It is my sincere hope the lessons of the bitter struggle have been well learned by everybody and I would like therefore to take this opportunity to say that I, Maj. Gen. Philip Effiong, officer administering the government of the Republic of Biafra, now wish to make the following declaration:
That we are firm, we are loyal Nigerian citizens and accept the authority of the federal military Government of Nigeria.
That we accept the existing administrative and political structure of the Federation of Nigeria.
That any future constitutional arrangement will be worked out by representatives of the people of Nigeria. That the Republic of Biafra hereby ceases to exist.Philip Effiong
The words above ended a 30-month period of hostility and brutal war between Nigeria and the secessionist Eastern Nigeria’s Biafra. On January 15, 1970 the warring factions were clearly fed up with the continuous loss of live and properties, and above all, the threat the war posed on Nigerian unity was of great concern. It was time for Nigeria to move on and live up to its potential as a great nation as evident in the speech of then Head of the Federal Military Government, Yakubu Gowon.
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The tragic chapter of violence is just ended. We are at the dawn of national reconciliation. Once again, we have an opportunity to build a new nation.Yakubu Gowon
15th January 2020 marks the 50th year celebration of the end of the war, celebration of a day we collectively agreed to put aside our ethnic, religious, or even personal grievances from the war and live, unite, and stand together as a great nation. For a county that is multi-ethnic, and filled of people with different beliefs and religious/cultural practices, it is worthwhile to see citizens live in peace and harmony, and understand the need for brotherhood and nationhood.
The Igbo understand that despite being the predominant inhabitants of the Eastern part of the country, the Hausas, Yorubas as well as other ethnic groups are free to reside and carry out their daily business and life activities in the Eastern region. The Yorubas in the Western region, and the Hausas in the Northern region, as well as other minor ethnic groups have this understanding. Nigeria belongs to no one, it belongs to everybody. We have learnt from our bitter struggles and there is no need for another war. The leader of the defunct Biafra state, late Odumegwu Ojukwu, while still alive stated there is no need for another war. In his words:
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A lot of people will say but you were leading the first one (Nigeria/Biafra war), yes I led the first one, and I will say it to everyone, I led proudly the first one. I don’t think a second one is necessary. We should have learnt from that first one.Odumegwu Ojukwu
As we go on with our daily lives, we must always remember to guide our national unity as if our lives depend on it. The most populous black nation on earth must never have another reason to fight another war. Long live the federal republic of Nigeria.
Featured Image Source: The Guardian NG
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