PROF. Joseph Ezigbo, managing director, MD, Falcon Corporation Limited, has said that the terrible experience he had made him join the Biafran army, where he fought the Nigerian Civil war as a captain.
Narrating his experience to serve as a deterence for those clamouring for war because of the present tension in Nigeria occasioned by insecurity, the professor who taught in the University for more than 20 years before moving to the corporate said: “I fought in that war because of many reasons. One is that I lost my mother. I am the only child of my mother and we were so close. When Enugu was shelled, we were running away from Enugu, had an accident in Aguata, and she died. I was pained.
“At that time, war was one of the best things outside the normal. You see, youthful exuberant, I was in the university, we came out to demonstrate in the streets of Enugu and we say Ojukwu ‘give us gun, let’s go and fight’ because we knew nothing.
“We didn’t understand what war was all about. Nobody took time to explain to us what war was like. But you see people make mistakes. Only when you make that mistake that you will genuinely realise that this is a huge, monumental, avoidable mistake.”
According to him, we should never have gone to that war but we did because we were pushed; but you don’t blame a group of people. “I went to Enugu when a train came down from the North. There was this woman, pregnant, her stomach was ripped open and she was alive when it was done. They ripped her stomach and took out the child, cut out the head of the child placed it on top of the woman.
“So when people see things like that, their anger is uncontrollable and that was where we were. But if we had diplomacy, if someone had told us that what you have seen now cannot be compared to what is going to happen. How many kids died of kwashiorkor, how many? You see children, all skeleton, dying by the second by the second.
“Then we sat down and ask ourselves, this war, was it worth it? Of course, it wasn’t. We lost over three million people. So what did we gain? Absolutely nothing? The sufferings were terrible. People saw hell. But again, the war ended, Nigerians took over. Did they gain from the war? No. That’s what I was saying then, why can’t we learn? Because I was born and bred at Uromi, Esan. I went there and I said to people, so why can’t we all learn.”
Stating that every innovation that came out of Biafra was destroyed because of anger, he quipped: “How can they develop? Nigeria lost. After the Second World War, America took the best in Germany. Russia took the best in Germany. That’s why they are world powers today because they say necessity is the mother of invention.
“When you are pushed to the wall, you become creative. Biafra became suddenly creative and Nigeria should have taken that from them and nurtured it and groomed it in the interest of our country. But no, because we are angry. We are driving ourselves to that level of anger that drove us to civil war.
“We shouldn’t do that. We shouldn’t allow that to happen, and leaders should know that it’s of no use,” the Prof. said.