FROM: JOE EFFIONG, UYO
The Ibibio ethnic nationalities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states have described their alleged inclusion in the proposed Republic of Biafra as affront and an act of extreme provocation.
Similarly, the people have called on the elders, religious and political leaders of Northern Nigeria to rein in the radicalism of their youth as Ibibio would not fold their arms and watch their people being massacred or their legitimately acquired property confiscated or destroyed as a result of the deadline given by the Arewa Youth Organisations of Northern Nigeria to the Igbos to relocate from the North.
In a press statement issued by Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Ibiobio youths, and signed by their international president and secretary general, Akparawa Monday Etokakpan and Akparawa James Edet respectively, the Mboho said for the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) or any group of whatever name in the published map of the, “dream Republic of Biafra without any modicum of respect to consult, our own prided land of heritage of Akwa Ibom State, as well as those of our blood brothers along the Atlantic Coast of Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states, is a stretch to the breaking point of the tolerance limits of the Ibibio people.”
The statement said; “We wish to remind the concerned Igbo that this senseless arrogance and callous disrespect for the Ibibio person, an endemic and pathological trait of their extraction has been at the core of the differences of our two nationalities. And so, as it was in the First Republic, so it is now and so shall it be in times to come. Ibibio has nothing in common with Igbo. To wit, we differ in ancestry, culture, beliefs, character traits, language, food, names, dressing and all.
“If the central issue militating against the viability of present day Nigeria is incurable and irreconcilable anthropological heterogeneity, then it would tantamount to a generational amnesia and insanity for us to contemplate re-constructing a similar monstrous edifice on quick sand in the South East and South South regions of Nigeria, when a structure on such poor foundation, or no foundation at all, is sure to collapse in no time, especially given our not-too distant experience in events and circumstances of the last civil war.”
The Ibibio said, if the Igbo would eventually succeed in breaking away from Nigeria, their people in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States would be totally indifferent and would only be there to bid them farewell, while weighing their options on the Nigerian chess board in order to make the right moves in the direction they want and at the time they also want in order to form partnership with whoever they want that would serve their maximum interest.
The Mboho described the deadline given to the Igbo by Arewa youth groups as unfortunate but not surprising, explaining that the persistent and hitherto suppressed call for restructuring of Nigeria is heating up to boiling point.
“Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio is totally in support of immediate restructuring of Nigeria to enthrone equity, justice and egalitarianism as necessary ingredients in every pluralistic union. But we quickly add that we are not averse to a break-up into smaller distinct countries where and if the above ingredients continue to prove elusive as has been endured mostly by us in present day Nigeria,” the statement said.