By Biodun Busari
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his call on the United States, the United Kingdom and other members of the international community to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a terrorist group.
Ohanaeze reminded Buhari to remember and act on the congratulatory words of Alhjai Maitama Sule to him in 2015, that “justice is key to good governance” which is what the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB group demands.
Ohanaeze simplified the demand of IPOB which is “Treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go.” The group also faulted lopsided appointments in most of the military and paramilitary agencies in the country which are not favourable to South-East region.
All these are disclosed in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Dr Alex Ogbonnia on Wednesday.
It also lamented the fresh massacre in Benue State where 16 residents were allegedly murdered in cold blood by marauding Fulani herders, adding that Buhari should channel his energy on these killers rather than focusing on how to label IPOB a terrorist group.
The statement reads, “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the statement credited to General Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, urging “the international allies to take additional step to proscribe the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) – as a terrorist organization”.
“Mr President was quoted to have “pleaded with Nigeria’s international partners, especially the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (UK) to block the group from the international financial network”. Mr President made the remarks during his interview with the Bloomberg.
“It is most expedient to enlighten the general public that what IPOB is asking for is the parting words of a Nigerian Titan: the Maitama Sule imperatives to President Buhari when he led the Northern Leaders Forum to congratulate Mr President shortly after his victory in the 2015 general election. Alhaji Maitama Sule of the blessed memory in congratulating Mr President, admonished that “justice is key to good governance”.
“That Mr. President should “extend justice to all and sundry, irrespective of religion or tribe. Sule reminded Mr. President that an infidel with good conscience and equity can govern successfully, far better than a believer devoid of sense of justice. Sule added that the solution to Nigerian problems can never be achieved by force, nor by fear, nor by power but by equity and justice to all.
“The prophetic Sule urged him to do justice to all parts of the country because according to him, peace and stability are a product of justice and equity. He added that in the absence of justice and equity, there can never be peace and development. Sule among others stated that in absence of development, there will be mass unemployment, poverty and that the idle men is a devil’s workshop…”
“Mr President knows he ignored the eternal advice from the Nigerian foremost patriot, democrat and diplomat, Alhaji Maitama Sule.
“What, I think, the IPOB is asking for is very clear: Treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go. On the other hand, how can one explain the obvious lopsidedness in the appointment of military and paramilitary personnel to head the followings organizations with little or no South East considerations; Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria Correctional Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, and Nigeria Customs Service; and several others.
“On the other hand, as Maitama Sule predicted, the orchestrated alienation of the South East from the centres of power is the basic cause of the agitation in the South East. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor has repeatedly stated that a people denied justice may not have interest in peace.
“The request by Mr. President to the West is most unachievable because the West watch with keen interest and utter resignation the pathetic governance paradigm in the country. For the avoidance of doubt, democracy all over the world requires justice, equity, mutual toleration and institutional forbearance all of which are in short supply in today Nigeria. Mr. President is reminded that the British profound sense of justice, fortitude, restraint, civic virtues and forbearance are the hallmarks that sustain their enviable government with an unwritten constitution. In a similar vein, what sustains the US democracy is not just the constitution but democratic norms and values anchored on justice and patriotism.
“As I am writing, the sad news of another Benue massacre flew in: “No fewer than 16 kinsmen of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State were, Monday, reportedly murdered in a fresh attack by suspected armed herdsmen, who invaded Udei and Yelwata communities in Guma Local Government Area, LGA, of the state”. According to the report which is viral, “the latest attack is coming about 10 days after a similar attack claimed several lives in Igama village, Edumoga Ehaje, Okpokwu LGA and four days after a lawmaker and his sibling were also murdered and beheaded by the marauders in Orokam, Ogbadibo LGA of the state……”
“Ohanaeze contends that if Mr President confronts the menace of the Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorizing several states, communities and individuals for over seven years now with similar obsession and commitment deployed to IPOB, Nigeria will be a better place.”