ArticleDid My ‘WAI’ Card Game Cause The Nigerian Coup, In 1985, To Start On The Day That It Did?

Buhari as Head of State, 1985.

Now before you say, “this man is crazy!” May I draw to your attention to two salient points? First, I did not say “did I cause the Nigerian coup in 1985?” What I said was “did I cause the coup to occur on the day that it did?” Second point is that what I have to say has roots in a three-page article about me in one of Nigeria’s iconic glossy magazines, Chief Dele Momodu’s ‘OVATION’ – see issue 20 of year 2000.

So, I return to my question, did I cause the coup plotters to advance the date of the Coup in 1985? I am giving the question serious consideration, because like many in the world today I too have come to accept that truth can be stranger than fiction.

However, as you will see, my story has some plausibility to it and cannot so easily be discounted!

Due to my inherited genes (if you read the Ovation article you will understand what I mean) a lightbulb went off in my head; and I knew I had an idea for a card game that would reflect in an engaging way the message that the WAI campaign was seeking to achieve.

I was sublimely confident that if I could get in front of decision makers in the Nigerian government, they would find it impossible not to buy my game idea.

Fortunately, because of family connections, I was able to get invited to meet with the man, whom I was told was third from the top – Lt Colonel Gbadebo. He loved my WAI game idea, and, right there and then, he picked up his phone and spoke to the top guy at the WAI Secretariat.

That same morning my team and I were on our way to the WAI Secretariat where the Minister of Information and two of his colleagues gave the presentation and demonstration of my WAI game a very favourable response.

Within a few days we received an official letter stating the government’s full support and interest in having my WAI game as a key component in reaching all strata of Nigerian society: from prisoners, youth groups, schools, the WAI brigade, business owners, all the way down to the man in the street.

At this point, an uncle of mine, who was a well-known and well-connected member of Nigerian high- society, saw the potential, no doubt including for himself, took the reins. From that moment on every effort was made to launch my WAI game onto the national consciousness on October 1 – Independence Day. However, weeks before the launch date the army staged a coup. Are one or two of you beginning to see why my thought-provoking theory may have some merit?

Imagine, if my WAI game had burst onto the national scene on Independence Day? Imagine if up and down the country the government backed WAI game had been embraced by all sectors of society and everyone imbibed its spirit and enthusiastically embraced and played the game, how easy would it have been to justify a coup?

I rest my case.

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