IPOB, Ohanaeze In War Of Words Over Biafra, Ekweremadu
A WEEK after former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, was assaulted by some members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg at an event organised by the “Ndigbo Germany in Nuremberg, Germany, IPOB and Ohanaeze Ndigbo are still in war of words, even as other leaders and ordinary citizens continue to react to the development.
Shortly after the attack in Germany, Ohanaeze leaders, Southeast governors and other Igbo elders publicly condemned the action of IPOB, describing it as shocking and misplaced.
The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, for example, wrote a letter alleging that IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, had also issued an order to his followers to kill him. Explaining why IPOB singled him out as a target, the Ohanaeze leader said: “The IPOB leader first of all accuses me of being an accomplice to the invasion of his homestead in Umuahia by the Nigerian Army in Operation Python Dance.
“Secondly, he accuses me persistently of being a Fulani stooge who would always do the beckoning of the ruling Fulani elite in Nigeria. He also accuses my late father of being a Fulani stooge.
“He holds me and our Southeast governors and legislators responsible for the marginalisation of the Southeast. He accuses me of being against the realisation of Biafra and a saboteur to the Igbo cause.
“First of all, I am neither the Commander-in Chief of The Nigerian Armed Forces nor a member of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Secondly, I never participated in any meeting where operation Python dance was ever recommended or ordered. Truth is that when the second operation Python dance was ordered, I wrote against it and advised against it in the media. I saw no need for it.”
Reacting to the allegations during the week, IPOB accused Ohanaeze Ndigbo leaders of sabotaging Igbo course. The spokesman of IPOB, Comrade Emma Powerful, in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday, said the statement released by Nwodo, where he denied agreeing to cede any part of the Southeast for the purpose of RUGA was “cowardly, anti-Biafra utterance with the utmost contempt that it deserves.”
Also, counsel to the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu; Aloy Ejimakor, has debunked news making rounds that his client ordered violence or physical attack on Southeast governors overseas.
In a statement signed personally by Ejimakor, he stated that what the IPOB leader told his supporters is elected leaders from Nigeria and Southeast in particular who prefer junketing and gallivanting abroad instead of working for the electorate should be ready to answer tough questions from Nigerians and the people of Southeast in general who are in Diaspora.
“What Kanu had said, and it’s verifiable, is that Nigerian elected officials, especially those from the Southeast, (including governors), who derelict and still derelict their duties to the people and prefer to junket and gallivant abroad should be ‘prepared to answer tough questions from the Nigerian/Southeast Diaspora.
“In plain terms, the so-called threat is not of violence or battery but of gutsy demonstrations or protests, of tough questions or heckling, of getting really close to the target. Therefore, Kanu never threatened or sanctioned any threat of actual physical violence, assault or battery, or anything that is illegal or criminal. And he had also stated that you don’t have to be afraid if you have done nothing wrong,” he said.
He also said, “I think Nigerians, particularly Igbos need to see the Ekweremadu incident in Germany from the prism of German law, which, as we now know, is unarguably permissive of it.”
On reconciliation of IPOB and the elite of Ndigbo and Nigeria, the statement said: “As regards reconciliation with Igbo elected political leaders, the IPOB had, in the recent past, made public their basic conditions for reconciliation.
“They include particularly the following: (a) Immediate and unconditional de-proscription of IPOB and delisting it as a terrorist organisation. (b) A truth and reconciliation commission on the Python Dance lethal military operations of September 2017. (c) A public apology for the extrajudicial killings of IPOB members and desecration of the palace of an Igbo traditional ruler at Afaraukwu, Abia State. (d) A genuine dialogue with IPOB on its demands for a referendum on the restoration of Biafra. (e) Discontinuance of the ongoing prosecution of IPOB members and forbearance of any future arrests and prosecutions. Is this asking for too much?”
Meanwhile, ordinary Nigerians and other Igbo leaders have reacted to the development. Kinsmen of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, for example, have called for thorough investigation, arrest and prosecution of the people that planned the attack on the senator at Nuremberg, Germany.
Speaking under the aegis of Enugu West Peoples Parliament, they also asked for an explanation by the organisers of the New Yam Festival at Nuremberg on why they failed to provide security for Ekweremadu who in his usual act of patriotism honoured their invitation.
They also urged the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Embassy in Germany and the Nigerian Diaspora Commission to rise to the occasion to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.
The chairman of the group, Jonathan Ivoke, who spoke on their behalf, urged other Igbo diaspora organisations to take note of the threats of IPOB and wondered “how IPOB could have attacked Senator Ekweremadu who on September 18, 2017 wrote to President Mohammadu Buhari and asked for dialogue instead of Operation Phyton Dance in the Southeast?
“As a member of the National Assembly, I am also privy to numerous efforts Senator Ekweremadu has made to redeem the pride of Igboman in Nigeria, through legislations and oversight functions.
“This is Senator Ekweremadu who has never hidden his colour as a true patriot of the Igbo in Nigeria. He galvanized the Southeast caucus in the National Assembly when establishing an international airport in Igboland became an utmost priority and made members of the National Assembly forgo other budgetary proposals to ensure that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was actualised,” Amadi stated.
He however asked any aggrieved Igbo in Diaspora to come back home and resolve their differences with their brothers instead of fighting in faraway lands.
Founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, in his reaction told The Nation yesterday that the attack on Ekweremadu was not personal. According to Uko, who is also the Secretary General of Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) and the Deputy Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), “the attack is not about an individual or organisation. It is beyond all that. It is about the anger of millions of Igbo youths against the Nigerian state and the Nigerian structure; it is about the anger of Igbo youths against the humiliation of the Igbo people since the 1970s while their leaders continue to dance around the truth. It is not personal to Ekweremadu but it shows how far Igbo leaders have failed to engage Igbo youths; how they have failed to build the necessary synergy with the Igbo youths. It is sad and regrettable.”
The deputy spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, in his reaction however debunked the insinuation by some fifth columnists that the attack on Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Germany by some militants will affect the Igbo presidency project after the turn of the North. Ibegbu spoke on his personal capacity.
He noted that the attack on ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by some Ijaw militants in the past did not stop him from being president; neither did the rejection of ex-President Obasanjo by the Yoruba in 1999 stop him from becoming president.
“Even the murderous activities of Boko Haram and other seperatists in the North did not stop Yar’adua and Buhari from becoming Nigeria presidents. Why should IPOB and MASSOB activities, which are even done peacefully, be a threat to Igbo presidency project. No, I think it will even enhance it. In any case, it’s not Igbo Presidency but Nigeria Presidency of Igbo extraction,” he said.