• Saturday, June 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

2023 Armed forces remembrance day: Obi pens emotional tribute

Obi notches most Twitter followers since presidential race began

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has penned perhaps what many regard as the most emotional and patriotic speech to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the Nigerian civil war to keep the country together.

Respondents on Obi’s Twitter page have shown an overwhelming call to honour the dead who lost their lives to keep the country together. His tribute statement has gathered more than twenty-five thousand likes.

His speech comes as President Muhammadu Buhari and all the state governors pay their respects to the fallen heroes who laid down their lives to keep Nigeria together. As a common phrase that reverberated during the civil war read, “the task of keeping Nigeria one is a task that must be done.”

Read also: Nigeria will be safer in my care as stingy, but prudent man — Peter Obi

According to Britannica, it is estimated that during the civil war, more than one million Nigerians died in battle. A breakdown of the casualty list showed that over 100,000 soldiers from the Nigerian army and the Biafran army died, while the majority of the dead were civilians who were trapped on the Biafran side of the country (the southeast). Records showed that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 civilians, mostly children, died from starvation and other forms of malnutrition-induced sickness.

The causes of the civil war are largely left to history books to explain, but subjective accounts from both aggrieved sides still eke out painful reminders of paths that should not be followed.

“Fellow Nigerians, 15th January, a very special and unique day in 2023, as it was 53 years ago! 40 days from today, Nigerians will be voting in an election that many regard as the most crucial and existential decision we have to make as a nation,” Obi tweeted.

Reminding Nigerians of the painful indicators that led to the war, the former Anambra State governor urged voters to seize the opportunity of the upcoming election to change the painful narrative of the country. “and particularly for our children and youths, given the sad state of our dear nation, Nigeria: alarming insecurity, unemployment, poverty, inflation, debt, hunger, disunity, hopelessness, and many other indices of a failing state. It was also on 15th January, 53 years ago”

With the utmost respect for General Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd. ), Obi recalled that it was he who would, as a way to reunite the country, call for the reinstatement of the Biafran soldiers into the Nigerian army.

“a very special red-letter day for Nigeria that the booming of guns and other paraphernalia of battle were formally silenced in the thirty-month civil war in which millions of lives were regrettably lost and an unquantifiable number of properties destroyed!

“As we can recall, Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, as he was then known, led the then Biafran delegation to General Gowon to declare that the war was over and that the military colleagues from the Biafran side should be deployed.”

Below is an excerpt of his speech:

Meanwhile, on Saturday in Akure, the state capital of Ondo State, Obi had replied to the “stingy man” comment of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu had urged voters during his rally in Akure last week to not vote for the Labour Party candidate, saying that Nigerians cannot entrust the future of the country in the hands of a stingy man.

“My people, you cannot entrust your future or that of our nation to Mr. Sell Everything Atiku or Mr. Stingy Obi. But you can trust Mr. Progressive Good Governance Tinubu,” Tinubu said.

In response, Obi said that the nation would be safer in his care as a stingy man because he would be able to invest in education, healthcare, the economy, and other sectors to develop the country.

“Yes, they said I am stingy, but we are not out to steal the nation’s wealth; all we want to do is use the nation’s money for our people and the development of this country.

“They said that I’m stingy; we want stingy people now so that we can keep the money. We want to make sure we use your money to transform the country.

“This election that is coming now, don’t vote for anybody because of the tribe, but vote for someone that will move the country forward.

“This election is about character and people we can trust. Everybody knows the schools my running mate and I attended. You all know our age, our schools, and everything about us. Our backgrounds are known.”