2023: Kalu’s presidency as act of reconciliation after Civil War

By ononibajoshua • 2 weeks ago • 5187 views • 654 comments

By Dr. Johnson Greg

In January 1970, the Biafran General, Philip Effiong, led the leadership of the secessionist Biafran State to a meeting with General Yakubu Gowon to acknowledge the end of the Nigerian civil war.

Effiong ended his speech with the following words: “The Republic of Biafra [hereby] ceases to exist”. Apparently excited and happy to mark the end of the bloodiest civil war Africa had ever seen, the Nigerian Head of State announced to the world the famous 3Rs. One of the Rs stood for the full reconciliation of Biafra with Nigeria.

Like every country that had survived a civil war and prospered after, the Nigerian leader understood the importance of full reconciliation of the warring sides. Indeed, that was the American model. The world heaved a sigh of relief and cheered for Nigeria. It seemed that the worst had been avoided and that the most populous black nation on earth was about to rise again.

Sadly, very sadly indeed, the pronouncements of General Gowon, though full in words, turned out to be empty or only half full in action and implementation. Thus began a painful period in Nigerian history where instead of ending the war and reconciling the country, Nigeria and Biafra ended up with only a ceasefire.

There was no reconciliation. Instead, the ethnic mistrust and suspicion that gave rise to the war persisted in a more pervasive manner, with the Igbo race, having been severely ravaged and bloodied by war, remaining in a weakened position while Nigeria punished them through unabated policy of exclusion and marginalization. And as the saying goes, when you hold a person down, you have to stay down to keep him there. Nigeria stayed down in order to keep the Igbos down.

Staying down to keep the Igbos down explains why the supposed giant of Africa never stood much taller than the dwarfs of the continent. The Nigerian attitude toward the Igbos unwittingly rendered Nigeria poor, backward, underdeveloped, ravaged by instability, and now teetering on the brinks of state failure and disintegration. As things are today, nothing can save Nigeria from herself other than a miracle or an audacious move in the right direction.

Ending the exclusion of the Igbos and zoning the presidency in the next election to the Igbos is one such audacious move. Yes, that will allow the Igbos to rise, but even more so for Nigeria. Igbo presidency is primarily good for Nigeria because it will free Nigeria from herself. Instead of staying down to hold the Igbos down, Nigeria can finally rise to its natural height of the giant.

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