Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), led by Mr. Uchenna Madu, on Wednesday, denied reports that some pro-Biafra groups had made a U-turn to support restructuring instead of Biafra actualisation.
The denial by MASSOB came on the heels of the disruption of a ceremony organised by the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), to honour the former President of Nigeria, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikwe; former governor of Imo State, the late Chief Sam Mbakwe and others, at the Universal Hotel, Enugu State, on Tuesday.
Trouble started at the ECA event when the Igbo leaders present, particularly constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze and the First Republic Minister, Chief Mbazulike, begun to talk about restructuring and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and MASSOB, present at the event, shouted them down, demanding only Biafra.
The pro-Biafra groups had overran the high table, chased away the dignitaries, including Pof. Uche Azikiwe, widow of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, before hitting the Enugu metropolis, chanting Biafra songs.
MASSOB’s National Director of Information, Comrade Samuel Edeson, however, in a statement issued, in Enugu, said that those who were arrested at the ECA event, following the disruption of the gathering, were not MASSOB members even as he explained that the pro-Biafra groups that gathered in Nnewi, Anambra State, never supported restructuring.
Edeson said that the report of the purported support for the restructuring of Nigeria into regionalism, using 1963 constitution as a template by the pro-Biafra groups, was a misplacement of their position and belief.
“All pro-Biafra groups that attended the solemn meeting agreed only on Biafra actualisation and restoration or nothing through unity of purpose.
“We did not subscribe to regionalism or restructuring of Nigeria, we want a complete independence from Nigeria enslavement through the British impositions. Though pro-Biafra groups are not against those clamouring for restructuring, we believe only in Biafra actualization and restoration,” he insisted.
He also disclosed that the MASSOB leadership was not invited or informed of the Tuesday ECA event organized by Evang. Elliot Uko and Maria Okwor, in Enugu.
“We are very surprised and shocked to read on the pages of newspapers that MASSOB disrupted an Igbo event to honour some prominent Biafra leaders. It is not in our nature or orientation to disrespect, dishonour or insult our elders.
“Evang. Elliott Uko who claimed that he called our leader has never discussed with our leader since eight months ago. MASSOB separated ourselves from him when we found out that he is an opportunist, back-biter and instigator of strife among brethren.
“He did not call or invite our leader or any other national executive of MASSOB to his event neither did our leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu called him or pressurised him to allow MASSOB members to attend his event.
“Though Eliot has apologized to our leader yesterday (Tuesday) when he drew his attention to the damaging falsehood against our leader’s personality and leadership of reformed MASSOB, MASSOB members are not happy that Elliot Uko and Maria Okwor will consciously and deliberately create this damaging and false impressions loaded with antagonisms against Comrade Uchenna Madu-led reformed MASSOB.
“The negative impression that the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Chief Nnia Nwodo sponsored the disruption of ECA event is completely false capable of sowing a seed of discord among major stakeholders of Igbo affairs. The agitators whom Elliot Uko and Maria Okwor invited to their event that disrupted the event did it as a sign of expressing their mind towards what they believe according to their orientation.
“Ohaneze Ndigbo or Nnia Nwodo did not sponsor any disruption against the ECA event. MASSOB is still marvelled that Elliot Uko has never agreed with any leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo from the administration of Rt. Honourable Eze Ozobu leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo,” Edeson said.
He, therefore, called on the ECA leaders to stop meddling and creating confusion amongst the pro-Biafra groups by using one group against the other in order to achieve selfish ends, advising them to also stay clear from pro-Biafra groups since they are not clamouring for Biafra actualization and restoration.
Edison said that though those arrested at ECA event were not MASSOB members, “We demand for their immediate release,” adding that “MASSOB urges the Enugu State governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to intervene for their immediate release now which will douse unnecessary tension in Igbo land.”