By OKECHUKWU PEACE
Former minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili has described the sustained agitation for the Indigenous Peoples Republic of Biafra as evidence of failure to “reintegrate or rehabilitate the region – the southeast – who received the greatest blow from the civil war.”
Ezekwesili said “the leadership was absent in cementing the basic for rebuilding the foundation of our nation that had been traumatized by that kind of civil war.��
Speaking during the launch of the book: “We are all Biafrans” by journalist and rights activist, Chido Onumah in Abuja, Ezekwesili said Nigerians as a people have overtime resorted to an equal opportunity of suffering for all ethnic groups.
“Nigerians have the consent of equal opportunity to suffer, and this equal to suffer comes from a very unfortunate attitude that each ethnic group is entitled to the suffering that comes upon it while the rest can look away,” Ezekwesili said.
“This started and got entrenched following the 1966 coup and then the ungodly civil war that followed with the declaration of Biafra and the civil war and then the fact that the country lost some 100,000 military people and over 2 million civilians in that war,” she said.
“So the root cause of what we see with the marginalization of every ethnic group is that at the time that we had the opportunity to have determined how to settle conflict and to completely build a trajectory for a new sense of identity we missed it,” she said.
“We missed a great opportunity that the end of the Nigerian civil war offered us, we moved on so quickly. And as we moved on so quickly another ethnic group had its own situation.
“So what do you think the ones who had previously suffered the whole thing would say; they looked away and said, when we were suffering where were you? And then another ethnic group suffered its own and the rest looked at them and said, na only you, we too we don suffer before?
She added that right from her teen years Nigerians have always lived with the slogan “If you dabo me, I scatter you”.