Eze Mark Odu, the monarch head, Nze Okokpa Ngurunweke Kingdom in Mbaise, Imo State, an avatar in estate management, politician, and erudite professor has seen it all at age 76.
He told Sunday Sun that he is irked at the way the country is going because he had hoped of a great nation, but was disappointed by the large scale of discrimination that abounds, particularly efforts to tear down the Igbo.
He said that the country is still standing on a cliff given the hidden agenda of those running the country, the North.
Also, he expressed strong views on the Nigerian condition, the discrimination against Ndigbo, and why the option of Biafra has become the alternative for the region, among other crucial issues. Excerpts:
Let’s have your thoughts on the nation’s 21 years of uninterrupted democracy?
There is no democracy because what we have is not democracy. The North has no concept of democracy at all, they had never had it in this country and it’s not likely they will learn. They feel incapable of entering into competition with anyone, so they plan to dominate through religion, and that is not going to work because the entire exercise between Christianity and Islam, the way it is practiced here cannot be acceptable. They are giving their religion a bad tag here. It is full of blood and that separates the North from the South straight away. The North is suffering a lot of bloodletting against the South. It is enjoying a lot of blood-letting against the South and the Northern youths are up against them in arms now, so they have no ghost of a chance of even being problematic to the South that desires freedom. So, Biafra is the story for the immediate future. There is nothing to even contemplate celebration, it’s a raw deal from the North to the rest of the country and all the signs are that there is nothing worth celebrating. You can see now that former President Obasanjo created the entire constitution in their favour, more or less when he sank things into the constitution that were not supposed to be there in 1979, that was where our problem started. There is no democracy anywhere. You can see what is happening with the All Progressives Congress (APC) the ruling government at the centre. They are not a political party, but a group of people that maneuver people into power and then suck the state from the people whom they have installed. It is the same with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), so what are we celebrating? Democracy? Far from it, unless you don’t know what democracy entails.
You said the North is dominating, but Goodluck Jonathan still emerged the President and there was nothing the North did to reverse it. Do you think the North did not contemplate it would happen?
You should know it was an error of circumstance because you know the chap whom he replaced was a better figure in governance, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, he was a better democrat, but then he died and the Northern hegemony felt so bad about Jonathan being there, and you can see the way they chased him, but his failure lay in his incapacity to legislate on the Sovereign National Conference (SNC) that was where our dilemma catapulted us to. We are still hanging in the limbo outside that, for which our youths in Igbo land have now rejected any relationship with, sorry to call it, the daredevil region, that has been of no benefit to the South. So, we have no choice as elders, but to follow them. We have dillydallied with the North for too long, so we must follow the position of our youths now, our own time is gone. This is their time to shine. Biafra is where our youths are going and we have to go along with them because we have lavished our goodwill against our young people and we must yield to what they want now, willy-nilly.
Hope you are aware that there are still many, Ndigbo, that believe Biafra is not a reality?
They are simply mad and not in tune with what is on the ground. Perhaps they may be dreaming. You are talking with people who have shed blood, blood separates real human from animals. Shedding of blood is the worst kind of crime for any reason whatsoever, and that separates people from animals, we have lost all goodwill we can muster on this Nigeria project. There is no other option than to go our separate ways. The Yoruba are sensitive about it too, I am sure you know that Oodua is on, they are ready to go, Amotekun was the first salvo.
During the lockdown, a lot of Northern youths were alleged to have trooped into the South and many believe there is danger as such movements were suspicious. Are you worried about it?
I am not worried, because they (North) have failed their young people and they are restive, the killing will be done up there, and it’s being done up there already, if they plan to send them here to kill us it will worsen their condition spiritually. I am saying that with the number of killings happening already the separation is physically and spiritually complete because you don’t stay with animals in the same country, at all. It is sad that even their elders are not condemning the act. We cannot continue to live this way.
Are you aware that most Easterners are worried that they may be attacked given the influx of the Northerners, particularly herdsmen in large numbers into the region?
It is those that are not on the ground will worry. They have to be about 20 million or more to march us foot to foot, but the spiritual forces we have will not permit them. In fact, I have instructed my people to look for the giant gong that if anybody dares this place we hit the gong and everybody will appear and we test our strength. There is no question about that and we are not afraid. Ndigbo have always been courageous people, we have not been known to be people afraid of others, afraid of war, no, that is not the Igbo nature. We have the power of competitive distribution that can march anything, be it force, intellectual, business etc, any way you want it the Igbo is capable of reciprocating the challenge.
So, what you are saying is that the Southeast is prepared to defend itself?
It depends on what you mean by being prepared, but we are not taking chances, we will be prepared to take anybody on, on our turf and maybe take them on, on their turf too because the Igbo are widespread in this country and beyond and they are not about to yield. The ideal thing is that they should negotiate now, the kind of distance we should enjoy against them in Biafra because Biafra is a long-gone story.
But there are still Easterners that are angling for the presidency in 2023?
(Cuts in) They are on their own, we are not interested, we have tried to accommodate this fake Nigeria project, it hasn’t paid us, we are the most backward as it is in terms of the resources at the centre and they have taken us for a ride for too long with the hope that we will get into the driver’s seat, but we are disappointed, we have let down our youths beyond repair and the youths have decided that they should go to hell with leadership and that they are going their way. It is off our hands as senior citizens of this country and I am fully, full-steam ahead with the youths.
The Federal Government recently raised the alarm that the leader of Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been discrediting the image of the Nigerian government abroad?
(Cuts in) Which image are you talking about? They have no credit for him to discredit. The world is laughing at us. You heard what the United States President, Donald Trump said about Nigeria? He didn’t mince words in addressing us that we are an inadequate country. Tell me, what the Hausa have contributed to the evolution of this country? What has the Fulani contributed to the evolution of this country? What have they produced? What have they not destroyed? Where have we gone in the decades of their leadership? What have they got to give to civilization except destruction, so why should we hang out with them for God’s sake?
But before the discovery of the oil in the South the country was making use of the North’s groundnut pyramid in building the country?
That is the hindsight factor in their preachment, we also had palm oil and other resources before oil, and we were holding our own and battling for the centre. It’s just that Zik did not read the hand-writing on the wall well early enough to first get Ndigbo prepared for this contraption and he dropped us in the hands of people who were not ready to even learn the ropes before they dared into the leadership of the country. Look at how the entire infrastructure of the country has gone to blazes because those who are sitting in administration over them have no interest whatsoever in promoting the interest of the country. All that they are interested in is what they get from there and the systems are collapsing left, right and centre, they just don’t care.
Hope you are aware that the North is still strategizing to hold on to power in 2023?
It is sheer madness, they are mad after power because they are in control of all the resources and they planned it a long time ago, but you see, they did not factor in resistance to their programmes but the youths in the South are alert about this and they will not take it kindly, they won’t cross their hands to watch you, they will resist it. Even the Yoruba will not take it; we are thinking of the whole South blocking them from that their fake dream.
What is your advice to Ndigbo now looking at the situation on the ground, which you have painted?
I have written it, it is Biafra now because the youths say we have overstayed our welcome in this country. I am 76, but I still have to ensure the Igbo people get their own freedom, I don’t mind dying for that. We have walked on the wrong part for a long time if the truth must be told and still staying in this fake project will not take us anywhere. But the Yoruba have to come along and the Middle Belt has to come along on this project so as to hold full resistance against these people that want to overrun our territories, wanting to domesticate their cows in our territory.
Do you think realizing the Biafra project is feasible today?
Who will crash it?
The federal might?
Federal might? There is no money left and they can’t even borrow now because collateral is lacking. The issue is: God has stepped into this matter and the millennium is rounding up. Those who think they are strong will be brought to their knees even with all the armaments in the world. We won’t live to have this oppression mature into reality.