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.
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.”
At the civic reception graced by the political class, captains of industry, members of the diplomatic corps, the royalty, where the Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade obliged the gathering that “poverty bond him together with Obasanjo in their Secondary School days at Baptist Boys High School in Oke-Egunya, Abeokuta, Kuffo recalled how the Owu-born General secured debts cancellation for Nigeria and got its external reserves to hit $53bn.
He recalled how Obasanjo “bullied” Guinea Bissau soldiers when the duo visited as President of Africa Union and ECOWAS respectively by saying to them on a peace mission: “you guys should go back to the Barracks, how many of you are in this country that you have more Generals than Nigeria,” at the reception put together by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chaired by former Head of State, Ernest Shonekan and graced by Bola Ajibola, a former Judge at the World Court in the Hague.
Others who graced the ocassion included Senate President David Mark, Adamawa governor, Murtala Nyaku, PDP national vice chairman South West, Engineer Segun Oni, Former Governor of Ondo state, Segun Agagu, Osile of Oke Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, former Agricuture Minister, Alhaji Adamu Bello, former education Minister, Dr Oby Ekwesili, Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade, Osimawe of Ondo, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida, Former Speaker of Ogun state, Titi Oseni, Olu of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, Former Presidential adviser of Legislative matters, Florence Ita-Giwa, former Military administrator of Western Nigeria, Vice Admiral Akin Aduwo, former Ogun PDP governorship candidat, Adetunji Olurin and the representatives of the governors of Kaduna, Niger, Plateau and Jigawa