Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Obasanjo cautions Achebe, Awolowo’s loyalists against civil war comments

FORMER President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Abeokuta ,cautioned the literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe and the loyalists of late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo against uncomplimentary comments over the 3 -year old civil war in the country.
Obasanjo reacted in Abeokuta during the grand civic reception organised by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West to formerly welcome him home after his resignation as the Chairman, Board of Trustee, BoT, of the party.
A former Biafran warlord, Ben Gbulie who thanked Obasanjo for converting the outright dismissal of some soldiers in the Nigerian Army who participated in the Biafran war to retirement, stating that, Obasanjo, as a war leader at that time won all the battles.
Former BoT Chairman of PDP, Obasanjo
Former BoT Chairman of PDP, Obasanjo

It would also be recalled that, Achebe and Awolowo’s loyalists recently traded words over the roles of the latter and the eventual criticism by Achebe in his recent book.
Reacting to the controversies generated over the issue, Obasanjo urged both sides to sheathe their sword and let sleeping dogs lie.
Obasanjo disclosed that he deliberately invited the former Biafran warlord to share his experience about the civil war,saying, “because you are one of the participants in the first coup, and as you rightly said, you are also on the other side fighting for what you believed in, to save the Igbo from extermination.
“ Like I always said, that whole episode is unnecessary but we should also remember one thing, action and reaction in physics, they say, equal and opposite , but, in human interaction, no.
Reactions are always greater than action and you know that and I know that. But I believe the time has come when all of us in this country should put the civil war behind us.
“ Whether you called it Biafra, whether you called yourselves rebels or we called you rebels at the time, you called us vandals or we called ourselves whatever, I believe enough is enough on the Nigerian civil war.
I am happy that you came because I want people on the other side to know it was unnecessary. Since January 1970,after 43 years, if we are still mourning and groaning, I wonder.
The second world war ended 1945 and the combatants were the best of friends less than 10 years after. I just believe that we should put that behind us.”
Earlier in his lecture “Obasanjo in the Eye of History,” delivered by former President of Ghana, John Kuffor, he relived how Obasanjo used $40million to stabilize his country (Ghana) when he released the fund to the West African neighbour to pay its equity fund in the West African pipeline fund.
Kuffor said he was particularly bonded with Obasanjo, whom he fondly referred to as “my friend and brother,” stating that the consultation and approval to part-finance the project for Ghana, was taken in
Washington DC.
“Myself and Obasanjo were Presidents during the same time. When I became President of Ghana, between 2001 and 2009, Obasanjo was President in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, the economy of my country was flat on its belly. At that time, Obasanjo approved that Nigeria should give us fuel on favourable terms aftermath of my meeting him in Abuja.”

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