Why Nigeria doesn’t have ‘official’ records of civil war — Obasanjo

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why Nigeria has no official records of what transpired during the nation’s civil war.

Mr Obasanjo also said writing the history of the civil war, ”has been overtaken by events”.

The civil war that occurred between 1967 and 1970 was fought between the Nigerian forces and Biafran forces, who wanted an independent nation.

The war led to the deaths of thousands of Nigerian and Biafran soldiers.

The two-term former president spoke on Tuesday at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre Abuja, at the launch of a book written by Abdullahi Shehu, titled ”Election in Nigeria: The Long Road To Democracy.”

The event attracted dignitaries, including a former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; human right activist, Femi Falana; a former deputy president of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu; Chido Onumah, author of ‘We Are All Biafrans”, among many others.

Mr Obasanjo narrated how a committee launched by Mr Gowon, ”refused to write the Nigerian civil war history”.

”When we had our civil war, General Gowon established a committee to write the official history of the Nigerian civil war. After about four-five years, the committee would not agree to write an official history, and up till today, we have no official history of the war,” Mr Obasanjo said.

”Maybe now, we can say it is overtaken by events, maybe people can sit down and write an official history of the war,” he added.

He also explained how a former head of state, late Murtala Muhammed ”forcefully dissolved the committee”.

”And I can remember, when we relieved General Gowon of his appointment, we looked at that committee, and one day, Murtala angrily said, we as a nation we cannot come together and prevent a civil war, and we fought a civil war because we disagreed.

”Should we not be able to come together to write the official history of the Nigeria civil war and because we have failed to write the official history, our committee has failed. He disbanded the committee. And that committee remains disbanded till today,” he said.

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