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Osinbajo remembers Biafra, 50 years after, says Nigerians are greater together


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (right); Acting President Yemi Osinbajo; ex-Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo at a forum marking the 50th anniversary of Biafra at the Shenu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO:  PHILIP OJISUA

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has underscored the need for Nigerian leaders to give the younger generation the vision on a pathway to unity in diversity.

Osinbajo stated this yesterday at the colloquium on “Biafra: 50 years after” organised by the Yar’ Adua Foundation at the Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre, Abuja.

He spoke to a cross-section of political leaders, which include former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. John Nwodo, leader of pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze and Alhaji Ahmed Joda amongst other dignitaries that graced the occasion.


He said: “Today some people are suggesting that we must go back to the ethnic nationalities from which Nigeria was formed. They say that secession is the answer to the accusations of marginalisation.

“They argue that separation from the Nigerian state will ultimately result in successful smaller states. They argue eloquently, I might add that Nigeria is a colonial contraption that cannot endure.

“Brothers and sisters, permit me to differ and to suggest that we’re greater together than apart. No country is perfect; around the world we have seen and continue to see expressions of intra-national discontent.”

At the event, Obasanjo said: “We should be able to know the difference between perception and reality. Those agitating for actualisation of Biafra today were not born at the time of the civil war in the country.

“At independence, we were having three countries in one. We never had a national leader. Our leaders at the beginning were mindful of their regions. That is our problem till today.

“I have maintained that the young officers who struck in 1966 were naive. The language used in the war did not help matters, the people on the Biafra side called us vandals and we called them rebels.”

He continued: “We thought we would end the war in three months, but it took us 30 months, and the federal side nearly lost it. Civil war is more difficult than fighting in a foreign land because we had to protect civilians and soldiers. I think we should even appeal to those saying they want to go, we should make them understand that there is enough cake to share. We should massage Nigeria just like in a love relationship.”

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