Gowon Warns Against Another Civil War

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By Ankeli Emmanuel, Sokoto, Nnamdi Mbawike, Enugu and OKECHUKWU OBETA, Awka

Former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), yesterday warned Nigerians  against acts that are capable of sparking another civil war in the country, saying they must eschew all forms of violence, criminal activities and behaviours that tend to divide the country.

Reacting for the first time to the increasing spate of divisive and hate speeches by certain persons in some parts of the country, the former Nigerian leader who was a leading actor in the Nigerian/biafra war that claimed many lives and properties in the country sounded the warning in Sokoto at a one-day national prayer rally organised by a prayer group called Nigeria Prays.

Gowon who is the national convener of Nigeria Prays also appealed to Nigerians to collectively pray for the speedy recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Warning against the spoils of war, he said, “We should value the lives of our fellow human beings that God has created for a purpose. May we never take lives with impunity.

“We are offering fervent prayers that Nigerians will never raise their hands against one another. They should love one another irrespective of religious, ideological, political and ethnic affinities”.

He also urged Nigerians to pray for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and leaders at all levels, even as he solicited for sustained prayers for peace, unity and socio-economic prosperity of the country.

Gowon said, “Prayer can solve problems better and faster than soldiers, as well as physical weapons of war. I have no doubt in my heart that God will honour our collective prayer and intercession for our dear nation, as well as heal our nation of insecurity.

“May we experience abundance of God’s mercy and showers of blessings over our lives and our nation as we raise our voices in heartfelt prayers today in Sokoto”.

The former head of state commended Sokoto State government for its support, involvement and generosity to ensure the success of the rally.

The North-West zonal coordinator of Nigeria Prays, Bishop Godwin Okafor, said the rally was organized to seek for sustained peace, unity and stability of Nigeria.

 

S’East Govs, NASS Members Insist On One United Nigeria

Meanwhile, the Southeast Governors’ Forum as well as the apex Igbo social cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, and other notable persons from the zone  have declared the support of Ndigbo for a united Nigeria where peace, love, fairness, justice, equity as well as equality of opportunities are paramount regardless of creed, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation.

They made their position known in a 7-point communiqué issued at the end of their one day meeting at the weekend, which began at the Enugu Government House and ended at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu.

The communiqué also condemned in strong terms hate speeches and conducts emanating from any segment of the country.

In the communiqué which was read by chairman of the forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, the Igbo leaders advocated restructuring of the federal republic of Nigeria on the basis of fairness and equity.

“We therefore, call on the federal government and all Nigerian leaders to commence a process of dialogue among Nigerians on the modalities of achieving this pressing question within a reasonable time frame”, the leaders stated.

The meeting was also attended by some selected Igbo leaders of thought, including members of the National Assembly (NASS) from the region, religious and traditional rulers, among others

They equally express their support for  the report of the 2014 national conference, just as they urged the federal government to set up structures that would enable the implementation of the confab report within a reasonable time.

According to the communiqué, the Igbo leaders had during the gathering agreed that “the South East governors, members of the National Assembly from the region and  the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo should henceforth constitute the official organs that will speak on behalf of Ndigbo on political matters.

“That the South- East leaders in consultation with leaders from other parts of the country will engage the federal government on all areas of concern to Ndigbo and to Nigeria as a whole”,  the Igbo leaders resolved.

Umahi had earlier in his speech noted that Ndigbo has a pride of place in history.

The meeting was attended  by the five governors of Abia, Anambra  Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu States.

 

Mbanefo Lampoons IPOB, Kanu

Former Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Chief Arthur Mbanefo, has lampooned the indigenous people of biafra (IPOB) and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, describing their activities as unnecessarily endangering lives of Igbos living in the Northern part of the country.

Mbanefo who spoke to journalists at the weekend in his Onitsha country home during the burial of his brother-in-law and pioneer general manager of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Odinigwe Onuora Nzekwu, also threw his weight of support behind the current call by many prominent Nigerians for restructuring of the country.

Describing those agitating for Nigeria’s disintegration like the IPOB and  its leader, Kanu, as riffraffs who should not be taken seriously, Mbanefor however, stated that  restructuring of the country is the only alternative to all the agitations in the country.

He called for the publication of the 2014 national confab report to enable Nigerians know and digest the recommendations of the report, stating that many Nigerians do not know the details of the confab report.

Describing the biafra agitators as a bunch of ignorant people, Mbanefo warned that careless talks cost life, even as he accused the IPOB and its leader of endangering the lives of Igbos living in the Northern part of Nigeria

He said, “It is only two persons today that are still alive that served in Biafran government under Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu: myself and Dr. Sylvanus Kuki from Okpobo land who fought the war and know the intrigues behind it.

“This country belongs to all of us. We are talking about restructuring based on the confab report but out of 180 million people in the country, how many people have seen the report? Why is it that the media doesn’t want to publish the report so that everybody should know the details in that report?  If you want to do something, sit down let people know what you are doing. Leadership is not by talking, it is by action. It is not a secret document, it is not a classified document. Why didn’t they publish it in the media, even the executive summary of the report?”

Mbanefo also added that ignorance and money are 99 per cent of Igbo man’s problem. “The Northerners had just made a simple statement and all the Igbo lands are shaking because we are interested in wealth. Anything that affects our wealth, we get worried. They said that on October 1, Igbos should go and people are shouting. Is any thing wrong with that? People say careless talk costs life. We should be careful on how we talk because war is not an easy thing”, he stated.

The former Nigerian envoy continued: “They said they are going to United Nations that, they want referendum. Do they know what referendum is all about? will it come just like that? Who is going to finance it? Referendum costs money. If you go for referendum tomorrow, all these boys that are making nose, nobody will side you.

“90 per cent of Lagos is owned by Igbos. All the investment there, how many of them are going to leave all these things and come back to the East?”

  • Grace Johnson
  • vincentumenyiora

    [He also urged Nigerians to pray for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and leaders at all levels, even as he solicited for sustained prayers for peace, unity and socio-economic prosperity of the country.
    Gowon said, “Prayer can solve problems better and faster than soldiers, as well as physical weapons of war. I have no doubt in my heart that God will honour our collective prayer and intercession for our dear nation, as well as heal our nation of insecurity.

    “May we experience abundance of God’s mercy and showers of blessings over our lives and our nation as we raise our voices in heartfelt prayers today in Sokoto”.]

    Incidentally the solution you need for this problems was submitted or has been submitted toe th SGF and Senate President on 2nd February 2015 to inform you in the same manner I handed to the General Y. Gowon on 8th Sept. 2008 @ Jesus House Brent Cross London part solution for Nigeria on the burning crucial or controvertial issues about Nigeria! To inform you – all those it may concern, that just as you were in a dilemma in 1991/2 – i.e. the em-passe, and I produced the solution Option A-4, I believe that I have done so again in this controvertial debate all you need is to study my thinking and do so early before you derail again! Fortunately the solution is contained in my new publication – A WAKE UP CALL! to AFRICANS by V. i. UMENYIORA just released on Amazon if you can access it! It has everything in it to not only satisfy but also to pacify the agitations in Nigeria – you’ve never seen anything like it all derived from premonitions if you’re truly believers; just like the ‘Option A-4’ 23 years and you are back to it!

    To say more, that I do not agree entirely with the closing remarks of Chief Mbanefo for the simple reason that whatever are your feeling bout the Igbo man or Ndigbo, Nigeria is said to be for everybody and everybody in Nigeria are not created with the same dexterity or capacity so, you cannot blame the Igboman or woman if their psyche is discovered to be different or at variance nevertheless they have used such to not only expand but as a catalyst for Nigeria! Read my new solution as directed and see how you can marry it into the now wished/ proposed ‘RESTRUCTURING’ – this is my take! If you are a believer indeed, you must see the solution of Nigeria’s political leadership imbroglio and so economic sagacity for Nigeria in my new solution, folks!

  • vincentumenyiora

    To say more that my book has come about the same time – the trajectory when IBB and the AFRC were faced with the challenges from those he classified as ‘RADICALS’ in 1991/92 and he urged/prayed with them to submit solutions rather then criticizing his administration all the time and I went I left my publication Nigeria – survival or disintegration at the Barr. Gani Fawehinme’s (SAN) late Office in Lagos in 1992!

  • vincentumenyiora

    Here is a gauntlet if you truly understand what is happening in Nigeria and the problems – I want to see the reactions of your critics in your ‘Disqus’ – Ola and ifyain in particular after reading my comment!

  • vincentumenyiora

    On 2nd thought and apropos of nothing in particular only to keep the records straight, I am thinking why not Chief Arthur Mbanefo and Dr. Sylvanus Kuki (and any other) as the last bastions of Ojukwu’s Cabinet according to him, tell us for historical records why they did not sue for arms and munitions for Biafra at the time of the crisis? We learnt about the olive branch offer from the USSR at the initial stage of the crisis and from France De-Gaul evidence of which we saw in both Ivory Coast and Gabon even one from Prof. Chike Obi on his trip to China – why did they not consider such support important signifying to a point that they probably did not quite comprehend the dangers and scope of the ciris? If they did obviously the question about situation in Nigeria in its present form will not be difficult! You probably would be discussing about reconciliation, issues of Asset Sharing and immigration! The problem you people appear not to consider is pertinent and needs to be addresses seriously is the issue about the psychology of the people – the disparity in your psyche is too large! I don’t know how you can wean this down so as to meet the essentials for nation building! I mean last week we were told – it was evidently clear that Buhari spoke to the Northerners in their ‘Sala’ celebration in Arabic not even remembering that the Christians in the South have been joined in prayers for his recovery therefore need the same attention bestowed; what he could have also done in English language after he had spoken to his people. Behold even his advisers could not see the danger (effrontery) or the in appropriateness in that gesture or policy to speak to a section of Nigeria only! Like I said it earlier your problem in Nigeria devolves round cowardliness or forthrightness!

    To help matters and you in Nigeria I have produced another solution which you can now read or get familiar with in my publication now on Amazon titled; A WAKE UP CALL! to Africans by V. i,.Umeniora READ THE BOOK AND SEE IF WHAT YOU SEE CONTAINED IN IT CAN HELP IN YOUR RESTRUCTURING PROPOSAL! Thank you all the same.

  • vincentumenyiora

    How I wish these men can, in their private moments of reflection see how their acts or inaction(s) have caused a grave bemuse to both the youths and the older generation in Nigeria!