Former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday called on civil war veterans to put their experience in writing in order to fast-track the process of national reconciliation.
Kalu said: “Truth and time play a role in the healing process. From Brig. Godwin Alabi -Isama’s account, we now know that friendship indeed existed across the battle field. Once again, Gen Alani Akinrinade has come out clean as a hero. And we can also learn to forgive, since Alabi-Isama and Akinrinade are crying for ailing Brig. Benjamin Adekunle, their Commander, who allegedly planned to assassinate them in Asa.”
In a statement issued by his aide, Mr Emeka Obasi, the ex-governor urged other participants like Generals Akinrinade, Ibrahim Babangida, Muhammadu Buhari, Conrad Nwawo, Ben Nwajei, Inua Wushishi, Lambert Ihenacho, Mohammed Magoro, Gado Nasko, Sunny Tuoyo and Cols. Chris Ugokwe, Sanni Bello, Emeka Ananaba and Yemi Alabi to boost the library with their accounts.
“Babangida held on to Uzuakoli even with bullet wounds, the same town where Ananaba operated as Eighth Commando Brigade Commander. Babangida, Ted Hamman, Ozoemena Igweze, Mamman Vatsa and Garba Duba joined the army same day in December 1962 and were active during the crisis. Buhari and Ugokwe joined same day too, but eight months earlier, perhaps he (Buhari) should let us know why General Olusegun Obasanjo referred to him as “a field commissioned officer,” Kalu added.
With his American background, Kalu believes that Alabi’s account could do justice to his course mates like William Walbe, Isah Bukar, I.T. Atumaka, Ganiyu Adeleke, Akpan Utuk and Pam Mwadkon.
“Of course, there are stories to tell from the horses mouth. Alabi is still very much around. His war tales will make good reading for the sake of posterity. Just like it would be nice to read Nasko’s mind when he fired the first artillery shot. Not many remember that Magoro suffered mortar injury in Nsukka , the same sector where Wushishi’s 21 Battalion operated at the time Gen. Emeka Ojukwu’s half –brother, Tom Bigger and Chukwuma Nzeogwu died,” he said.
Kalu commended earlier authors like Frederick Foresythe, Obasanjo, Achike Udenwa, Gen. Alex Madiebo, Sasa Nwoke and Austin Okpe for their works, while urging government to upgrade the Umuahia War Museum to a parastatal.