It has been 50 years since the Biafra war was fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra. In remembrance of the war which lasted for over two and half years and recorded about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died from starvation, Acting President Yemi Osibanjo, Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and dignitaries meet at the #Biafra50 themed “Memory and Nation Building – Biafra: 50 Years After”.
Acting President Yemi Osibanjo in his speech dismissed the idea that Nigeria is a mere geographical location. He asked rhetorically that What if we have invested all the effort and resources we invested in the war into forging unity?
“Nigerians have the rights to, exercise, debate and discuss the terms of their existence Every new generation can take a different and more ennobling route than its predecessors” Osinbajo said.
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said “at independence, we had 3 nations in one. That problem was never resolved and hasn’t been resolved till today. “I wrote a book ‘My Command’. You will not see two words in that book: ‘enemy’ or ‘hate’. We called them rebels; the called us vandals.”
Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo in his eloquent speech maintained that “Nations are not created or developed by warfare. The FG must instruct its armed forces to disengage from street warfare.
He further said “We don’t want any more wars. We have shed enough blood. No nation is built by street warfare.” War is no longer an easy option for States but “It does not profit us to pretend that we don’t have existential challenges.”
“Unity is not an end in itself. It has to have a higher objective – nation building and Equity. Nigeria’s jaundiced on many fronts. Almost all Nigerians agree that Nigeria isn’t working but there’s no consensus on why” he said
Prof John Stremlau of University of Witwatersrand said When I first came to Nigeria I was amazed it was young men in their 30s and 20s that were in charge of the country. While Innocent Chukwuma of the Ford Foundation posited that we should promote the concept of OZOEMENA, meaning may it not happen again –