PAN-cultural Igbo umbrella group Ohanaeze Ndigbo has urged Nigeria’s federal government to use dialogue as a means of resolving the present national crises in the country pointing out that no secessionist forces can defeat Nigeria.
Of late, the Nigerian polity has been heated significantly as a result of the murderous activities of armed Fulani cattle herdsmen, who have embarked on a bloody reign of terror across the country. This has led to calls for the balkanisation of Nigeria, especially in the southeast and southwest geo-political zones where movements calling for the creation of Biafra and Oduduwa republics are growing.
Across the southeast in particular, the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), led by Nnamdi Kanu, has millions of followers and supporters. Last weekend, Ipob arranged a sit-at-home protest, which was widely observed, showing how much support the organisation has.
In the southwest geo-political zone, Yoruba activist Sunday Igboho is enjoying a growth in popularity with his calls for the creation of an Oduduwa Nation. However, Professor George Obiozor, the president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, has called for dialogue to resolve any issues, stressing that although Ndigbo were in support of a united Nigeria, they will not be victims of the country’s unity.
Professor Obiozor said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo supports the South East Governors Forum declaration of a public holiday on May 30th as a Biafran day. For Ndigbo and most Africans, a time to mourn or remembrance of the dead is traditionally a solemn occasion.
“It is imperative and proper for Ndigbo to remember Ndigbo and others who died cross the country either in the genocide or civil war in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. Also Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide urges the Governors of South East to roll out the Ebube Agu Security outfit.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo wants to make it categorically clear that Ndigbo will not support break-up of Nigeria but will not be victims of Nigerian unity. In this context, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide consider as unfortunate the implications of the president’s statement as the last time I checked or heard a president speak of shock and awe, it was reserved for the enemy, not for citizens.
“I also want to appeal to all Igbo youths involved in violence and strongly advise them that there is nothing to celebrate in violence. We cannot change our lots and situations by steering and provoking hatred amongst ourselves, raining insults and abuses on ourselves and declaring war against those who disagree with our own ideas and approach to resolving our common problems.”
He also called on the federal government to reconsider the use of force in resolving the present national crises. According to Professor Obiozor, history shows that military and violent means to solve the national problem leads to fractionalisation, anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration.