Igbo Leaders of Thought, including governors, members of the National Assembly, leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers and church leaders, met at Enugu, yesterday night, and pledged their support for a restructured but united Nigeria where there would be justice, equity and fairness.
The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has however, rejected the opposition of the Igbo leaders to the splitting of the country, saying the leaders were helping the Nigerian government to delay the imminent disintegration of the country.
Leader of MASSOB, Comrade Uchenna Madu, made this known in a statement in Enugu, yesterday, stressing that the leaders had always avoided the issues that had fuelled the Biafra agitation whenever they had the opportunity to sit with the Presidency officials.
This is even as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, reiterated his assurance to Anambra people that their elections scheduled for November 18, 2017 will be held.
According to Madu, “we are not interested in restructuring of Nigeria because the foundation and intention of establishing Nigeria as a state does not favour restructuring.”
Those who attended the Igbo leaders’ meeting included President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; five governors of South East geopolitical zone led by Chief Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State: Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Chief Willie Obiano (Anambra); Owelle Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); members of the National Assembly as well as the former Chief of General Staff, CGS, during the General Ibrahim Babangida administration, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd).
They also included the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; Chairman of South East Caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; former Governor of the Central Bank, CBN, Prof Chukwuma Soludo; Senator Sam Egwu; Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Prof Godfrey Onah; the Archbishop of Enugu Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma; the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe; National Chairman of the United People’s Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie; Prof. Barth Nnaji; Mrs. Josephine Anenih, and Senator Gill Nnaji, among others.
In a communique read by Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, Chief Dave Umahi, after the meeting, which lasted till the early hours of yesterday, the Igbo leaders declared their full support for a united Nigeria, where peace, justice, love and fairness reign supreme.
Also speaking at the event, Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who steered the leaders towards adopting the position of restructuring of the Nigerian federation, in his presentation entitled: “Biafra: The Legal, Political, Economic, and Social Questions,” said Ndigbo would thrive better if given autonomy.
He said: “The Igbo must continue to emphasise restructuring, which is currently enjoying acceptance in South-South, South-West, North-Central, and well-meaning people from other parts of the North. I believe that at the discussion table for restructuring, we will have sufficient allies that will enable us extract a good bargain for a just and equitable society, where we will, no doubt, excel.”
The statement by MASSOB signed by its Leader, Comrade Madu, and entitled “MASSOB blasts Igbo religious, traditional, political and opinion leaders for their nonchalant and insensitive attitude towards the current consciousness and realities of Biafra,” read: “Why is it that whenever these self-acclaimed Igbo leaders meet among themselves or with the Nigeria presidency, they always side-line the primary and principal reasons and cause of Biafra agitation?
“Yesterday’s meeting of Igbo leaders in Enugu is tactically helping Nigeria government in postponing the explosion of the inevitable and unstoppable ticking time bomb which Nigeria comfortably sat on.
“Their decisions are not the true minds and positions of the people of Biafra. We want Biafra and nothing but Biafra. Nigeria must disintegrate. Her faulty foundation has broken beyond repair.
“The non-violent struggle for Biafra actualisation and restoration is a reactionary revolution against the continued neglect, political injustices/imbalance of federal structures against Ndigbo by successive governments of Nigeria since 1970. We are in this self-determination struggle because of political, economic, academic, religious slavery which the government of Nigeria had subjected Ndigbo into in Nigeria.”
Anambra Nov 18 election must hold —Ohanaeze
According to a statement signed by Chukwudi Ibegbu, National Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, “President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo said nobody will stop the November 18 elelction in Anambra.
Nwodo noted that nobody has the right to tell Anambrarians not to come out and vote for candidates of their choice in the oncoming elections and, therefore, countermanded the ‘no-election’ order by Nnamdi Kanu,the leader of IPOB.