The Apex Igbo cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo, has cautioned the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement not to arrogate to themselves the supreme leadership of Igbo land. The president-general of the organisation, John Nwodo, gave the warning in Awka on Thursday while addressing members of the Anambra House of Assembly.
The warning was sequel to a call by IPOB, a pro-Biafra group led by Nnamdi Kanu, urging Anambra people to boycott the governorship election slated for November.
Mr. Nwodo said Mr. Kanu’s call was not only provocative and misleading but also unproductive and advised the people to ignore him.
“Why should Anambra people be denied the opportunity to choose their own leader; Nobody, no matter how highly placed, can dictate to Anambra people when to vote, whether to vote or who to vote for.
“Anambra, nay Igbos, are still part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yes, we are not happy with our treatment in Nigeria; some of us want Biafra.
“Yes, some of us prefer a restructured Federal Republic of Nigeria, but the fact remains that we are still part and parcel of the present Federal Republic of Nigeria, bound by its laws, no matter how repressive or unjust.
“Our approach to the reforms of our laws even if it leads to self-determination or restructuring, must be lawful.
‘‘We must convince other Nigerians of our point of view; we must strive to make others share our convictions.
“Our language must be civil, respectful and lead to consensus building.
‘‘We must resist any attempt to allow division among us, as to which way we must go; It must not become a source of altercations between us.
“As we speak, very many of our people living in the North are in complete awe and consternation regarding how safe they will be after October 1st.
‘‘Other Northerners living among us are also worried.
“The Inspector-General of Police has taken public notice of Nnamdi Kanu’s comments, inviting a possible invasion of Anambra by the Nigerian Police, thereby increasing the already existing siege of our people, which leads to daily extortion on our highways.
“All these developments have arisen out of unguarded utterances.
“I find no venue more suited for the statements I make here; every constituent part of Anambra is represented here and I believe that the honourable members here are competent enough to carry the Ohaneze message to every nook and cranny of Anambra State.’’
Mr. Nwodo further said that the organisation would visit other houses of assembly in Igbo-speaking states as part of its consultations.
He expressed happiness over the peace existing in the state and the steady progress Anambra had recorded over the years. (NAN)