From Magnus Eze, Enugu
Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) and Abuja-based civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) have flayed what they call ‘the conspiratorial silence’ of South East governors over the fate of leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, who is in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
They accused Igbo leaders of keeping mute when one of their own, a man who has sustained the struggle for the self-determination of Ndigbo, has continued to suffer incarceration in Abuja.
ADF specifically said the South-East governors and political class have woefully failed to demonstrate strategic sense of commitment to the Igbo self-determination struggle.
“When June 12 was annulled in 1993, the Yoruba political class forgot their political differences and rallied round MKO Abiola and fought for the revalidation of the annulled Election. But Igbo power elite appear to lack sophistication. If they were very brilliant and futuristic, there is no way Ndigbo would come out of the current conflagration empty handed. Their decision to ignore Nnamdi Kanu in detention completely shows that the Governors are politically bankrupt. Even the struggle for Igbo Presidency could have been well advanced if these people were serious but the South East Governors’ Forum is not solid enough. It is either they grant Ndigbo the Presidency or let the ethnic nationalities go their separate ways as independent or autonomous republics,” ADF said.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the way Kanu was forcefully brought back to Nigeria against norms of international law, was enough to elicit actions from South East governors.
“It is wicked that the South-East governors took no action to ascertain the veracity of the allegation of illegal abduction of a prominent Igbo son even if the governors are not in agreement, just like most of us are with the advocacy for self-determination in the South East of Nigeria.”
On his part, COSEYL President, Goodluck Ibem enjoined South East governors that in an ethnic Nigeria, they should always defend their own.
“We expect them to emulate their South West counterparts who stood in defence of their own. Their silence is not golden and as youth leaders of South East zone, we demand that they speak in defence of their own because they are our elected representatives. They should not keep quiet for political correctness. The time for them to speak is now.”
The groups urged the South East governors to collectively mount pressure on the Federal Government to release Kanu unconditionally and arrest the growing tension occasioned in the region by his continued detention.
However, Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, recently said he would ensure that Kanu as an indigene of the state was given fair trial and justice, indicating to visit him in DSS custody.
Also, apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has set up a committee headed by former Anambra Governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, to monitor Kanu’s trial.