Biafran war lord, Col. Joe Achuzia, rtd., also known as ‘Air raid’ has revealed how former President, Olusegun Obasanjo frustrated plans to bury the dead in the Civil War.
Achuzia, also called the Hannibal, said this when he played host to the Senior Special Assistant on political matters to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state, Hon. Arinzechukwu Awogu at his country home in Asaba, Delta state.
He expressed gratitude on behalf of the Biafran war veterans to Obiano for fulfilling the duty the living owes the dead, by taking the bold step on January 12, 2015 to bury those who died during the Biafran civil war.
Achuzia revealed that himself and the late Dim Chukwemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had met the then governor of Anambra state, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju for a proposal to bury the dead in the Biafran war.
He said Mbadinuju agreed and made a parcel of land available at Uli in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state.
He further disclosed that Mbadinuju later changed his mind and abandoned the plan when the then Obasanjo got wind of it and made trouble with Mbadinuju.
Achuzia added, “Few months into the life of his administration, Gov. Willie Obiano invited Col. Ben Gbulie, Col. Emma Nwobosi, Col. E. M. Udeaja, myself and others and asked us to join in the drawing of a programme for the formal burial ceremony of dead Biafran war heroes Christened: “Ozoemezina” (Let it not happen again) and I laughed and asked Obiano” ‘can you stand the heat from the federal government?’
“And the governor bluntly said: ‘if burying those who died during the Biafran war will take me to jail, I’m ready.’”
Achuzia lamented that the Nigerian authorities have continued to frustrate and undermine the existence of Igbo/Biafra by upturning nearly every date that matters to Ndigbo.
He said “The civil war ended on January 15th and we planned to be marking it every January 15th but the Nigerian authorities trivialized it by making January 15th their Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
“And when we chose May 29 as the day to commemorate the genocide against Ndigbo, the Nigerian authorities decided to make the day Democracy Day Celebration.
“That was why Ohanaeze Ndigbo shifted Igbo Day to September 29th instead of May 29th.”
He stressed the need for Anambra state and other states in the old Eastern region to always observe January 12th as public holiday in honour of those who died during the Biafran war since it was on January 12th that they were formally buried.
Col. Achuzia said that when the war ended, anyone who saw his fellow Biafran would tell him, “Happy survival.
“What then do we say to the dead who were not fortunate to survive the war; Is it happy dead?
“Therefore, all we had to do for them was to formally give them a resting place which no one had the courage to do except Governor Willie Obiano.”