*He has never identified with Igbo struggle — INC
*He should profess a more appreciable opinion of Ndigbo — Ohanaeze
*Produce Eze Kanu dead or alive —Monarchs
*Low turnout mars military medical outreach in Ebonyi
*Ohanaeze, S-East NASS Caucus meet with Sultan, Kukah
By Chioma Gabriel, Emeka Mamah, Henry Umoru, Anayo Okoli, Peter Okutu & Chinonso Alozie
OWERRI — Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has accused the Igbo of playing the worst politics in Nigeria, saying the Hausa and Yoruba don’t need Igbo to win election.
Okorocha’s statement has drawn the ire of Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, and Igbo National Council, INC, which accused him of never identifying with Igbo cause.
This is even as Ibeku traditional rulers in Umuahia North Council Area of Abia State have called on the Nigerian Army to release, dead or alive, their colleague and father of leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Eze Israel Kanu, saying that since the invasion and attack on his palace by soldiers, they don’t know his whereabouts.
Igbo play worst politics in Nigeria —Okorocha
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Owerri, the state capital, Okorocha said the Igbo have to change their strategy to remain relevant in Nigerian politics.
He said gone were the days when other ethnic groups need the input of the Igbo before they could win an election, especially with the latest “alliance” between the Hausa and the Yoruba.
He said: “Today, Hausa have realised they can win an election without Igbo. Igbo have to change their strategy, to reclaim their relevance in Nigeria’s power equation. Quote me anywhere, Igbo play the worst politics in Nigeria.
“Hitherto, Hausa used to think they could not win elections without Igbo. Now, they believe with the combined massive populations of Lagos and Kano, they no longer need Igbo to win, hence, the latest alliance between Hausa and Yoruba. So, where is Igbo today in Nigerian politics?”
Okorocha also condemned the agitation of IPOB, saying the group created a feeling of distrust among other ethnic groups.
He questioned the wisdom of the Igbo seeking to break away from Nigeria when their chance of producing the country’s president “is around the corner.”
Okorocha is a disappointment — ECA
Secretary of ECA, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, who reacted to Okorocha’s assertion in a telephone interview in Enugu, yesterday, said it was totally disappointed with Okorocha, adding that was why people like Okorocha emerged as governor.
However, the ECA Secretary, Evangelist Ugochukwu-Uko said:, “My brother, we are 100 percent in agreement with Okorocha. We agree that Igbo made terrible mistake by selecting someone like him as their leader.
“We agree with him. If our people play good politics, they would have looked for people who have our interests at heart. The tragedy of the Igbo nation is that the so-called leaders do not have the interest of the people at heart.”
He has never identified with Igbo struggle — INC
In its reaction, Igbo National Council, INC, yesterday, said Okorocha had never identified with the Igbo struggle.
National president ofINC, Comrade Godsent, stated that Okorocha had never identified with Ndigbo in their struggles, pointing out that they were not surprised over his outbursts.
Godsent said: “Well, by our own understanding, the Igbo play politics of maturity based on principle. I want to ask, does it mean that we play worst politics by refusing to be political prostitutes, jumping from one party to another? Does that portray us as worst politicians?
“Okorocha’s statement should not be taken serious because the governor has not only lost his credibility among Ndigbo but acceptance.”
He should profess a more appreciable opinion of Ndigbo — Ohanaeze
In it reaction, yesterday, Ohanaeze Ndigbo,called on Okorocha to carry out a critique of his remarks against Ndigbo and come up with a more appreciable opinion of Igbo extraction.
In a statement in Abakaliki, National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Prince Uche Achi Okpaga, stated that the views expressed by Okorocha about Ndigbo remains untrue.
According to him, “every human being (or race) is affected or influenced by his cultural, religious and social backgrounds. Ndigbo are no exception. The republican and egalitarian nature of Ndigbo distinguishes them and, as well influences them in all ramifications.
“To say that Ndigbo play the worst politics without first juxtaposing it viz-a-viz these inalienable factors that influence them may not be correct. I advise whoever is of this opinion to x-ray it once again and profess a more appreciable opinion.”
Monarchs disown youth association
Speaking, yesterday, in Umuahia, under the umbrella body of Ibeku Traditional Rulers Council, chairman of the council, Eze Henry Ezekwem, flanked by other monarchs, disowned a group, Umuahia Youth Association, which gave Governor Okezie Ikpeazu ultimatum to dethrone Eze Kanu, saying the association does not exist in Umuahia.
According to them, Nnmadi Kanu is a full-fledged adult and his father cannot be held accountable for his actions.
He said: “Ibeku traditional rulers disown the group, it does not exist; we also reject the call to dethrone Eze Israel Kanu. He has not committed any offence. Nnamdi Kanu is an adult, he has his freedom to exercise; his father cannot stop him.
“We call on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to ignore such call. We don’t even know about the said association, it does not exist in Umuahia. In fact, we commend the governor for rejecting the call and saying openly that he would not dethrone Eze Kanu.
“The army should let us know the where abouts of Eze Israel Kanu. We need him alive or dead.
“We totally condemn the attack on Eze Israel Kanu’s palace by soldiers. His cook, a woman, was killed during the attack. The Nigerian Army should tell us the sins of Eze Kanu.
“We call on the Federal Government to produce those who carried out the attack and also come to the rescue of Eze Kanu and his family over the collateral damage done in his palace and desacretion of the throne.”
Operation Python Dance II
On Operation Python Dance II, the monarchs rejected it and wondered why it was not launched since Fulani herdsmen have been attacking and destroying lives and property in the South-East.
Meanwhile, military fighter jet has continued to fly over the state, especially Umuahia and Aba axis just as the Abia State Government has relaxed the curfew imposed on Aba from 10pm till 6 am.
According to the government, it was the decision of the State Security Council meeting held Tuesday, which agreed that the security situation has improved.
Low turnout mars military medical outreach in Ebonyi
Following the negative impact of Operation Python Dance II being executed by the military in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country, which has impacted negatively on the minds of the people, rural dwellers in Ebonyi State expected to attend the military’s medical outreach did not turn up in their numbers for the exercise.
The beneficiaries of the free medical care, Vanguard learned, were to be drawn from seven communities of Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state but only those within Nkwagu military cantonment attended the exercise as the low turnout was blamed on the recent clampdown and alleged killing of IPOB members by the military in Abia State.
At the venue of the event, children in school uniforms were seen occupying a canopy while family members of soldiers residing within the cantonment also graced the exercise as those it was targeted at were still in the rural areas going about their normal businesses.
Speaking during the inauguration of the exercise at Nkwagu Primary School in Abakaliki, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, who stated that the exercise was meant to foster military-civil relationship within the zone, thanked Ebonyi State government for its reception and hospitality throughout his stay in the state.
Declaring the exercise open, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, thanked the military for its initiative aimed at meeting the health needs to Ebonyi people.
Ohanaeze, S-East NASS Caucus meet with Sultan, Kukah
Meantime, the South-East National Assembly Caucus and the apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, will today meet with the Sultan of Sokoto and chairman, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, as part of moves to nip in the bud, the raging crisis in the South-East following the activities of members of IPOB.
Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that the Senators, members of the House of Representatives and the Ohanaeze, which would be led by President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, will also have a meeting with the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah.
According to the source, the delegation, which will depart Abuja at 10 am today for Sokoto, will also meet and brainstorm with the Igbo community in the state and its environs.
The source told Vanguard that the delegation would discuss with the Sultan, the Catholic Bishop and others on the Federal Government’s military show of force in the South East through its body called,Operation Python Dance II, currently taking place particularly in the remote villages around Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Also to be discussed at the meeting is the categorization of IPOB as a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the Nigerian military.