Biafra Is Real, FG Is Getting It All Wrong – Ndukwe Iko

Chief Ndukwe Iko

Chief Ndukwe Iko is a member of House of Representative candidate under the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) for Aro/Ohafia Federal Constituency of Abia State in the last election, he speak on the issue of Biafra agitation of statehood on this interview.

Read excerpt:
What is your take on the current resurgence in Biafra agitation?
Living in denial cannot solve the problem. For a very long time, Nigerian leadership has been living in denial when it comes to Biafra and its agitations, and we cannot pretend not to see the reasons behind the agitation.
If you say people should not agitate, in this case Biafra, then you are a big joker because antecedents in the country obviously prompt such agitations. If you say you will clamp people in jail because of Biafra agitation, then you are a big joker. The earlier government understands that Biafra is real and constitutes a major threat to the nation’s corporate existence, the better. The philosophy behind Biafra is what Nigeria needs to understand fully before you begin to go against the agitators. Federal Government needs to understand the feelings of average Igbo man and the reasons for their actions before you clamp down on their leaders because down the eastern part of the country, Igbo man genuinely identifies himself as a Biafran before being a Nigerian.

Also read: "Give us Biafra or we all die" - Pro-Biafra Protesters tells Federal Govenment

You seem to justify the agitation for a Republic of Biafra?
My speech does not mean justification. I am merely asking the authorities to come to the reality of what brings about the agitation for Biafra. I am in support of Nigeria’s corporate unity, but you should remember that there is no way you can force unity on the people. You can only negotiate unity, what I am saying is that the Federal Government should look at the core reasons for this agitation and address it. Remember this agitation has been long even before the emergence of the present republic.

What do you think is the main reason why Igbos are agitating for separate statehood?

Nigeria as a nation needs serious diagnosis to unearth various anomalies bedeviling it. We should ask ourselves what led us to where we are today; what caused the civil war and ask whether Igboman was agitating for separate statehood before the war. The answer is obviously no. Before then, the only thing we heard of Biafra was ‘Bite of Biafra’, a coast off the Atlantic Ocean.

From 1967, when the event that led to the agitation of Biafra started, we should look back and see what has gone wrong. Is it marginalization that could have led to the agitation? Is it xenophobic incidences or whatever that could have caused the agitation? Have all of them been addressed? If all these things are not fixed, the wound of the 1966 to 1970 war will continue to re-echo in the minds of average Igbo man.

Do you agree with former Kano State governor, Abubakar Rimi, that all political parties should zone their 2019 presidency to Igbo to assuage them and stop the agitation?
What you are saying is like giving the Niger Deltans the presidency and expects them to stop the agitation for resource control. Did they stop? No. The struggle for a Republic of Biafra goes beyond an Igbo man being the president of Nigeria. Such cannot heal the wound. Remember this is one agitation that caused the Igbos almost three million lives. Children were orphaned; women, men were killed in their numbers and children were not spared. Igbos lost more than 15% of their own during the war. That is why I was not comfortable with President Mohammadu Buhari, when he said, in far away India, that he would fight corruption with the same ferocity he deployed to cage Biafran during the civil war. I think that was a callous statement from the president only meant to open up the wounds of the war to the Igbos. The only remedy to the agitation will be the emergence of both economic and social justice to all Nigerians, especially the Igbos, who are still being subjected to maginalisation in Nigeria.

Do you think it was right for the SSS to detain Biafra Radio Director, Nnamdi Kanu?

If you try a solution to a problem once and it didn’t work and you come back to that solution again, that is foolishness. Sometimes ago, Uwazuruike, MASSOB founder, was arrested and detained for about three years. After his release, he was made a cult hero and he made his money and became so popular. Now Nnamdi Kanu has been arrested. Soon he will be released and made a cult hero. I think the Federal Government is getting it wrong. As I said earlier, the solution lies in justice and equity for all. That is the situation that can stop Kanu. Even if he is killed, tomorrow, another Nnamdi Kanu will emerge, so detention is not the solution to the Biafra agitation. Biafra is in the consciousness of average Igbo man.

Also read: Biafra: Photos of the peaceful protest in Aba yesterday

What then do you think the FG needs to do to ensure these agitators do not disrupt or distract the present administration?

First, the Federal Government must ensure that Igbo man is respected and recognized as a Nigerian with full rights and privileges. The government should not pretend that it has defeated Biafra course. You do not defeat an agitation which is rooted deep down into people’s consciousness. As we speak, the arrest of Kanu has attracted global attention to the agitation and the government should watch it very well. The FG needs to look at the core reasons why these agitations started in the first place. There are so many things that happen in the South East that are not reported, but anything in the North or other parts of the South is reported. That will show you that, that part of the country is not covered. The FG must ensure that Igbos are integrated into Nigeria.

Away from Biafra, the PDP is crying wolf over the annulment of the governorship election in Rivers State, saying the same reason for the annulment played out in Lagos, but the election of Ambode was upheld. Do you think the FG is making efforts to take Rivers away from the PDP?
The events of Rivers and Lagos are not the same. Everybody knows what happened in Rivers before and during the governorship election, where so many people lost their lives. I sincerely believe that the tribunal might have done holistic job to come out with the judgement.

Source: Aba City Blog