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There are three sides to a story – your side, their side and the truth. The War of No Victor No Vanquished is gradually turning into everything but that. If you are Igbo and you get the account of your own side of the war, nobody can blame you for your anger. At the same time, we must understand if you get opposite view from Hausa perspective. The Yoruba, and minorities to some extent, get more blame than either side.

Until we put Ojukwu and Gowon on public trial in absentia where no one has anything to lose in an academic forum or equally represented forum with evidence tabled so that they can be impeached, rebutted or accepted, we may lose some of history to our ethnic champions. The only reason Awo should be included is that he gets more blame than Gowon and Ojukwu, for no other reason than each side wished they had him.

Usually if we want reconciliation like they did in South Africa or mental counseling after difficult period of anguish as they do in other places, we can come together seeking the truth. The vitriol being spilled and fed to the next generation must be dealt with in a reasonable and carefully calculated manner where all sides are allowed to express their anguish against Nigeria that has given them so much but never given anything in return.

Only young people that have never enjoyed constant functional infrastructure as power, water, roads and good schools can complain. As a distraction, they are being fed hate and given weapons to destroy one another to lay the foundation for another war. When Africa is desperately looking for a leader, smaller and less gifted countries are moving faster than Nigeria in fulfilling that role while we wallow daily in internal problems.

When you see a toad at noon, something is after its life. So we must appreciate the few old men that stood up. Some die in the process others protesting took in tear gas and beatings from police. They came out in their old age, not only for pension but because they could not believe that a country that was so promising has fallen into the hands of hate mongers. We must wrestle the next generation away from mischievous elements.

The amount of rubbish fed to this generation of young people cannot even pass litmus test. In terms of wisdom, men like Ben Nwabueze, Tunji Braiwaite, Balarabe Musa etc., or constituted judicial forum of eminent jurists are there. Everyone has a story but if that story is not aired in the open and challenged by uncompromised authorities, it will be taken as the gospel truth by the receivers. Only to be repeated until it is believed.

War is never a pretty sight or story and many generals that have gone through wars would never recommend another one. The casualties on women and children usually referred to today as collateral damages can never be compensated for or brought back to live. So we have rules of engagement that should not have been violated.

At the end of the day, it is not surprising that the winner of the war defines who the aggressor and the war criminals are. By declaring no victor and no vanquished, Nigeria intended to reconcile and put everyone, no matter what side they fought on, on the path to recovery. The atrocious words that are being generated point to another motive to rewrite their war memoirs after Lagos stopped, as we all welcomed Ojukwu home.

Therefore, some have seized on starvation and twenty pounds “starter” for the weakest link to attack Awolowo as the brain to punish the Igbo. No matter what side we believe, it is obvious that both Ojukwu and Gowon negotiated food corridor and there were enough blame to be equally shared for rejecting either road or air corridor. It did not matter, neither got the blame. Give some credits to soldiers on both sides.

On the twenty pounds, we heard all types of wild stories about most people that lost their money in the banks, when banks were banks. As it turned out, those that had genuine complaints were in the South-east where the banks lost documents because they were burnt or because the Federal Government changed the currency when Biafra started printing money after looting banks in the Mid-west.

Nigerians are known for their ingenuity. Unfortunately we use it for selfish purposes not for good use to liberate ourselves economically. Before oyinbo became aware, forged currencies, certificates, passports etc. were printed in Oluwole Lagos, Onitsha market, Dantata currencies not to talk about Ijebu money. By the time oyinbo realized what was going on, water has passed!

Even if Charles Soludo, not Clement Isong, was the Governor of Central Bank, knowing the percentage of Nigerians that saved good money in the banks were less than one percent, he would not encourage the rest of the ninety-nine percent to brink their documents to claim money from the banks. No prudent person would.

The fact is not that many Nigerians keep so much money in bank around that time. No matter what, majority of those that claimed bank account never saved in the bank. If we think about the low percentage of Nigerians with any substantial amount of money in their bank account today which is less than 10 percent, even less than one percent of Nigerians banked in those days. See here

The other 99 percent claiming they lost substantial amount of their money in the banks should have been accommodated and they were because they lost much more than money. A committee had to look into how those that could be paid, which was what was done. Yet, most of the Igbo got everything back in the West where Awo came from.

Some people have claimed they saw Awo in the sky, a magician he was not.

The hate from all side is much deeper than that. It is reflected in the fierce competitions between the groups especially Igbo and Yoruba for any position that comes up, no matter where the position is “zoned” to. Some people are now saying they should have waited for the Igbo before indigenization called for since the time of Herbert Macauley. Haba! Nigeria should stop breathing until we are sure secession would not succeed?

The silver lining in the presidential form of government with all its faults is that no group is put in opposition. However, when the Action Group was in the opposition, the West had the highest development in Nigeria and there was no call for secession. Awo was not a superman but an ordinary folk like everyone else that did all he could for every Nigerian living in the West and Midwest, no distinction. They know themselves.

No matter what form of government, Nigerians use their talents to beat and dislocate the system, not to improve on it. Nobody should be afraid to go on his own, as long as we stop invading tiny poor nations all over ours and others' continent. No country is big enough to clean up our refuges. After secession, would tiny individual Nigerian nations be an exception to our invasion?

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Farouk Martins Aresa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa