Ekweremadu: Governors, Senators, Others Knock IPOB
GOVERNORS, senators and ethnic groups rose in unison on Sunday against weekend’s assault on Senator Ike Ekweremadu by members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg, Germany.
Former Deputy Senate President Ekweremadu was in the German city to speak at the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany when he was attacked by people who claimed to be sympathisers of IPOB, claiming that he did not represent the southeast appropriately.
They also threatened to mete out the same treatment to governors and other leaders from the region on visitation to Europe.
The outlawed group listed other leaders on its watch list to include Governor Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Willie Obiano (Anambra); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General Nnia Nwodo.
The 64-seconds video of the attack on Ekweremadu, which went viral, showed how the protesters physically assaulted the senator and tore his traditional jumper (Isi Agu) to shreds before he was spirited away by the organisers from the venue of the event before the police were called in.
South East Governors, speaking under the auspices of the Southeast Governors Forum (SGF), described the order given by IPOB to its members to attack governors and other Igbo leaders as “empty threat”.
They argued that attacking them would not solve the problem of IPOB’s agitation for the state of Biafra.
SGF Chairman and Ebonyi State David Umahi in a statement by his media aide Emmanuel Uzo, said: “They have no such spread and powers to track down South-East governors for attack anywhere in the world. They are too small. I don’t want to say they sound so cowardly, but they can’t see the governors to attack.”
Umahi said the governors had no problem IPOB members to warrant such an order.
According to him, the insecurity in the Southeast was a national challenge that was under the Federal Government’s command and control.
He said: “If there is any issue IPOB holds against the governors, they should come home to settle it in Igboland instead of a foreign land.
“What happened was a security issue which was within the purview of the Federal Government. Attacking governors in a foreign land is a wild goose chase. We love them because they are our children.
“IPOB cannot achieve Biafra alone, except with the collaboration of all stakeholders including the governors. They don’t need to attack the governors to achieve Biafra.”
The governor warned them not to allow political opportunists to use them to destroy the Southeast.
“They should come together and work with the governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo presidency in 2023 instead of fighting the governors. We want them to be close to us instead of taking the struggle to the international arena,” Umahi said.
Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa also condemned the attack on Ekweremadu.
His Chief Press Secretary Olisa Ifeajika said the incident was pathetic, shameful and an embarrassment to Nigeria.
He said Ekweremadu had been a great patriot and defender of his people as well as the down trodden, and did not deserve the kind of ill-treatment meted to him by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members in Germany.
“I join men of goodwill in condemning the attack on Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who has been a great patriot and leader of exemplary behaviour.
“It is pathetic and shameful that an event organised to chart the way forward for the Igbo race and Nigeria in general ended up in such a disgraceful and embarrassing manner to the country.
“As Nigerians, we are trained to respect our elders and leaders as well as people in authority.
“I am particularly happy that some of the culprits have been arrested and I urge the German authorities to take necessary action on the perpetrators of the heinous act.
“I urge all Nigerians, home and abroad, to be of good behaviour wherever they find themselves as such acts of lawlessness do not bring glory to the nation,” he said
The Senate leadership rose in solidarity with Ekweremadu.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege; Minority Leader Eyinnaya Abaribe and Chief Whip Orji Uzor Kalu condemned the attack in separate statements.
Lawan said: “It’s incredibly absurd for any group to blame Ekweremadu for the spate of insecurity in the Southeast. The attackers had fingered Ekweremadu alone of the Igbo leaders ‘conspiring’ with outsiders to terrorise the zone.
“It is incredibly absurd for anybody to blame the distinguished senator for the violent criminal activities in his home base, the purported reason cited by the mob for the bewildering attack.
“Senator Ekweremadu, like all his distinguished colleagues in the Ninth Assembly of the Senate, is concerned about the insecurity and other challenges in that area and other parts of Nigeria. Senator Ekweremadu has also been at the forefront of the patriotic efforts to find lasting solutions to the challenges.
“The barbaric attack on Senator Ekweremadu at a forum to which he was invited to contribute to charting a course for the progress and happiness of Ndigbo debase our values as civilised people. It is most reprehensible and should be condemned by all right-thinking Nigerians.”
The Senate President urged the German authorities to identify those involved in the despicable act so that the law can take its course against them.
Omo-Agege said the attack was not only a dastardly exportation of irrationality, but also an aggressive international affront against the image of Igbo and Nigeria.
Speaking through his media aide, Yomi Odunuga, the Deputy President of the Senate expressed shock over the undeserved assault and called on law enforcement agencies in Germany to investigate and bring to book all those involved in the vicious attack.
Omo-Agege said: “The aggressively discourteous IPOB elements that carried out the disgraceful assault have shown themselves as enemies of democratic norms and values.
“What they did is not only a violent assault against the good image of the Igbo race across the world, but also an aggressive attack against the traditional norms of a people known to be hardworking and respectful of meaningful contributions by leaders such as Senator Ekweremadu.
“Such disappointing physical abuse also grossly disregards Senator Ekweremadu’s democratic antecedents and his long-standing commitment to the cause of his people. But, as he has said out of the usual largeness of his forgiving heart, these people know not what they do.
“Such criminal attacks, with other anti-social attempts to accuse, condemn and lynch anyone remain utterly condemnable and illegal, notwithstanding whether it takes place on Nigerian or foreign soil as it is the easiest invitation to anomie.”
Kalu said he was disappointed, irritated and worried, adding that the only way the Southeast can be prosperous is by embracing dialogue, peace and unity.
Urging Ndigbo to respect leaders at all levels, the Senate Chief Whip called on the Embassy of Nigeria in Germany, the German government and appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrators of the ugly incident to book.
Kalu said: “The assault on the Senator is a slap on Igbo leaders regardless of age, party affiliation and religion. The perpetrators of the uncivilized act must face the wrath of the law.
“Senator Ekweramadu is not only one of the Igbo leaders but also a prominent Nigerian and as such should be accorded due respect by all and sundry at home and abroad.
“For the Southeast to move forward, the people of the region must embrace dialogue as a way of resolving pertinent issues and eschew violence.”
While appealing to Ndigbo across the globe to be law-abiding and good ambassadors of Nigeria, Kalu urged Igbo groups to educate their members on the consequences of social vices.
Ababribe did not only condemn the despicable act, but also said it smacked of utter ignorance of the prevailing situation at home with regards to what the leaders are doing in the circumstance.
He said “It is a brazen show of ingratitude to a man who has been at the fore front in the struggle for all that is good for the Igbo race”.
Abaribe said he and the entire minority caucus in the Senate are appalled on the very nauseating attack on the revered Ekweremadu for no reason whatsoever.
According to him, Ekweremadu has given his all in standing for the Igbo race, recalling how the lawmaker and others stuck out their necks to arrange and stand for surety for Kanu.
Abaribe said: “Obviously this is not how to repay a man, an outstanding leader of men, an unpretentious Igbo leader who has given his all even going as far as deploying his means to arrange for the bail of Nnamdi Kanu, not minding the repercussions to his illustrious political career.
“It is unfortunate. The perpetrators of the attack should know that as Igbos, we respect elders and reverence our leaders. The unwarranted attack is not the character of the Igbo. This is un-Igbo.
“It is most worrisome and even inconceivable that the attackers will choose an auspicious occasion where our people are celebrating and showcasing our rich culture to exhibit such unbecoming and condemnable conduct in the name of agitation.”
Senator Shehu Sani described the attack on ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by members of the proscribed IPOB, as “spanking the wrong horse with the wrong whip on the wrong track.”
Condemning the attack via his verified Twitter handle @ShehuSani on Sunday, the senator had tweeted
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Buba (APC-Adamawa), also condemned the attack.
Buba urged Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tugga, to ensure the attackers are made to face justice.
According to Buba, given the high personality profile and the public service record which Ekweremadu parades, it was unthinkable for any individual or group anywhere in the world to attack him in such a manner.
He said: “I, therefore, in very strong terms, condemn in its entirety the action of the group of Igbo people, alleged to be members of the outlawed IPOB.”
National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southeast, Austin Umahi, also condemned the attack.
Umahi frowned at the action of the group against Ekweremadu, who he said has been on the forefront of the struggle against the marginalisation of Ndi-Igbo in the Nigerian Federation.
The zonal chairman said he was overwhelmed by surprise that some individuals could hide under the name of the proscribed IPOB to attack Ekweremadu after all his efforts as the leader of Southeast Senate caucus in the Eighth Senate to secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of the group, from detention.
He said for Senator Ekweremadu to have travelled to far away Nurnberg in Germany to attend the second annual festival and convention organised by Ndi-Igbo residents there, was a demonstration of his undying love for Ndi-Igbo which he has been exhibiting over the years.
He urged Ekweremadu not to be discouraged by the attack; but see it as one of the many sacrifices he has to pay in pursuit for justice and better treatment for Ndi-Igbo both within and outside the country.
He also called for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the dastardly act to serve as a deterrent to others.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide called on IPOB to ceasefire on its vow to attack Igbo leaders.
In a statement, President-General of the Ohanaeze Youth Council Worldwide, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, called for the cease fire and dialogue between the pro-Biafran groups and Igbo leaders
He said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide watched keenly the recent harassment and assault on the immediate past Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu at the New Yam Festival at Nuremberg Germany.
“This is s a calculated plot to destroy the elite Conspiracy theories and concepts, and instill disciplinary actions against Igbo leaders by suspected Biafra agitators who feel that our leaders brought the current ordeal Igbo are facing now in Nigeria.
“We condemn vehemently the introduction of mob action against Igbo leaders, as this is a wrong precedence that should be condemned.
“We believe that there are likely more targeted Igbo leaders on their lists, who may face the consequences of failed leadership in the Southeeast, but Ekweremadu’s assault is contrary to Igbo norms and values, and should be condemned vehemently by all stakeholders.”
The Southeast APC Young Progressive Forum, led by Pascal Otimpku Chizoba also condemned the attack.
They said it was against Igbo’s core values and respect for elders for IPOB members in Germany to treat Ekweremadu that way.
“This is barbaric and unacceptable to us”, Chizoba said, describing the incident as an embarrassment to the Igbo aation and the country.
“It is also shamefully pathetic that an event, which was nobly put together by Ndi-Igbo community, whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, ended up in such a disgraceful manner, he said.”
The Southeast APC Young Progressive Forum led by Comrade Pascal Otimpku Chizoba also condemned the attack.
The group said the action is against Igbo’s Core Values and Respect for elders for IPOB Members in Germany to treat Ekweremadu that way.
“This is barbaric and unacceptable to us”, further describing the incident as an embarrassment to the Igbo Nation and the country.
Chizoba said: “It is also shamefully pathetic that an event, which was nobly put together by Ndi-Igbo community, whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, ended up in such a disgraceful manner.
“Obviously, this is not how to repay a man,who has contributed his quota to the Nation building.
“Irrespective of Political Affiliation, Senator Dr Ike Elweremadu is an outstanding Leader of men in Enugu State,South East and Nigeria and an unpretentious Igbo Leader.
“We may not agree with him Politically because Of differences in Parties, but this is highest height of insult on Igbo Leaders.
“Last time it was Former Governor Rochas Okorocha at Chetham’s House London. Today, it is Senator Dr Ike Ekweremadu.
“The unwarranted attack is not the character of the Igbo younger Generation. This is un-Igbo.
“It is most worrisome and even inconceivable that the attackers will choose an great occasion where our people are celebrating and showcasing our rich culture heritage Iri-ji (New Year Featival) to exhibit such unbecoming and condemnable conduct in the name of agitation”
The group gueried what Nnamdi Kanu was agitating for, adding that it was beyond agitation and could not be agitation.
“We urge our fellow youths of Southeast extraction and every right thinking Nigerian not to identify with such behaviour.
“Yes, Nigeria is going through a lot. There are a lot of killings and Insecurity in the country. It is not what only person can solve or what one Political Party can do.
“It is a Collective responsibility of all to find a solution to our problems as a people. We should not blame it on one person.
“Enough is enough. Nnamdi Kanu should be called to order. Resorting to mob mentality and venting the spleen on our leaders will rather create a vacuum that will leave our people helpless and confused in the circumstance”, the group said.