Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that all Nigerians must join hands to build a strong nation where everyone can legitimately aspire to the limits of their dreams and visions in all areas of national life.
He spoke on Monday at a special townhall meeting at the National War Museum in Umuahia, Abia State, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the VP’s spokesman Laolu Akande said in a statement.
The event was hosted by the Civil War Museum in Umuahia under the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and the Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development (KNCLD), the VP’s spokesman Laolu Akande said in a statement.
The Vice President urged young Nigerians to shun ethnic prejudices and unite in building a better Nigeria saying “The generations born after the Civil War are navigating the adventure of being Nigerian on different terms from their forebears. Let us give them a chance to do better than ourselves.
“Young Nigerians are intermarrying, migrating and comingling in the quest for love and livelihood; they are doing business together and forging alliances in civil society and politics across ethnic and religious divides.
“Our children are showing us that it is possible to forge friendships and bonds across ethnic and religious lines that are even stronger than family ties and this in itself evokes the possibilities of unity in diversity.”
Speaking further, Osinbajo described the civil war as a defining national tragedy about which robust national conversation is necessary to aid the process of healing and reconciliation.
Noting that the majority of Nigerians alive today were too young to have witnessed the Civil War and therefore have no memory of it. Prof. Osinbajo urged the ‘elders’ to avoid poisoning the hearts and minds of the young generations with prejudices.
“As elders, we must ensure that we do not poison the minds of the young with our own prejudices and affect their ability to take advantage of the opportunities available to them in their country. We must also avoid foisting the toga of victimhood and helplessness on the next generation.”
In his remarks at the occasion, the Chairman of the KNCLD, Senator Ken Nnamani, described the war as “a costly catastrophe that was provoked and prolonged by errors on both sides.” He said that the townhall was organized “to show that we can address the pressing issues of our time with a spirit of civility and maturity.”
The Vice President’s visit to the National War Museum, Umuahia, is part of a circuit that has seen him also visit museums in Benin and Kano. The visits, which include tours of the facilities with history students from local schools, are aimed at promoting national cohesion, rekindling popular interest in history, and encouraging tourist traffic to the museums and heritage sites.
The event was graced by the Governors Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Minister of State for Steel & Mines Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah; and the Official Spokesperson of the Federal House of Representatives, MHR Benjamin Kalu from Abia.
Community leaders, government functionaries, political leaders, students, academics, religious leaders, veterans of the war and representatives of civil society organizations in the South East zone also attended the event.