By Lawrence Olaoye
Abia state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has warned that carrying arms against the country would not grow the prosperity of the Igbos who are clamouring for secession.
The governor who met with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday also said he would not grant the petition of those requesting that the father of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, who is also the paramount ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia, Isreal Okwu Kanu, be dethroned.
On what actually went wrong in the handling of the IPOB crisis, Ikpeazu said “It depends from what point to what point. But if you are referring to what happened in the past one week, Nigerians know that for some time now that this group called IPOB were agitating for a separate nation called Biafra and that the home state of the leader of that group happens to be Abia State.
As expected, when such things happen there is an interface between some members of that group and the military, and the theater was Abia state. And some people attempted to hijack that event to conflagrate our country. To the glory of God the rest is history, we are still working to stabilize the fragile peace in the region. I thank God also for the instruments he used to be able to keep our country as one. We are humbled by the privileges.”
On call for Kanu’s father’s dethronement, the governor said “I clearly separate Kanu from his father. The processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws of our land. And traditional rulers who are members of our constituency have leadership. They will do the needful at the appropriate time. But for me, I think there is a clear division between Nnamdi Kanu and his father.”
Asked for comments on the meeting he held with five northern governors, led by the Sokoto state governor, Waziri Tambuwal, who visited him on Monday, Ikpeazu said “Well, I assured them of safety of lives and property of everybody that resides in Abia whether you are an Abian or not an Abian. I swore with the Bible to protect lives and property and because I take such things seriously, I will continue to protect the lives and property of my brothers and sisters irrespective of where they come from. You know that the main stay of our economy in Abia State is trade and commerce and I do not think it will augur well for our economy if we make our kitchen the theater of Biafra.
A native wisdom in my place says you shouldn’t allow fight to ensue from your mother’s kitchen. It’s my responsibility also to grow prosperity from my state.”
On his message to the Igbos across the world, Ikpeazu said “First and foremost I think our relationship with our brothers from northern Nigeria the governors, they have assured that every part of Nigeria is safe for every Nigerian including Igbos to continue in their business and enterprise. I want to announce that the population of Igbos outside Ibo enclave is about 11.6 million, you don’t play with the lives of 11.6 million. So we all have to be careful, the press, the leadership at the state level, the leadership at the federal government level, everybody. I think we should be guarded by the rule of law and grow confidence in the Nigerian citizens that under our laws that he is protected.”