By Ikechukwu Odu, NSUKKA
The former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nniah Nwodo, has distanced himself from a social media report alleging that he fingered members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, as being responsible for the ongoing killings in South East region.
Nwodo who described the report as “provocative,” said the originator wanted to put him on a collision course with IPoB, adding that he never indicated interest to run for the presidency in 2023.
He also said that he had always shared the pains of the IPoB who are fighting against the marginalisation of the Igbos in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
Part of the statement reads “It has come to my notice that a news item is being peddled in IKETEX MEDIA TV alleging that I have been vindicated on my statement in 2019 that IPOB was responsible for the killings in the South East and that herdsmen were innocent of the killings.
“The puerile, mendacious and provocative story also credited me with saying that even the recent killings in Ebonyi State were carried out by IPOB and that it was not Governor Uzodimma and wouldn’t be cowed by IPOB and that any attack on my property would attract a reprisal attack from me on Afara ukwu.
“This is a terrible lie from the pit of hell and intended not just to tarnish my image but to set me on a collision course with IPOB.
“Let me state categorically that I have not stated or given anybody the impression that I was interested in the 2023 presidential race, neither does my body language suggest it.
“Furthermore, I couldn’t have indicted IPOB on killings in the South East when I have always held the view that they are my children and share in their grievances arising from the overt marginalisation of the Ibo in the country.
“In my inaugural speech as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in 2017, and in my address at Chattam House in London, I had stated clearly and firmly that the struggle of IPOB is my struggle except that we differ in modalities because while they sought outright independence for Biafra, Ohanaeze Ndigbo stood for the restructuring of the nation in a united Nigeria.
“It is also instructive that in the twilight of my service to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, we had reached an understanding to work in concert with IPOB to achieve the desired objective for Ndigbo.
“Where and when did I fall out with IPOB to make a public statement accusing them of any crime or denouncing their activities?
“Moreover, it is on record that since I left as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, I have deliberately shielded away from making any public statement in order not to distort public view as to who speaks for Ndigbo after my exit.
“The only public speech I have made since then was recently on the day of tributes in honour of the deceased Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin.
“The obvious conclusion from the ill_conceived story is that it was intended to indict me and justify an attack on me.
” This mischief is as condemnable as it is indecent and should be roundly condemned by all decent minds.
Nobody gains anything from unjustifiably engaging in a smear campaign on an innocent person.”