From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; and his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodinma, have agreed that the problems that led to the Nigeria civil war are yet to be addressed, 50 years after the war.
The agreement was contained in their various speeches Monday at the National War Museum Umuahia during a Town Hall meeting organised by Senator Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development to mark the 50 years of the end of the civil war.
Speaking at the event, Gov. Ikpeazu regretted that the challenges and issues which caused the civil war were still very visible.
“It will be wrong for us as leaders to still allow the issues that gave rise to the civil war to keep recuring”, Ikpeazu warned.
He said that the ugly scar and pains of the war were still very fresh in the mind of Ndigbo.
According to the governor, only genuine reconciliation would heal the wounds of the war on the part of the Igbo .
Ikpeazu said that South East had continued to witness infrastructural collapse and environmental challenge as a result of heavy bombardments during the war.
He said the pace of national reconciliation in Nigeria was very slow compared to Rwanda which quickly recovered from the ashes of civil war and genocide to rank among fast growing economy in Africa.
His Imo State counterpart, Uzodinma who supported his position, however added that time had come for Nigerians to embrace dialogue as a way of settling differences instead of violence.
In his speech, Vice President Osinbajo, regretted that Nigeria had not learned much lesson from the ugly experiences of the civil war in view of some utterances by some Nigerians on national issues.
Osinbajo who also regretted that a lot of human lives and property were wasted during the 30-month war appealed to Nigerians to embrace dialogue as a way of settling disputes.
The Vice President who noted that the federal government was making efforts to promote national unity further regretted that the Nigerian government could not harness the ingenuity of the Biafra soldiers 50 years after the war.
He noted that the establishment of Projects Development Institute , PRODA, in Enugu was aimed at harvesting such ingenuity but regretted that the institute had met the target.
Osinbajo who acknowledged the ingenuity and enterprising spirit of the Igbo man described Abia as the industrial hub of the West African sub-region.
Harping on the need for national cohesion, Osinbajo said ” we must build a nation devoid of discrimination and marginalisation.
Apparently sympathising with Ndigbo over their current situation in the national politics Osinbajo said that “those in power must understand that the bitterness of the loser when the winner takes it all is capable of consuming them all “.
Speaking earlier Nnamani said the event was packaged so that stakeholders could reflect on the events that sparked the civil war.
In his remarks, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uche Ogah, called for peace and genuine national reconciliation to move Nigeria forward.
He noted that peace and unity were what Nigeria seriously needed to achieve greatness.
The event was also attended by service chiefs as well as civil war veterans among other stakeholders from across South East.