Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State says he has never supported the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, whom he accused of plotting to drag the Igbo people into another war?
In an interview with Vanguard Newspaper, Okorocha acknowledged that the Igbo ethnic group is disadvantaged politically and economically, because of unwise and sentimental decisions the group had taken over the years. However, he questioned the commitment of Igbo ex-public office holders to the cause of the south-east.
“The Igbo feeling of abandonment is also the same way the northerners feel… that this (the renewed Biafran agitation) is an attack on their government,” he said.
“Politically, we are not at an advantage; economically, Igbo are still disadvantaged. People should do things wisely and advise the Igbo. Sometimes, some people complain about the non-inclusion of Igbo in appointments. What of when Igbo were Minister of Finance, Senate Presidents, SGF? What did they do for themselves?
“The hard truth is that Igbo play the worst politics; they play this politics because of sentiments, protecting one of their own from the South-South, and now, the northerners have understood that they can become presidents with or without the Igbo.
“Before there was a feat about that. That is why we must change our style and condemn it. We must condemn what is happening and find a way to re-engineer ourselves to the system.
“I have never supported IPOB. Who is Nnamdi Kanu to tell Rochas to follow him to war? Whether we want to believe it or not, IPOB is not good for the South East, and it is not the best way for us to complain about marginalisation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There are better ways; the IPOB way is too primitive. If IPOB must do a thing like that it should have changed the name and fought the way Ijaw youth fought, Arewa youth fought, and they would have made more impact.”
Okorocha pointed out that if a civil unrest broke out as a result of the activities of the IPOB, the Igbo will be the greatest losers.
He advised leaders from the South East to be more broadminded and to advise the youth to change their mindset.
“For everything that comes from the Igbo man, we love to go to the extreme. Now you want to separate yourself from Nigeria; meanwhile, South-South will not go with you; Edo, Rivers will not go with you.
“If you cut us off here now as South east, if I need to go to Rivers State, I will go and ask for passport and visa, and we are keeping quiet to say this.
“If there is a crisis now, there is no Hausa man in Igbo land who has a duplex, there is no Yoruba man who has a room and parlour or a N20 million investment in Igbo land, but Igbo have trillions of naira virtually everywhere.
“The same people are asking for secession. If Igbo are asked to go, what happens? They would lose their property, and all of us are keeping quiet, supporting IPOB! It was very childish, and those behind this should stop, that is my advice.”