Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Tuesday warned Nigerians, especially leaders to avoid anything that could lead to the repetition of 1967 ugly incident, saying that Nigerians should learn from history.
The retired General gave this warning at the 2013 annual armed forces remembrance day for fallen Nigerian heroes, which took place at Arcade ground in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta,the Ogun State capital.
The two-time president who lamented the fall of many security personnel during civil and other international wars, said Nigerian leaders should avoid anything that would tear the nation apart.
Asked how his feeling was on such a day, he said “I feel fine. Fortunately, war is not a picnic. Unfortunately, when you engage in wars, lives are bound to be lost. That is why, wars should be avoided.
He added “for us in Nigeria, even when we were fighting along with the colonial power, we lost Nigerians in Burma, in East Africa.
“But since the days of the constabulary, because that is where the Nigerian Army started from, Nigerian security forces have been losing lives either in support of civil authority or in fighting local wars.
“The aim of this is to constantly remember the sacrifice that they have made, constantly remind ourselves that they left families behind who need to be cared and catered for and constantly to remind us that whatever that might have caused internally, what led to the loss of lives of members of our armed forces will no longer recall.
“That we learn from history by constantly reminding ourselves of the history of our country”.
However, mild drama broke out at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day when the Ota farmer rejected the request made by the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to lay a wreath for the fallen heroes.
It was gathered that OBJ stunned the whole crowd when he was mentioned as part of the dignitaries that would lay the wreath and he outrightly rejected after the Governor persuaded him.
The event was halt for a while as many people including the Deputy governor, Segun Adesegun, the Iyalode of Egbaland, Alaba Lawson went to beg him to lay the wreath in honour of the fallen heroes.
It was learnt that, the ex warlord refused the request to lay a wreath because his name was not in the brochure as part of those to lay the wreath.
However, Governor Amosun, the Brigade Commander ,35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, E E John, the commandant, Nigerian Navy Seconday School, Abeokuta M A Adetunji, and the State Chairman, Nigerian Legion,Samuel Olaosebikan among others laid the wreath.