My father is 93 years old and lived through Biafra as a middle aged man. He suffered loss of family members, abandoned properties as he lived in Port Harcourt. He never quite recovered from the War.
Whenever he visited me in Abuja, he gave me the same advice.
1. Always park your car facing the exit
2. Always buy fuel at half tank, in case you have to run back to the East. His friends all got stuck in Port Harcourt due to no fuel and many died from the shelling
3. Know your route to the East avoiding possible volatile areas. Igbos coming from the North lost their lives at certain communities on their way home.
4. Keep some cash at home. Banks did not work as Port Harcourt fell to the federal troops.
His advice always struck me as the effect of trauma, untreated. Interestingly, refusal to discuss Biafra and resolve the trauma has led to a generation who did not experience the war, taking the lead on the conversation. This generation leading the conversation has its implications for the nation.
Time to openly, truthfully and peacefully have the conversation is now, before those who experienced the war, all leave the stage. Please join the Centre For Memories for a discussion on Onye Aghala Nwanneya.