent members were Colonel Victor Banjo and Professor Wole Soyinka. Its simple aim was to get rid of Yakubu Gowon and Odumegwu Ojukwu and establish a Liberation Government of a United Nigeria.
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Victor Banjo was one of the soldiers that encouraged Major General Aguiyi Ironsi to take over power after the Ifeajuna/Nzeogwu coup had been foiled.

However, after Ironsi had taken over, Victor Banjo was arrested for taking a loaded pistol into Ironsi’s office. He was detained in the East, but released by Odumegwu Ojukwu after Biafra had been declared. He was mandated by Ojukwu to lead the force that eventually invaded the Mid-West (The Mid-West was neutral up to this point). However, after invading the Mid-West, he declared that he was not interested in Biafra, but rather, intended to lead “the Liberation Army of Nigeria” to dislodge Gowon from Lagos (indeed, he sent Wole Soyinka to deliver a message to Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, who was GOC in the west, to grant him free passage through the Western Region, a request that Obasanjo did not grant). He was recalled by Ojukwu, arrested and tried for treason. He was executed along with Emmanuel Ifeajuna.
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In 1967 Wole Soyinka journeyed to Biafra to meet with Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chinua Achebe, etc. in order to find a solution to the brewing crisis that was to later lead to the civil war. He also met Colonel Victor Banjo, who told him that he did not believe in Biafra, but rather, intended to lead a third force (The Liberation Army of Nigeria) to invade Lagos and overthrow Yakubu Gowon. Victor Banjo asked Soyinka to help him deliver a message to Obafemi Awolowo, Olusegun Obasanjo (General Officer Commanding the troops in the West) and other Western leaders.

In his book "My Command", General Olusegun Obasanjo said of one of Banjo's contacts: "The man, who is also a renowned social critic, turned out promptly at the appointed place and time. I invited him to my car and for almost two hours we drove round Ibadan and discussed Banjo's request for me to grant him unhindered access to Ibadan and Lagos at any price. Both the request and the price were turned down. After the meeting with Olusegun Obasanjo
Soyinka was declared wanted by the government (he was even branded a Biafran spy), arrested and detained for two years and four months (he spent a year and ten months of that time in solitary confinement).

Pictures:
Colonel Victor Banjo in glasses and Professor Wole Soyinka