By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Chinonso Alozie
ABUJA—GOVERNOR Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, yesterday said he will not dethrone the traditional ruler of Afara Ukwu Ibeku Autonomous Community of the state, His Royal Highness, Eze Israel Kanu, the father of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu because of the involvement of his son in the ongoing tension in the state.
There have been calls from some people from Umuahia that the governor should dethrone Kanu’s father following the horrible experience the people had from the military that had invaded all streets in the area to curb the activities of IPOB.
Specifically, the Umuahia Youths Movement on Sunday gave governor Ikpeazu a 24-hour ultimatum to dethrone Kanu’s father as a paramount ruler or else, they would take the laws upon their hands, claiming that the royal father was not fit to be king as he was unable to control his son.
But another group, Ibeku Youth Assembly warned against any attempt to remove the traditional ruler from his throne.
Governor Ikpeazu who was at the Presidential Villa to brief President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on the security situations in his state told State House correspondents that there was a difference between Kanu and his father.
According to him, “I clearly separate Kanu from his father. The processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws of our land.
“Traditional rulers who are members of our constituency have leadership, they will do the needful at the appropriate time. But for me, I think there is a clear division between Nnamdi Kanu and his father.”
Fielding question on what went wrong, he said, “It depends from what point to what point. But if you are referring to what happened in the past one week, Nigerians know that for some time now, this group called IPOB is agitating for a separate nation called Biafra and that the home state of the leader of that group happens to be Abia State.
“As expected, when such things happen, there was an interface between some members of that group and the military, and the theater was Abia state.
“Some people attempted to hijack that event to conflagrat our country. To the glory of God, the rest is history, we are still working to stabilize the fragile peace in the region. I thank God also for the instruments he used to be able to keep our country as one. We are humbled by the privileges.”
On what he told the northern governors that were in his state as a result of the ethnic tension generated by the clash between the army and IPOB, he said that he assured the northern governors of the safety of their people in Abia State.
He said, “Well, I assured them of safety of lives and property of everybody that resides in Abia whether you are an Abian or not an Abian. I swore with the Bible to protect lives and property and because I take such things seriously, I will continue to protect the lives and property of my brothers and sisters irrespective of where they come from.
“You know that the main stay of our economy in Abia State is trade and commerce and I do not think it will augur well for our economy if we make our kitchen the theater of Biafra.
“A native wisdom in my place says, you shouldn’t allow fight to ensue from your mother’s kitchen. It is my responsibility also to grow prosperity from my state.”
Operation python dance evil — PFN
Also yesterday, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Southeast zone, described the Operation Python dance by the Nigeria military, as an “evil wind.”
The national vice President, Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu, stated this in a release, a copy which was made available to Vanguard in Owerri.
According to PFN, the military should direct their energy to “armed herdsmen.”
It stated: “The python dance is an evil wind that does no good to any person. It is intimidatory and instigates fear in the polity.
“We advise that the military should direct their energy to fighting the armed herdsmen who are the avowed enemies of the nation. The peace loving people of the Southeast consider Nigeria military’s present activity in our region as provocative and nothing more than a parody of might for the giant of Africa.
“We therefore, call on the federal government to immediately remove the soldiers from our back to barracks.”
On the issue of restructuring: “We appeal to those who think that they are benefiting from the present arrangement, to come to terms with the incontrovertible fact that our greatest good comes in the welfare of all.
“Even as we ask for restructuring, it must be pointed out that the most critical issue at stake is good governance by a dedicated leadership. We must address the leadership crisis at all levels of governance, as the failure to do so has affected our development and impoverished the nation.”
Commenting on the essence of his meeting with the Vice President, he said, “Well, naturally I am heading a subnational government when this kind of thing happens which would have had dimension of national proportion, it is right that you will come and brief the Commander-in-Chief or his vice and that is exactly what I have come to do.”
On his reaction to allegations that the IPOB crisis was as a result of failure of leadership in the South East, he said that the new crop of governors in the zone were doing their best to better the lots of the people.