Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo today, May 25, delivered keynote addresses at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on the ‘Memory and Nation Building – Biafra: 50 Years After.’
Among the speakers were a former Permanent Secretary, Ministries of Information, Education and Industry, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, and Professor John Stremlau of the University of Witwatersrand and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Here are the highlights of both Osinbajo and Obasanjo’s addresses;
1.) Osinbajo Advises Nigerians To Learn From From History Not Experience
He urged Nigerians to learn from the history of Nigeria’s civil war rather than beating the drums of a second civil war, saying “while the wise learn from history, experience remains the best teacher for a fool.”
2.) Citizens Reserve The Right To Discuss Their Continued Existence In Nigeria.
“Some say secession is the answer to charges of marginalisation. Some say Nigeria is colonial contraption, and that we should be independent ethnic nationalities. This is what forms the call for Biafra which is sometimes vitriolic.
“And, I believe Nigerians should exercise the right to discuss their existence here.
3.) Obasanjo Says Biafra Agitators Were Naive
We never had a national leader. Our leaders at the beginning were mindful of their regions. That is our problem till today,” Obasanjo said.
”I have maintained that the young officers who struck in 1966 were naive but there were some element of nationalism in some of them. Be that as it may, it set us back.”
“The language used in the war did not help matters, the people on the Biafra side called us vandals and we called them rebels.
4.) The former President Reveals Civil War Is More Difficult Than Fighting A Foreign One
‘Civil war is more difficult than fighting in a foreign land because we are fighting to unite’
5.) Obasanjo Appeals To Those That Want To Secede Not To
‘Some of the people agitating for Biafra today were not even born then. They don’t know what it entails.
”I think, we should even appeal to those saying they want to go, we should not tell them to go, we should make them understand that there is enough cake to share. We should massage Nigeria just like in a love relationship.
“We must concentrate on building Nigeria, we must learn our history. There’s no substitute for us.’
6.) Had To Restrain A Soldier From Raping A Woman
“Even a soldier of mine who tried to rape a woman, I had to chase him with a gun. He did not succeed in raping the woman, and I did not have to gun him down”.