The Nigerian Civil war is a big part of Nigerian history. This historical reality indicates a nation’s fight for existence and a people’s fight for the right to live their lives with fear.
The Nigerian civil war started in 1967 and ended in 1970. it was a struggle by the Nigerian government to bring back the seceding Biafran people. It is a part of Nigerian history that has been thoroughly discussed even though it the impact of this aspect of our historical life still stare us in the face.
The war, which caused the death of over 3 million people, started as an expression of displeasure against the ethnic injustice among the people of the country. It started as a struggle for political relevance and dovetailed into the massacre of people from the east and south-south parts of the country in some other part of the country particularly the Northern part of the country.
The war saw Nigeria witnessed sacrifices by its heroes. over the years, however, our question has been: have the sacrifices of these leaders not being in vain?
The Dangers of Ethnic/Religion Divison
One reality we Nigerians have not come to terms with is the fact that Nigeria is a pluralist country. Apart from having adherents of different religions (Christianity, Islam and Traditional Religions), we are also people divided along ethnic lines. We are also divided along cultural lines.
It is an irreversible fact that this disparity cannot be sweep under the rug. We cannot undo our religious and cultural heritage. it is, therefore, disturbing that we have not been able to seek out our difference as a people and live above them.
We need to understand that the reason we as a people went through the agony of the Nigerian Civil war was that we did not look beyond our differences to chart a cause for us to follow through as a Nigerian people for the benefit of our unborn children.
Every Nigerian Is a Biafran
When Nigerians, especially the Igbos or the people from the south-south commemorate the war, they are not just celebrating the memories of the war or the people who died in the war or what the war took from them, but, also, what it means to be a Nigerian.
A Biafran is a person who is tired of the injustice meted out to some Nigerians. A Biafran is a person who is tired of the killings and persecution of some people because of their ethnicity, religion and creed. A Biafran is a person who is fed up by the terrible and corrupt leaders we had and presently have in the country.
In essence, a Biafran is a Nigerian, regardless of his/her ethnicity or religion, who is tired of the issues that have beset the country since its inception. Every Nigerian is a Biafran.
Value of Human Life
Nigeria has not learnt the need to take human life seriously. What instigated the war is the fact that we failed to place adequate value to the lives of people around us.
Series of rippling events caused the war. They including a coup and counter-coup that killed many leaders, also the persecution of some tribes because of the ethnic and religious status.
Until we learn to promote and preserve the sanity of human life, the labour and sacrifices of our heroes during the period of the world would continue to be a waste.
No Justice No peace
Justice is the secret behind the growth and development of prospering nations. every man must be given his/her dues. Nations that refuse to treat its citizens fairly would continue to fail.
Nigeria has failed to be just to her people. until every region, religion adherent, tribe and ethnic group are treated without bias than Nigeria will continue to struggle.
Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are – Benjamin Franklin
Need to restructure Nigeria
One thing we must learn at this time is the urgent need to restructure the country. Our failures will continue to stare us in the face until this country is restructured, economically, structurally, politically and socially, accordingly.
We need to give every region in the country the opportunity to prosper.
We need to talk about It
One thing the people of Rwanda has succeeded in doing after the 1994 Genocide is to talk about it. They spoke about the terrible incident among themselves and to their children. They discussed the role every single person played and the lessons from their experiences. This discussion helped them make up their mind not to let such happen again.
Like how parents shy from talking about sex with their children, Nigerians have shied away from talking about the Nigeria/BiafranBiafran ordeal either to their children or with their fellow Nigerian.
We all need to learn how to discuss this historical incident. This is why the study of history in our schools should be given almost priority. our children need to learn from the past generation’s mistakes and make a mutual commitment not to let it repeat itself.