OKWU Nnabuike, Secretary General of Ohaneze Youth Wing in this interview, wants the Federal Government to consider the release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a matter of urgency. He believes that doing so would give room for dialogue, even as he wants the country restructured in accordance with the recommendations of the Confab.
By Charles Kumolu
As a youth leader of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, what is your impression about the ongoing protests by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB?
Looking at the protests in the context of the position of Ndi Igbo in the polity, you will know that we are marginalised. And it is difficult to beat someone and ask the person not to cry. Anyone, who does not feel comfortable about his plight, is naturally entitled to speak out.
The protests were triggered by Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest. Agitations by ethnic associations are not peculiar to IPOB alone. There are various forms of agitations in Nigeria. We the Ohaneze Youth Wing, wants the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu to pave way for dialogue.
Doing so will give us the opportunity of talking to the leadership of the IPOB. If he is released, there will be room for interface with the group.
The Federal government should listen to pleas by Nigerians to release Kanu. The Inspector General of Police recently pleaded that Ohaneze should plead with the youths to stop the protests. We are also appealing to the Federal Government to address the salient issues regarding the marginalisation of the South East. The restructuring of the country in line with the report of the Confab, would go a long way in assuaging the people.
There is an impression out there that the various leaders of Ndi Igbo, are finding it difficult to speak with one voice on the matter. What is your reaction to that?
That is not true. The Ohaneze Youth Wing is studying the situation. And Ndi Igbo are one of the most united tribes in this country. We are our brother’s keepers and thus take everything affecting the Igbo nation very serious.
Those ascribing such to Ndi Igbo are not being fair, even if there are areas of disagreements, would such be said to be peculiar to Ndi Igbo alone? Does the Yoruba, Hausa’s and other tribes speak with one voice on every issue? During the last general election, some Hausa and Yoruba people endorsed Goodluck Jonathan. Ndi Igbo also did same too, while others did not endorse him. The cry over Igbo marginalisation is real.
The detained leader of the IPOB is being accused for broadcasting hate messages against the state, but some also feel all he did was to bring to the fore, the alleged marginalisation of the South –East geopolitical zone. What is your take on that?
There is freedom of speech in this country and manners of doing so differ. His criticisms were not restricted to the Federal Government. He criticised Ohaneze, the British government and those he chose to lampoon. I have listened to Radio Biafra and heard his criticisms based on his beliefs. I am not a part of IPOB, but I want the federal government to handle the matter in a manner that it would not lead to damaging consequences.