Awolowo Never Betrayed Igbos During Nigeria’s civil war – Bode George

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Chief Olabode George, former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said those accusing late Obafemi Awolowo of working against the interest of the south-east during the Nigerian civil war are saying rubbish.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with worldviewafrica, George said rather than castigate the late premier of the western region, Igbos should be grateful to him and other leaders who made sacrifices to ensure that Nigeria still remains a united nation today.

George who said everything is acceptable in war, added that Awolowo as Finance Minister and deputy to the then Head of State, Yakubu Gowon made a proposal that the country’s currency be changed. He said the proposal was adopted and this contributed to the swift end of the civil war which had killed millions of Nigerians .

“That Awolowo betrayed Igbos and made them lose the war? That is absolute rubbish. Baba (Awolowo) was deputy to Gowon and not only that, he was controlling the economy. He then decided to change the Nigerian currency at that time. Everything is acceptable in war”. What happened during the war was that the Biafra agitators had their Central Bank in the south-east and they have kept currencies there. Awolowo believed that if the currency is changed, all the monies they have stacked up will be worthless”.

George, a former military governor of Ondo state said Awolowo’s policy was that Nigeria’s continued unity must be discussed and that if the south-east are allowed to secede, the people of the south-west will also follow them

“Awolowo’s position was that we must sit down and talk. That was the policy he adopted during the war. He did not do anything to negate the chances of our brothers in the South-East. In fact, he said if the Igbos are allowed to exit the Nigeria union, the Yorubas will follow suit. That was his belief”.

“When they declared Biafra, they took control of all the South-South, especially Rivers and other places where we get crude oil. Awolowo then advised Gowon that if you want to have a full control of the economy, change the currency.  He made the proposal to the Council and it was adopted”.

“When that was done, all the currencies in the Central Bank in the south-east became useless and that also contributed to the end of the war. So, why should some people blame him for that?”

“We should thank God for the lives of those leaders at that time, especially Papa Awolowo. It is an example of the love he had for Nigeria. He doesn’t want Nigeria to break-up and he doesn’t want our brothers in the south-east to leave. He believed so much in Nigeria’s unity”.

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