By Clifford Ndujihe
DISTURBED by the divisions and stunted development caused by the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, some eminent Nigerians are determined to ensure that the country did not return to the deadly road, Professor Pat Utomi has said.
This is the reason they will gather via zoom on January 14 to brainstorm on the issue, he said on Monday, with media executives.
Utomi, who is the chairman of the gathering themed “2nd Never Again Conference: 51 Years After the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War,” said the second edition of the conference is holding virtually for the first time due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
While the keynote address will be delivered by His Lordship, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is the Special Guest of Honour, he said.
The conference will be chaired by Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.
READ ALSO: 50 years after the Nigerian Civil War (1)
Among the eminent panelists are the only surviving minister from the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amechi; Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; Mr. Peter Obi; Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; Senator Shehu Sani; Lady Onyeka Onwenu; Amb. Godknows Igali; Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Prof Ladi Hamalai, and Mrs. Charity Shekari.
Utomi recalled that Nigeria fought a bitter and internecine 30-month civil war that left in its wake a sharply divided nation with mutual suspicion, hatred and resentment across racial and regional lines.
According to Utomi, ”The conference will x-ray the issues that led to the Civil War and the need for patriots to work together to achieve national cohesion, especially in light of several centrifugal tendencies within the polity.
”The forum will plot a roadmap for national development by dissecting the challenge of nation-building 51 years after the civil war as well as the much-canvassed restructuring, marginalisation, equity, fairness and justice.
”The conference is also aimed to underscore the lessons of the civil war and more especially to promote nation-building, forgiveness, healing, reintegration, stability, and national cohesion.
“We also want to use the occasion to call for national reflection and encourage bridge-building among Nigeria’s racial groups.”
The “Never Again Conference” is the brainchild of Nzuko Umunna, a pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation with members spread across all corners of the world.
This year, Nzuko Umunna is collaborating with Njenje Media to deliver the conference.