From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has expressed its unflinching support for agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra.
The organisation announced its backing at a press conference organised by its Secretary General, Dr Joe Nworgu even as Ohanaeze revealed it was set hand over to new national officers in January after election and to confirm the ban placed on the youth wing of the organisation.
Nworgu said that the continued marginalisation of the Igbo has made the agitation for the state of Biafra inevitable, saying that Igbo adults are as disgruntled as the youths who are leading in the agitation for Biafra.
He said Ohanaeze had not condemned the Biafran agitation by the youths, asking “why should we condemn what is true?”
According to him,“the difference is that while the parent body is preaching patience, the youths don’t have time for such; youths must be youths, so they are responding in their own ways. But the problem is the same injustice, insensitivity, exclusionism.All these factors are creating the agitation, but the conclusions are different. The elders or elderly people are advising, thinking that maybe there will be a change of mind, but the youths have no time.”
Nworgu pointed out that the marginalization of the Ndigbo has been on the increase after the civil war.
His words: “It has been very bad since 1970, but under Buhari, it has been exacerbated and his attitude and utterances are not helping matters. In fact, Buhari is even acting to provoke us into taking a wrong step and to have a reason for a clampdown. So, we are advising our youths to calm down based on the mindset of our president. When he was appointed I said Ndigbo will desire a president who will be president to all Nigerians because nepotism is corruption.”
He said Buhari’s negligence of the Igbo became manifest when he made his first 32 appointments, but left the Igbo with nothing.
“There are many sectors of governance but when you have taken all the plum things, put them under your town’s people, what do you expect the other people to do, they will feel excluded. That is why Ndigbo are not happy with his administration,” he said.
Nworgu who spoke on Thursday said Ndigbo knew ab initio the antecedent of Buhari, and that made them to support former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election. He said they have no regrets in supporting Jonathan.
On the ban of the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, he said the action was justified, maintaining that “there has been immense rascality by members of the youth wing and the parent body was not satisfied with what was happening and a committee was set up under Prof Atamuo to investigate the activities of these young people who are supposedly tomorrow’s leaders. When their report came out and it was presented to NEC and NEC felt that the report was so damaging that it needs not go public; so NEC decided to take the young wing out of action. So, we resolved that the youth wing be suspended.
However, the youth leaders who told Saturday Sun that they have reconciled their differences accused Nworgu and the president general of chastising them as their tenure of office would expire in 2019, saying that their travails were not unconnected with alleged sum of money the parent body got from Dasuki.
But Nworgu said: “No money came to Ohanaeze from Dasuki, Ohanaeze knows nothing about Dasuki’s money, but a drowning man can fabricate anything.”
When told that the youth leaders claimed to have video evidence of the Dasuki money, he said: “That is still the height of the rascality we are talking about. For anybody to conceptualise such rubbish; Ohanaeze got no money from Dasuki.”
On the hand over date in January, he assured that new officers would be elected and his regime would hand over to them in January. He disclosed that the body would soon call for the Ime-Obi meeting and the date for the election determined, saying that there was no more crisis in Ohanaeze.