The Media and Publicity Secretary of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Emma Powerful believes that nothing can stop the dream for the Republic of Biafra. In this interview with Jeff Amechi Agbodo, he urged the leadership of IPOB and MASSOB/BIM to come together to fight a common cause.
Archbishop Chukwuma in an interview has cautioned IPOB against its threat to take up arms. He also said the fight between IPOB and MASSOB/BIM is selfish. What is your take on this?
There was never an official statement from the IPOB hierarchy or Spokespersons indicating that we are planning to take up arms. IPOB and MASSOB are not fighting for the same cause, hence no common trait between them. The fact that a person or group is shouting Biafra does not mean they are genuine. IPOB is fighting for the restoration of the nation of Biafra as geographically defined by the approval of the meeting of Eastern Consultative Assembly held on May 28, 1967. In addition, the geographical area also includes Idoma and IGEDE in Benue, Igbanke in Edo state and Igala in Kogi State. On the contrary, MASSOB is a political pressure group fighting, as it claims, for a separate country for only the Igbo. Ralph Uwazuruike agreed to hide behind a mask to testify for the Hausa Fulani Islamic Government, the killers of Biafrans against Nnamdi Kanu who is admittedly the arrow-head of the new revolution to restore Biafra. Also MASSOB is a certified kidnapping outfit and we have testimony from many prominent Igbo sons that they have kidnapped and blackmailed into silence. Uwazuruike as MASSOB leader believes in one United and indivisible Nigeria, hence the lavish reception MASSOB gave to Al Mustapha including a 21 gun salute. MASSOB is captured on tape campaigning for Ikedi Ohakim.
It is therefore very untrue that IPOB is planning to take up arms. If such a decision is to be taken, it will be announced on Radio Biafra during our flagship evening programme by the Deputy Leader or any member of the Directorate of State which is the highest governing body in IPOB. There is no document in the past or at present indicating that IPOB have resolved to take up arms. We expect a person at the level of the revered Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma to verify stories with the leadership of IPOB before reaching a conclusion to avoid being misled by false information. We categorically state that IPOB is not at war with anybody or any organization. We only respond when our image and hard-earned integrity is being impugned by someone or another organization. IPOB is a laser beam focused on the restoration of the nation of Biafra and will never be distracted. For the fact that we responded to those who are trying to drag our name in the mud is not an indication that we are losing focus. IPOB has an open door policy to anyone and any organization that is genuine in the pursuit of the undiluted and holistic quest for the restoration of the nation of Biafra. We make bold to state that IPOB is interested in the restoration of the nation, Biafra which is a geographical entity defined by the declaration of the sovereign nation of Biafra made on the 30th of May 1967 after a meeting of the Eastern Consultative Assembly which held on the 27th of May, 1967. The area known as Biafra and which IPOB is fighting for its restoration are all the states in the present-day South East and South-South Nigeria with the exception of Edo State. In addition, Biafra includes Idoma and Igede in Benue, Igbanke in Edo State, as well as Igala in Kogi State. On the contrary, MASSOB is fighting for a separate country for only the Igbo. Therefore, there is no convergence in terms of philosophy, geography, and ideology between IPOB and MASSOB/BIM when it comes to the issue of Biafra restoration. Therefore, there is no such thing as a divided house because IPOB is consistent in their pursuit and will welcome anybody and organization that maintains the same consistency.
Will IPOB now drop the idea to take arms based on the Bishop’s counsel?
The well respected Archbishop Chukwuma is not particularly conversant with the philosophy or the modus operandi of IPOB. We reiterate that IPOB has never advocated violence and will never advocate violence. Therefore, the issue of taking up arms does not arise. It is possible that the respected Archbishop is reading from the rumour mill. We advise the revered cleric to check with the leadership of IPOB before arriving at conclusions based on information from the rumour mill. IPOB remains a non-violent organization and does not have any business bearing arms.
Are members of IPOB not scared of losing more members in any armed conflict?
There was never an official statement from IPOB hierarchy or sºpokespersons indicating that we are planning to take up arms. Any such idea is from those who may be angered by the relentless slaughter of unarmed peaceful demonstrators or rally goers. It would be disingenuous of any person or persons to tag us a violent organization. IPOB has lost thousands of members since Muhammadu Buhari administration and we have remained disciplined, focused and refused to be provoked into going violent. It is not at this point when Biafra is at our doorsteps that we shall turn violent. We do not intend to learn how to be left-handed at an old age when we have spent our entire lives being right-handed. We shall never turn to violence and shall always remain peaceful even in the face of provocations.
Can IPOB make peace with Uwazuruike-led BIM in the interest of Ndigbo?
IPOB is a mass movement with a singular objective, which is the puritanical restoration of the nation of Biafra. Simply put, we in IPOB are freedom fighters and not businessmen or estate developers. We are not skilled negotiators, neither are we hoteliers or have interest in primitive wealth accumulation. Our purpose is Biafra and Biafra alone. In addition, we are fighting for the total liberation of the entire Biafraland and not only for a section of Biafra occupied by those who speak Igbo language. We can confidently say that Uwazuruike is not a freedom fighter. He has since sold out to Nigeria. Uwazuruike is “Igbonizing” Biafra or making it a “South East affair” thereby giving the impression that brave soldiers like General Phillip Effiong and General Conrad Dibia Nwawo and others were mercenaries because they do not come from the South East. IPOB and BIM are not pursing the same objective. We would also re-emphasize that we are at peace with everyone and every organization that diligently seeks the restoration of Biafra in truth and honesty. If Uwazuruike repents and confesses his sins and makes restitutions, who knows, he might be welcomed back into the fold of genuine Biafra freedom fighters. IPOB will like to correct the highly regarded Archbishop Chukwuma on the notion that Biafra is an “Igbo thing.” Therefore, using the phrase “in the interest of Ndigbo” is totally wrong and regrettable from someone at the level of the revered Archbishop. We are for the interest of Biafra, not just Ndigbo alone.
What is your opinion on the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership headed by Chief John Nwodo?
As a person, he has pedigree and we offer him our goodwill. However, we do not have any comments on him for now until we see his actions and inactions relating to Biafra restoration. How he responds in deed not just words to the illegal Islamic detention of our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will tell us if he means business or not. Keep in mind that Ohanaeze is just for the Igbo but IPOB is for entire Biafraland which covers areas outside Igboland. Ohanaeze had in the past sold out on their fellow Igbo for crumbs from Aso Rock table and other perceived hegemonic interests to the detriment of Ndigbo. We hope that the regime of Chief Nwodo will restore a semblance of decorum to this apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation. We look forward to a change in attitude from the new executive, but if they choose the normal Ohaneze part of subterfuge and sabotage on matters related to Biafra restoration, IPOB will have nothing to do with them.
Can IPOB work with him to restore Biafra?
If the new Ohanaeze President is ready to support Biafra restoration in words and deed, (we must emphasise deed), then IPOB will work with him. But if he goes against Biafra, we will consign him and his organization to the refuse dump of history and we have the capacity and capability to do so. This new Chief Nwodo-led executive has our respect and will enjoy our support, love and goodwill as long as they remain on the right track of Biafra restoration. We recommend that he consults with his predecessor to gain insight as to what IPOB is capable of doing when any organization works against the interest of the restoration of the nation of Biafra. Even though Ohanaeze is purely for the Igbo, IPOB will extend hands of fellowship to them as long as the underlying condition is that Ohanaeze will be pro-Biafra in words and in actions.