Home National news Ohanaeze, ACF, Igbokwe knock Dokubo over Igbo secession comment

Ohanaeze, ACF, Igbokwe knock Dokubo over Igbo secession comment

by Admin

Victor Ayeni, Godfrey George and Ayoola Olasupo

The apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum and some leaders from the South-East have faulted the call by a former Niger Delta agitator, Asari Dokubo, asking President Bola Tinubu to let the Igbo secede from Nigeria.

The Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra had demanded that the Igbo be allowed to break away from Nigeria  over allegations of discrimination and neglect by the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

In July 2021, Kanu was arrested in Kenya and was brought back to Nigeria to face prosecution bordering on terrorism.

In a viral video on Thursday, Dokubo urged Tinubu and the National Assembly to see to the amendment of the constitution to allow the Igbo breakaway from the country in accordance with Kanu’s demands.

He said he would gather the signatures of one million citizens in support of his idea.

Dokubo stated, “Please, in the name of God, why do we allow this vicious cycle of irritation of people who claim to be victims when they are the oppressors and the people offending others? Let the Igbo go so that there will be enough resources for other people to manage.

“They don’t even need a referendum. The President and National Assembly should meet and someone courageous enough should sponsor a bill at the National Assembly. There should be a constitutional amendment. The five Igbo states and any group of people who want to join them should go.

“We have a lot to gain if we let these people go and turn their country into heaven on earth. Please, National Assembly, President Bola Tinubu, I am begging you, let the Igbo go so that we will rest and they too will rest and they should be barred from coming into our country.”

In its reaction, the spokesperson for Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said well-meaning Igbo people did not consider Dokubo an individual to attract the attention of the group.

Ogbonnia said he could not comment on the matter at the moment until a decision was reached by the body, stating that the group could only respond if such a statement was made by other recognised socio-cultural groups.

He added, “For various reasons, we don’t want to comment on self-government now. There will be a time Ohanaeze will take a decision on that but if you watch what is going on, we have kept our comments on what is going on in government. Until we have a meeting, that is when I can comment on it and Ohanaeze cannot be drawn to that level of responding to Dokubo as an individual.”

Also, the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria and founding member of the All Progressives Congress, Osita Okechukwu, in an interview with one of our correspondents, described Dokubo’s comments as null and void.

He added, “Asari Dokubo should understand that Nigeria is under constitutional democracy, governed by the rule of law. Under which section of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is he mandating President Tinubu to act? If none, then his admonition is ultra vires.

“Please, if Asari has grouse with a few Igbo, he should go and sort it out with them. Otherwise, he should desist from the ancient fallacy of generalisation. The Ndigbo live and invest in every nook and cranny of our dear country; which gazette that we love our dear fatherland. Nobody should use the agitation of a few to paint all Ndigbo black.”

He also urged Dokubo not to ‘abuse his alleged friendship with Tinubu’.

A chieftain of the APC in Lagos State, Mr Joe Igbokwe, told Saturday PUNCH, that the majority of Igbo want social justice as stakeholders in the country and that only a few want to secede.

“Asari Dokubo doesn’t speak for us and if we need people to speak for us then it’s certainly not Dokubo. It’s we the Igbo that will speak for the Igbo people and most of you know our stance. The Igbo are not for secession because a lot is at stake. We are a critical stakeholder in Nigeria.

“We have made humongous investments across this country and we belong to Nigeria. You can’t tell a man to quit his house. All Igbo people want is social justice, equity and fairness and we have been talking about this since. The Igbo have the least number of states in Nigeria, the least number of commissioners and senators, and local government areas.”

He also claimed that the Igbo received the least resource allocation, which was why, according to him, the region wanted ‘social justice’.

Breakaway unrealistic – ACF

Meanwhile, a member of the National Executive Council of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Baba Sule Bisalla, said Dokubo was not well-informed of the country’s history for him to make such comments.

Bisalla, who is also the Sarkin Shanu Zazzau of Suleja, stated that secession of a tribe was alien to the Nigerian constitution, noting that the President, who was being urged to assist in facilitating the breakaway, was a unifier and would not heed such a call.

He added, “A lot of people, especially the younger generation, do not know Nigeria’s history. Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba all other tribes have all these inter-relationships and marriages and business. It is not realistic for the Igbo to say they want to break away. The breakaway Dokubo is talking about will not work. A referendum is not even in our constitution.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Northern Groups, Mr Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said he was in support of calls for the breakaway of the Igbo, adding that the CNG already instituted a lawsuit on the matter.

He added, “Nigeria does not have to force the Igbo to remain with it. For more than 60 years, the Igbo and Biafrans have declared openly that they do not want to belong to Nigeria. They want their independent, separate state. We would have granted them independence and given them their Biafran Republic or whatever it is they want to call it,” he added.

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