Biafra: IPOB says we want referendum, not war

Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu celebrating being granted bail

THE Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has reiterated that the agitation for an independent state of Biafra is not a declaration of war, saying that they are seeking a referendum to determine whether Ndigbo should remain in Nigeria or go their separate way.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr Emma Powerful, and made available to Tribune Online in Enugu, the group accused some of the Northern elders including Alhaji Tanko Yakassai of grand conspiracy against the pro-Biafra agitators.

“We the members of the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and its leadership worldwide have observed the grand conspiracy perfected by Hausa-Fulani oligarchs like Tanko Yakassai and his fellow Hausa-Fulani politicians with the help of certain unity beggars to the effect that IPOB asking for self determination is tantamount to declaration of war or asking for referendum is equal to hate speech.”

Mr Powerful noted, “We also understand that such levels of stupefying ignorance about what IPOB is demanding is totally the reason why Nigeria cannot produce and distribute electricity and job opportunities in Nigeria despite the abundance of coal, palm oil, gas and crude oil”

The statement read in part: “This thuggish mindset of some Hausa-Fulani oligarchs is a quick resort to violence as espoused by Tanko Yakassai and co and is the reason why we have Boko Haram today. They always see civilised debate as a call to war; such people and the values they represent can never be reconciled with the civilising effects of genuine democracy that allows for freedom of expression.

“It is fair to assume, going by the utterances of certain corrupt segments of the Nigerian society, that most of what IPOB is saying and stands for is lost in translation because anybody with basic understanding of rudimentary English and constitutional law will know that self determination does not mean war and that referendum is not hate speech. Again, when badly educated and ill-informed people dabble into a discipline above their station, such mistakes are bound to happen.

“We would like to use this opportunity to clarify once again that IPOB is asking for self determination as recognised in both United Nations charter on the Rights of Indigenous People and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Before these Northern unity beggars threaten us with war that IPOB hasn’t called for, let them spend a bit of their valuable time acquainting themselves with these charters and declarations.

“The only instrument IPOB has at its disposal is civil disobedience which is entirely legal. Civil disobedience it must be understood and be said that it has nothing to do with armed conflict.

“Furthermore, people should be advised to study and assimilate the subtleties and nuances of English language before engaging in any public discussion regarding Biafra independence. Our leader Nnamdi Kanu is a peaceful man that constituted IPOB with peaceful foundation and the sole aim is to liberate his people from humiliation and bondage. If some oil revenue dependent Northerners wish to misunderstand him and IPOB’s aims and objectives, that is their business.

“Also, we understand that some people console themselves with the constant reference to a war fought over 50 years ago, by saying that those asking for Biafra did not see war. Ignorantly they forget that the generation fighting today to defend Israel were not born when Hitler’s Nazi regime murdered six million Jews during the Second World War. The fact that our fathers were defeated in a war Britain, USSR, Egypt and the Arab world fought against our people during the war of genocide in 1967 and 1970 does not mean we cannot ask for our freedom in this 2017.

“More so, we would like to remind the likes of Tanko Yakassai and co to know that if not the support of British and their allied forces there will be no way Nigeria could have defeated Biafra in a battle field. The gloating over the outcome of the Nigeria/Biafra war is a source of motivation for us contrary to what people may be thinking. We are not asking for war rather what we are requesting for is referendum or plebiscite for Biafrans to decide if they want to remain in Nigeria or not.

“Nevertheless, no politician or elite has ever contributed a dime to IPOB and they will never. We are harder on local politicians than the outsiders and most of IPOB finances come from monthly and voluntary contribution from our members worldwide.

“The laughable notion by Magu the embattled EFCC boss and his cohorts that IPOB is being sponsored by corrupt politicians and looters in Nigeria is the latest joke of the year designed to keep the chattering classes happy. We are IPOB, therefore, self finances is the key within the struggle for Biafra independence.”

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