By Emeka Mamah, Francis Igata, Peter Okutu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Chinonso Alozie
The apex Igbo organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, rose from its Imeobi (highest decision organ) meeting in Enugu and called on the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu, the detained Director of Radio Biafra and leader of IPOB, unconditionally.
However, the meeting, which was billed to hold with representatives of MASSOB and IPOB was boycotted by the pro-Biafra groups.
Ohanaeze‘s directive was contained in a communique jointly signed by the National President of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey and the Secretary General, Dr. Joe Nworgu.
They said that agitations and public protests over Biafra had been exacerbated by the detention of Mr. Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra. At the meeting attended by representatives of both the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, in Enugu yesterday, Ohanaeze further expressed displeasure over the continued incarceration of Kanu, saying that it was gravely concerned over current wide-spread public Biafra agitations in states of the South-East and some other states of Nigeria for the actualization of Biafra.
The communique read in part: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organization of Ndigbo in Nigeria and the Diaspora, is gravely concerned by current wide-spread and public Biafra agitations in states of the South-East and some other states of Nigeria.
“These agitations and public protests have become exacerbated by the detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the promoter/proprietor/director of Radio Biafra by Department of State Services, DSS.”
It further stated that “Ohanaeze Ndigbo fears that these developments may threaten the security and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians wherever they may be domiciled, and consequently, decided to summon an emergency meeting of Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo to discuss the situation.
“This emergency meeting was held in Enugu at the National Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Sunday, (yesterday), November 29, 2015. Representatives of the various organizations and associations involved in the current public protest also attended the meeting.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, after extensive candid discussions and analysis of the situation is of the view that the current agitations are the direct result of the excruciating pain of severe injustice, marginalization and exclusion of Ndigbo from decision making structures in Nigeria as currently configured.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo strongly avers that the exclusion of Ndigbo in decision making structure presents danger to the unity and well-being of the country, not only now, but also in future, and should be redressed urgently.
Meantime, the movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, also yesterday, lashed out on the leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, accusing him of hypocrisy and deceit over his call for the unconditional release of the incarcerated director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government.
This came as the former Chairman of Police Service Commission, PSC, Chief Simon Okeke cautioned some Igbo elders to “stop making pronouncements that can be very infuriating and dishonourable to the agitating groups . He also urged them to speak out early when youths start derailing, instead of keeping what he called “criminal silence” and subsequently condemning them when things get out of hand.
MASSOB and IPOB leaders after their joint meeting attended by other leaders of the two groups said: “Chief Uwazurike’s appeal was “an expression full of insincerity.”
The groups’ statement made available to newsmen by Mr. Uchenna Madu, and spokesman of IPOB Mr. Emma Powerful on behalf of other leaders, also alleged that “Uwazurike has never liked Mr. Kanu because he (Kanu) is becoming more popular, consistent and trusted by Biafra agitators,” adding that “in Uwazurike’s mind, he is happy with Kanu’s ordeal in the hands of the Federal Government .”
Chief Uwazurike while addressing loyalists and friends of MASSOB who stormed Owerri for the third anniversary of the exit of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, which had Ojukwu’s wife, Chief Bianca Ojukwu, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun and Major Hamza Al- Mustapha in attendance had called for Nnamdi Kanu’s release.
“We do not believe in Uwazuruike’s call for Mr. Kanu’s release, just as we condemn the speech at Ojukwu Memorial ceremony where he also said that some people claiming to be champions in their little knowledge, forget that Igboland is landlocked and the five states of South East contribute less than eight per cent of the economy of Nigeria. That is the height of his deceit that he is actually fighting for the actualization of Biafra. It is a statement of somebody that has been compromised, and should not be taken serious.
“That statement was indirectly encouraging the Nigeria government to continue their detention and persecution of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the current Biafra hero. If not, how can somebody like Uwazurike be making such comments and he wants people to take him serious? We saw where he was going and we decided to leave him,” they said.
Chief Simon Okeke, who was the former PSC chairman regretted that some Igbo leaders had been discrediting the youths agitating for the sovereign state of Biafra.
He said: “The war is over, we have all integrated into Nigerian, there was the doctrine of ‘no victor, no vanquished,’ so the Nigerian experiment has been going on. I have served as PSC chairman and even after that, I have been in pursuit of progress of Nigeria, starting with peace and progress in Igbo land. I think we should stay together as a country, but issues of Igbo marginalization and victimization are real. They are there and very glaring and must be addressed, but not with violence and incessant protests.
“Sometimes truth can be bitter, but it must be told. There are certain pronouncements from Igbo elders that can be very infuriating and dishonourable of someone that calls himself an elder.
“I have always spoken aloud, I have always said that our Igbo elders should correct the youths early when they are going astray, but they seem to be keeping silent. Their silence is what I have always called ‘criminal silence.’
“If you see the young ones going astray and fail to speak out, your silence is criminal.,” he said.
Discussing with Buhari
Meantime, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, weekend, revealed that the governors of the South East geo-political zone had taken a decision to discuss issues revolving around the recent agitation by IPOB in the country.
Governor Umahi made this known when he received the leadership of the Abakpa Main Market Traders Association at the Government House in Abakaliki.
According to Umahi, the South-East governors had listened to the complaints of the agitators and had decided to discuss the issues with the President.
“We have listened to the complaints of the boys. There is no way anybody would say that what they are saying is completely outside the truth, but just like husband and wife, you must have a way of getting along through dialogue.
“The governors of the South-East have taken up the matter with Mr. President and I believe that we don’t need another war in this country. I want to plead with you to encourage whoever is involved that we have taken up the matter and we will do everything possible to make sure that their feelings are addressed.
“We should not support secession. We should not support demonstrations; we should not support the castigation of our leaders.”