A former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi; the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah and the Northern Elders Forum said on Thursday that Nigeria was repeating its mistakes that led to the civil war which lasted from July 6, 1967 to January 15, 1970.
Speaking at a webinar, they cautioned that unless something urgent was done, the aftermath of the ongoing injustice, poor governance and leadership failure in the country would be worse than what was experienced during the civil war.
In his brief remarks, Obi said, “We are still travelling on the same road to the same destination. The road has got more bumpy, worse than it was than when they (Nigerians) travelled that road before. If you compare what is happening today and what happened then, what brought Nigeria to that destination in the past has actually got worse today.
Similarly, the spokesperson for the NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said at the webinar that unless something dramatic was done, things would get worse. He lamented that the post-civil war elite had substantially killed the country even more than those who launched the country into the “disaster” that ended in 1970.
He added, “What do we need to do? I think we need to recognise the fact that as we speak in 2021, this nation has never been worse than it is, not even during the civil war. I’m sorry for those who felt civil war was the worst disaster; it wasn’t. Today is the worst disaster we are living in.”
Kukah, who was the keynote speaker, explained that Nigeria had yet to learn any lesson from the civil war, adding that the frustration and feeling of injustice by a section of the country after the war were still rife till today despite Gowon’s ‘No victor, no vanquished’ statement.
He stated, “I was told of a late general who said were the civil war to occur again, he would fight on the other side. There is a lot of resentment, anxiety and frustration and the feeling is that we have not learnt any lesson.
“About 51 years after the war, we still hear the kind of agitation that ordinarily with good governance, honesty, commitment, devotion, dedication, focus and right leadership; we should have put behind us. Unfortunately, these anxieties are still with us.”
t the conference, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said the problem of the country was the constitution, adding that the injustice in the system had been fuelled by the President, whom he said ensured that northerners dominate key institutions in the country at the detriment of other regions.
He stated, “I don’t want this country to break; I have contributed to the unity of this country before Buhari was born. Since 1950s we have been talking of a balanced constitution. In 1979, I spent one year in Maiduguri, campaigning for the UPN so we could have a united country. I was already a lawyer and there was peace in the western region so I didn’t have to go there, but we wanted the country to be together. So, when we talk about a united country, many of them have not contributed half of what some of us have.