By Chioma Gabriel, Anayo Okoli, Ugochukwu Alaribe & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
UMUAHIA—THE leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, disclosed that the Federal Government offered him Biafra Republic while in Prison with only the five South East States as the component parts but he rejected it. According to him, he rejected it because that did not constitute the complete Biafra, saying that he told them that he wanted a Biafra with Rivers and Benue States inclusive.
The IPOB leader also claimed that he was offered an oil block and mansion in Dubai aimed at making him to abandon the cause but that he rejected them and insisted on the actualization of Biafra.
Kanu said those things were Greek gifts to buy him over and maintained that he has no price other than to actualize the restoration of Biafra Republic and liberate the Igbo.
“They gave me Biafra in prison with only the five Igbo states; I said no, I want Benue and Rivers”, Kanu said, pointing out that “Biafra is coming, there is nothing to stop it”.
Also yesterday, Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano rubbished the statement of IPOB that the November 18 gubernatorial election in the state would not hold. Speaking at the erosion site in Odume Obosi Layout in Idemili North Local Government , Obiano said IPOB does not have the interest of the people they claim to be fighting for at heart.
This is even as some former state governors raised concerns over agitations by separatist movements in the country.
Knocks Igbo leaders
Kanu, who spoke when leaders of Igbo Civil Society Coalition led by Prof. Obasi Igwe paid him a solidarity visit at his Umuahia home, also gave knocks to Igbo elites for their anti-Biafra activities, saying that they have no interest in the Igbo masses.
He lambasted Igbo elites who he said are bent on scuttling the Biafran agitation, saying they were doing so for their selfish interest and challenged them to show the Igbo masses what they have been able to do for them since their romance with Nigerian Government. He said they would not succeed.
Kanu lamented the deplorable condition of roads in Igbo land and general lack of social amenities and wondered what the elites have been doing in Abuja other to fight for their self interests.
He further dismissed Igbo elites whom he said had thought he could be bought over, saying he has no price tag.
“They can’t buy us with money. If I can turn down oil block, turn down mansions in Dubai, what can they offer us? All the roads in Biafra land are in deplorable condition, yet we have elites who are just interested in their pockets.
“All the roads in Biafra are bad. Apart from Okpara (late Michael Okpara), Mbonu Ojike and Sam Mbakwe, I have not seen any elite in Igbo land. Let them show us what they have done, no roads, no water, nothing. Because they are in Abuja, they are now elites, let them show us what they have done for the people as elites.
“They said everything has price, I told them that Nnamdi Kanu has no price. All of you here know my wife, I sacrificed her for two years; so what can they offer me.
“Self actualization is not war. We are not for war. We are not talking of war but self actualization. Self determination is not war. Any elite that interprets self determination to be war does not understand English.
“Biafra is coming; there is nothing that can stop it, no matter the level of intimidation and blackmail. Some people are running around, saying why must it be Nnamdi Kanu, why not me. I am not an elite, I was born to restore Biafra. We are not interested in any violence, self actualization is not violence”, Kanu said.
Adding to the IPOB leader’s statement, Media and Publicity Secretary for IPOB, Emma Powerful said Kanu’s position has always been clear.
“Our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had discussion with government in prison and he rejected every offer and demanded a referendum in all the states in South East and South South, including those of our brothers and sisters living in some parts of Benue, Edo and Kogi States. Federal Government should fix a particular date for the people to decide where they want to be. We cannot afford to abandon those in Igbanke, Igala, Idoma and Igede because they are Biafrans unless they decide otherwise.
“To join or be part of Biafra is not by force but through referendum, we ascertain who wants to be part of Biafra or not.”
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Prof. Obasi Igwe commended Kanu and IPOB for their non-violence approach to the agitation and urged him to maintain that approach.
He said their aim of visiting him was to encourage him and urge him to ensure that the Igbos have one voice for peace and prosperity of Igbo nation, the entire Eastern region, southern region as well as the middle belt.
In an interview, Prof. Igwe insisted on non-violence approach to the issue, and called for appropriate sanctions for the Arewa youths who gave the Igbo quit notice.
Obiano replies IPOB
In his reaction to IPOB’s statement on Anambra election, the visibly angry Governor Obiano said that “whoever that says there will be no election in the state and the South East in general is not carrying the interest of the people at heart and wants the thing that happened during the last census in which our people were not counted to happen again.
“We will not allow what happen during the last census where our people were not counted to repeat itself. Due to MASSOB activities, our people were not counted and it affected the entire South east adversely. It will not happen again.We are still suffering it today because we were counted less than what we are.
“People are free to vote the candidates of their choice. You can see that in Anambra state today, people now sleep with their two eyes closed”. He urged the people to vote for him come Nov 18th for continuity.
“We are not against our brothers in IPOB and MASSOB who are agitating for Biafra restoration, but they must apply caution and ensure that whatever they are doing are within the law. Election must hold in Anambra State and South East at the appointed time, nobody can stop elections in any part of South East.”
Ex-govs call for calm over separatist agitations
Members of the Forum of Former Governors, FFG, class of 1999, said they were particularly worried by the call of the coalition of Northern Youths for Igbos to vacate the north within three months.
The Forum also called on governors of the south-east region to engage the agitators and diffuse the threats by the Indigenous People of Nigeria, IPOB in the region.
In a statement signed by Lucky Igbinedion and Niyi Adebayo, the forum’s chairman and secretary respectively, the forum called for calm.
“No sacrifice is too much to avert chaos, prevent any further incidence of criminality, protect human lives and spare the lives of the country,” the forum noted.
They also urged Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to convene a joint meeting of the various patrons of the contending groups in which assurances could be given.
“The elders and leaders of thought from both the South East and the North should jointly meet to state a common position; we further recommend that traditional rulers from the two areas should do same,” the ex-governors said.
The meeting of the past governors was attended by Obong Victor Attah, James Ibori and Isa Yuguda, among others.
If restructuring fails, we’ go for referendum— Ohanaeze
But reacting through its National Deputy Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said its position on restructuring Nigeria is clear.
“We don’t are not talking about IPOB. Our position has been clear all these while. Nigeria needs restructuring now. But if restructuring fails, then we will talk about referendum. We have realised that many people have been saying many things and some are claiming to be Ohanaeze. But our position is very clear. Restructure Nigeria now or deal with referendum.”
Presidency sources however would not react to Nnamdi Kanu’s claims when Vanguard contacted them yesterday , saying they don’t want to dignify the IPOB leader with a reaction over his claims.