The chairman, Leadership Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah yesterday said the name biafra stands for war, blood and death, and urged Nigerians to stick to the indivisibility of the country as enshrined in the first sentence of the nation’s constitution.
Speaking at the National Youth Leadership Conference held at Merit House, Abuja, Nda-Isaiah said a little squabble should not lead to Nigeria’s disintegration.
“We even fought a bitter civil war to show for it, at the very high cost of nearly two million souls. One would have thought that by now our unity should be a given. Unfortunately, it is still a subject of very bitter and, sometimes, unreasonable debate,” Nda-Isaiah said.
Speaking further, the media mogul noted that as siblings in a family, there will always be disagreement from time to time.
“That would be okay,” Nda-Isaiah said. “That happens everywhere, even in the nuclear family;that would not mean we are not united.
“But if someone resurrects the ogre of biafra, then that would be going beyond the pale.
“The name biafra represents war, blood and death. It also represents the carrying of arms against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and if anyone thinks he can bring biafra up again after it had been defeated without consequences, then he or she must think Nigeria is a jungle.”
Nda-Isaiah added that no one would dare to resurrect the Nazi party in Germany during the Hitler era and survive such.
“The biafran nation belongs only to our museum and should be consigned to the saddest part of our history. That is why I always write biafra with small letter “b”.
“The biafran war has been fought and won. Even Odumegwu Ojukwu himself, the originator of biafra, came back from exile and was pardoned and even contested to be president of Nigeria. Small minded people should not be allowed to take us back into war and bloodshed simply because they are getting money from it.
“My position on Nigeria’s unity is clear and settled; I believe in the first sentence of our constitution that states that Nigeria shall be ‘one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God “I not only believe it, I also think that is the right position to take. I also believe that in spite of the noise of a few people (very few people indeed) most Nigerians want Nigeria to remain one, big, strong, united country,” the LEADERSHIP Newspapers chairman said.
Nda-Isaiah said he did not believe in one Nigeria because of oil adding that oil has become less strategic than it used to be.
“Oil will soon be useful only for nations to power their own economies because almost every country will soon have oil.”
“Any oil producing country that still has not seen that coming is in for a shock. I cherish the idea of one Nigeria for the simple, even if simplistic, reason that I love the idea of belonging to a big and strong country.
“All of us know that when we travel out of Nigeria, we all walk tall because we know we belong to a consequential country that cannot be taken for granted.
“I also love the idea that Nigeria is a rich country even though we are not there yet. I’ll rather be a Nigerian than any other country’s national in this world in spite of all our current problems.”
According to him, one of his proudest moments was a few years ealier when his daughter was travelling abroad for boarding school and one of the things she asked take along with her was a large Nigerian flag which she wanted to paste on her wall in her room at the school.
Nda-Isaiah expressed confidence that Nigeria would continue to be united and to get better every day.
“But we must all work at it and force our leaders to work on it even harder. We must insist on good governance, justice and fairness to all. We are already making progress in this direction, but we must insist and force the leaders of this country at all levels to do even more.”
“The importance of unity to any country cannot be over-emphasized. For the leader of any nation to really achieve the very big things that will change his nation, he or she must unite the nation first. And no nation can be among the first tier without doing the very big things.”
On the nation quest for progress, he said the country had enough resources to be great.
“We have no excuse not to be among the most developed and richest nations of the world today. There is no state in Nigeria that cannot exist as a rich nation on its own. God has given us everything that He needs to give a nation. Only very few nations are as blessed as Nigeria. We have vast land, very fertile soil, good weather, a long coastline, rainforest and savannah tropical land all within the same country and even the temperate climates of Plateau State and Mambilla Plateau to boot.
“We also have solid minerals of all sorts, large oil and gas reserves, very smart, well-educated and energetic people. What more do we need?” he said.