ANAMBRA State chapter of pan Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo has said that instead of calling for a sovereign state of Biafra, the proponents of the current agitation should use their pro-Biafra stand as a platform to demand a better life for Ndigbo. Speaking in an interview in Awka, President of Ohaneze in the state, Chief Damian Okeke said the pro-Biafra agitators should be made to realize that Igbo leaders would not support any agitation that would lead to war. Consequently, he advised that they tread softly while expressing their anger over the happenings in Nigeria.
Okeke said it would be foolhardy to expect Igbo people to abandon their investment in other parts of the country. In addition, he said anybody who witnessed the Biafra War, like he did, would not want to experience another war. Nonetheless, he said the fear of war would not stop the Igbo from speaking against oppression. He said: “Anyone who is marginalized will always feel bad, but that will not make those marginalized to commit suicide.
“That is why we cannot completely condemn the youths for what they are doing. If not for what they are doing, we will not be discussing with the people of Niger Delta today. Because of what they are doing, we have a better understanding with the people of the South West today. Today, the Hausa nation, the Yoruba nation, and the Igbo nation are finding a common solution to Nigeria’s problems. We cannot exist in isolation
“For the first time since the end of the civil war, the governors of the states in the former Eastern Region are meeting to ensure a better Nigeria. Even those in the National Assembly are meeting, just as the people of the Middle Belt have indicated their interest to discuss with our people. “We have to admit that there is a problem in Nigeria and it is only when we acknowledge this that we will begin to find a solution. That is why we need to always speak with one voice because that is the only way we can achieve our goal. “The truth may be bitter, but the fact is that we cannot exist in isolation. I cannot stay here and order our people to abandon their investments in other parts of Nigeria and come home immediately. That will not be the solution.
“What we advocate is that the rule of law must be obeyed and justice and equity ensured for peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. We agree that peace will reign in Nigeria if the right things are done. Meaning of Biafra “As far as I am concerned, we are using Biafra to ask Nigeria to do the needful because that is the vehicle we should use to get our rights. What is happening to us today has gone beyond marginalization. We should work together to get what will benefit the Igbo and the important thing is to get what belongs to us in Nigeria.
“I recall when Ohaneze once asked the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, what was really the meaning of Biafra and his answer was that it is like a fully loaded trailer descending the Milikin Hill in Enugu and nobody knows where it would land.
What we have in mind are equity and justice. If we get our rights in Nigeria, what else are we fighting for? “Ohaneze Ndigbo had severally made it clear that members of IPOB and MASSOB are our children. We are all working towards the betterment of Igbo nation. “I want to say that the leadership of Ohaneze, the governors of the South East states and many other Igbo elders are jointly on top of the situation of the quit notice to Ndigbo by the Arewa youths.” Vanguard