War Veteran Says Obasanjo’s Civil War Memoir Is Full Of Errors

A Nigerian war veteran, Brigadier General Godwin Alabi-Isama (Rtd), has said that former president Olusegun Obasnajo’s memoir of the civil war, My Command, is full of errors, adding that, the former military head of state only joined the war 30 days to its end.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Alabi-Isama debunked claims that his recently published civil war memoir titled Tragedy of Victory, is about General Olusegun Obasanjo but rather about his work at the war front.

“This book is not about Obasanjo”. “It is about his work” in the war front, he said.

“He was not there” and “he did not know enough,” he added.

He alleged that many of the older soldiers who fought in the war ‘made noise’ about their activities in the war in order to secure political positions.

“I didn’t know that if I made a lot of noise about what I did, I could have been made a governor or minister or a head of state but all these elder people knew what it would be if they made a lot of noise.”

“Every sentence there on strategy and tactics is not right.” Even “the captions on some pictures are not correct”

Alabi-Isama, who was once a Chief of Staff and then Sector Commander, said working with the former head of state was “very difficult”

He said although the book is not about him, it is impossible not to mention Obasanjo, who only came to the battlefield 30 days before the end of the war which lasted six months.

“When somebody was not there but claimed to be there, it can be very annoying”

The book, he said, records his own participation in the war, what people did to him and what he did to/for them.

The book, Tragedy of Victory, is a 670 page memoir containing his account of the Biafran war, 450 war pictures (some duplicated), 35 maps and 19 documents of the war.

The war veteran explained the title of the book which came about because the civil war was successful but has resulted in tragedy because lessons were not learnt from it.

“Where did we find the war in the first place? The first coup said there was corruption, there was nepotism, there was banality

Don’t we have that now?” he asked.

Retired soldiers

Alabi-Isama raised concerns about the welfare of men who fought in the war and are now retired with little or nothing to live by. He also mentioned Baba Akinkunmi, who designed the National flag but can “barely feed himself”.

“How much does it cost for this country to look after a person like that?”

One of the soldiers who he worked with, Major Salau (retired) is left to fend for himself with N2,600 as pension every month. “Civil war soldiers have become beggars all over the country.”

“This is quite a tragedy,” he said.

This trend, he said, would create an effect in the psyche of the younger generation who would be discouraged from doing ‘anything nice for the country’ because the country isn’t looking after anybody.

“The aim of the book is to address the youth, who will be leaders of tomorrow.”

Lesson from civil war

Asked if the country has learned lessons it should have learnt from the war, he said “we haven’t learnt anything and that’s why it’s a tragedy”

He said the war was to foster unity “We wanted unity in the country, But are we united?” he asked.

“We need competition. We need true federalism”.

Ekweremadu Calls For Decentralisation Of Police

Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, representing Enugu West Senatorial District, has said that the way forward for the Nigeria Police, in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is decentralization.

While delivering a paper on “Policing and National Security in Nigeria” at the 2013 Annual Lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the senator declared his stand in support for the decentralization of the police.

Sen. Ekweremmadu further called on the National Assembly to provide the framework for the establishment, structure and powers of the state police.

Professor Onyeka Nwolisa of the University of Ibadan, in his speech disclosed that his major concern is the conception of national security which pertains to democracy.

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state in turn decried the absence of true spirit of federalism.

Speaking at the event, the US consulate advised that utmost carefulness be employed in whatever decision the country reaches as it will affect the whole black race.

Increased exclusive list weakens federalism – INEC REC

The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Mike Igini on Thursday said that increasing the number of items on the exclusive list have weaken the federating units in Nigeria.

Mr Igini, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said federalism is the key to development in Nigeria.
He said: “the world has not lacked leaders but what we are grabbling with worldwide is development. The forefathers of Nigeria made painstaking efforts and came up with the idea of federalism.

“You find out that in the first republic, that was the golden era of development in Nigeria. Why?

“It was because as at that time, if you look at the constitution, we had only 44 items on the exclusive list. In 1963 we had 45 now in 1979 the exclusive list for the federal tiers was now increased to 66 and under the current constitution we have 68 items.

“With the increase of the exclusive list, you weaken the federating units in terms of development.”

Mr Igini was speaking against the background of the speech delivered on Tuesday by the former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku at the launch of a book entitled: “Reforming the Unreformable,” written by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In his speech, Mr Anyaoku advocated a major restructuring of nation’s current political arrangement, pointing out that the desired rapid development and stability would not be achieved without true federalism or regional autonomy.

He described the current structure of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as administratively too expensive, with huge recurrent expenditure and leaving only a meagre percentage for the needed capital development and that the current constitution review should form a basis for returning Nigeria to true federalism.

Constitution Reform:Olisa Agbakoba advocates balanced federalism

The best concept of federalism that would work in Nigeria is probably what is called Balanced Federalism.

This is the view of a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Snr Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba.

In a chat with our judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, the legal practitioner says the whole constitutional reform debate currently underway in the country is missing a contextual discussion of the type of federalism that will make Nigeria stable.