Enugu and Kaduna — The president-general of the apex socio-cultural Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor, said yesterday that nothing can separate the Igbo nation from Nigeria.
He stated that there is nothing in demand that will separate the existence of the Igbo nation from the rest of Nigeria.
Obiozor who disclosed this in Enugu during his inaugural press conference as the president general of the apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, reiterated the belief of the Igbo nation in a united, prosperous and progressive Nigeria.
The president-general however, said that the Igbo nation was still in search of a nation where justice and fairness would prevail.
He said that though the search for equity and fairness by the Igbo man had been torturous and agonising, "all actions and utterances that putus in harm way must be avoided."
He added, "The Igbo nation is not at war with the rest of the country and there is nothing that demands our separate existence from Nigeria."
Obiozor advised all separatist groups, especially the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, not to go beyond his bounds.
"Kanu is one of us and must listen to us. The issue of Biafra is beyond his capacity to decide and like him, we are all in this Biafra dilemma together.
"We have mutual responsibility in this matter and it is sacred in our hearts. All actions or utterances that put us in imminent or present danger must be avoided.
"Kanu should act and play his part well. There lies his honour," he said.
He said that the Igbo nation in its search for fairness and equity in the country, must tread carefully in order not to make enemies or be misunderstood.
According to Obiozor, after 40 years of involvement in Nigerian politics, the greatest priority of the Igbo nation is security.
"How we are perceived as a people is borne out of our feeling of insecurity in the country. Our leadership will find out how to reduce this vulnerability of our people.
"I am ready to provide leadership and we shall not disappoint,"he said.
Obiozor commended President Muhammadu Buhari, governors, ministers and National Assembly members from the region, sociocultural organisations and others who congratulated him after his emergence to lead Ohaneze Ndigbo.
"We must invent a well-defined common course for our people. We must unite our people. We need leadership that will be progressive.
"I, therefore, call on our people to join hands with us to bring accelerated development to our place,"Obiozor said.
However, the apex northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has described Ohanaeze's declaration on Nigeria as patriotic.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP yesterday, the national publicity secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, said Nigeria has become integrated after the civil war which ended 51 years ago.
"We have always stood for the unity of Nigeria because we believe in peace. Nigeria has integrated so much that it cannot break up without war.
"Anybody advocating for a break up is calling for war. We have experienced a bitter civil war in which over one million people perished and property destroyed beyond measure.
"Nobody who experienced the horrors of the civil war that came to an end 51 years ago will want a repeat action. We support Ohaneze on this patriotic stand," he said.