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‘Never Again Conference’: 51 Years After The Nigerian-Biafran Civil War — Address By Pat Utomi

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ADDRESS BY PROF. PAT UTOMI, CHAIRMAN, CONFERENCE PLANNING COMMITTEE, AT THE MEDIA PARLEY WITH MEDIA EXECUTIVES ON THE “2ND NEVER AGAIN CONFERENCE: 51YEARS AFTER THE NIGERIAN-BIAFRAN CIVIL WAR”

Gentlemen of the Press,

  1. I welcome you to this Media Parley to herald the second edition of the “NEVER AGAIN CONFERENCE: 51 YEARS AFTER THE NIGERIAN-BIAFRAN CIVIL WAR” which is holding virtually for the first time due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The virtual conference holds on Thursday, January 14, 2021, and will attract a global audience desirous of interrogating the Nigerian-Biafran War and its aftermath.
  2. It is noteworthy that the inaugural edition of the “Never Again Conference” held last January at The MUSON Centre, Lagos. Among the keynote speakers was Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka.
  3. This year’s event is no less distinguished, as it boasts of a stellar cast of Speakers. While the keynote address will be delivered by His Lordship, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, former President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is the Special Guest of Honour.
  4. The conference will be chaired by Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.
  5. Among the eminent Panelists are the only surviving minister from the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi; Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; Mr. Peter Obi; Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; Senator Shehu Sani; Lady Onyeka Onwenu; Amb. Godknows Igali; Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Prof Ladi Hamalai, and Mrs. Charity Shekari.
  6. It is recalled that Nigeria fought a bitter and internecine 30-month civil war that left in its wake a sharply divided nation with mutual suspicion, hatred and resentment across racial and regional lines. An estimated one million victims were killed immediately before and during the war.
  7. The conference will x-ray the issues that led to the Civil War and the need for patriots to work together to achieve national cohesion, especially in light of several centrifugal tendencies within the polity.
  8. The forum will plot a roadmap for national development by dissecting the challenge of nation-building 51 years after the civil war as well as the much canvassed restructuring, marginalization, equity, fairness and justice.
  9. The conference is also aimed to underscore the lessons of the civil war and more especially to promote nation building, forgiveness, healing, reintegration, stability, and national cohesion. We also want to use the occasion to call for national reflection and encourage bridge building among Nigeria’s racial groups.
  10. We believe that the time has come for a robust interrogation of the causes of the Nigerian-Biafran War in order to identify the fault lines that have retarded national cohesion and growth.
  11. The “Never Again Conference” is the brainchild of Nzuko Umunna, a pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization with members spread across all corners of the world. This year, Nzuko Umunna is collaborating with Njenje Media to deliver the conference. The conference is a sequel to the highly successful ‘Handshake Across the Niger’ conference which celebrated the many shared but often ignored values and interests between Nigeria’s racial groups as epitomised by their age-long peaceful coexistence and robust relationships.
  12. Thank you.
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Prof. Pat Utomi
Chairman, Conference Planning Committee