A former Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, has attributed the agitation for the creation of Biafran nation out of Nigeria to the unfair treatment of the Ndigbo in the country.
However, he said while the agitation, spearheaded by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra was justified, the method by which the group was going about the agitation was condemnable.
Nebo, who spoke at the inauguration of new executive members of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Enugu State Council in Enugu, on Saturday, also knocked South-East governors, who he accused of betraying the interest of the region for personal political gains.
He argued that if justice must be done, the next President of Nigeria in 2023 ought to be an Igbo.
He, however, said South-East governors might not allow suchbecause some of them were positioning to be vice-presidential candidates.
The former Vice-Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who was the guest speaker at the event, said it was clear that the ruling All Progressives Congress would zone the presidency to the South.
“The Peoples Democratic Party is still struggling on the zoning of presidency, but with many of our governors in the South-East, who are here to serve themselves and not the people, and they are looking for the positions of vice presidential candidate, the PDP may actually end up zoning to the North so that one of them will become a vice-presidential candidate.
“In other words, they are ready to sell our nation, the Igbo nation for their personal aggrandisement and that is unfortunate.
“One thing about all these is the issue of justice, equity and fair play. Getting to power is of the desire of every political party, either by hook or by crook. I think the issue is social justice at this time and that is how to get the party to bring about the future of this country, Nigeria, not about the transient nature of power today.”
While he said the injustice against Ndigbo needed to be redressed immediately to end the secession agitation and prevent the country from dismemberment, Nebo disclosed that the call for separate state of Biafra, which the Indigenous People of Biafra and Nnamdi Kanu were championing, was born out of unfair treatment of Ndigbo, which made them lose faith in the country.
“The clamour for the state of Biafra was born out of the massive ill-treatment of Ndigbo, disenfranchisement of Ndigbo, the unspeakable treatment of Ndigbo that have driven many of our young people to despair and despondency. That is why IPOB was born.
“Unfortunately their methods are horrible, not defensible, unacceptable and they are not passing on whatever it is they want to pass in the right way. So, when you talk to a typical young person in Igboland, they feel like there is no hope for them in the entity called Nigeria and that is why some of them are so determined to the point of giving their lives to have independence and to become free from this shackle that Nigeria has placed on Ndigbo.
“I have always believed in one strong, virile country called Nigeria. Together we are stronger, we are better, we are more massive and we can turn the lots of the country around and in so doing, turn the cause of the black man around. The dismemberment of Nigeria is not in the best interest of the black race. In order to prevent that dismemberment, Ndigbo must be given a pride of place again in this country. And that pride of place must come from an Igbo man mounting the saddle of presidency in Nigeria. I think this is very important because if it does not happen, more and more people will become restive and it is becoming obvious.
“For instance, right now, one of the most neglected geopolitical zones in this country is the South-East. If you think in terms of infrastructural development, it is like the Federal Government sometimes forgets that there is a place called the southeastern part of Nigeria with regard to the distribution of amenities and infrastructure.”
He explained that part of the reasons the North was afraid of the South-East producing a president, “is that they believe they have so marginalised and abused the South-East that if a southeasterner becomes a president there will be revenge.”
He added, “They don’t understand that our culture is not that way. We do not revenge. You will see an Igbo president who will make sure that no part of Nigeria is left behind.”
Nebo warned that for Nigeria to survive, something urgent must be done, saying, “The political elites in Nigeria are the most selfish and unpatriotic. If they really believe in one Nigeria, they will want the masses to benefit rather than filling their pockets and those of their cronies and supporters.”