Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia. PHOTO: shipsandports
Deep-rooted resentment among the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, particularly by the Igbo against the others, dating back to the Nigerian civil war, has been identified as one of the reasons for the country’s unity challenges and stunted growth.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia made the remark at the public presentation of a book, The Land of My Birth by Abraham Nnadi, held in Lagos. While speaking at the event, Ajumogobia observed that the book examined the undercurrent of ethnic tensions, which still exertsprofound negative impact on national unity but stressed that Nigerians have chosen to ignore them.
Describing the book as a historical novel set after the civil war, Ajumogobia said the book reflects on the war, village and communal lives of the Igbo people during this period. He observed that the book’s treatment of issues such as the blockage the eastern seaports that resulted in widespread starvation in the East, and the 20 pound account balance for all account holders of Igbo extraction after the war highlighted the author’s grasp of issues and his power of observation in very great details.
“These are some of the things people may not consider to be politically correct, but they are issues we ought to think about, and reflect on in terms of when we talk about Nigeria’s unity and bringing us together as a people,” Ajumogobia said, adding that Nigerians have to face these facts and reconcile before the country can move forward.
Nnadi explained that as a result of the war, owning a building was consider essential for the average Igbo man, even if it was the most simple of structures.
He attributed this thinking to the perpetual fear of another pogrom and civil war in the country. Nnadi, however, observed that the present generation’s single-minded pursuit of money without principles or moral is giving the Igbo nation an image many are not proud of. He said the search for heroes among the survival of the war has given birth to young men and women who, in the process of making money, have allow money to rule them.
“This is a painful harvest, “ he said.At the event, Sir Emeka Nwokedi and the Lagos City Chorale rendered several melodious songs to the delight of guests such as former Vice President, Cmdr. Ebitu Ukiwe, Admiral. Ndubuisi Kanu and Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Anya Anya, Dr. Alex Otti, Major Gen. Adewumi Ajibade, Onyeka Onwenu and Chief Ferdinand Agwu.