John Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and former Minister for Information, has said that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, is misguided.
Nwodo stated this in an interview with journalists.
The former Minister said the pro-Biafra group look for cheap publicity to create the impression that there is disunity in Igboland, usually when their revenue is low.
Asked at what point he disagree with IPOB given that he is one of the Igbo leaders marked for attack by the group irrespective of the fact that he has supported the group for sometime.
“I think IPOB is misguided and what I feel is that sometimes when their revenue is low, they look for cheap publicity just to create the impression that there is disunity in Igboland. Nobody has defended IPOB in Igboland more than I have done and I am wondering whether some us deserve what we are getting from them.
“Only a few days ago, an ambassador sent me a film of the invasion of the Nigerian Embassy in Conakry and I am yet to understand why it was invaded. The people who invaded them are clearly Igbos and some of them, with Biafran flags and they were chanting in Igbo “Iwe n’ewe anyi” meaning we are angry. They didn’t even disguise the fact that these are Nigerians. They made it obvious that we are Igbos. Where is the Ambassador (ebea ka ono)? They torn the Nigerian flags; they went with Biafra flags, they broke air conditioners, they broke windows. For crying out loud, why would you fall into the Nigerians trap of saying you are a terrorist? People who do lawful demonstration, is that how they do it? I found it funny.
“These people who are doing these things if there is war today, will they be able to fight? I was a Biafran soldier at an impressionable age of 17. These boys cannot be more Biafran than I am. I worked under Col Onwuatuegwu of blessed memory. Who did they work under? I carried rifle to the battle front notwithstanding the privileged position of my father as a Minister.
“Those who live in privileged homes abroad and who are not facing the things we are facing here, it is possible to sit at arms chair in their comfort zone and with funds that were donated to them by Nigerians all over the places and make pontifical pronouncements. It is rather unfortunate. I am a two-time minister but still living in my father’s house. I have a bungalow in the village. So the same kind of people have masterminded all kinds of things. My house in the village was burnt. I get telephone threats everyday and I have absolved them in the past. But now, I am going to prosecute all those who are fingered in some of these things because this is not in our character.
“Tell me why Ekweremadu, in whose home the strategy for Nnamdi Kanu’s release was conceived, should be dealt with the way they did? The former governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, was the one it fell on to take Nnamdi [Kanu] on bail but he was also on bail from a trumped-up charge by EFCC against him and you cannot take somebody on bail when you are on bail. Because of that, Ekweremadu suggested to Abaribe to take him on bail and Abaribe agreed and all of them supported Abaribe.
“The former Minister of Aviation, Chidoka, volunteered his land as part of the surety. Neither Abaribe nor himself nor any of those who ensured Kanu’s release had been contacted by IPOB since their leader jumped bail and we here have been pleading with the federal government to forgo the charge. But what do we get in return? There is no Igbo man who has attacked the Buhari government more than I have. I am not trained to be insolent.
“In attacking Buhari’s government, I attack his policies and not his person. If he started having children early, he would have probably had a child my age because he is about 18 years older than I am. So why should I insult somebody who is as older as my father despite the fact that I don’t like his policies? They call Nigeria a zoo; they call people all kinds of name. That is not our point.
“Our point is that we are being marginalised in our country. We are being treated like a second-class citizen; the system we are operating on is repressive and it looks like there is a preconceived arrangement to hold the Igbo down after the civil war, because all our savings were turned to 20 pounds. We were given only five states while others have a minimum of six. We were given 95 local governments while others have over 100. Our demographic character has not been reflected because the census board does not say your ethnic group.
“When we were given quit notice in Northern Nigeria, and I took a census, I found out that there were over 11.6 million Igbos in the northern Nigeria. In the last election, there were over 3.6 million registered voters in Lagos State alone. My executive sent people to Ghana and we found out that there were one million Igbos living in Ghana.
“There are more Igbos living outside Igboland and clearly our population is sizeable. Now Fulanis are invading Nigeria, crossing our borders, registering as Nigerians in our national identity card scheme, overthrowing our immigration and international laws. This is bunkum and I say it every day. What do they want me to do? Take up arms and fight the federal government. No generation survives a war twice.”