• S’East govs, others plan panel to discuss with FG
State governors and members of the National Assembly from the South-East; the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; traditional and religious leaders and other leaders of thought from the zone ended their meeting in Enugu on Sunday with a declaration that Ndigbo were for a “united Nigeria.”
A communique issued at the meeting, read by the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, stated that the Igbo leaders concluded that the Igbo were in “full support” of a united Nigeria.
The South-East stakeholders’ meeting, which held at Nike Lake Resort in Enugu, commenced on Saturday night and ended in the early hours of Sunday.
The regional leaders also called on the Federal Government to start the process of restructuring the country without delay.
Our correspondent learnt that issues surrounding the agitation for Biafra, including the three-month ultimatum to quit, given to Igbo in the northern part of the country by some youth groups, informed the decision to convene the meeting.
The governors of the five South-East states were in attendance as well as all the National Assembly members from the zone, led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the Chairman of South-East Caucus of the National Assembly, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.
The leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by the President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, was also at the meeting.
The Igbo leaders, in the same vein, insisted on the restructuring of the country, and asked the Federal Government to begin the process of actualising the restructuring of the nation within a reasonable time frame.
They also demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 national conference.
Part of the communique read, “Ndigbo are in full support of a united Nigeria, where peace, love, fairness, justice, equity and equality of opportunities are paramount, regardless of creed, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation.
“We condemn all hate speeches and misconduct from any segment of the country.
“Igbo leaders lend their full support to the restructuring of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of fairness and equity.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government and all Nigerian leaders to commence a process of dialogue among Nigerians on the modalities of achieving this pressing question within a reasonable time frame.
“Ndigbo supports the report of the National Conference of 2014 and we urge the Federal Government to set up structures that will enable the implementation of the same within a reasonable time.”
The Igbo leaders at the meeting, also resolved to “constitute official organ” that would, henceforth, speak on behalf of the Igbo.
“The South-East governors, members of the National Assembly, leadership from the South-East and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo shall henceforth constitute the official organs that shall speak on behalf of the Ndigbo.
“South-East leaders, in consultation with other parts of the country, will set up a committee to engage the Federal Government on all issues that concern Ndigbo,” the communique added.
In the same vein, the Igbo leaders stated that they were taking steps to ensure the safety of the lives and property of the Igbo in all parts of Nigeria.
They also guaranteed the safety of lives and property of all Nigerians living in the South-East.
Religious and traditional leaders at the meeting include the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Prof. Godfrey Onah; the Enugu Archbishop of the Anglican Communion, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma; and Chairman, South-East Traditional Rulers Council/Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe.
Others at the meeting are a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; a former Governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Sam Egwu; National Chairman, United Progressive Party, Chief Chekwas Okorie; a former power minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji; a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.), and a former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih.
MASSOB accuses Igbo leaders of betrayal
MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, who spoke for the secessionist group, described the decisions reached at the Enugu meeting as “insensitive.”
He stressed that the outcome of the meeting would not derail the struggle for realisation of Biafra, saying the position of the leaders could only postpone the “inevitable.”
Madu stated, “The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra berates Igbo religious, traditional, political and opinion leaders for their nonchalant and insensitive attitude towards the current agitation for Biafra.
“Why is it that whenever these self-acclaimed Igbo leaders meet among themselves or with the Nigerian Presidency, they always sideline the primary and principal reasons and cause of the Biafra agitation?
“Yesterday’s meeting of Igbo leaders in Enugu is tactically helping the Nigerian government in postponing the explosion of the inevitable and unstoppable ticking time bomb which Nigeria is comfortably sitting on.
“Their decisions are not the true minds and positions of the people of Biafra – we want Biafra and nothing but Biafra.
“Nigeria must disintegrate; her faulty foundation has broken beyond repair.
“Majority of Igbo leaders have brazenly betrayed Igbo cause and interests in Nigeria.
“We wish to inform Ndigbo that the reawakening of the spirit and consciousness of Biafra among the people can never be demoralised again – the Biafra revolutionary struggle can no longer be betrayed by personal or group interests.”
The MASSOB leader expressed regrets that the Igbo elite, who, according to him, had gained a lot from the pro-Biafra agitation, did not appreciate the activists.
“In this struggle, numerous sacrifices have been made, supreme prices have been paid.
“We have been tortured, mesmerised, killed and incarcerated for the sake of Biafra and the glory of Ndigbo, yet we are neglected, abused and abandoned by people who benefit from our exploits,” he said.