I will not regret fighting for Nigeria during civil war – Babangida

General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), former military President of Nigeria, claimed on Saturday that he had no regrets about participating in the country’s civil war from 1967 to 1970.

Babangida made the remarks while appearing on Search FM, the radio station of the Federal University of Technology Minna, and stated that he was certain he was battling for Nigeria’s unity.

“The purpose (civil war) was to unite the country, to keep it one, not to break it, so that’s the uniquely sad aspect of a civil war and I pray it never happens again,” he said.

He, however, said that fighting in the civil war against then Biafrans was not a very nice experience because he fought with his friends, coursemates, classmates and others.

“Fighting in the civil war was not a very nice experience I must say. First of all, you had people you went to school with, people you trained with, people who were your friends, suddenly as a result of the war you find yourselves facing each other on opposite sides. It is not very comfortable but then we had to do it.”Babangida said he served Nigeria to the best of his ability.

“I served the country the best I could; it may not be to your satisfaction but to the best that I could; I leave that to history to judge and I related fairly well with the people of the country. I had no problem with them and I got to know the country more as I was well travelled. I made friends all over the country and I thought that was one of the greatest achievements.”

On his leadership style, the former military president said: “You develop a situation where people look up to you to provide certain solutions to their problems or their fear, whatever it is and you stand out as the person who will be able to do that. So, you have to study human beings, you have to read about them and you have to be very compassionate.“Sometimes you have to be ruthless to get things done but there are a lot of ways you have to develop so that you’ll be able to achieve certain things. Others you plead with, some you coerce and so forth”.

He advised Nigerian youths “to try as much as possible to know and understand the country that you are going to lead in the future. You have an opportunity now as young people; to get to know the country, study the country, the people and if you can to do that or to understand that, basically I think that will go a long way to prepare you for the eventual leadership of the country.”

Recall that Nigerian Civil War (6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970), also known as the Nigerian–Biafran War, was fought between Nigeria and the then Republic of Biafra, a secessionist state which had declared its independence from Nigeria in 1967.

Nigeria was led by General Yakubu Gowon, while Biafra was led by Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka “Emeka” Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Biafra represented the nationalist aspirations of the Igbo ethnic group, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the federal government dominated by the interests of the Muslim Hausa-Fulanis of Northern Nigeria.

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