Though the resolution of Igbo leaders meeting in Enugu, made public on Sunday, failed to mention names such as the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu or Biafra agitation, South East Voice can authoritatively report that the issue of separatist agitation among Igbo youths dominated much of the discussion that lasted from Saturday night to early Sunday morning.
Some participants in the closed door meeting, who preferred anonymity, revealed that the issue of the separatist agitation, particularly Nnamdi Kanu, was discussed extensively. Lending credence to the discussion of Biafra agitation, Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, Chief David Umahi, in his preamble address at the meeting noted that the issue of Nnamdi Kanu and separatist agitation would form a major point of discussion at the meeting.
Governor Umahi in the address admitted that the current socio-political trauma convulsing the landscape, particularly the separatist agitations of some Igbo youths was something that has been exercising the minds of South East Governors. Umahi said “Whilst we recognise quite rightly that each and every zone in the country is challenged by one form of youth restiveness or the other, we are particularly concerned because of the crude dimensions that things are veering. We will continue to seek avenues of positive resolution in order to avert bringing pointless doom upon our great land.”
Overall Leader of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu
Umahi expressed gratitude to governors of the zone, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other distinguished Igbo icons who worked both openly and behind the scene to secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu.
“However, part of the central issues we must consider today is the manner in which the group led by Nnamdi Kanu has gone about its agitation. It’s an agenda point which I believe will dovetail into the equally sizzling topic of the moment-restructuring… one of the vexing questions we must begin to tackle with urgency is the matter of separatist agitations. It is my humble submission that we must tonight set up a committee with a wide-ranging remit to engage our restive youths and make a recommendation to Ndigbo that will form basis of a resolution of the crisis,” said Governor Umahi.
The Ebonyi governor who chaired the meeting based on his position as the chairman of South East Governors Forum also reflected on the dying Igbo traditions and culture and urged Igbo leaders of repute to thinker towards restoring the fading Igbo values. Those in attendance at the meeting included the five governors of South East States, all members of the National Assembly from the zone led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the Chairman of South East Caucus of the members of the National Assembly, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Kanu and leaders of the groups
Others were President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Governor of the Central Bank, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Senator Sam Egwu, Chief Chekwas Okorie, Prof Barth Nnaji, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, former Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, and Senator Gill Nnaji. The list also included the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Prof Godfrey Onah, the Enugu Archbishop of Anglican Communion, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Chairman of South East Traditional Rulers Council.
However, at the end of the meeting, the resolution fell short of addressing the issue of the separatist agitations but dwelled on the need to quickly restructure Nigeria and implement the 2014 National Conference report. Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Governor Umahi who read out the communiqué said: “This is a communiqué arising from a meeting of South East Governors, members of National Assembly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, our traditional fathers, our spiritual fathers and some selected Igbo leaders of Thought on the state of the nation. It held today, July 1, 2017 at Nike Lake Resort Enugu.
“We deliberated on a number of issues and we arrived at the followings-Ndigbo are in full support of a united Nigeria, where peace, love, fairness, justice, equity and equality of opportunities are paramount, regardless of creed, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation. We condemn all hate speeches and misconducts from any segment of the country. That Igbo leaders lend their full support to the restructuring of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of fairness and equity. We, therefore, call on the federal government and all Nigerian leaders to commence a process of dialogue among Nigerians on modalities of achieving this pressing question within a reasonable time frame.
Reasonable time frame
“That Ndigbo supports the report of the National Conference of 2014 and we urge the federal government to set up structures that will enable the implementation of the same within a reasonable time. That the South East Governors, members of the National Assembly, leadership from the south east and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo shall henceforth constitute the official organs that shall speak on behalf of Ndigbo.
“That South East leaders in consultation with other parts of the country, will set up a committee to engage the federal government on all issues that concern Ndigbo. The South East leaders are taking steps to ensure the safety of the lives and property of our people in all parts of Nigeria, just as we guarantee the safety of lives and property of all other Nigerians that are living within our domain, that is south east.”
And pro-Biafra groups anoint Kanu Biafra leader: Meantime, in Umuahia, the crowd was unprecedented. Virtually all the available space on Akanu Ibiam road, Factory road, Michael Okpara Avenue close to Government House and other adjoining streets around Afaraukwu area were taken over by vehicles that conveyed members of Pro-Biafra groups from across the South East and beyond, who converged in Umuahia.
There was a heavy traffic build-up prompting members of the groups to control it. There was no violence though. They peacefully directed traffic. Their destination: the compact palace of His Royal Highness, Eze Israel Kanu, father of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who also lives in the palace which conspicuously hosts two flags, the Biafran and Israeli flags. From the junction leading to the palace, the over 5000 pro-Biafra members joined their hands together and formed two walls leaving the centre open for their leader, Kanu to pass through when he came out to greet them. Various pro-Biafra songs were coming from various sections of the group. It was for them a carnival of sort.
The crowd was so huge that some of them climbed trees nearby to be able to see what went on inside the palace. Inside the compound was a delegation of the United Nations, led by Prof. Nwaimo Emma, a professor of religious studies. Some youths who designed certain things like Keke, aircraft, houses, vehicles, painted in Biafra colour brought them to the house for Kanu to see what Biafra could afford if allowed.
Right inside the house, the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu was involved in series of meetings with different groups of people who visited him, including leaders of the pro-Biafra groups who had come to make him officially the leader of Biafra and the arrowhead of the agitation.
At about 2.30pm, Nnamdi Kanu emerged from the palace to go round to greet his visitors. On sighting him those inside the compound rose up in happiness to receive him while their celebration sent signal to the huge crowd outside who went wild with jubilation. It was like demi-god has emerged. Men around him struggled to shield him and guarded him to his father’s open-roof Siena car which took him through the length lined up by his visitors to welcome them to his home. It took him well over two hours to go round and return to the palace where the main event, installing him as leader of Biafra took place.
After another round of meeting with the leaders of the groups, Comrade Uchenna Madu, leader of MASSOB read out their resolution. The pro-Biafra groups, were the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Biafran Revolutionary Organization, BRO, Eastern Peoples Congress, EPC, Joint Revolutionary Council of Biafra, JRCB, Biafra Liberation Crusaders, BLC, and Salvation People of Biafra, all of who agreed to work indiscriminately with the Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB to pursue the actualization of Republic Biafra.
Rising from the meeting with Kanu, Comrade Madu said the decision was to work together and speak with one voice under a central leader. However, according to him, all the groups still exist independently but would be speaking with one voice more so as the quest for referendum hits up.
“Distinguished members and great people of Biafra and supporters of divine mission of emancipation of the land of Biafra from the oppressing Nigeria State, we salute you. Today as we stand in this holy land of Biafra in unique and brotherly gathering to honour our own brother who distinguished himself in the self determination struggle for Biafra actualization and restoration.
“Today in honour of our supreme leader, Chukwu Okike Abiama and in remembrance of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, we the people of Biafra under the representation of all the pro-Biafra groups hereby adopt and declare our brother, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as the new leader of Biafra Nation, who under his leadership, through the grace of Chukwu Okike Abiama shall the people of Biafra rest. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s leadership shall bring unity, peace, progress and brotherly love among the esteemed people of Biafra through the instrumentality of mutual and intimate understanding among the pro-Biafra groups”, the resolution stated.
The IPOB leader in his reaction accepted the decision and said that he was humbled by the action of the various groups and assured them that he would not let them down.
“I am humbled by this decision of the groups, we started together and we have all ended up together because we are sincere and purposeful.”
Culled from Vanguard