*’Why I abandoned Igbo president for Wike’
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has opened up on the September 17, 2017 military invasion of Afaraukwu Ibeku, country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, denying any pre-information of the raid.
According to him, the Army Commander at that time visited his office to inform him that he had orders to arrest Nnamdi Kanu.
“I wasn’t informed that an invasion was going to happen. I only saw the GOC who was at Enugu that time, he showed up in my office and told me that he will arrest Nnamdi Kanu”, Ikpeazu stated.
“ I asked him why? He said he had ordered to arrest him. I told him to give me few hours and he obliged. I called the traditional rulers and asked them to talk to Nnamdi’s father who was a traditional ruler to persuade Kanu to come and have a word with the GOC, but Nnamdi Kanu refused, saying he was under seige already in his house. I didn’t know that the soldiers were already everywhere”.
The governor, who featured in an interview tagged, ‘Nigeria now with Dickson Iroegbu’, in Abuja, noted that the agitation for self-determination being championed by Kanu was as a result of glaring injustice perpetrated against the South-East by the Federal Government.
His words: “What is happening in the South-East now is as a result of total disregard for the interest of the South-East people by the government at the centre. What has happened in the South East is a combination of all manner of things. One is the total disregard of the interest of the South East by the center, flagrant and provocative comments from both the Government and other elements”.
Ikpeazu said peace would remain elusive in the country until injustice was addressed. His words: “It is difficult to find peace wherever injustice pesters. Nnamdi Kanu is saying that if we are not wanted, could we go?
“There are three options available to every man; integrate me, let me be part of it and the other one, endure until you die or exit. But the system is saying: endure until you are annihilated. The Leadership of the nation is not engaging”.
Ikpeazu said he was among those that agitated for Igbo President but decided to support Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket after observing what he called a high conspiracy against the Igbo.
“My argument and support was for a President of Igbo extraction. First of all , the conversation of how a person can become a President in a country like Nigeria that is multi- dimensional, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural requires that you engage and talk about it”, he said.
“You would want to convince people, and in doing that, you must be strategic on how to play the politics of emergence. I said the first thing to do as a governor is to first convey that the presidency must come from the South and we met in Lagos.
“For us, my strategy was to get it in the South so that we can begin to micro-zone. I discovered that the conspiracy against the Igbo man is palpable. You can feel it, you can touch it.
“My support for a South Easterner is not necessary that we haven’t taken a shot at the presidency, but because the Igbo man believes in Nigeria than any other tribe.
“The Igbo man is not even prepared to abandon Sambisa for any terrorist or bandit. We can trade in Sambisa. For that, we have demonstrated our Nigerians. If there are people who believe in one Nigeria, it is an Igbo man.
“For instance, Presidency is important, but of greater importance to an Igbo man is whatever that facilitates trade and commerce”.
Ikpeazu explained that he opted for Wike for President because he is a man of courage and the capacity to call a spade a spade. The governor, however, said that South-East, despite the way they were treated by the PDP, would stick to PDP than dump the party.