The Chairman of South East Governors forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi has reiterated the resolve of South East Governors forum to officially recognize and set aside May 30 to be a remembrance day for millions of Igbos who lost their lives during the Biafran war.
This is against the backdrop of agitation by the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, a secessionist group championing the restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra, to officially set the said date aside for the commemoration of fallen heroes and heroines of the Biafra war.
Recall that the group has made it a tradition to commemorate the 30th of May as Biafran day by urging Igbos both home and in diaspora to close shops, an exercise that has continued to enjoy huge compliance amongst Igbos.
Making the intention of the South East Governors forum known, according to Sunnewsonline, governor Umahi in a television interview yesterday, maintained that it has become pertinent to set aside a date to honor the Igbos who died during the civil war. Stressing further, the governor assured that should such proposal to do so comes before the South East governors, they would give it consideration.
“People are beginning to say that even beyond the issue of sitting at home, there is a need to set aside a date to honour our brothers and sisters who died during the civil war and there is nothing wrong with doing that. If it comes before the South East governors, we would give it consideration and put conditions and one of them would be that if anyone decides to do otherwise, you must allow the person to exercise his or her rights.
“Children, who didn’t know the reasons for declaring the war were killed and we are saying we should have a public holiday for people like that. We are saying if our leaders bring such proposition to us and speaking for myself, we would grant that day as a public holiday but there must be a proper request for this in one of our meetings. I believe it would even be deliberated upon in our next South East governors’ meeting.
“We have June 12 dedicated to MKO Abiola, we also have a date set aside for our fallen heroes, so, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a day set aside to mourn our dead but it depends on the motive because such a day is supposed to be a day of reflection.
“The South East leaders would be willing to set aside May 30 every year to honour our dead. The significance of that day, if set aside, is for each and every one of us to reflect and ask if we should have done things differently. Yes, we were being killed and we were being maltreated but maybe there would have been an alternative. What is done is done and the man who led us said there shouldn’t be a second war and that is where we are,” Umahi said.