The major ethnic groups in Nigeria comprises of The Yorubas, The Hausas and The Igbos.
Some group of people called Biafran agitators in the Eastern part of the country, have been clamouring and agitating for secession from the Nigeria government that they deserve self-determination and that Biafran nation was and is their dream.
The ex-President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo a renowned leader in the country has called for dialogue with Biafran agitators.
The former President Olusegun Obasanjo while addressing the participants in Abuja on Thursday 25 May 2017 at ‘Memory and Nation Building: “Biafra, 50 years After” Event forum at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre stated that we should plead with those clamoring for Biafra that there is enough cake to share and that Nigerians must treat the country with proper care.
The programme was held to commemorate 50 years of the declaration of an Independent State of Biafra (IPOB) by the late warlord Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu on May 30, 1967.
The former President further made the following disclosure that
“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 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.”
“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 are fighting to unite.
“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.”
“Some of the people agitating for Biafra today were not even born then. They don’t know what it entails,” he said.
”But 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.”
The former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo recounted his experience at the event as a young Commander, of the Third Marine Commando Division, was the military officer who accepted the surrender of Biafran forces on January 12, 1970, after three years of the Nigeria civil war.
The ex-president under democratic system and ex-head of military regime recounting his role in the Nigeria civil war, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo disclosed that it was never the plan of the Nigerian government to exterminate the Igbo.
That the federal government of Nigeria military troops did to the Igbos was in tandem to the unity of the Nigeria country.
Chief Obasanjo further said as follows:
“We had in our pocket the Geneva Convention to guide us. In addition to that, we had a special code of conduct. Third, we had foreign observers. We had people who were like umpires.
“If it was a war to exterminate and we had no reconciliation in mind, what would foreign observers be doing? The foreign observers reported periodically and even had powers to investigate any allegation and they did.
“As one of the commanders in the field, I have said it before and I say it again. Civil war is more difficult than fighting in a foreign land. In foreign land, you fight to exterminate and destroy but in civil war, you fight to unite and when you’re fighting to unite, how much do you have to do to prevent destruction and alienation.”
From the program it was further gathered that some of those young group of people clamouring for self-determination for Biafra nation today, lack an understanding of what it entails to secede from an existing nations with constitution.
It was also gathered that civil war showed the bad side of any nation and that Nigeria case is not an exception that the country’s fundamental problem was that it had lacked a national, visionary and forthright leaders.