Nigeria: Open letter to Gen. Gowon
Dear General Gowon, Since you were deposed from power more than 35 years ago, you have understandably been guided in your public utterances, especially about the murdering spree you presided over between 1966-1970. Now you have allowed the
euphoria of an award you did not deserve to make unguided remarks about a period in your life that will haunt you for the rest of your life and into judgement day.
In a report/interview in ThisDay Live on 8th May 2012, you were quoted as follows: “It was not my wish or the wish of those serving with me at the time (to prosecute the war). We did everything to make sure it did not happen.” Haba! Gowon, how can you say this? Were you misquoted? Or were you overwhelmed by an award you did not deserve, or did your memory go into comma? That Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is late (may his soul rest in peace) does not mean that the war is forgotten nor your 'evil' involvement in it. Millions of people who fought and lived through the war are still alive and still remember it as events of yesterday.
In the same write-up, you were also quoted as saying: “My heart bleeds to see that (film) clip with those kwashiorkor-stricken children. God knows how much effort I made to send food to those children, but it was sabotaged by propaganda that the federal troops had poisoned the food.” (Emphasises are mine.) Oh God! Okay, Gen. Gowon, read these quotations again, did you really say these words? Do you sincerely and honestly believe them to be true? Do you know what, come out of your closet. Calling you a pathological and shameless liar will be awarding you another undeserved award, but that is what you are. You are either suffering from chronic dementia or you are indirectly trying to appease the millions of people you murdered and those mourning them.
Instead of you to come out openly and humbly ask God and the people of Biafra for forgiveness for the atrocities you committed; yet you are still wallowing in self pity and self justification. Unfortunately, this will not save you from the catastrophe that will befall you, the wrath of God and haunting spirits of the millions you sent to their early graves.
You see Gen Gowon, nemesis is catching up on you and your co-murderous generals of the “Langtang Mafia” – Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, Jeremiah Useni, etc. Your upper north 'masters' are turning against you and your people with Boko Haram. You allowed them to use you and dump you.
Today the Hausa/Fulani north is using you and your territory for dress rehearsal of their islamisation agenda which you don't have control over. The insecurity you are complaining about today is nothing compared to what you subjected Biafran people to in 1966-1970.
Further to your lies, I hope you are not contemplating writing a memoir as you indirectly hinted – it may turn out to be efforts in futility – as it will be lies and complete distortion of historical facts. If you can lie against the death and the living, against 'Aburi Accord' – the most famous historical document of your genocidal war, everything that will come out of your mind, your mouth will be lies, documented lies and lies with references and footnotes. Anything, everything you write will be an 'own goal' as it may turn out to be self documentary that may be used against you. Biafran people and the literary world are lying in wait for you.
As a matter of fact, the best honour and Lifetime Achievement Award you deserve is for being the highest mass murderer of the 20th century – you presided over the total annihilation of more than 3 million people. How dare you say, “…love Nigeria and believe in Nigeria; good or bad, right or wrong. Bring all your grievances to the table for discussion. Let us get together truly and sincerely and find a solution to our differences.”? Really? Is it not you that reneged on Aburi Accord under pressure from your British and Northern masters?
Nigerian leaders of the day got 'together truly and sincerely' and found solution to their differences, as expressed in Aburi Accord; but you later turned it down, consigning it into dustbin of history. Where is the guarantee that another agreement will not turn into 'Aburi 2′?
Bye the way, Gen Gowon, has it dawned on you or have you been reminded that you are the root cause of the problems of instability and division in Nigeria today? If you had not reneged on Aburi Accord – a document that called for and supported return to true federalism; the civil war could have been averted, there would not have been countless military coups, military perfection of corruption, mortgaging Nigeria to few retired generals and their civilian cronies, Boko Haram, etc.
In fact, you do not deserve any award for anything, except as a mass murderer, and for presiding over the terminal division and underdevelopment of Nigeria. On top of that, you are lying against the dead.
The purpose of this letter is to cause you to reflect on the burden you are carrying. The burden of the millions you murdered and starved to death; your lies and distortion of historical facts. If you are in doubt, ask yourself, where is Charles Taylor of Liberia, Ratko Mladic of Serbia, holocaust perpetrators and collaborators and all those who had committed genocide crime against humanity? I would be worried, very, very worried, if I were in your shoe.
Thank you for your time.
Dr Chukwuma Egemba
Member of Editorial Board of Radio Biafra London