Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has joined the league of other prominent Igbo leaders to douse the tension of agitation for Biafra in South-East.
Chief Ekweremadu bared his mind in a keynote he delivered over the weekend at a stakeholders meeting comprising the five South-East governors, members of the National Assembly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, religious leaders and other selected Igbo leaders of thought held at Nike Lake Resort, Enugu, on Saturday, 1st July 2017.
The lawmaker whose presentation, titled: “Biafra: The legal, political, economic and social questions,” reportedly set the tone for discussion at the meeting, said the renewed agitation for Biafra began shortly after the 2015 elections, following the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s policy of 97 and five percent.
According to him; “While the Igbo have every reason to be aggrieved and the right to ventilate their grievances, with a view to seeking equity and justice, through “democratic and non-violent means, we should also not allow our emotions to rule over our reasoning.
“As our people say, it will not be good to hear that the she-goat delivered in tether when elders are at home. Questions would eventually be asked. History would inquire if no elder was at home when the toad put to bed and the baby toad grew up a puffed creature because no one cared to stretch it’s hands or legs.
“There are two major opinions as to the way forward for Ndigbo at a trying time like this. We have mostly the younger generation, who believe they have had enough of the Nigerian union, which they have described in unprintable terms. The other is restructuring, which seems to appeal more to the older generation.
“Ndigbo also need to understand both the local and international political tides and sentiments to be able to make the right choices because the considerations for self-determination go beyond just the South-East.
“Already, extreme utterances and actions by some key elements in the agitation for Biafra are taking tolls on our goodwill, friendship, and the sympathy we enjoy. Insults hurled at religious and political leaders of other regions are not helping us, politically.
“South-East’s political future should therefore be put in context of its economic interest and survival. The Igbo have larger chunk of their investments outside the South East. Our people have invested heavily in every nook and cranny of Nigeria. They are into trading. Imagine a situation where a Republic of Biafra would have to depend on Nigerian passports to travel out.
“Importantly, as I mentioned earlier, we are not certain that the South-South will go with the Biafra idea. And in the event that they do not, what are our options for economic survival? Flowing from this, what guarantee do we have for international support if the main oil bearing region pulls out, knowing that no nation is a Santa Claus?
“Realistically speaking, is it possible that all Ndigbo living in the other parts of Nigeria, many of whom were born and bred outside Igbo land, and have been well assimilated by their host communities will return home? Many have never visited home and do not even speak Igbo language. Can we realistically expect those who have their investments in other parts of Nigeria to willingly abandon them and head home?
“Although international systems seek to guarantee the security of lives of peoples and their properties on either side of the divides, should there be a self-determination process that leads to the emergence of a new nation, such guarantees are not absolute and difficult to enforce, especially in a society such as ours.
“The quit notice and hate spewed by the Arewa youths to Ndigbo point to the fact that all is not well. And it calls for caution because the mother hen does not run without looking back to know the fate of her chicks,” Ekweremadu, added.
He stressed the need to set up a committee for a continuous engagement and moderation of IPOB, other pro-Biafra organisations and their leaders to avoid hate speeches and reckless statements that will make us lose our friends and sympathisers.
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