John Nwodo, president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, says if the marginalisation against the Igbo ends, Biafran agitators “will probably twice”.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Nwodo blamed the pro-Biafra agitation on an alleged marginalisation by the federal government
He said: “Our people feel unwanted in the Nigerian federation; our people feel ill-treated.”
According to him, the Igbo was seen as “being incompetent, incapable, or unreliable of being vested with the headship of any of the security agencies in Nigeria”.
Citing Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), who he said had taken over territories or destroyed properties, the president-general wondered what the Biafran agitators had done to the government.
“Under the constitution of Nigeria, you have freedom of expression and freedom of association. If somebody says he wants Biafra, he is free to say so as long as he is saying it in a legitimate way. He can take his petition to the national assembly,” Nwodo said.
“He can have a plebiscite, if he wins, fine, if he doesn’t win, he takes it like that. The fact that we, their fathers, have not joined them should give a signal to Nigeria that they have not yet become so popular to carry us along and that this matter can be addressed politically.
“If they see this marginalisation end, if they see the restructuring of the country, they could probably think twice. There has been several failed negotiation which the federal government publicly admitted and millions of naira lost.
“I know of a militant organisation in this part (Niger Delta) called the Avengers, who are as angry as MASSOB and IPOB boys. They have destroyed wells, pipelines. I know the vice-president of Nigeria has visited three Niger Delta states seeking for peace and negotiation in order to keep their children calm.
“I know OPC in Western Nigeria, who is like a military force, saluted at every checkpoint. What has IPOB and MASSOB done to the federal government? Why are they being treated differently? Is this an animal farm where some are more equal than others?
“For that reason, I say to my brothers who are in MASSOB and IPOB, I am your brother and I extend my hand of fellowship. Come and let’s work together. I understand why you do what you are doing; I understand your anger, your frustration and your expectations. In spite of the crude methods they have used to suppress you, you have continued to move on. I feel so bad about our people.”
He said the Igbo people should realise that they were a special people like the Jews “who through dint of hard word transformed the desert to an arable land despite all their travails and security concerns”.
Source: The Cable