The Founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, has bares his mind on burning issues in Igbo land, warned of turning the region into a theater of war.
In a statement by Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, early this morning as Facebook splashed pictorial memories of past posts, several efforts made by him to stop current agitation for Biafra going into arm struggle.
He also disclosed how Ekwueme, led peace process before he passed on, however, call on the Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Archbishop Anikwenwa, Archbishop Obinna and other respected elders to kindly take up the peace process from where Dr Alex Ekwueme left it, saying blaming others won’t help us now, only search for peace can.
According to him, that the current agitation for Biafra, ignited by Ralph, when he raised the Biafran flag in Aba, and promptly zoomed off on a bike, 21 years ago, had been long expected by discerning folks, who knew that the mindless oppression of Ndigbo would certainly lead to a reaction and resistance from the younger generation at some point.
The agitation is beyond any individual. It was inspired by the wickedness of the Nigerian state towards Ndigbo.
I wish to further present certain facts to the public: this 4-year-old events of Nnamdi’s visit to my home in Enugu in 2017, inspired certain posts I made this morning.
Part of the statement reads; That Dim Ojukwu, my leader, told me severally, that he knew the younger generation of Ndigbo would find the condition the Nigerian state arranged for Ndigbo unacceptable and that they would resist it. His father was the most prominent Igbo man before independence, he served as D.O. in Udi in the 50s, led Ndigbo in peace time and wartime, spent 12 years in exile, adored by Ndigbo even in death. I believe he knew what he was talking about.
That Ojukwu explained to his friend, Architect Igwe Ogbunude, why he was heading to Owerri on a particular morning to visit Ralph at Owerri prison, in the presence of my self and Col Emma Nwobosi, that the main reason he is doing all he can to identify with the angry Igbo youths, was to restrain them from picking up arms, as that would be disastrous for everyone. He knew it would invariably come to that.
That Dr Alex Ekwueme pleaded with me to bring Nnamdi to him, and in my presence, explained the dangers of taking up arms and the consequences of introducing violence to their struggle. Nnamdi agreed with all Dr Ekwueme said and assured him that he would work with and listen to him.
5 That I took Nnamdi to several religious, traditional and political leaders in a bid to achieve some consensus, all geared towards establishing a peaceful and harmonious understanding in order to avoid violence of any sort.
That very credible and elderly statesmen, led by Dr. Ekwueme, General Alex Madiebo, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, etc ,pleaded with me to do all I could to restrain the agitators from choosing to defend themselves, in the face of very brutal repression from the state.
That the attack on the agitators while singing and praying in a school compound in Aba, in February 2016, shocked the entire Igbo community, provoked the agitators and granted them huge sympathy and support from the masses.
That the relentless slaughter of unarmed agitators in Onitsha, Nkpor, Port Harcourt and elsewhere, earned the agitators so much public sympathy, deepened their resolve and strengthened their support base.
That the decision by the central government, that engages Boko haram, Niger Delta agitators, bandits and all kinds of armed groups, not to engage Biafran agitators, deepened the agitation, rather than weaken it.
That, I tried all I could to impress it upon South East Governors that the urgency in arriving at a harmonious agreement with the agitators, was necessitated by the great need to avoid the agitation leading to an armed conflict.
That I met the Governors severally and pleaded that they engaged the leadership of the agitators, so as to avoid the situation degenerating into an unpleasant and untidy violent affair.
That, I am of the view that Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of staff to the President, at the time and Alhaji Lawal Daura, head of the DSS, at the time exerted so much influence over our Governors, thereby making it extremely difficult for the Governors to see clearly that this two gentlemen from a muslim and feudal cultural background, cannot, in all honesty, understand the never-say-die spirit of Ndigbo, and as such cannot appreciate the nzogbu-nzogbu spirit of the Igbo man. They would only see military conquest as the only solution, thus, eventually take decisions that may lead to a protracted guerrilla armed conflict that may last decades, destroying our land.
That I believe the leaders didn’t understand me. They even labelled me; leader, top shot, promoter and sympathiser of the agitators. They were so sure the agitation would be crushed by military assault. I reported back to Dr Alex Ekwueme that the Governors were not interested in engaging the agitators, that they seem to be waiting for instructions from Abuja.
Dr Ekwueme told me he would be meeting with the Chairman of South East Governors forum, within the week to finalize the sale of his hotel to Ebonyi state government and that he would use the opportunity to impress upon him the great need to engage with the agitators, as he feared armed agitation in the very near future, if nothing is done early enough to dialogue with the agitators.
Dr Alex Ekwueme, invited me to share with me details of his meeting with both President Buhari and Governor Umahi. Pleading with me to explain to Nnamdi, the dangers of armed conflict.
15 Finally, the Governors asked me to bring Nnamdi to a meeting, Dr Ekwueme took ill and travelled overseas (he regrettably passed on 2 months later). I pleaded with Prof Nwabueze to kindly be part of the meeting. He agreed.
16 That all my efforts to achieve consensus and a peaceful roadmap to avoid anarchy remains unappreciated by the political leaders, whose only interest remains who takes credit for what, and not peaceful resolution of the crisis. They were all also, committed to their individual political careers, and didn’t want to do anything that would offend Aso Rock.
I affirm that the meeting of 30th August 2017 between Nnamdi and the South East Governors was so successful that everyone was elated, Nnamdi agreed to bring his team to sign a peace agreement in 14 days. The deal: to impress upon President Buhari, the need to begin the processes of restructuring Nigeria in order to enthrone equity, true federalism and devolution of power.
That the decision to attack him 24 hours to the signing of the agreement, was most probably designed to destroy the peace process in preference for military action.
That the violent attacks going on in Igbo land is condemnable and despicable. That every thing must be done to engage with the agitators in search of peaceful resolution. I plead with those behind violence to think about the damage to our society and agree to talks with our leaders, he stated.