By Anayo Okoli, Vincent Ujumadu, Egufe Yafugborhi, Peter Okutu and Ugochukwu Alaribe
Governors in the southeast have accused the indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, of trying to instigate another civil war in Nigeria.
Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum Dave Umahi made the accusation Sunday night when he led Southeastern governors to meet with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike about reports of alleged attacks. against the Igbo.
The soldiers had been accused of killing residents of Oyigbo, a predominantly Igbo community in Rivers, following a clash between security officers and IPOB, now outlawed by the state.
Umahi, who brought the southeastern governors and other leaders to Rivers State, said they were in Rivers to determine the veracity of news circulating on social media about the alleged murder of Igbo people living in the state, adding that their findings proved otherwise.
In an opening comment during the visit, Governor Umahi said: “We are here to interact with you. We saw various things on social media about the Igbos in Obigbo and as leaders we put our heads together and asked to meet with Governor Wike.
“The first thing we want to do is ask our people, the Igbo in Rivers State, are the things we are seeing on social media true? We want him to address us. “
In response to that, the spokesperson and Eze Ndigbo in Rivers and Bayelsa, Eze Maduagu Ajaele and Lady Regina Uwakwe pointed out that Igbo have been living peacefully in Rivers State, as Governor Nyesom Wike has always led Igbo.
“Under Governor Wike, the Igbo have flourished in the state. Furthermore, the Igbo have contributed to the development of the state in many ways. Most of the buildings in Portharcourt are owned by the Igbo and others. Wike has made an Igbo man, Emeka Onowu, a commissioner for two terms.
“Therefore, we beg our leaders who have come to know the truth to please advise our people, our Igbo brothers and sisters here in Rivers State, to be careful and not engage in anything that constitutes abuse. to the hospitality of the host communities “.
In his response, Governor Nyesom Wike said that the governors of the southeast and Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo should not allow criminals to defame their reputation and Igbo ethnic nationality.
“Tell your people that the people of Rivers will continue to live alongside the Igbo. Don’t let your children tell you lies. The Igbo are innovative and hardworking. There can be no Nigeria without the Igbo. No one should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you should allow criminals to spoil your name.
“If I hate Igbo, I will not appoint your son to my state cabinet twice. But you have to obey the rules. Do not let criminals impose on you.”
Governor Umahi, after hearing Wike’s account of the IPOB violence in Oyigbo, which resulted in the imposition of a local curfew, found it nauseating that IPOB could go to the states of Benue and Rivers to raise its flag. and claim that these territories belong to the Igbo, emphasizing that the Igbo leadership opposed IPOB’s position. Umahi warned the Igbo to watch out for IPOB because the federal government branded it a terrorist group and was trying to instigate another civil war.
Ndigbo, Umahi noted, cannot support any form of criminality, as the Igbo have a large investment in Rivers, urging them to live in the state with respect for the government and the people of Rivers State to enjoy a peaceful business climate and sustained.
Governor Umahi also urged the Rivers State Governor to extend his affectionate hands to civilians in Rivers State, whose family members were killed by thugs, an attack that occurred as a result of the hijacked #EndSARS protest that recently occurred across the country.
“We have to start thinking about home. We like infrastructure, we like good roads, we like development and we don’t need to go slow. Please bring some of your investments home. I urge the Governor of Rivers State, as he is taking care of the families of the security officers who were killed during the #EndSARS protest that was kidnapped by thugs, please add that of the civilians, ”he said.
Furthermore, he revealed that the Igbo delegation will visit Lagos, Kano and FCT.
Also speaking, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chairman General Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting has reinforced the existing affinity between the Igbos and the people of the Niger Delta.
He explained that the Igbo leadership cannot stand by while a few misguided few who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the embers of disunity.
Former Rivers Governor Dr. Peter Odili, commenting on the occasion, praised Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and the visit to Governor Wike, stating that every governor wants peace to rule and Governor Wike is not a exception.
Present at the meeting were the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Anambra State Lieutenant Governor Dr. Nkem Okeke; and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
Other dignitaries included: the Lieutenant Governor of Rivers State, Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; the former Governor of Rivers, Sir Celestine Omehia; President of the Council of Traditional Rulers of the State of Rivers and Amanayanabo de Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja and National President of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Uche Secondus.
We are satisfied with the guarantees of Governor Wike: Ikpeazu
After the visit, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu said that the governors of the southeast were satisfied with Wike’s assurances that the Igbo and their investments are safe in Rivers State.
He urged Igbo people to respect the law, to conduct their business without fear, and to adhere to the values of hard work and industry for which Ndigbo is known.
In his words: “This, therefore, becomes an auspicious time to remind our people of our socio-cultural and economic affiliations with our brothers in Rivers State. Ndigbo must adhere to our longstanding traditions of hard work, industry and hobby by contributing significantly to the development of our host communities.
“It is not in our character to defame and disturb the peace around the place where we fight for our livelihood. Respect the laws of the country and the established authority. “
MASSOB commends Igbo governments, leaders for peace efforts
Also commenting on the development, the Movement for the Updating of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, commended Southeastern governors and other Igbo leaders for engaging Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike in seeking the restoration of peace and Harmonious relationship between the residents of Obigbo, which was the subject of a severe attack recently, leaving traces of the loss of several lives and the destruction of properties worth hundreds of millions of Naira.
MASSOB, in a statement issued by Comrade Uchenna Madu, a group led, described as “eloquent and audacious” the measures taken by the governors of the southeast and other Igbo leaders “to restore the peaceful and cordial relationship that the citizens and residents of Obigbo shared. together that was temporarily lost recently ”.
Signed by the National Director of Information, Comrade Edeson Samuel, MASSOB called for peace in Obigbo and urged peace and harmonious coexistence between brothers, insisting that “we can never allow our enemies to continue in their hypocritical and subtle means of sowing a dangerous seed of discord between brothers.
Obigbo has been the center of Igbo civilization and cultural feats. There is a bigger battle for survival ahead of Ndigbo and the rest of eastern Nigeria.
“Our people should know that the people of Arewa are busy projecting all kinds of political instabilities and launching a dangerous smear campaign against Ndigbo’s election, right, and turn to produce the next president.
“Arewa leaders (allegedly) instigated and sponsored the violence that broke out during the #EndSARS protest to blackmail Nigeria’s legitimate demand for good governance and restructuring.
“MASSOB encourages Southeast and South-South governors and their political, traditional, opinion and religious leaders to unite as one family in defense of the eastern region and demand the legitimate turn of the eastern region to produce the next president of Nigeria “.
Igbo will never fight in war again – Group
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Presidential Project, NPP, 2023, a group defending the Nigerian president from Igbo extraction in 2023, has vowed that the Igbo would never again enter a “physical war” against Nigeria.
At the inauguration of the nuclear power plant in Awka yesterday, the group’s chancellor, Dr. Walter Oji, recalled the massive loss of life and property during the 1967-1970 civil war, adding that the Igbo would never again engage in a so destructive war.
According to Oji, NPP is a platform mandated to be a midwife to the emergence of a Southeast president in 2023.
He warned young people against participating in any activity that could spark unrest in the country, arguing that development can only flourish in a peaceful atmosphere.
He said: “We must always remember that whoever brings ant-infested wood into their home is inviting lizards to visit their home. You don’t burn down your house because of the rat infestation.
“It is, therefore, necessary to remember that any protest that inhibits the right of movement of others is no longer peaceful. And uncontrolled and seemingly indefinite protests lead to anarchy and the breakdown of law and order.
“Killing us and destroying our property is not the answer. We must begin to recognize that electoral malpractice is at the root of all the problems of corruption and bad governance that we live in this country.
“It is, therefore, time for reason to prevail to channel the achievements of peaceful protest into genuine reforms through dialogue.
“In 1967 we used our muscles and indiscreetly ended up in a war; We cannot make that mistake again. “
Oji argued that a Southeastern extraction president could be achieved in 2023, explaining that the group had brought together 46 professors across various ethnic divisions to work toward the goal.
He also said that four former heads of state and other prominent Nigerians were already in the picture to work towards updating the project.
He called on political parties to locate their presidential candidates in the southeast, stating that if they did not do so, they would attract massive votes against such parties in the area.
“We have assured Nigerians that the southeast will provide formidable candidates for the 2023 general elections who will continue to work for the peace and unity of the country.
“We also call on those men and women of southeastern origin interested in running for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023 to initiate consultations, with the aim of updating their ambition,” he said.