From Mokwugwo Solomon, Nnewi
Former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican City, Francis Cardinal Arinze, has warned the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), and the Igbo people in general, not to attract another civil war in Nigeria through their actions or inactions.
Arinze, a onetime archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, and an indigene of Eziowelle in Anambra State, made the plea in a viral video done in mixture of Igbo and English languages. He said those currently beating drums of war did not witness the Nigeria/Biafra war that took place between 1967 and 1970.
“Almost all the people currently talking Biafra; Biafra, Biafra were probably not born, or were very young during the Nigeria/Biafra civil war that took place between 1967 and 1970. I know what I’m saying; it’s those that didn’t see the war that are beating the drums of war.
“I was made archbishop of Onitsha two days before the outbreak of the war, and I know what the church and the civil population suffered. It is better imagined that witnessed.
“Ojukwu and the rest of Biafra soldiers were fighting what they saw as a just cause, but being right or innocent does not guarantee victory in any battle. They tried their best, but they were defeated in the war, because, the Federal Government of Nigeria got support from the USA, Great Britain, and many other countries. Nigeria got arms and food, but Biafra did not.
“Biafra was persecuted; they fought hard; but they could not adequately defend themselves. They did their best, but were defeated. Today, there are uprisings everywhere. South East is not left behind. IPOB and Igbo people might have the cause to agitate, but contemplating another war is not advisable.
“My advice is that they should sheathe their swords. Those that witnessed the civil war, either at the Nigerian side or Biafra side, wouldn’t want war again,” he said.
Instead, Arinze advised Igbo people, including those clamouring for referendum to be active in politics; saying it is the only solution for the Igbo to get what is theirs in Nigeria.
“Igbo people should take political actions. By this, I mean Igbo people belonging strongly to major political parties in the country. This will give them the opportunity to participate in political discussions. When this happens, the Igbo will always get what is due for them; but staying out of politics, or probably staying in London to criticise government without making effort to be part of government and part of decision making will do the people no good,” he said.