The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and South East leaders are now at daggers drawn over the recent statement by the leaders disowning IPOB and other secessionist groups.
The IPOB has said that the governors are too small to decide for Ndigbo on Biafran agitation.
It would be recalled that the leaders of the South East, comprising governors, politicians, religious leaders and traditional rulers, recently (June 19) met in Enugu and disowned IPOB and all Pro-Biafran agitators, saying all secessionist groups don’t speak for the region.
The South-East leaders’ meeting was a follow-up to the consultation the presidential delegation, led by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), had with Igbo leaders on June 11, 2021 on insecurity in the region in particular and Nigeria in general.
Reading the resolutions of the South-East leaders, the Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, disowned all secessionist groups in the region, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The leaders also assured all Nigerians living in the South-East that they had no reason to fear or leave the region.
Umahi in the same vein appealed to leaders of other regions to ensure the protection of the Igbo people living in their regions, noting that they had uncovered some threats against Igbo living in other parts of the country.
The leaders’ communiqué read in part, “Arising from the meeting of June 11, 2021 with the presidential team led by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), we the South-East people agreed to a further meeting with them as requested by them.
“Consequent upon that, we scheduled our own meeting today, June 19, 2021, to enable us to discuss as brothers and sisters and articulate our positions to enable us to not only engage the presidential team but to also engage our people over all burning issues.
“We the Igbo do reaffirm our commitment to a United Nigeria under the platforms of justice, equality of rights, fairness, love, and respect for one another.
“We condemn in totality the activities of violent secessionist groups in the South-East and elsewhere. We firmly proclaim that we do not support them and they do not speak for the South-East.”
The leaders rejected the impression that they had been silent over the agitations for secession in the South-East, describing the notion as incorrect.
Apart from Umahi, other leaders in attendance at the meeting were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Anambra State Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke; Imo State Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku; and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige.
Others were a former Deputy Senate President, Prof Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader and the Chairman, South-East National Assembly Caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; Senator Sam Egwu; Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor; Chief Nnia Nwodo; and the Minister of State for Steel and Mining, Dr Uche Oga.
Also at the meeting were the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev Callistus Onaga; Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Geoffrey Onah; Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Provence, Most Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma; Methodist Bishop of Enugu, Dr Christopher Ede; the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, South-East, Most Rev Emmanuel Ede among others.
The South-East has in recent times been hit by a wave of attacks on government infrastructures by persons suspected to be the Eastern Security Network, IPOB’s security wing.
However, the governors and others warned security agencies in the region against the alleged killing of Igbo youths in the quest to arrest criminals causing chaos in the region.
In their reaction last Thursday through a statement signed by their spokesman, Emma Powerful, IPOB said South-East governors cannot decide for Ndigbo on Biafra.
According to Powerful, IPOB is not surprised that the governors will disown and condemn IPOB and Eastern Security Network (ESN) after they have been proscribed.
Powerful, however, described the South-East leaders’ swiftness to “disown and betray their own in their quest to appease their slave masters as unfortunate, shameful and disgraceful.”
The statement reads “The attention of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to the purported disowning and condemnation of IPOB and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, by the frustrated South-East governors and few self-centred political leaders in the region. We are not, however, surprised because they were the same people to proscribe us before the Federal Government tagged us, terrorists.
“The governors, Ohaneze Ndigbo and the handful traitors masquerading as the Igbo political elite should wake up to the realities that they have since lost the confidence of the people. We understand the worry of these Efulefus: They are rattled by the unflinching support and loyalty of the masses to IPOB.
“It’s only unfortunate, shameful and disgraceful that the so-called Igbo leaders will be quick to disown and betray their own in their quest to appease their slave masters. The South-East governors again, in 2017, sat together in Enugu State to proscribe IPOB and the Federal Government declared them terrorists with the support of South-East governors while they are not. To their shame, how many times have their Northern counterparts disowned the bloody terrorists, bandits and Fulani herdsmen rampaging the country?
“So, the South East self-acclaimed Leaders are quick to disown IPOB and ESN, yet they are calling us to accept the calls for peaceful negotiations? What a hypocrisy!
“How can South-East governors be so desperate for power beyond 2023 that they can sacrifice anything and anybody for personal gains? In case they don’t know, even the Northerners they are trying to impress understand the handwriting on the wall. They know that the governors are on their own. They can’t decide for the over 70 million Biafrans home and abroad.
“We want to unequivocally declare again, that the five South-East governors and the few self-appointed Igbo elites, are too infinitesimal to speak for the millions of Biafrans who are tired of being held hostage in this contraption called Nigeria. They don’t even command the loyalty of all their appointees let alone the egalitarian Igbo nation that never gave them the stolen mandate they parade.”