If elected president of Nigeria in the February 25 election, Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, has outlined his strategies for addressing the epidemic of ethnic unrest in the nation.
On the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of the end of the Nigeria/Biafra conflict, Obi gave the justification on Sunday in Abuja.
Obi bemoaned the downward track of the Nigerian nation in a post titled “Nation Building and Ordered Society are Imperative,” and he urged every eligible voter to use the upcoming presidential election to support a candidate who wants to give the country a new beginning.
He remarked, “I believe that when people see a patriotic leadership imbued with fairness, equity, justice, and a commitment for a very inclusive and progressive society, diverse agitation groups will end their agitations. Every reasonable person has the capacity to change when presented with compelling evidence. Such incentives call for the proper strategy, work, and time.
Many young people in Nigeria are dissatisfied due to unfairness, poverty, a lack of possibilities, unemployment, and what appears to be exclusion. Such young people might pick any problem or means of expression to convey their resentment and rage.
I think that some of the agitators are doing so in part as a result of our inability to make Nigeria inclusive and progressive. Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West African Province will both be effectively and conclusively defeated by a functioning Nigeria with equity, justice, and fairness.
The former governor of Anambra state emphasized the value of conversation in resolving the nation’s conflicts and said that, if elected, his administration would use both kinetic and non-kinetic tactics to create a peaceful society for all Nigerians, regardless of where they reside.
“I personally think that a carrot-and-stick method is the greatest way to deal with situations like these that appear as ambiguous nationalism, intolerant patriotism, or religious bigotry. An organized society and nation-building are now essential. Through the development of a society where equity and justice shall rule, a society where basic freedoms and necessities of life, such as health, employment, skills, and empowerment, are provided, we must wean those who can be weaned.
For those who are willing to adopt the carrot method, there must be a nationwide program. The option of using the stick will be properly justified and put into action for those who refuse to accept the carrot strategy. Our society needs to be organized, and if required, justice will be balanced with mercy, he said.
Although the war came to end 53 years ago, Obi regretted that not much has been achieved in terms of building an inclusive nation for all.
“January 15 is a very unique and important day, just like it was 53 years ago! In 40 days, Nigerians will cast their ballots in an election that many believe to be the most important and existential choice our country will ever have to make, especially for our children and youth given the sad state of our beloved country, Nigeria, which is marked by alarming insecurity, unemployment, poverty, inflation, debt, hunger, disunity, and many other signs of a failing state. In addition, the thirty-month civil war, which resulted in the regrettable loss of millions of lives and an incalculable amount of property, was officially put to an end on January 15, 1953, a day that will always hold particular significance for Nigeria.
As we recall, Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, as he was known at the time, led the Biafran delegation to General Gowon to announce that the war was finished and that the Biafran side’s military allies should be deployed.
The words “No victor, no vanquished” and “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done” were used. The commitment of both mental and physical energy to the difficult but noble goal of constructing one strong, united, and indivisible Nigeria has been made possible by this task of maintaining Nigeria’s unity in the spirit of “No Victor, No Vanquished.” Thus, as previously said, Securing and Uniting Nigeria for Sustainable and Inclusive Development should be our collective top priority.
We must all work together with the utmost seriousness and dedication to prevent any severe bloodshed in Nigeria, much alone another civil war, while also regretting the enormous losses caused by the conflict, praying for the souls of the deceased, and giving thanks to God that it has come to a stop. Never once more! We can all agree that the mission of securing and unifying Nigeria should be our sole option and that the leaders and people of the various regions of Nigeria have performed wonderfully, especially in the years immediately following the war.
“Less than ten years after the end of that civil war, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, a dedicated personality from the defunct Biafra, was second in command to Shehu Shagari, a most patriotic and modest servant-leader. May their souls find eternal peace! Our beloved Shehu Shagari and Alex Ekwueme, who both have blessed memories, were a potent and real manifestation of the cohesion and unity that gave rise to a thriving post-war Nigeria. A path of brotherhood and unity established by Shagari/Ekwueme is one I deeply cherish, and I firmly believe is the one we should continue down today. This democratic leap, with its unifying symbolism, was glorious for Nigeria.
This generation and future generations of Nigerians are being gravely harmed by anyone who continues to harbor an agenda that is incompatible with the accomplishment of a comprehensive and unifying people-oriented development vision. Other than the lack of effective socioeconomic and political policies and initiatives that will unify and advance Nigeria, I am at a loss for a good explanation.
According to what I am aware of the South-East, the Ohanaeze-led Igbo Nation has consistently expressed its unwavering support for Nigeria’s progress toward unity, oneness, integrity, and equity as well as its dedication to these ideals. And I, Peter Obi, a proud Nigerian of Igbo descent, am most sincerely and completely committed to that stance of one united, safe, and forward-looking Nigeria. I also add that it is unfair to use the misdeeds or positions of one or a small number of members of an ethnic group to denigrate the entire group. It is the incorrect strategy and shouldn’t be, so! I’ve stated numerous times that I’ll sit down and chat with all agitators because I think we need to keep negotiating and talking with all to achieve positive results.”
Let us recognize that the conflict has genuinely ended, said Obi, adding that if given the chance to oversee the country’s affairs, he would make sure that the circumstances that sparked the civil war did not occur again. After 53 years, trying to “fight the civil war” would be a grave injustice to Nigeria and Nigerians, especially our heroes who worked tirelessly to safeguard and unite us. “Though tribes and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand,” should still be our national hymn.
“On this day, January 15, 2023, I most solemnly swear and commit that I will devote the rest of my life to preventing a repeat of the civil war and the events that caused it, as well as to ensuring that we create an inclusive and progressive society in which no person or group will experience alienation, marginalization, or exclusion. I am still adamant that a New Nigeria, one in which we can all take pride and be patriotically devoted, is both feasible and necessary, he said.
He bemoaned the unemployment and poverty in the nation, promising that if he were elected, every Nigerian would have the chance to use his talent to make a respectable livelihood.