A former Minister of Defence and wartime military officer, Theophilus Danjuma, has blamed the late Biafran warlord, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, for the bloodshed that took place during Nigeria’s civil war, saying Mr. Ojukwu failed to concede defeat as President Goodluck Jonathan recently did to Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking Wednesday after a meeting with President Jonathan in Abuja, Mr. Danjuma praised the president for giving up on the elections after it became clear he had lost. Mr. Jonathan had visited Mr. Danjuma at him home in Abuja.
The former military chief charged African and world leaders to emulate Mr. Jonathan, saying the president had set a record in Africa by conceding defeat and congratulating the opposition candidate, Mr. Buhari, even before the final result of the poll was announced.
According to him, the position taken by the president was new in Nigeria.
“The outcome of the election and the manner in which President Jonathan conceded victory to Buhari is totally un-African,” Mr. Danjuma said. “It is very new in the history of our country.”
Mr. Danjuma then made a startling comparison between the polls and the bloody civil war that ended the lives of more than a million Nigerians between 1967 and 1970.
The former defence chief said the bloodshed could have been averted but for the defiance of Mr. Ojukwu, whom he accused of refusing to give up when federal troops swept through Biafra’s stronghold in the South East.
“If Ojukwu did the same after the fall of Enugu when his government fled into exile, if he had conceded victory to the federal troops, it would have saved the nation one full year of bloodshed,” he said.
“So, President Jonathan has set a record and it is something to be emulated by the rest of Africa and indeed, the whole world,’’ Mr. Danjuma said.
Mr. Danjuma, who holds oil field titles and is one of Nigeria’s richest men alive, in January drew the fury of Niger Delta ex-militant leaders after he demanded they be arrested for threatening war if Mr. Jonathan loses the presidential election.
The ex-militants declared Mr. Danjuma unwanted in the oil rich region and demanded an apology from him.