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•Past Heads of state and presidents of Nigeria: Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo

 

•By Sen. Godswill Akpabio

 

“I was a victim of the Civil War. I was one of those who suffered the pains of the war. I was born sometime in 1962; the civil war came really into our area in 1967. So, I was probably five or six years old during the war; and if I had been around nine years, I would probably have been conscripted.

During the Silverbird Man of the Year Award, there were pictures that were shown of the Civil War. Somebody, sitting by me, who is from the West, was asking if those things were acted: the Kwashiorkor-ridden children with their swollen tummies, ugly shapes and bony structures because of hunger and starvation.

The then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon attempted to explain that he tried everything to avoid the scenes that were being shown on the screen, that he did not want the war. The other person who could have answered him, unfortunately, that is Emeka Ojukwu, is dead. He said he tried everything to stop the war from breaking out but it’s only Ojukwu who could have answered whether he equally did his part in avoiding the war.

But something struck me: it was said that Gowon should be commended for initiating the three Rs: reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. And I asked a very simple question, that I came with a written text but I wasn’t going to read it. I thanked Silverbird for the award; and I said I did not want to criticise my leaders because I am also now a leader. But I asked to be allowed to ask a question: how come reconstruction started in the West when the war was actually fought in the East? They started the Third Mainland Bridge, the National Theatre, the international airport, and so on, in the West, while the war was fought in the Eastern region.

And if we really wanted to ensure total reconciliation, how come every account holder in the eastern region was given only £20? It did not matter whether your father had £10,000,000 or £50,000,000 before the war; you were given just £20. It was a take it or leave it situation. If your family survived and there was an account holder alive, he/she went to the bank, and collected just £20.

Could £20 pounds solve the Kwashiorkor that we were seeing? Could it reconstruct the houses that were burnt? Could it produce food? A lot of other things happened that I did not mention on that occasion. Don’t forget that it was shortly after the war in 1971 that the policy of indigenisation started, where most of the foreign industries and companies were sold to Nigerians, and the war-ravaged eastern regions, which include the entire South-South and the rest of them, could not buy, because no one who did not have money to even feed or clothe himself would have had no money to buy any industry.

They needed money from reconstruction, and I would have thought that reconstruction would have also started from the East. I just asked because we were lucky to have the personal dramatis of the war right in still alive : General T. Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon, General Obasanjo, General Buhari and others. It is very rare to see these former heads of state in just one place, so I had to ask.”

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SOUTH UPDATE

Biafra: Withdraw All Charges Against My Son —Nnamdi Kanu’s Father Tells FG

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Eze Israel Kanu, the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia, has appealed to the Federal Government to withdraw all the charges against his son and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu, who made the appeal in Umuahia on Monday, said such measure would help to foster peace and douse tension in the country.

“I call on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw all the charges preferred against Kanu in the interest of peace in the country.

“He did not commit murder. He did not carry arms; neither did he commit any heinous crime to warrant such a government clampdown.

“His only offence was that he expressed his opinion in a democracy where people are free to express themselves without the fear of arrest or molestation,” he said.

The monarch said he was not in a position to stop his son from pursuing his conviction, adding that Nnamdi was mature enough to hold an independent opinion.

“He is more than 18 years of age and has become an adult. He is capable of having an independent opinion on any issues. So, I cannot ask him to stop pursuing what he believes in.

“The only thing that can assuage him is to allow him to have Biafra and no amount of inducement, even giving him an oil block, would stop him.” he said.

Kanu, who described the bail conditions by the Abuja High Court as stringent, thanked Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, (Abia South Senatorial District), an Igbo Jewish Rabbi from Port Harcourt , Immanuu El-Shalom, and a renowned Chartered Accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, for securing his release.

He assured that his son would not betray the trust the sureties reposed in him.

He said that while in his palace, young able-bodied members of IPOB volunteered to restrict the number of visitors around him “so that he does not run afoul of one of the bail conditions.”

The visibly elated octogenarian described the two-year incarceration of his son as a period of depression.

“Very often, I kept wondering what would be his fate and hoping also that he would not die in detention. I had very strong hope that God would not allow him to die in the cell,” he said.

He also spoke on how he felt when the IPOB leader arrived at his palace on Friday, after regaining his freedom, saying that he felt very happy and excited.

“He looked quite healthy and strong. His looks showed that the prison warders took good care of him, so I was very happy and impressed when I saw him,” he said.

Nnamdi arrived at his country home at Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia on Friday to the warm reception of his parents, kinsmen and other relations as well as IPOB members.

The palace has been hosting visitors daily, including traditional rulers, politicians and other members of the community seeking to catch a glimpse of the IPOB leader.

Nnamdi, who was arrested on Oct. 14, 2015, had been standing trial at an Abuja High Court on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter and illegal possession of firearms, among others.

He was, however, granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako on April 25.

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SOUTH UPDATE

BREAKING!!! Over 130 Buses of IPOB Members From PH Storm Umuahia to See Nnamdi Kanu (Video)

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Chinedu Ojiji

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130 convoy of Toyota Hiace buses fully loaded heading to see the leader of IPOB (Mazi Nnamdi Kanu) in Umuahia right now.

Tell injustice Bingo we are Biafrans!

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SOUTH UPDATE

Just In!!! IPOB, BIM, MASSOB Fix Separate Dates For Biafra Day Celebration

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As the celebration for Biafra Day draws nearer, the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) as well as Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), founded by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, still sing different tunes.

While IPOB insists on May 30 as the authentic and official date for the celebration and ordered all celebrants in Biafraland to sit at home, Uwazuruike’s BIM/MASSOB ordered celebrants not to come out and celebrate.
This has given rise to tension in the areas the freedom anniversary will take place.

Addressing newsmen in Nnewi, Anambra State at the weekend, the Anambra South Senatorial zone leader of BIM/MASSOB, Chief Arinze Igbani, who was flanked by the zonal director for transport, Chief Charles Oputa, described IPOB and its leaders as “people who have been systematically edged out of the mainstream of the struggle to actualise Biafra.”

He urged them to turn to and support the “architect” of Biafran independence, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, who, he said, had suffered more than any other person including long period of jail for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra.

“We don’t have much to say about our brother, Nnamdi Kanu because they have systematically edged him out of the struggle since he accepted not to stay in the midst of over ten people or address the press. This means he cannot go to church, market, hospital, birthday, any public function because in any of these cases he will be facing more than ten persons at a time. He might even find it difficult to receive visitors in other not to contravene the order given to him by the court. And we do not wish him to go back to prison. We heard the other time South East Senate caucus that perfected his freedom warned him to abide by the court order. So, leadership and control of the agitation for Biafra squarely rests on Uwazuruike now as before,” Chief Igbani said.

He said that BIM/MASSOB would never relent in their effort until the sovereign state of Biafra became a reality under nonviolence principles, adding that the emergence of the new Biafran nation was very close.

For the upcoming Biafra Day celebration, Chief Igbani said the event which would take off on May 22, 2017 was slated to hold in Onitsha and other places in Anambra State, Owerri and other places in Imo State, Aba, Enugu, Abakiliki, other towns and cities in the five States of the South East zone; Asaba and other parts of Delta State, Portharcourt and other parts of Rivers State. He said the celebration would be rounded off with football tournaments among the Biafrans at verious points.

Igbani queried why people should stay at home during an important celebration and told all in Biafran land to feel free and not to confine themselves to their homes.

The transport director, Chief Oputa called on all transporters to come out enmass and join in the anniversary celebration. He warned Nigeria security agents to steer clear of the members of BIM/MASSOB in the course of the celebration which he said was to be non violent.

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