SECESSIONIST group the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has vowed that its agitation for referendum on forming a breakaway republic is non-negotiable despite opposition to it by the five southeast governors and other leaders of the geo-political zone.
Over recent years, there has been a growing clamour for secession across the southeast geo-political zone led by Ipob. This agitation has been fuelled by the murderous activities of Fulani cattle herdsmen, the perceived marginalisation of Igbos when it comes to federal appointments and the lack of fiscal federalism.
Ipob and other secessionist groups have seen their member and popularity grow and pressure has intensified on the South East Governors Forum to act. Over the weekend, the South East Governors Forum met met in Enugu and issued a communiqué in which the five governors said Ipob does not speak for the Igbo masses with its calls for secession.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, the chairman of the South East Governors Forum, added that leaders from across the geo-political zone had set up a committee to look into the matter. Earlier this week, Nigeria’s labour minister Dr Chris Ngige, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari will meet with this committee of leaders as they seek to use dialogue to resolve the matter.
However, Ipob spokesman Emma Powerful, described moves by the southeast governors to stop Biafra agitation as rather unfortunate, insisting that there is no going back to achieving its goal. He dismissed the stance of the governors as treacherous, saying that as usual, they have once more betrayed the Igbo people.
Mr Powerful added: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported disowning and condemnation of Ipob and the Eastern Security Network (ESN), by the southeast governors and few self-centered political leaders in the region. We are not however, surprised because they were the same people to proscribe us before the federal government tagged us terrorists.
“The purported statement by these political generals without foot soldiers has only further exposed them as Caliphate boot-leakers. The governors, Ohaneze Ndigbo and the handful traitors masquerading as the Igbo political elite should wake up to the realities that they have since lost the confidence of the people.
“We understand their worries as they are rattled by the unflinching support and loyalty of the masses to Ipob. It’s only unfortunate, shameful and disgraceful that the so-called Igbo leaders will be quick to disown and betray their own in their quest to appease their slave-masters.
“In 2017, these same southeast governors sat together in Enugu to proscribe Ipob and federal government declared them terrorists with the support of former while they are not. To their shame, how many times have their northern counterparts disowned the bloody terrorists, bandits and Fulani herdsmen rampaging the country?”