The South East Governors Forum, SEGF, summoned an emergency meeting of Igbo leaders to discuss the persisting protests by members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which have paralysed economic activities in the old Eastern region.
The South East Governors’ position was contained in a communique issued after a meeting of the governors in Enugu yesterday. The communique read by the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha after the meeting at the Government House Enugu in the evening said.
“The South East Governors met today (yesterday) November 17, 2015, and deliberated on a number of issues and resolved as follows:
“To appoint a high level Economic Advisory Committee to harness the economic potentials of the people of the South East working together.
“The governors are concerned about the poor state of the Federal Government roads in the zone namely the Enugu – Onitsha, Aba- Ikot Ekpene , Owerri – Port Harcourt, Enugu – Port Harcourt, among others which need urgent intervention by the Federal Government.
“On security, the issue of MASSOB/ IPOB, was discussed and they resolved to consult widely with Ohanaeze (Ndigbo), traditional rulers, development unions, clergy, and other stakeholders on how to ensure lasting peace in the zone. In furtherance to this, the South East Governors scheduled an emergency meeting of stakeholders on Sunday, November 22, 2015, at Enugu. “Expected to attend the emergency meeting include all National Assembly members, all ministers and other invited stakeholders from the zone.
“They meanwhile, advised MASSOB/IPOB to continue to toe the line of peace as this is the only way to ensure economic development of the zone.”
Those who signed the communique included Governors Okorocha, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, who stood in for Governor Willie Obiano. The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi who lost his mother recently was absent at the meeting and no reasons were given for his absence.
Answering reporters’ questions on which faction of Ohanaeze the governors wished to work with, in view of the disunity within the group, Okorocha said that “whatever is available as Ohanaeze, we will see to it” that they participate.
He said also, said that there was no vacuum in the leadership of the governors’ forum as any of them could be chairman. The forum has not had a substantive chairman since the exit of the former Governor of Abia State, Ochendo Theodore Oji, who is now in the senate.
HOWEVER, a faction of MASSOB,yesterday, asserted that the people of Eastern Nigeria are bent on secession.
MASSOB frowned at the skewed structural existence of Nigeria insisting that it favoured no ethnic group rather the ‘cabals’.
Factional Director of Information,MASSOB,Mr. Uchenna Madu disclosed this in a statement to newsmen noting that,”Nigeria in the real existence favours no ethnic group but only the cabals,politicians,high profile personalities. Biafranism is deeply rooted in consciousness of every Igboman and major ethnic groups in the South-South geopolitical zone.
“The Biafran referendum that will be conducted by the United Nations,UN,will testify to our popularity and acceptance by Biafrans. We view the Nigerian Army’s decision to hit Biafran protesters as a rancour of jittery and dislocated institution. “Non-violent Biafra agitators are very much disappointed and amazed that the Nigerian military will descend so low in threatening the non violent Biafra agitators. The military should not heat up the polity. The threat from the Army is a wrong signal to Nigeria because the current Biafra is heavily rooted outside Nigeria. We shall remain non-violent in our pursuit for Biafra.”
MASSOB went further to describe Buhari’s second coming as a vendetta mission, and he has not hidden it from the way he is marginalizing the South East .
“As the President of Nigeria, he can never openly agree that there is something wrong with the unity of Nigeria, but in his mind and in the mind of his people, oneness of Nigeria is now a thing of the past and President Buhari himself is promoting division with his recent appointments and the ones he did some months ago.
“In the last six months of President Buhari’s administration, he has not hidden his hatred for the South East. Even his northern brothers are supporting him and have refused to call him to order over, the type of marginalization the South East has been witnessing in the past six months of his administration or thereabouts.
“President Buhari is not pretending about it, and his Northern brothers are equally not pretending, if they have a way of exterminating or wiping the South East out of Nigeria, they will do that, but it is not going to be easy for them, and so they should stop deceiving Nigerians that they stand for oneness of Nigeria, they are not at all interested in one Nigeria” he said.
A statement issued by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s spokesman, Godwin Adindu said that “Government observed that though the protest [on Monday] has been largely peaceful in Abia State without any incident of violence, it actually disturbed the socio-economic life of the state, hence the need for the pro-Biafra groups to change strategy from street marches to peaceful negotiation with the Federal Government.
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