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Biafra civil war: Seek forgiveness, apologize to Igbos – Ohanaeze urges Gowon

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has charged former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) to seek forgiveness and apologize to Igbos over his latest remark on Biafra civil war.

A chieftain of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, who described Gowon’s remark as inflammatory, urged him to move for reconciliation.

Isiguzoro said Gowon’s latest remark following his visit to President Bola Tinubu, has reopened old wounds and inflicted anguish upon the Igbo community, both at home and in the diaspora.

The factional Secretary-General of Ohanaeze said 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.

Gowon, who ruled Nigeria between 1966 and 1975, had recalled how he was criticized that he could not prosecute the civil war because he was slow.

Condemning the remark, the factional Secretary-General, challenged Gowon to reflect on his actions and the enduring consequences of the Biafra civil war.

A statement by Isiguzoro reads: “In response to the incessant and inflammatory comments made by the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, regarding the experiences of the Biafra war, Ohanaeze Ndigbo issues a resolute and imperative call for reconciliation and healing to be initiated by Gowon himself.

“It is with unwavering conviction that we assert that the time has come for Gowon to take responsibility for his role in the tragic events of the past. His repetitive glorification of the suppression of the Biafran struggle does a disservice to national unity and healing.

“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.

“It is incumbent upon Gowon to acknowledge the atrocities, confess to any misdeeds, and sincerely apologize to the Igbo community for the role he played in the conflict.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo emphasizes that only through sincere reconciliation, rooted in genuine remorse and penitence, can lasting peace and harmonious co-existence be achieved in our nation.

“The endurance of the Igbo people, their forgiveness, and their commitment to national development are undeniable, yet the scars of the past persist as long as Gowon chooses to reopen old wounds with his insensitive comments.

“It is crucial for General Gowon to rise above personal pride and demonstrate true leadership by making amends for the sins of the past.

“As Igbos continue to contribute positively to the development of Nigeria and support the government of President Tinubu, it is incumbent upon Gowon to reciprocate by fostering an environment of healing and reconciliation through his actions and words.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo implores General Yakubu Gowon to seize this rare opportunity to seek forgiveness, offer sincere apologies, and desist from further inflaming the painful memories of the Biafra war.

“It is time for Gowon to exhibit humility, righteousness, and empathy towards the victims of the war, thereby paving the way for genuine reconciliation and lasting peace in our beloved nation.”

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