Prominent Igbo leaders have divulged on why the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu enjoy the sympathy of Ndigbo despite government’s suppression on them.
Former Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Chekwas Okorie who spoke at the inauguration of new Executive Members of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Enugu State Council in Enugu agreed that the injustice against Ndigbo needed to be resolved immediately to end the agitation.
Prof Nebo, who was the guest speaker at the event, and who spoke on Igbo Presidency, stated that the fight by IPOB and Kanu was born out of unspeakable treatment of Ndigbo that have made the young people lose faith in the country.
The former Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka, said: “The clamour for the state of Biafra to be born was born out of the massive ill treatment of Ndigbo, disenfranchisement of Ndigbo, the unspeakable treatment of Ndigbo that have driven many of our young people to despair and despondency.
That is why IPOB was born. Unfortunately their methods are horrible, not defensible, unacceptable and they are not passing on whatever it is they want to pass on the right way.
So when you talk to the typical young person in Igboland, they feel like there is no hope for them in the entity called Nigeria and that is why some of them are so determined to the point of giving their lives to have independence and to become free from this shackle that Nigeria has placed on Ndigbo.
“I have always believed in one strong viral country called Nigeria. Together we are stronger, we are better, we are more massive and we can turn the lots of the country around and in so doing turn the course of the black man around. The dismemberment of Nigeria is not in the best interest of the black race.
But in order to prevent that dismemberment, Ndigbo must be given a pride of place again in this country.
And that pride of place must come from an Igbo man mounting the saddle of presidency in Nigeria. I think this is very important because if it does not happen, more and more people will become restive and it is becoming obvious.
“For instance right now, one of the most neglected geopolitical zones in this country is the South East.
If you think in terms of infrastructural development, it is like the Federal Government sometimes forgets that there is a place called the South Eastern part of Nigeria with regards to the distribution of amenities and infrastructure.”
He noted that the reason the North could be afraid of the South East is that the South East has been so marginalized and abused that if the South East ever gets the presidency, the people will revenge.
“They don’t understand that our culture is not that way. We do not revenge. You will see an Igbo president who will make sure that no part of Nigeria is left behind.”
Chief Okorie who was the chairman of the occasion, also noted: “Nnamdi Kanu is pursuing an agenda that borders on marginalization, persecution, alienation of the Igbo people. He didn’t start it, Ralph Uwazuruike started it and somewhere along the line Uwazuruike’s effort began to wane and he came into it on 2012 with Radio Biafra.
“The major vision that informed the formation of APGA was to give an Igbo man an opportunity to contest, because prior to that time we couldn’t be given opportunity to contest, let alone failing or winning because of the political structure of Nigeria.
Otherwise nothing would have made Dr. Alex Ekwueme not to be the candidate of PDP and probably the first Igbo President of Nigeria.
But that conspiracy relying on the lopsided structure of Nigeria denied him that as in spite of his great qualification for that office, so when people talk today and say about merit and competence and all that, I don’t think Igbo people are lacking in very competent and meritorious persons to lift Nigeria to a very enviable height.”
Okorie who said the Igbo have at least 25 per cent of the voting population of Nigeria in every state of the country, added: “We have a major duty to do because everybody says we don’t have the number, even the President of Nigeria said we are just a dot in a circle.
But when he came to Owerri and saw Igbo leaders under one roof, the people they said will never speak in one voice, the same man in a convivial atmosphere said Igbo people control the economy of the whole country. So how do you reconcile that?”
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