GOVERNORS of the five state that make up the southeast geo-political zone have pledged their commitment to an indivisible and united Nigeria despite the ongoing calls for secession and the balkanisation of the country.
Since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, agitations for the recreation of the state of Biafra, which existed briefly between 1967 and 1970 have grown. Nigeria’s Igbos who make the southeast geo-political zone claim they are marginalised when it come to government appointments and there is very little federal presence in their region.
This has led to the growing popularity of secessionist groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (Massob). Ipob in particular has seen its membership grow over recent years and its leader Nnamdi Kanu has near-mythical status among his fanatical supporters.
Despite this, the South East Governors Forum says it remains in support of pledged an indivisible and united Nigeria. Speaking in Abuja, Governor David Umahi, the chairman of the South East Governors Forum, said the agitations were offshoots of years of neglect by previous governments but despite this, they remain committed to one Nigeria.
Governor Umahi said: “We do not want to secede from Nigeria but we want a Nigeria where justice and equity prevails, we want peace. The situation in the southeast right now is a situation in which non-violent approach of Ipob at the beginning has been hijacked by bandits, cultists and criminals.”
He, however, described the insinuation in some quarters that foreign machineries were the ones behind the recent violence in the southeast as mere war propaganda. According to Governor Umahi, some citizens from across the southeast are responsible for the recent killings, the burning down of police stations and the destruction of property across the region.
Governor Umahi condemned the recent burning of some offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) across the southeast, blaming such dastardly acts on criminals. He added that they were wrongly brainwashed into believing that the 2023 general elections would not hold.
He said: “Some of them have been indoctrinated to believe that there will be no election in 2023 and that is very dangerous because if you say that there will be no election in your region, then the National Assembly could make an emergency law to say there will be emergency rule there and there is nothing you can do about it. So it is a very terrible mindset for anybody to be doing this because Inec offices have not been burnt in the south west or other parts of the country.”