The highest socio-cultural body of the Igbo tribe, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Yesterday Thursday, October 22, denounced the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, saying that his recent frenzy was merely targeted at exacerbating discord in the nation and also to soil the age-long cordial relationship that has been existing between the Igbo and the Yoruba. Kanu had on Tuesday called on his supporters who are at the moment disguising as #EndSARS protesters to among other things ambush and kill any policemen, soldiers, governors, their children and destroy properties of the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, as well as government infrastructures. The acclaimed IPOB leader claimed responsibility for burning down Oriental Hotel in Lagos and other government infrastructure in the state, even as he suggested that the ongoing crisis in Lagos which has consumed properties worth billions of Naira was because of the state governor’s decision to impose a 24-hour curfew.
However, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in a statement titled #EndSARS: "Alleged destruction of Yoruba economic assets, the Ohanaeze position," issued by the President-General chief Nnia Nwodo, said it was infuriated by the scathing and savagely inciting outburst by Kanu with regard to the #EndSARS activities in Lagos and it hereby completely disassociated itself from it.
Ohanaeze said it is shocked by a press statement issued by a Pan Yoruba Group, the Apapo O'Odua Koya (AOKOYA) on the on-going youth uprising in Nigeria particularly in Lagos as it relates to Ndigbo youths.
The group said it finds the statement disheartening not necessarily because of the untruth in its sentiment but that it's obviously being engineered and targeted at the age-long relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba, they decried.
The statement partly reads:
"The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural and Political body of Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a press statement issued by a Pan Yoruba Group, the Apapo O'Odua Koya (AOKOYA) on the on-going youth uprising in Nigeria particularly in Lagos as it relates to Ndigbo youths.
"Ohanaeze strongly believes that the press statement is craftily, drafted showing a skillful use of underhand tactics to achieve a set goal which in this case set to pitch Yoruba against Ndigbo.
"We are ready to vehemently resist this in our time knowing the historical affinity of these two great ethnic groups dating back to the days of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe through to the famous handshake across the Niger propagated by our iconic leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu.
“This spontaneous relationship built by our forefathers over the years has been strengthened in the last three years by the political emancipation movement, being propelled by the Southern And Middle Belt leadership Forum (SMBLF) made up of four ethnopolitical bodies of Ndigbo, in the South East, Afenifere in the South West, PANDEF in the South-South and the Middle Belt Forum in North Central Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze feels based on the intelligence available to it that the motive of this disturbing statement is not only to overtake the mileage covered by this group in setting their people free from the hegemonic bondage but to also ensure its destruction,”.
Nwodo added, “We wish to state that Ohanaeze is also outraged by the vituperative and inciting outrage of the leader of IPOB on the #ENDSARS activities in Lagos and disassociate the body completely from them”.
He also said that the Igbo organization was focused on what the Igbo want in a contemporary Nigeria as already which is to restructure the country to reflect true federalism where Justice and equity will reign.
The President-General continued “We, therefore, wish to refute any position being ascribed to Ndigbo even if such a position is being adduced by an Igbo that is not within the realm of the struggle to free Nigeria as encapsulated in the terms of agreement of this ethnic nationalities.
“Ohanaeze will therefore wish to urge the Yoruba group and indeed the rest of Nigeria to disregard any outburst from anybody in the name of Ndigbo that is not as succinctly captured in the terms of agreement of the ethnic nationalities.
“It’s therefore against this backdrop that Ohanaeze Ndigbo wishes to vehemently deny the allegation of Igbo youth involvement in Lagos #Endsars protest as part of a grand design to destroy the Yoruba economy.
“For the obvious reason of having most of their businesses scattered all over the country particularly in Lagos, knocks out the thinking of an Igbo setting out to destroy another person’s economy. Only a fool living in a glass house uses stone to settle scores.
“Already, as it had always been during every crisis in Nigeria, Igbo businesses are mostly the target as it happened last Tuesday in Abuja when car depots, belonging to Igbos were set ablaze by hoodlums.
“Ohanaeze believes and empirically too that Ndigbo youths underlying reasons for getting involved in the on-going #Endsars protests is not anything different from the reasons of other youths in Nigeria which borders on aggravated neglect of Nigeria youths due to poor governance rooted in the dubious political structure.
“We, therefore, wish to urge the Yoruba ethnic group to disregard the position being pushed by the AOKOYA because it’s not based on facts and reality on ground.”