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Igbo leaders demand restructured but united Nigeria

…MASSOB kicks
…Anambra Nov election must hold —Ohanaeze
…Igbo‘ll be better if given autonomy—Ekweremadu
…Army’ll defend sovereignty of Nigeria — Bature

By Chioma Gabriel, Emeka Mamah, Dennis Agbo, Peter Okutu & Chinonso Alozie

Enugu—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.

From left: Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Gov.
Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi, Willie Obiano of Anambra and Okezie Ipkeazu of Abia addressing newsmen after South-East Governors Forum in Enugu State on Sunday (2/7/17).

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.

Igbo Chiefs

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.”

Attendance

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.”

MASSOB kicks

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.

We stand for restructuring —Ebonyi Senator, PDP chieftain, others

Also, yesterday, some stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ebonyi State,  reaffirmed the need for the country to be restructured following the current challenges bedevilling it in every sector of the economy.

Speaking with newsmen, the Senator representing Ebonyi Central senatorial zone, Senator Obinna Ogba, who expressed dismay that the South-East geopolitical zone does not have a representative in the National Security Council stressed that “we stand for the restructuring of this country.

“ How  can the South-East have only five states while other geopolitical zones have more than that? Let me make it clear that no geopolitical zone is superior to the other. The 2014 confab report should be sent to the National Assembly. There is no Igbo man in National Security Council of this country and how do we know when they tell the Igbo to run for their lives. In NNPC, there is no Igbo man there; in EFCC, there is no Igbo man at the top echelon of responsibility.”

Also, a PDP chieftain in Ebonyi State, Chief Abia Onyike, stated that the APC opposition to the clamour for the restructuring of the nation meant that the party has a hidden agenda.

According to him, APC’s stance on the matter was a reflection that they are not ready for peace and unity of the nation.

Army’ll  defend sovereignty of Nigeria — Bature

Meantime, Commander 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Imo State, Brigade General, Hamza Ibrahim Bature, has said  the Nigeria Army will continue to defend the sovereignty of the country no matter the challenges.

Bature disclosed this in Owerri during their clean-up exercise in the state capital, as part of their activities to mark this year’s Army Day celebration, weekend.

According to the commander, it was enshrined in the constitution that the Army would not only provide security but also defend the country’s sovereignty.

He also described the clean up exercise, which started at 07:30am and ended at 10:45am and, subsequently, the free medical services to the people of Okuku in Owerri West Local Government Area as “a show of commitment and patriotism which the Army has for the country.”


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