Communique of the Igbo retreat on the Biafran question held at the Igbo Think Thank Centre, Emene in Enugu State on Tuesday, 14th June, 2016.
Several Igbo groups, organisations and individuals met at the Igbo Think Thank centre(Igbo Resource Centre) Emene in Enugu state on Tuesday, 14th June , 2016 in a gathering tagged IGBO RETREAT ON THE BIAFRAN QUESTION with the THEME ‘ NDIDGBO: BIAFRA, CONFEDERATION OR NIGERIAN PRESIDENCY OF IGBO EXTRACTION.
After critical input , discussions and x-ray of the ongoing agitations for a neo Biafran state , coupled with the bloody clampdown on the agitators by the Nigerian Army and security agents resolved as follows:
You cannot beat a child and still do not expect him
to cry or react. Killing pro -Biafran activists is
not the best approach and may attract
international sanctions to Nigeria.
1. The Biafran war ended on January, 12 , 1970 on a note of ‘NO VICTOR AND NO VANQUISH’
2 Certain thorny issues led to the war then. Ndigbo and the Old Eastern region were threatened with annihilation then and they had to defend themselves.
3 Though the issues that led to that war and secession bid still feature to some extent in Nigeria today, we believe that should not lead to the disintegration of Nigeria today.
We are aware of the structural imbalance in the country, the insecurity of lives and properties, the sufferings in the land caused by the ineptitude of successive governments in Nigeria, the spate of extra-judicial killings in the country, the naked impunity and injustice everywhere, yet we believe these issues can be addressed within One Nigeria.
4. What we need in Nigeria is empathic, humane, just and fair leadership that will give all Nigerians a sense of belonging.
5. Our Unity in diversity should be a source of strength and progress and not a source of disharmony and frustration.
6. The issues the pro-Biafran agitators are raising are very germane. Most Nigerians are not happy with the way the country is being run.
The lootings, sufferings in the midst of plenty, and insensitive leadership at all levels. It’s not even only a Nigerian problem. It’s also an Igbo Problem.
What have our Governors and political office holders in Igbo land been doing even with the little resources that have been accruing to Igboland since 1999?
We need to ask ourselves these questions. If we are complaining about the iniquity of the Nigerian state, what of the iniquity of our own political leaders.
7. We must not lose sight of the fact that Igbos have occupied all known political positions in Nigeria, except the Executive Presidency.
How did the occupiers of these positions better the lot of Ndigbo .
We believe the issues IPOB/MASSOB are adumbrating are also caused by some so-called Igbo political actors and not Nigeria alone.
8 So while the IPOB/MASSOB members slam the successive federal government for marginalising the area , they should also query past and present Igbo political actors for failing Ndigbo.
9 Yes, the right to self-determination is inalienable and enshrined in ECOWAS, AU AND UNO Charters.
Nobody should legally and morally dispute the right of people who feel alienated from agitating for self-determination.
The issue of secession and attempted secession has been on in Nigeria over the years.
In 1950 at the Ibadan Conference, the North threatened to secede if it was not allotted half of the seats in the Nigerian Parliament then.
Prior to independence, the West clamoured for secession if Lagos was not made part of the West.
In early 1966 Adaka Boro fought a twelve days war to excise the Niger Delta from Nigeria.
After the July, 29th , 1966 coup, the North threatened to secede from Nigeria( the Araba Protests) until they were advised against that by Britain and other interests then.
After June 12, 1993 saga, the Yorubas threatened to leave Nigeria.
Even recently when Chief Olu Falae was abducted by suspected Fulani herdsmen, the Yorubas threatened to secede from Nigeria.
The difference between those secession threats and bid and Biafra was only the scale and the ferocity of the war that later followed.
It’s not a new thing in Nigeria and should not be seen as an anathema. How it is handled is what matters.
It’s is not by killing unarmed protesters that the matter will be handled .
10. Our thinking is that despite the shortcomings in Nigeria, it still holds out as the last hope of the black race.
It’s Unity, peace and progress will augur well for blacks all over the world.
What we rather feel is that there should be a workable constitutional and structural balancing and arrangements for justice and equity to prevail in Nigeria.
Those who feel Nigeria belongs to them or the status quo should remain and things flow in their own terms must change this mentality.
You cannot expect this mentality to continue and people will not agitate for secession .
You cannot beat a child and still do not expect him to cry or react. We think these are the issues involved.
Killing pro -Biafran activists is not the best approach and may attract international sanctions to Nigeria.
11. The meeting called for religious tolerance in the county and wondered why at this century , fundamentalists still fight for their own god by killing innocent people as it happened in Kano recently where a senior citizen was killed by religious extremists.
The meeting called on the Kano state government and federal government to get to the root of the matter as such kind of impunity also exacerbate the clamour for secession.
12. The meeting then considered the question of CONFEDERATION AND NIGERIAN PRESIDENCY OF IGBO EXTRACTION.
It agreed that power is concentrated so much at the centre and that is why there is stiff struggle to occupy the centre at all cost.
It therefore agreed that the six geo-political zones or as agreed should transform to regions with regional governments. The centre should not be as all-encompassing as it is now.
The meeting agreed that there is an urgent need for all institutional and distortions that have made it impossible for an Igbo to be Executive President of Nigeria to be eliminated so that they will have a sense of belonging.
13 The group believes that since the federal government is disposed to discuss and dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers and even the BOKO HARAM, it should do so with IPOB/MASSOB with a view to rechanneling their energy and demands to a superior stand.
In summary the meeting agreed that what Ndigbo need now is not physical Biafra but Biafra of the mind.
Ndigbo are nation builders and largely fought for the independence of Nigeria.
They are landlord in Nigeria and a Landlord cannot leave his house for tenants no matter how the tenant provokes him.
We however appeal to President Mohammadu Buhari to address the Nnamdi Kanu issue politically and not legally .
He should approach key Igbo leaders and in concert with them find a lasting solution to the matter.
There is nothing that cannot be solved at a round table for the interest of the nation. Hard stand or threats do not solve such issues.
Killing and shooting IPOB/MASSOB members will not solve the issue. It will rather harden positions. No party will have ultimate peace.
If President Buhari does not listen to some extremists and bad advisers and apply a fatherly and deft approach to this issue, even the IPOB/MASSOB leaders and members will come to see him as a man of peace and father of the nation.
He should try this strategy.
1. NDIGBO IN THE DIASPORA
2. WORLD IGBO LEADERSHIP, EDUCATION
3. AND CULTURAL COUNCIL
4. IGBO BU IGBO FOUNDATION
5. IGBO MEDIA NETWORK
6. MOVEMENT FOR EQUITY AND JUSTICE IN NIGERIA
7. IGBO ABORIGINES
8. IGBO UNITED CONGRESS
9. IGBO RENNAISANCE MOVEMENT
I. HON CHUKS IBEGBU
II. DR ANDY OKEREKE
III. PROF PETER KALUNTA
IV. CHIEF DAVID IDOKO
V. OGBUEFI ANOWAI EMMANUEL
VI. CHIEF MRS ADA MMEREOLE
VII. REV DOMINIC CHUKWU
VIII. COMRADE AKACHUKWU ELVIS
IX. OBIDIAH NWAKAMMA
REP OF IGBOS IN EUROPE –
a) REP OF IGBOS IN S/AFRICA
b) REP OF IGBOS IN WEST COAST OF AFRICA
c) REP OF IGBOS IN AMERICAS
d) REP OF IGBOS IN ASIA
e) REP OF IGBOS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
f) REP OF NDICHIE NDIGBO
g) REP OF IGBO YOUTHS
h) REP OF IGBO WOMEN