Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF), Chief David Umahi on Tuesday insisted that the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) does not represent the interest of Ndiigbo and cannot speak for Igbos.
Umahi, in an audio clip of his speech when he led other Southeastern governors to visit his colleague in Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, in Government House, Port Harcourt, queried the reason behind the agitation of the outlawed group.
Addressing Wike, he said: “We can claim here and show leaders back home that all we read in the social media from your own account are all lies. We did not come to verify your claims. You did not report to us.
“I have lived in Rivers State for a very long time. My six children out of seven were all born here in Rivers State. We have never had any form of discrimination here. We must call a spade a spade.
“We have 11.5million Igbos living in the north. We have three million Igbos that are of voting age in Lagos State not to talk about other parts of this country. And somebody wants to start a war for us so that the Igbos will be slaughtered.
“During the civil war, we lost three million Igbos. Most of them were killed when they were running away from the north back to the southeast. Everywhere you go in this country, you see our infrastructure. Think about the percentage of infrastructure of Ndigbo in Lagos and in Abuja. Who brings war upon itself?
“We, Ndiigbo, we do not support criminalities. Do not buy into any criminal that is from our side. I find it very funny when somebody is going to be claiming that part of Benue State must descend into his territory and part of Rivers State must descend into his territory. What sort of madness is that?
“Even if there is referendum, people must freely say where they want to belong to. You can’t force them. No matter the history you have, you can’t force people to belong to where you want them belong. They want to belong to where they want to belong.
“Why I am telling you this is that we should be wise not to support what is wrong. Let’s go back and tell ourselves the truth. What is happening cannot be said to be for Ndiigbo. Those people are not speaking for us. What are you agitating for and you are destroying the properties of Ndiigbo? Won’t that tell you that they are looking for something?
“They came to my state, the beautiful streetlights and beautiful infrastructures you are destroying them. You are burning tyres on the tarred road. Is it part of the agitation? Let us rise up and defend our name.”
Also, the President-General, Ohaneze Ndiigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said Niger Delta and the Igbo had the same issues confronting them and had adopted the same approach in resolving their common Problems.
He said: “We have come today to reinforce a creation of affinity, of brotherhood and cordiality between Ndiigbo and not just Rivers State but the entire Niger Delta region. We have the same issues confronting us in this country.
“We have the same attitude to the solution of these issues and I have not seen a more active fighter for this than the governor of Rivers State. You have been fearless in championing the goals of the southern and middle-belt leadership forum.
“You have spoken out for restructuring and you have spoken out that justice must be done to everywhere. I have heard you say, ‘we Niger Delta have had President, Ndiigbo should have President.”