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- Okorocha Says He Lacks Capacity To Lead Igbos To War
South East governors on Thursday disowned Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), saying he lacks the capacity to provide leadership or direction for the Igbos or even lead them to war.
This is as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Igbos, on Thursday descended and distanced itself from Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB organisation, saying their activities have heat up the polity.
Rochas Okorocha, Imo State governor, on behalf of leaders of the South East and governors of the region, insisted that Kanu was riding on alleged marginalisation of the South East to front his own agitations and gain relevance.
He wondered why Nigerians were taking the agitations for restructuring out of context.
Okorocha, who spoke to select State House correspondents in Abuja, also carpeted the Northern youth group that gave Igbos October 1 deadline to quit the North.
He noted that the new breed of youths needed to be schooled on the implications of their baseless agitations.
Nnamdi Kanu Lacks Capacity To Lead Igbos To War
“The question to ask is does Nnamdi Kanu have the capacity to lead Igbos to war? Or lead me and the governors to war?
“So you mean I will stand now and Nnamdi Kanu will tell me stand up let’s go to war? Sometimes we over dramatise issues just to make a big deal out of it and that has been the big challenge.
“We must understand the position of a thing and what has created this hullabaloo if you like and the big noise about this whole thing.
“Kanu was a breakout of MASSOB (Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra) and he broke out of parent MASSOB out of agitation. So it has been agitation, agitation, agitation.
“I had said previously that it depends on how we define this whole thing that is being taken out of context. Kanu is a young man who is seeking relevance, agitating for whatever he believes in, what he stands for must be treated separately from the entire Igbo nation.
“Like the gentlemen that spoke for the Arewa youths, these are not more than 17 young men speaking for millions of Arewa youths and it doesn’t make sense because if you ask any Arewa youth now, if he is part of this he will tell you no. “We don’t have that wisdom of narrowing things to the perspective where they belong, but we like to enlarge it to create the confusion that we all enjoy and the confusion if not well taken care of will consume Nigeria one day. That is what some of us are trying to avoid.
“Kanu is riding on the back of supposed Igbo marginalisation which has been said is not right, he is capitalising on that sentiment to push his agenda, but that does not mean that the Igbos are speaking with him.
“I was at Chatham House and I remember how I was attacked by the IPOB boys when I was delivering my lecture. They walked up to me and they were shouting and I said calm down and the young man has never visited Nigeria.
Neglect Of South East
“So it’s our duty to call our younger ones to order, but I want to assure Nigerians that they should not see that as a break but agitation given what they perceived that the South East has been neglected overtime politically, economically, socially and all that.
“Their roads are impassable; you cannot pass Port Harcourt road, Enugu road, Aba road, Bayelsa road and all the roads. You can hardly see Federal Government presence in the South East; all the things you see are self-made things. Even the Onitsha Bridge has been a theoretical talk, fabrications which does not represent realities. So, this is a mix up.
“So he speaks his own and joins it to our issues and it now looks like a nationwide thing. That is not the issue. We have called for unity and have agreed that we will remain united. Very soon, some of us have taken it upon ourselves to reach out to these young men to talk to them.
“We must understand that our young men are frustrated, if they are as comfortable as we are they will not be able to say those things”.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo also on Thursday descended and distanced itself from Kanu and his IPOB organisation.
Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, made the stand of the body known while addressing members of the Anambra State House of Assembly at the Legislative Complex, Awka, Anambra State.
Nwodo, who was particularly not happy with the statement credited to Kanu that governorship election should not hold in Anambra in November, said Kanu had breached the undertaking he took before him (Nwodo) when he was released from detention.
“I’m just being paternal. The way I commended them as my children is the way I have the right to chastise them when they go wrong. We don’t need this heat up”, Nwodo said.
“News that reached us in the past few days that Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, has declared that there will be no election in Anambra in November is shocking and disturbing. I hereby countermand that declaration as president general of Ohanaeze.
“Whereas Ohanaeze understands the marginalisation and unfair treatment of Igbos which have given rise to self-determination movements in Igboland, leaders of these movements must not arrogate to themselves the supreme leadership of Igboland.
“Statements of the kind credited to Nnamdi Kanu are provocative, misleading and unproductive. Why should Anambra people be denied the opportunity to choose their own leader? Why should any of us who are not from Anambra, no matter how highly placed, descend to the arena and dictate for Anambra people when to vote, whether to vote or who to vote for?
“Anambra, nay Igbos, are still part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yes, we are not happy with our treatment in Nigeria. Yes, some of us want Biafra. Yes, some of us prefer a restructured Federal Republic of Nigeria. But the fact remains that we are still part and parcel of the present Federal Republic of Nigeria, bound by its laws, no matter how repressive or unjust”, Nwodo said while addressing the legislators.
Continuing, he said, “Our approach to reforms of our laws even if it leads to self-determination or restructuring must be lawful. We must convince other Nigerians of our point of view, we must strive to make others share our convictions.
“Our language must be civil, respectful and lead to consensus building. We must resist any attempt to turn division amongst us, as to which way we must go, become a source of altercations between us.
“As we speak very many of our people living in Northern Nigeria are in complete awe and consternation regarding how safe they will be after October 1st. Other Northerners living amongst us are also worried.
“The Inspector General of Police has taken public notice of Nnamdi’s comments inviting a possible invasion of Anambra by the Nigerian police, increasing the already existing siege of our people which lead to daily extortion on our highways. All these developments have arisen out of unguarded utterances.
“I find no venue more suited for the statements I make here. Every constituent part of Anambra is represented here. I believe that the honourable members here are competent enough to carry the Ohanaeze message to every nook and cranny of Anambra State”.
Nwodo, who said the organisation would visit other houses of Assembly in Igbo speaking states, said, “We are happy with the peace that exists here. We are happy with the steady progress Anambra has registered over the years. The next election can only improve not retard it.”
Igbos Must Not Be Divided
Earlier, Chief Willie Obiano, Anambra State governor, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Legislative Matters, Chief Chiedozie Ezeugwa, said that the state government was committed to the Igbo cause and would continue to do everything to support the Ohanaeze in protecting the interest Igbos.
Mrs. Rita Mmaduagwu, Speaker of Anambra Assembly, and a former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, in their speeches said Igbos should avoid being divided in whatever cause they pursue in the prevailing circumstance, adding that the time to listen to Igbos has come.
It would be recalled that on Wednesday Kanu in Umuahia, Abia State, was unanimously chosen by seven pro-Biafra groups as leader of all groups agitating for the sovereign state of Biafra.
Announcing the decision of the groups under the banner of Biafra Peoples National Council (BPNC) at Nnamdi Kanu’s country-home at Afara Ibeku in Umuahia North Council, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Uchenna Madu, said Kanu’s sincerity, focus and doggedness in the struggle towards realisation of Biafra made the pro-Biafra groups to ask him to lead them.
The groups, according to him, are MASSOB, Eastern People’s Congress (EPC), Biafran Revolutionary Organisation (BRO), Joint Revolutionary Council of Biafra (JRCB); World Union of Biafran Scientists (WUBS), Biafran Liberation Crusaders (BLC), Salvation People of Biafra (SPB) and IPOB.