•IPOB orders another sit-at-home
•We are not against Buhari’s visit to Igboland —Ohanaeze
•It’s opportunity for Ndigbo to address issues affecting them —Ohanaeze youths
•Demand release of Nnamdi Kanu, MASSOB tells Igbo leaders
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have disagreed over President Buhari”s proposed visit to Imo State.
While the Directorate of States, DOS, of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has ordered a sit-at-home against the planned visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Imo State, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said that it is not against the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari but rather they will welcome him wholeheartedly.
In a similar vein, the national youth leader, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Engr. Damian Okafor, yesterday, stated that the planned visit of President Muhammadu Buhari would enable Ndigbo to present and address issues affecting them as a people and therefore welcomed the President to Igboland.
This is even as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has urged Igbo leaders to use the opportunity of the President’s visit to demand the release of the detained leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. MASSOB reminded Igbo leaders that Kanu is allegedly being subjected to torture for the sake of Ndigbo.
Sequel to the proposed sit-at-home by IPOB , residents of Onitsha, the commercial city and Nnewi, the industrial town of Anambra State were yesterday seen trooping into the markets in the two cities to buy their necessary consumables and essential commodities.
The two biggest food stuff markets in Onitsha, Ose Okwodu Market and Grains and Food Stuffs Market, located along Onitsha Enugu Expressway, witnessed unusual number of people desperately making purchases of consumables and other needs, preparatory for the sit-at-home.
Also in Nnewi, the two major food stuff markets, Eke Amaobi Market and Okpu Unoegbu Foodstuffs Market, equally witnessed high number of people buying foodstuffs and other essential commodities.
Investigations by Vanguard revealed that people are ready to comply with the sit-at-home following the alleged hardship that is not abating and sudden increase in the pump price of petrol from N165 per litre to N200.
Some of the traders and residents who spoke with Vanguard in both Nnewi and Onitsha expressed anger over what they called “visionless and anti -masses administration” of the All Progressives Congress, APC, led Federal Government of Nigeria.
Reacting, an Onitsha based small scale industrialist, Chief Johnson said that apart from the alleged plan to prevent the President’s visit to Imo State, it is a solidarity to Nnamdi Kanu.
“And it is telling the governors in the South East that they are not governors of the people, that the real governor has spoken and the people will always obey him. Even when he did not speak, people will still obey him.
“That means the people who are claiming to be governors are not governing well because if they are, this situation will not arise. In my family, nobody will say anything bad about me and they agree. If they do, I have lost my position as a father.”
Mr Sylvester Onumah, a resident and trader in Nnewi, angrily told Vanguard yesterday that “Nigeria is finished. The leaders have lost focus, they are bereft of ideas on how to move the country forward. Nigeria is going down daily and with N200 and above on pump prize of fuel in Anambra State, there is anger.”
We are not against Buhari’s visit to Igbo land —Ohanaeze
A statement from the spokesman of the Igbo apex body, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said: “The attention of the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been drawn to a statement making the rounds in the media and purportedly issued by the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“The press statement, issued by one Chidi Ibeh; a nondescript and unknown to Ohanaeze, gave the impression that Ohanaeze Ndigbo is at odds with the planned visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Imo State today, September 9, 2021. Nothing can be more dishonest than this.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo, under the leadership of Prof. George Obiozor, dissociates itself from the purported statement and urges Ndigbo to disregard same. We are appalled that some miscreants, masquerading as leaders of Ohanaeze could issue such a rheumy and dubious statement on behalf of Ndigbo.
“The statement is mischievous, ill-intended and a deliberate attempt to put Ndigbo in harms’ way.
“May we reiterate here that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide welcomes His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Owerri in Igbo Land.
“We are, therefore, deeply delighted that President Muhammadu Buhari has chosen to visit Ndigbo in Igbo land at this critical juncture in Igbo history. By this visit, the President has proven, beyond doubts, that he is the father of the nation.
“It is therefore, the height of wickedness, callousness, mischief, rabble-rousing, and miscreancy for Mr. Chidi Ibeh and his co-travellers to issue such a discordant statement in the name of Ndigbo.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo would no longer take such idiosyncracy and urge our people to totally disregard the mischief of Mr. Chidi Ibeh and his recalcitrant, misguided impostors, impersonators and pretenders.
“We urge Ndigbo to troop out en-masse to welcome our President and accord him the honour due to him. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide are persuaded that this land-mark visit to the South East of Nigeria by Mr. President is critical and a turning point in the Igbo political history”.
An opportunity for Ndigbo to address issues —Ohanaeze youths
The Youth Leader who encouraged Igbo youths to come out en masse to give Mr President a resounding welcome added that “Mr President cannot come to the Igboland, hear all our problems and leave us without a solution, especially as it concerns the carnages being perpetrated by the Fulani mercenaries, the exclusion of the Igbo from the composition of Service Chiefs’ appointments; the underdevelopment of Igbo Nation; the high rate of unemployment among Igbo youths and the socio-economic war against the Igbo nation; among others.”
In a statement titled “As Igbo Leaders prepare to Receive the Number one Citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari’ , Comrade Okafor said: “It is with euphoria and sense of responsibility that I wish to address Igbo youths on the occasion of the august visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Igboland in Imo State to be precise.
“Firstly, I would like to appreciate the Almighty God for keeping us alive in the face of daunting security challenges that have affected our dear nation. It is not by our making that we are alive but by the agenda of the Almighty God who has the final say over every living being.
“Our region has survived one of the most gory civil wars in the history of mankind. Based on the realities of unfolding events, the war was suspended but not ended. The marginalization of Ndigbo has proven to us that we are enjoying a virtual relationship with the people that have promised to put the past behind us.
“A situation where an Igbo man is not considered worthy to be appointed into key security structures (Service Chiefs) of this country even when the region has fallen under constant attack is indeed another hercules heels that need to be addressed urgently so that we can move forward as a nation.
“Basic infrastructural development of the region has been neglected by the central government at the peril of our governors even as the Federal Character Commission, FCC, that is supposed to ensure the equitable distribution of job opportunities to all nooks and crannies of the country appears to be working against the Igbo nation.
‘Furthermore, we are constantly accused of such crimes that we don’t have the capacities to commit; the worst of it all is when it has been established that the Igbo nation is living in existential threat.
“Let me emphasize that we did not only put our only hope in God but we also believe that this golden opportunity with the President will help us address some of these issues.
“As the number one citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria visits Igboland, I call for total calm in the length and breadth of the land as the Igbo leaders ably led by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Ambassador (Professor) George A. Obiozor; the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi and not excluding the host governor, Sen Hope Odidika Uzodimma are ready to expose the facts about the challenges affecting the Igbo nation to Mr President. Hence, I encourage Igbo youths to come out en masse to give Mr President a resounding welcome.
“We have been patient and expectant with maximum hope placed on God Almighty to help us again as Jehovah did for the people of Israel, while they were in Egypt as Ndigbo still believe in the 11th hour miracle.
“It is believed that Mr President cannot come to the Igbo land, hear all our problems and leave us without a solution, especially as it concerns the carnages being perpetrated by the Fulani mercenaries, the exclusion of the Igbo from the composition of Service Chiefs’ appointment, the underdevelopment of Igbo Nation, the high rate of unemployment among Igbo youths, the socio-economic war against the Igbo nation; among others.
“Let us once again reactivate our spirit of hope and believe in the Word of God which says that to the living, there is hope. Ndigbo should have a better bargain than secession.
“A situation where our brothers and sisters in the Northern communities, especially in the city of Jos that recently fell under ruthless attack have refused to return home even when the delegations from southeast have approached them to come back should be a thing of concern to all of us. Continuing the violent agitation is endangering millions of Ndigbo living outside the Igbo land. Every Igbo life matters in this critical time that the enemies of Ndigbo have sworn to invest heavily to ensure that the ever-growing population of Ndigbo is commuted and abated.
“As for our brothers that are in detention facilities, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo under the watch of Ambassador Professor George A. Obiozor is not sleeping over them. He has lined up a team of lawyers to ensure that they get speedy justice. He is also doing everything within his reach not excluding negotiations, consultations, lobbying and what have you, to ensure that their fundamental human rights are respected and protected while their trial lasts. Ndigbo have to move forward and eschew violent approaches to national issues as violence has never favoured us.
“To Mr President, I say welcome to the Igbo nation. While we believe that your coming will leave us better than your absence. I wish you a successful trip to the Eastern Heartland.”
Demand release of Nnamdi Kanu, MASSOB tells Igbo leaders
According to MASSOB, Nnamdi Kanu represents the aspirations of Ndigbo.
The group charged Igbo leaders to use the visit of President Buhari to revive the lost confidence and hope Ndigbo bestowed on them by telling Buhari the truth to his face that Ndigbo are not being treated as co-citizens.
In a statement by its National Director of Information, Comrade Edeson Samuel, MASSOB said: “The leadership of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, hereby advises the political, traditional, religious and opinion leaders of Igbo land to demand the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from President Muhamadu Buhari during his state visit to Imo and Ebonyi States.
“It is imperative that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is being subjected to inhuman torture at the DSS detention cage because of Ndigbo. He represent the aspirations of Ndigbo in Nigeria.”
“MASSOB advises Igbo political leaders to use the occasion of President Muhamadu Buhari’s visit to revive the lost confidence and hope Ndigbo bestowed on them by telling Buhari that Ndigbo are not being treated as co citizens. They must demand for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention.
“MASSOB reiterates that what Ndigbo want is Biafra from Nigeria. We can never deviate from this clamour for independence of Biafra Republic.”