..Says group overheating polity
From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday came hard on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, with a warning to desist from actions capable of heating up the polity.
Ohanaeze, which spoke against the group’s call for a boycott of Anambra election stated that IPOB and Kanu have no right to stop the Anambra governorship election slated to hold on November 18.
This came just as Governor Willie Obiano, commended Ohanaeze’s new leadership for showing great commitment to the Igbo cause.
Obiano said the state government would continue to do everything to support Ohanaeze in protecting Igbo interest.
The governor spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Legislative Matters, Chief Chiedozie Ezeugwa, when President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo and his executive members visited Anambra State House of Assembly, yesterday.
Nwodo, who addressed members of the state Assembly at the Legislative Complex, Awka, expressed sadness that Kanu had breached the undertaking he took before him (Nwodo) and Ohanaeze when he (Kanu) visited him after his release from detention.
Nwodo said as a father, “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.”
The Ohanaeze leader, who disclosed that the visit was part of the body’s sensitisation in the South-East region following the recent Arewa youth threat, stated that Anambra and indeed Igbo are Nigerians.
“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 Igbo 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 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 Igbo, 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 restructuring.
“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.
“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,’’ he warned.
, 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 can 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 Ohaneze message to every nook and cranny of Anambra State.”
Nwodo also commended Anambra State saying, “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.”
Speaker of Anambra Assembly, Rita Maduagwu and the former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, called on Igbo to avoid being divided in whatever cause they would pursue in the prevailing circumstance.
Maduagwu assured that the House would give support to Ohanaeze as it had stood behind the state government, adding that Ohanaeze Ndigbo is in support of the referendum and was not preaching hate, but peace and noted that the state Assembly would move on sensitisation drive in the state over the matter.
Chief Umeh noted that it was the first time Ohanaeze Ndigbo had elected people who could represent Igbo without fear, adding that because of bad leadership, people outside had been making a jest of Igbo.
According to Umeh “it is only the people who do not have Igbo blood in them that will allow anybody to tell them what goes on in the society today, this current Ohanaeze, under Nwodo is making Igbo proud.” (The Sun)