Awka and Owerri — As the 2023 politicking begins to gather momentum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are partnering to produce the next president of the country.
It could be recalled that IPOB was proscribed in 2017 by the federal government when it declared that the activities of the group constituted an act of terrorism and illegality.
But Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Tuesday stated that it was working alongside IPOB to achieve the collective agenda of the Igbo in Nigeria to produce the next president of the country.
Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Anambra State chapter, Damian Okeke-Okeke, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Awka, the Anambra State capital, said Ohanaeze and IPOB have resolved all differences between them and are presently working as 'father and son' to achieve the collective good of the Igbo.
He said the Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Nnia Nwodo was assiduously working to make sure that the Igbo produced the next president of Nigeria.
He said IPOB was agitating for independence of Biafra because of failure of Nigeria to recognize them, while Ohanaeze was agitating for the president of Nigeria because other tribes in the country had ruled Nigeria apart from the Igbo.
Okeke-Okeke said even when Ohanaeze was asking for presidency of Nigeria, and IPOB was agitating for a sovereign state of Biafra, they were acting for same purpose of fair share for the Igbo in Nigeria.
He also said the leadership of Ohanaeze under Nnia Nwodo was given the mandate to negotiate the Igbo interest and not seek for sovereign state, adding that the youths were asking for sovereign state of Biafra because they think the Nigerian state is not giving them what is due to them.
"If the other tribes will allow the Igbo man to become the president, the agitation will die down. We are asking Nigerians to give us what rightly belong to us, other tribes have led this country and it is only the Igbo tribe that has not been given the opportunity," he said
Meanwhile, an Igbo socio-cultural youth organisation, Igbo Youth Assembly (IYA) Worldwide, has called on the various Igbo groups clamouring for secession from Nigeria to stop their agitation and promote national unity and peace.
President-general of the group, Ifeanyi Nwaudunna and secretary- general, Casmir Irekamba, after their virtual general assembly, in a statement, maintained that "Nigeria as a nation and country is better united and remains as one indivisible entity.
"If divided or disintegrated it will lose its glory of diversity, economic, political-military- numerical-technical power and strength.
"There is no part in Nigeria, no matter how remote that you will not see an Igbo entrepreneur doing well in business with acquired landed property. So, on what basis will any well-meaning Igbo man or woman call for secession and disintegration of Nigeria," they said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Orji Kalu, Chief Whip of the Senate and former governor of Abia said he would continue to preach about the unity of the nation.
Kalu, who said this in an interview in Umuahia on Tuesday, reiterated his resolve to ensure a stronger nation.
"My duty is to continue preaching about the unity of the nation; my duty is to continue pleading with our people about religious tolerance; and to continue preaching that Nigeria should be a strong one," he said.