Listen to the Word of the LORD - As a prophet of the Most High God, I warn that Gowon and Obasanjo should be barred from Ojukwu’s funeral and committal services. I bring the Word of the LORD to the family of late Dim Ojukwu and to the organizing committee planning the burial arrangements in honor of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, to exclude Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from participating in the burial rites and ceremonies of late Ojuwku. Ojukwu’s spirit will be provoked and the Wrath of the LORD will be poured out if Gowon and Obasanjo were to participate in any way during the funeral services of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. Also the spirits of our ancestors and the 3.1 million souls that perished during the civil war will be infuriated.
I also want to applaud the chairman of World Youth Council, Mr. Chuks Ibegbu for his wisdom and the courage to caution former Nigerian heads of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for their unwise and irresponsible comments on the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. I agree with Mr. Ibegbu that their comments were insulting and unpardonable. I could not believe that so-called statesmen and elders could utter such statements. Generally, people don’t speak ill of those who have passed on – even if they were not friendly or an enemy. Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo have shown that they are very unwise and unintelligent elderly statesmen. They were former Heads of State and President, who had benefited so much from Nigeria and continues to reap the benefits of a chaotic and confused Nigerian State. Gowon and Obasanjo were presumed to have accurate history of Nigeria as former heads of state and leaders during the tumultuous period of Nigeria-Biafra civil war, yet they are unable to speak the truth even in the death of their archenemy. It is sad, hypocritical and cowardice act on their part.
Why would Ojuwku tender an apology or ask for forgiveness as some have foolishly uttered in the past – including the former governor of Abia State, Governor Orji Kalu, who cowardly called Ndi-igbo to apologize for fighting the civil war. This is the same sentiment in the Northern and Western regions that Easterners – in fact Ndi-igbo should apologize for defending themselves against the evil empires of Britain and others. Why would Ndi-igbo apologize for defending themselves against genocide? Why would Ojukwu or any true Igbo man or woman apologize to Nigeria for the 1965/66 massacre of their sons and daughters in Northern Nigeria? Why would Ndi-igbo apologize for waging a war against an international conspiracy and orchestrated plan to exterminate them from their land? Why would any Easterner today apologize to Nigeria, Britain, Egypt, and major Arab countries for their ill-conceived, evil, wicked and satanic plan to kill all Christians and make Nigeria an Islamic State?
Gowon is a coward and a hypocrite. It is only in Nigeria that people like him could govern and continues to walk around freely. In a civilized and sane society, Gowon should have been imprisoned for war crimes - atrocities and genocide, he, Britain and others committed against innocent civilians – women and children. If Gowon is a genuine and an honest leader, he should have implemented the end of war slogan before he was booted out of office. If he is a true statesman, as presumed, he should have been influencing the Boko Haram sect leaders and their sponsors to lay their weapons and engage in dialogue rather than senseless bombings and killings of innocent Nigerians – mostly Igbos and Christians in the North. Today, the North is labeled a terrorist region – the Somalia state of Nigeria.
This idea of apology comes from a warped teaching and misunderstanding of the basic biblical teaching on forgiveness. The Bible never taught that the offended one should apologize or ask for forgiveness – but to forgive those who offended or sinned against him. In Luke 23: 34a, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." The Jews and Roman authorities crucified Jesus because he claimed to be the Son of God, which is tantamount to being God (Matthew 26:63-65). In that short prayer, Jesus was not asking his brutal murders for forgiveness, instead Jesus was asking the Father (God) himself to forgive those who were killing him because he knew the extent of God’s wrath upon evil men. Jesus was innocent of the charges against him, but he also knew that those who crucified him were ignorant men. They were not really bad people but blind people. They were not wicked people but people without the wisdom of God. Those who crucified Jesus were humanly wise and self-righteous religious elite of the day who knew the law and religious ceremonies better than anyone yet; they did not know the God of the Scriptures. They were ignorant, misguided and stupid people who thought that they were doing God a favor. That is exactly what Nigeria, Britain, USSR, Egypt and most Arab countries did to Biafra and continue to do it today.
Another passage was in the Gospel of Matthew 18:21-22, the Apostle Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times! Peter was being generous here, because according to rabbinic traditional teaching, an offended person needed to forgive a brother only three times. Jesus’ reply to Peter’s question was that forgiveness needs to be exercised to a much greater extent. Not just seven times, but seventy times seven, that 490 times. Here Jesus meant that no limits should be set. To complete the teaching on forgiveness, Jesus went on to tell them the parable of the Unmerciful Servant in verses 23-35 of that same chapter. The Lord’s teaching on forgiveness simply means that God has forgiven all of our sins by faith in Jesus Christ and therefore, when someone offends or sins against us, we should be willing to forgive them no matter how many times or grave the offense might be – whether or not the offender offers an apology or asked for forgiveness.
So, Gowon, Obasanjo, the Nigeria State, Britain, former Soviet Union, Egypt, and Arab countries should ask for forgiveness. It is ironic for them to expect Ojukwu to tender an apology. They can forgive themselves. They don’t need any apology from Ojukwu, Biafra or Ndi-igbo. After mankind sinned against God in Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, God did not ask Adam, Eve or the serpent for an apology or for forgiveness, instead God grieved and regretted that he made man (Genesis 6:6). Even though God had the power to wipe mankind from the face o f earth, he chose to forgive himself and then provided a ransom for the sins and salvation of mankind. That’s why the Bible says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails.” – Lamentations 3:22
A person can receive forgiveness whether or not the offended party tenders an apology. When someone wrongs me, I don’t ask for his or her apology, whether he apologizes or not, it is his prerogative. However, I must ask God for forgiveness. I must ask God to forgive him or her for the wrong done to me. I don’t need that person to tender an apology before I can receive forgiveness from God. It is God who requires our apology and our forgiveness not any human being. It is therefore ridiculous that Gowon and Obasanjo - men who claim to be Christians are waiting all these years for Ojukwu and Ndi-igbo to apologize to them. It is absolutely insane for anyone to expect an apology from Ndi-igbo. It is tantamount to tendering an apology or asking forgiveness to a man who raped your wife or daughter.
Gowon is leading an international prayer ministry and Chief Olusegun probably still studying to obtain his doctorate in Theology, yet these men do not understand the biblical message of forgiveness. They are the ones who should ask God for forgiveness and tender an apology to Biafra and Ndi-igbo for their atrocities and massacre of innocent Igbo people, for using punitive measures to starve innocent Igbo children and women and for creating the marginalization and hopelessness that exist today in Igbo land. The Nigerian State should repent and ask God for forgiveness – not Ojukwu, Biafra or Ndi-igbo. The Nigerian State should tender an apology for her atrocities against innocent children and defenseless women.
Forgiveness is tended by repentant sinners and apology is made to those an offence is committed against. Is the Nigerian State the offended party or Biafra? Isn’t it the Nigerian State the one that should apologize to Biafra, a group that was merely defending themselves? To be candid, I expected Gowon, Obasanjo and all the accomplices of the genocide war against Ndi-igbo to apologize and ask for forgiveness so that Nigeria can move forward peacefully. Gen. Yakubu Gowon, in particular, should use the occasion of the passing of Ojukwu to confess his war atrocities and apologize to Ndi-igbo instead of making such false comments about Aburi peace talks, which he reneged. Gowon and Obasanjo are not compassionate leaders. They lack wisdom and discernment as leaders. And leaders without compassion are unfit to lead anyone and nation.
Gowon and Obasanjo are also unmerciful and evil men. They need to repent and ask God for forgiveness. Their comments on late Ojukwu are unwise, unintelligent, and loathsome. Their comments are loaded with hateful tone and prejudice against Ndi-igbo. As long as this kind of anger, bitterness, hatred, resentment, and animosity persist among Nigerians, the nation cannot make any genuine progress. I have written many times that without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be order, unity and peace in Nigeria. Nigeria cannot move forward as a nation and fulfill her common purpose and destiny until she repents and ask for forgiveness for the souls of those that perished during civil war. Nigeria truly needs a genuine commission for national reconciliation that addresses the hurts of our past and recommends solutions for healing, peace, and unity.
Let me conclude by repudiating those who call me an Igbo bigot, Zionist and every hellish and curse words under heaven. First of all, I still love you no matter what you call me, think of me, or perceive me to be. Second, I know my history and origin very well. I’m proud to be identified with one of the largest ethnic groups of Nigeria - Ndi-igbo. In fact, I’ll argue that all the ethnicities in the former Eastern region are part of the ethnic group called “Ndi-Igbo.” – It does not matter whether you are Igbo, Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Mbe, Okobo, Izon, Efik, Eket, Niger Delta, Kalabari, Andoni, Ijaw, Opobo, Bonny, Ikwere, or even Ndoki – where I am from. We are all part and parcel of the Igbo stock. Thirdly, I love justice, fairness and righteousness and hate with passion - injustice. I do not dislike any Nigerian – no matter where they come from. In fact, my few and best friends are from Northern and Western Nigeria. I have Yorubas, who are members of my extended family as result of marriage. I have beautiful relatives, who were married by Northerners and others taken by force as wives during the war. Frankly speaking, dividing Nigeria will be like dividing one big multi-ethnic family. It will not be easy and many will be hurt if that happens. However, that does not negate the fact that there is so much injustice, bitterness, resentment, and hatred toward Ndi-igbo. That’s not right, it is not fair and it should stop now. We can work out our differences and seek ways to co-exist without this prolonged rancor and resentment. It’s not going to help the nation flourish.
I will not waste my time to respond to other jealous critics about my educational qualifications, quality and length of my articles. I’ll suffice to say, that I do not claim to be Prof. Chinua Achebe, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Okey Ndibe, and many other excellent Nigerian writers and poets. I am not a trained journalist and I’m not a poet. I can’t write your 2-3 page articles to appease your mind and thinking. I pour my heart in my essays. By the way, my articles are prophetic messages to a nation that God has assigned me to live in. I’ll not let it go under. I must preach justice and righteousness. I must do the work of God. It is just one of my dearest ministries. So, don’t read my articles if it does not meet your standard or expectation of me. I am not writing to appease your gullible mind but to un-clutter it and empower you to change. I have my audience and I’m very satisfied by the positive feedback and generous comments I receive from them.
For years, I have offered solutions in my essays on religious, moral, social issues and especially on leadership, which is the subject of my passion. What some of you are doing is taking the ideas to make money – organize seminars, workshops and conferences and write books without giving credit to anyone. I am not claiming all the ideas are mine but when you use someone else writings, you should be able to give him or her credit. I have even seen my articles republished in Nigerian newspapers – 100 % verbatim. I have bought your books on leadership, where I read almost verbatim my essays on leadership. Nevertheless, as a public theologian, social critic and mostly importantly messenger of God, as long as I have breath in me, I will continue to passionately address the political, religious, moral, social and leadership challenges of our nation – Nigeria. So, your threats are empty threats and you can’t do me anything unless God Almighty permits it. By the way, I’m not writing for your government job. I care less really about your government position. God is my provider and my source.
Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a theologian, author, consultant and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.