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Why Gowon can’t apologize, ACF replies Ohanaeze, IPOB

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) says it has been deeply offended and pained to read what it called highly provocative statements recently credited to Mr. Okechukwu Isiguozo

According to a statement signed by Prof. T. A. Muhammad-Baba, ACF National Publicity Secretary on 4th March, 2024
“The ACF has taken its time to digest the statements representing the officials of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo as well as from the self-styled Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), irreverently calling on ACF’s Grand Patron, Former Head of State and Elder Stateman, General Dr. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, to “apologise” for some nebulous “sin” against the Igbo people, emanating from his role as Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the 1969 – 1970 Nigerian Civil War.

He said, “For ACF, the statements were crude, inciteful, almost uncouth, underlined by thinly-disguised jealousy and totally uncharitable to the legacy of General Gowon, whose records in the role under reference remains, we dare say, yet unmatched in the history of modern Nigeria. It is therefore highly regrettable that absolutely anyone will resort to such shadow-chasing, knowing full well where the blame lies regarding sordid never-to-be-forgotten experience in Nigeria during the period January 1966 to January 1970.

“Such statements can only at best be rationalised in the context of attempts to rewrite/reinterpret history as ACF had observed last January on the anniversary of the ethnic-tainted military coup of 1966, perhaps the single most catastrophic in the series of negative developments that together setback the development of Nigeria’s democracy.
If the referenced statements were meant to advance some national discourse on issues relevant to the political development in Nigeria, they had only served to scratch at and open wounds that had been assumed to be reasonably or tolerably dried and fading. ACF believes General Gowon’s only “sin” was marshalling human and material national resources to crush a needless rebellion and return Nigeria back on the path of national unity.

ACF added that “Beyond merely crushing the rebellion, the General magnanimously instituted an unprecedented and remarkable policy of “No Victor, No Vanquished”, anchored on the “The Three Rs”, i.e. Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. The policy rightly ensured that the Igbos returned to the fold of One Nigeria where they have continued to prosper and are found in all nooks and crannies, economically integrated and culturally tolerated. Igbos own lands and businesses even when, by a recent admission from one of their elders, non-indigenes in the Southeastern states do not enjoy such constitutionally permitted privileges.

“For every Nigerian, General Yakubu Gowon remains an icon of humility, a spectacular exemplar in leadership qualities deserving of respect and gratitude. Never for once should Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, IPOB and any such groups forget that all the retired General did was to le What the General did was to professionally superintend over a nation facing a rebellion.

“For that matter, ACF has been buoyed by reactions of the people of BRAC states of Nigeria (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River) relating to their own suffering in the hands of the rebel forces during the war and how much in high esteem they hold our Grand Patron and Hero of Modern Nigeria.

“ACF subscribes to the saying that wounds heal best when left untouched by dirty fingers. While not wishing to speak ill of the dead and buried, ACF believes that Igbos know, ab initio, precisely those who ought to apologise for leading Nigerians, and Igbo people, into senseless political adventurism from calculated and coldblooded murders of national political and military heroes, unarmed civilians including an 8-month pregnant woman in front of her children, starting in January 1966 to the conclusion of the Civil War in January 1970.

“In conclusion, ACF calls on all to hug peace tightly and enough of the crass obsession with the civil war victimhood mentality. Bottomline, everyone has been nursing deep wounds even as they elect to forgive. For ACF, General Gowon and all the generals that fought to keep Nigeria One forever remain our revered heroes. Any and all disrespect thrown at them will attract appropriate response in like measure and manner.”