Civil War: Ohanaeze Demands Gowon’s Apology Over Remark

Civil War: Ohanaeze Demands Gowon’s Apology Over Remark

  • Ohanaeze Ndigbo has called on former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), to apologise to the Igbo community for his recent comments on the Biafra civil war.
  • Okechukwu Isiguzoro, a leader within Ohanaeze, characterised Gowon's statement as provocative and urged him to work towards reconciliation.
  • Isiguzoro emphasised that after meeting President Bola Tinubu, Gowon's remarks reignited painful memories and caused distress among the Igbo people in Nigeria and abroad. journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

Ohanaeze Ndigbo has urged General Yakubu Gowon, the former Head of State, to apologize to the Igbo community for reopening painful memories of the Biafra war.

The statement, issued by Ohanaeze's Secretary General Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, came after allegations that Gowon made inflammatory remarks during a recent visit to President Tinubu.

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Gen Yakubu Gowon was Nigeria's head of states from 1966 - 1975
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently received the former head of state at the presidential villa. Photo Credit: The Presidency Nigeria/The Crux
Source: Twitter

Isiguzoro expressed that Gowon's comments have been insensitive and distressing to the Igbo people, both within Nigeria and abroad.

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As quoted by The Nigerian Tribune, the statement reads:

“The recent remarks attributed to Gowon following his visit to President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday, February 2p1, 2024, have once again reopened old wounds and inflicted anguish upon the Igbo community, both at home and in the diaspora.
It is evident that Gowon’s choice of words and narrative regarding the Biafra War has been insensitive and deeply hurtful to the collective psyche of the Igbo people.
“We remind General Gowon that his continued existence, especially amidst the over 3 million Igbo lives lost during the war, is a divine opportunity for him to seek redemption and offer genuine apologies for the pain and suffering inflicted upon the Igbo people."

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Gowon urged to seek redemption for 3 million lives lost in civil war

Ohanaeze insisted that it is essential for Gowon to recognise his past actions, admit any wrongdoing, and genuinely apologise to the Igbo community for his involvement in the conflict.

They stressed that true reconciliation, based on sincere remorse and repentance, is crucial for fostering lasting peace and unity in Nigeria.

Furthermore, Ohanaeze highlighted the resilience, forgiveness, and dedication of the Igbo people to national progress.

However, they noted that wounds from the past continue to haunt them as long as Gowon keeps stirring them with insensitive remarks.

Ohanaeze urged to move on civil war

In a counter assertion to the demands of the Ohanaeze, anti-terrorism expert Dr Abubakar Sani urged the socio-cultural group to understand that Gowon alone cannot decide to take Nigeria into the civil at the time.

Dr Sani said such a decision must get the unanimous approval of the Supreme Military Council.

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In a chat with, he said:

"People should know that a president can not just take a whole country to a war without the express approval of the supreme military council or whatever the case might be.
"The decision to go into the civil war to preserve the unity of Nigeria was a collective one, and I think we won't be fair to General Gowon if we put the entire blame on him and demand for an apology."

He, however, sympathised with the lives of the Igbos that were lost during the war while urging the Ohanaeze not to forget how many homes were plunged into sorrow due to the Nigerian soldiers that were killed by the Biafran troops.

Dr Sani appealed for more concentration on essential issues like salvaging Nigeria from its economic ruins.

He said:

"Please let's concentrate on what's important: economic recovery, internal security, youth and women empowerment etc."

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Gowon meets Tinubu, sends crucial message to Nigerians

Meanwhile, General Yakubu Gowon has urged Nigerians to grant President Bola Tinubu the necessary time to address the country's economic issues.

Following a private discussion with Tinubu, Gowon emphasised that the government is exerting considerable effort to improve Nigeria's situation.

He acknowledged that criticism is inevitable for leaders but emphasised that those in leadership positions have a deeper understanding of the challenges.


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