Reyenieju hinted that civilians were also victims of the January 15, 1966 coup d’état, emphasizing that their memory and sacrifices deserved acknowledgment.
A statement by the former lawmaker lamented what he described as a “paradox that those who are often seen as the instigators of our downfall are still celebrated today.”
According to him, every life lost during that period, whether military or civilian, was a loss to Nigeria.
He added: “Indeed, it is a poignant truth that the event of today, January 15th, known as ‘Armed Forces Remembrance Day,’ is celebrated annually. This day is dedicated to remembering the soldiers who, in a twist of irony, toppled a civilian government and caused the demise of numerous individuals in power. It is a day that marks a significant shift in our history, a shift that many argue initiated our decline.
“It is indeed a paradox that those who are often seen as the instigators of our downfall are still celebrated today. This celebration, in many ways, seems to overlook the civilians who were also victims of this tumultuous period. It raises the question, who remembers them? Who honors their memory and the sacrifices they made? It is a question that lingers in the air, unanswered, as we continue to commemorate this day.
“How might the descendants of Okotie-Eboh, the Akintolas, the Sultan of Sokoto, and Tafawabalewas etc. perceive our celebration of Armed Forces Day on January 15th? What emotions might stir within them as Nigeria commemorates this day?”
“It is essential to acknowledge that every life lost during that period, whether military or civilian, is a loss to our nation. Each person had a role to play, a contribution to make towards the growth and development of our society. Their absence is felt, and their memory should be honored.