January 28, 2020

50 years after civil war: Nigeria better as one nation — Osinbajo


Yemi Osinbajo

By Ugochukwu Alaribe & Eric Ugbor

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that in spite of challenges and differences, Nigeria is better as one nation.

Speaking at a town hall meeting on the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian civil war at the National War Museum, Umuahia, Abia State, organised by the Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development, Osinbajo said the lessons of the war should assuage feelings of wrong doing and make the country better.

He, however, lamented that the country did not take advantage of the engineering and creative feats of the Biafrans who manufactured weapons, refined crude oil through local technology, among others.

The vice president described the war as a defining national tragedy, saying the essence of the remembrance was to recall the bitter lessons of the war and resolve that it would not happen again.

He insisted that the cost of resolving differences through war was far more than resolving them peacefully. Osinbajo further urged Nigerians not to see the setback as reason for hopelessness, stressing that the mission of the Buhari administration was to build a great nation where the teeming youths would express their creative energy.

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He said: “The most crucial task is to ensure that issues of fairness, justice and equity are entrenched in the polity and ensure that the younger generation does not see Nigeria with the lenses of the war era.”

He noted that the South East zone of the country was the centre of entrepreneurship and creativity as well as the hub of industrialisation.

In his remarks, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State said priority should be given to areas under serious bombardment during the war in infrastructure development.

He noted that events like the town hall meeting should afford the opportunity to be in terms with the injustice and injuries of the war and apologise to one another.

The governor wondered why it was faster to achieve true reconciliation and healing of wounds of the Rwandan civil war than in Nigeria 50 years after.

Earlier, the convener of the Town Hall meeting and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, said it was through such meetings that enduring reconciliation could be actualised.

“We should learn to refrain from the bitterness and grievances of the past. Nigerians should exercise restraint in their conduct to avoid a repeat of the past.”