In 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested and imprisoned. After a court trial, popularly known as the Rivonia trial, he was charged for treason and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. Nelson Mandela spent a total of 27 years in prison, where he shuttled between Robben Island, Pollsmoor and Victor Verster prisons, respectively.
Mandela was released after agitation created by black people in South Africa for whose rights and equality he fought for. After his release and outright apology by his
tormentors who wasted twenty-seven years of his youthful life, one would have expected him to respond in anger – even perhaps war as he had the means to do so. Of course, he took the path of peace which was necessary for growth and development, and reconciled with his tormentors. He also encouraged his followers to do the same. His tormentors were apologetic as a result, and accepted the unjust treatment which Mandela had been subjected to.
Between 1967-1970, there was a civil war in Nigeria which was the worst and longest war the country had faced since its amalgamation in 1914. For three years, this war tirelessly continued due to the Ibos growing discontent with being part of a united Nigeria. The Ibos felt marginalized and called for succession having lost many of their compatriots in the north and south of Nigeria. However, this development did not meet with the favor of the then Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, leading to the war. During these three years, it was reported that over 3 million lives were lost including those of civilians. Approaching the end of the third year of the war, the Ibos hoisted a flag and named their proposed country Biafra, the land of the rising sun. The casualties on both sides (the Federal Government and Biafrans) was paramount, however the Ibo people had so many casualties that they came to terms with a peaceful surrender so as to avoid their own extinction.
Forty-nine years after this heinous crime was committed against a people, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not issued an apology for what is considered to be a massacre on the verge of the complete wipeout of the Ibo race. Recently, agitation has been occurring once again regarding the union of Ibos in Nigeria. This time, it is spearheaded by Nnamdi Kanu using the media chiefly to achieve their aims and objectives. Unfortunately, the Federal Government is still handling it as they did between 1967-1970 and tactics have not changed.
If peace is to be regained, the bereaved should be consoled and apologised to. The Federal Government should honor the Ibos and their fallen, and apologize to the Ibo nation in a proper reconciliation move to bring them together.