IPOB agitation right, method wrong ―Ikpeazu

Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

GOVERNOR Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has observed that even though the grievances of members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra are germane, they cannot attempt to box Igbo people into a narrow and separate geographical entity.

Speaking in Abuja to State House correspondents after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday, he said as the most widely traveled Nigerians, leaving Nigeria to form a small country called Biafra is not desirable for south easterners.

He said: “I think there are enough reasons to see that under our circumstance that we may not be Eldorado yet but there are concerted efforts that attempt to make our place a better place.

“I do not see how as an Ibo man boxing myself into a smaller geographic entity will be the recourse of the most widely traveled people in Nigeria.

“There are Igbos in Sambisa. What are you expecting of them if I narrow their geography of coverage?

“But agitation, marginalization, infrastructural deficiencies, these are issues which are germane and they can be discussed, they can be spoken about, they can be addressed.

“But I do not know how in 21st century, how carrying arms in my kitchen will grow the prosperity of my people.”

Okezie who was responding to the assertion that IPOB agitation is the result of leadership failure in the region, added: “Allegations are supposed to be investigated by investigative officers and I’m not trying to investigate such things. So, is just the masses especially the press.

“You know, we are perception builders. We should try to say things that are good about our country not things that are bad.”

He spoke on the recent events in the east which have heightened tension in the area saying that the IPOB agitation necessitated the intervention of the military.

According to him, “As expected, when such things happen, there is an interface between some members of that group and the military, and the theater was Abia State. And some people attempted to hijack that event to conflagrate (sic) our country.

“To the glory of God, the rest is history. We are still working to stabilize the fragile peace in the region.

“I thank God also for the instruments he used to be able to keep our country as one. We are humbled by the privileges.”

On the visit of northern governors to some south east states, Abia  State governor said he has assured them of the safety of lives and property of all those residing in the south east.

He said he intended to stick to the oath he took to protect the people and not allow crisis to develop from his own backyard.

He added: “Well, I assured them of safety of lives and property of everybody that resides in Abia whether you are an Abian or not an Abian.

“I swore with the Bible to protect lives and property and because I take such things seriously, I will continue to protect the lives and property of my brothers and sisters irrespective of where they come from.

“You know that the main stay of our economy in Abia State is trade and commerce and I do not think it will augur well for our economy if we make our kitchen the theater of Biafra.

“A native wisdom in my place says you shouldn’t allow fight to ensue from your mother’s kitchen. It’s my responsibility also to grow prosperity from my state.”

On the call from some quarters for action against the father of Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, the governor maintained that father and son are two different individuals.

His words: “I clearly separate Kanu from his father. The processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws of our land. And traditional rulers who are members of our constituency have leadership.

“They will do the needful at the appropriate time. But for me, I think there is a clear division between Nnamdi Kanu and his father.”

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On the meeting with Osinbajo, he said it was to brief the Vice President on the recent events in the south east.

“Well, naturally I’m heading a subnational government. When this kind of things happen, which would have had dimension of national proportion, it’s right that you will come and brief the C-in-C or his vice and that is exactly what I have come to do.”

Okezie advised Igbos to be confident in Nigeria and be guided by the rule of law.