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Of Onwuatuegwu, Major Adewale Ademoyega, one of the five majors that planned the January revolution in his book, Why We Struck, the most authentic account of that glorious event said, "Another shining light in the Nigerian Army was Captain Timothy Onwuatuegwu.
Onwuatuegwu was a brilliant cadet at Sandhurst and the first Nigerian to be made a junior under-officer in that world famous institution. He was unmarried when we first met and we shared the Mess life together. A Roman Catholic, he was active and could hardly be faulted in military duties. Because he was humble, senior officers found him useful, loyal and dependable; at the same time, junior officers found it easy to work with him; he made himself like one of them … He had an untiring endurance!" Colonel Onwuatuegwu would not have halted at Ore as Colonel Banjo did. He would have continued to Ibadan where it was said, Yoruba zealots led by Wole Soyinka were waiting to accompany the brave Biafran troops to Lagos. If this had happened, Gowon would have had no other option than to flee to Kaduna; the Yorubas would have been freed from the military anvil of the Hausa-Fulani, the civil war would have ended with much less casualties and destruction and the history of Nigeria changed for the better! I hold Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu singularly and personally responsible for the collapse of Biafra, the murder of Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu and Colonel Tim Onwuatuegwu, the deaths of many Biafran freedom fighters such as Dr. Imegwu, Chris Okigbo, Imperial Major Willy Archibong, Col. Chude Sokei and others, and the unmitigated suffering that has been the special lot of the Igbos ever since; above all, Ojukwu sent the Biafran dream to an untimely grave. Only the disciples of the killers of Ironsi know what horrible and indescribable fate befell Onwuatuegwu! Because Ojukwu abandoned Colonel Tim Onwuatuegwu to an unknown fate, unsung and unmourned, I will therefore pay to Onwuatuegwu the tribute that was paid to Field Marshal Rommel by Field Marshal Sir, Claude J. E. Auchinleck, British Army Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East, because it belongs as much to him as to Rommel. Because Ojukwu abandoned Colonel Tim Onwuatuegwu to an unknown fate, unsung and unmourned, I will therefore pay to Onwuatuegwu the tribute that was paid to Field Marshal Rommel by Field Marshal Sir, Claude J. E. Auchinleck, British Army Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East, because it belongs as much to him as to Rommel. ONWUATUEGWU, NOW THAT YOU ARE GONE, I SALUTE YOU AS A SOLDIER AND A MAN FOR YOUR AMAZING SUCCESSES AS A LEADER OF MEN IN BATTLE. Like Rommel, who was the youngest Field Marshal in the German Army during the Second World War, Onwuatuegwu should have been made a Field Marshal in the Biafran Army. During the recapture of Owerri, Onwuatuegwu leading the Biafran 'S' Division cleared over 95% of Owerri. As soon as he accomplished this, Ojukwu relieved him of command of 'S' Division, posted him to the School of Infantry as the Commandant and made Colonel Ogbugo Kalu Commander of 'S' Division. With the momentum already set in motion by Onwuatuegwu, Kalu cleared the remaining less than 5% of Owerri and was promoted a Brigadier-General! Ojukwu might not have known that Onwuatuegwu converted the training officers and men of the School of Infantry into a fighting force which he used to slow down Obasanjo's Third Marine Commandos advance to Uli and therefore enabled Ojukwu to escape. It was this patriotic temporary hold-up by Onwuatuegwu that Obasanjo referred to as an ambush to kill him.
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