The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has cautioned Simon Ekpa, the self-acclaimed disciple of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, over his recent directive that residents of the South-East should observe a 5-day sit-at-home from December 9.
In the same vein, the group chided the President of Ohanaeze Youth Council over his recent call that Igbo youths should carry arms in self-defence.
Ohanaeze while cautioning the duo and other elements of such said the statements are “inflammatory, subversive and incendiary broadcasts” from the people it labelled “latter-day Biafran warriors.”
According to the statement titled, ‘Simon Ekpa: Hero or villain?’ signed by Ohanaeze spokesperson, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, on Tuesday, the divisive statements could “constitute monumental problems for the Igbo in relation to the larger Nigeria.”
While the highest Igbo group reiterated that the agitation for Biafra was the answer to injustice and alienation meted out towards the Southeast, it said the hostile statements from Igbo youths were not the solution.
The statement partly read, “The attention of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a video broadcast circulating in the social media by one Mr Simon Ekpa directing the people of the South East of Nigeria that “in preparation to stop election from taking place in Biafra-Land, there should be a chain of “sit at home on Friday December 9; Saturday December 10; Sunday, December 11; Monday December 12; and Wednesday December 14, 2022”. The instruction added that “Tuesday December 13, 2022 is set aside for market and all these are in preparation for the exit of Biafra from Nigeria”.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo laments the unruly behaviour among the Igbo youths. In their utopia, they think they are making both name and cheap money, while in the true sense, they are digging abysmal pits for themselves.
“Last week, a young boy that claims to be the President of Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) directed ‘the Igbo youths to arm themselves.’ Our major concern is that all these unguarded, inflammatory, subversive and incendiary broadcasts by these latter-day Biafran warriors in their delusions, constitute monumental problems for the Igbo in relation to the larger Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze wonders how somebody that proclaims himself a leader will neither seek the opinion nor weigh the aspirations and political barometer of his people before going gaga.
“For purpose of clarification, Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the then Military Governor of the Eastern Region made several consultations and finally summoned a meeting of almost all the important dignitaries in the Eastern Region, comprising the present Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi States and the Anioma in Delta State.”
It further said, “There Is no gainsaying that the concept of Biafra was a response to a question for the Eastern Nigeria ‘to be and not to be?’ and that the spirit of Biafra has been sustained by a prevalence of orchestrated injustice, alienation and marginalization more specifically of the South East from the centres of power.
“The foregoing remarks are to justify the incessant agitations by the Igbo youths, however, it is as ridiculous as it is inconceivable that at a time the Nigerian youths and several elder statesmen such as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief E K Clarke, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Dr Bitrus Borgu among others have lent their unalloyed support to equity, justice, competence and track record of accomplishments, in supporting the most viable candidate for the presidency for the 2023 general election, in the name of Mr Peter Obi, some persons in foreign countries who are not properly schooled in the political history of Nigeria will go on air and begin to broadcast Biafra, thereby creating an absurd Sisyphean circus for the Igbo.”
Ohanaeze also urged eminent Nigerians of Igbo extraction to call Ekpa to order, as it said the sit-at-home exercise has not in any way been of an economic advantage to the region.
“The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor and indeed all the well-meaning sons and daughters of Igbo land, with all sense of responsibility, hereby call on the Regent of Umueziaka community, the home of Mr Simon Ekpa; the Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government, Hon Ikechukwu Odono; Member representing Ohaukwu South in the State Assembly, Hon. Chinedu Onah; Member for Ohaukwu and Ebonyi Federal Constituency, Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku; the Senator for Ebonyi North, Sen. Dr Sam Ominyi Egwu and the governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi to rein in Mr Simon Ekpa and compel him to desist from his unreflective youthful exuberance. They should remind Ekpa that the world has never recorded a freedom fighter that faces the barrel of the gun inwards.
“Elementary logic questions the rationale for a young man to wake up and begin to suffocate the very people he claims to protect. When the Igbo are undergoing excruciating hardship arising from orchestrated injustice, a young man or rather a self-styled hero will be busy crippling the Igbo economy thereby adding salt to injury,” Ohanaeze added.
Meanwhile, IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, has said it has no hand in the sit-at-home and called its members and Igbo people in the South-East to go about their business without fear of molestation.