Biafra: Buhari under fire over referendum
President can’t stop it – MASSOB, Ikedife
…We don’t need your consent to have new republic – IPOB
Frontline Igbo leaders and groups have taken President Muhammadu Buhari to task over his decision not to allow referendum on Biafra.
Buhari, during a media event in New York City at the end of his visit to the United States as the leader of Nigeria’s delegation to the 71st United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA) had foreclosed any chance for a referendum as a path to bring healing and closure to the vexing issue of Biafra.
The president stated that the choice left for Biafran activists was to form a political party that would advance their interest within the Nigerian democratic space.
The president’s advice to Biafran’s activists came a day after commercial activities in some key cities in the South-East and South-South were grounded following a stay-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB ).
A few weeks ago, while speaking to youth corp members who visited him at his country home in Daura, Katsina State, Buhari impressed on them to ask their friends to forget Biafra.
But in separate reactions yesterday, former president-general of the Igbo apex group, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr. Dozie Ikedife and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), IPOB and others descended on the president.
Dr. Ikedife and MASSOB said said President Buhari cannot stop referendum on Biafra.
Ikedife described Biafra as unforgettable, questioning what President Buhari would allow if he was averse to referendum.
“Since he will not allow referendum, then the logical thing to ask him is, is this democracy or dictatorship? Is it his will or the will of the people that will prevail? These are the natural things that follow. Is it his discretional will or the will of the people that will prevail?
“If he won’t allow referendum, what will he allow? Does he remember that any group of indigenous people has right for self-determination? And when we are talking about referendum is not for him to vote, it does not concern him.
So, whether he allows it or not, when the time comes referendum will take place and people will be allowed to express their opinion and their wish. And I am sure that the reaction of the civilised world to such a statement will be a measure of shock and surprise, so let him think again.”
Leader of MASSOB, Comrade Uchenna Madu said Buhari was only bluffing as the Biafra referendum would commence first quarter of next year.
“President Buhari’s latest comment on Biafra further proved his is jittery, confused and unable to quench the fire of determination and consciousness of Biafra.
“The just concluded United Nations General Assembly which Buhari attended have dawn it on him that Biafra actualisation and restoration to independent and full statehood can no longer be ignored. The world leaders have shown their sympathies for the oppressive and subjective economic policies of Buhari-led Nigeria government against the industrious and creative people of Biafra.
“The Oriental, Asian and Western world are seriously in support of Biafra because 60 per cent of their economic growths are been propelled by the industrious people of Biafra. It has dawn on President Buhari that the universal clamour for Biafra referendum to determine the choice of the people of Biafra between his Nigeria and Biafra have reached greater height of momentum which he can’t deny.”
According to him: “The Biafra referendum which Buhari cannot stop will commence on first quarter of 2017. The United Nation has already announced that Nigeria is deeply divided on ethnic and religious lines. Nigeria is an artificial creation of the British colonial masters through Lord Luggard.
“With President Buhari’s latest comment on our precious Biafra, MASSOB, IPOB, Biafra People National Council (BPNC) and Niger Delta Biafra groups will redouble all our efforts, synergies, political cohesion and build more understandable platforms for speedy actualization and restoration of Biafra.”
While MASSOB plans to begin the Biafra referendum in 2017, IPOB said referendum or not, Biafra has come to stay.
In fact, it argued that the issue of referendum was settled on September 23 with the full compliance of the sit-at-home order by the people of South East and South South and those in the Diaspora. It, therefore, said anybody talking about referendum for Biafra, was living in the past.
The younger brother of the detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Prince Emmanuel Kanu said the movement was not in any way perturbed by what Buhari said since the referendum had already been conducted on Biafra.
“We are not in any way perturbed by what the president said, perhaps he never knew we had already conducted referendum for Biafra and the result was very successful and encouraging.”
Kanu said what the president had refused to acknowledge was that Biafra was ahead of him and the Federal Government, stressing that it was laughable that Buhari was talking of not allowing a plebiscite that was held three days ago.
“IPOB is ahead of Buhari and his Federal Government; it is laughable that the Nigerian president is still thinking of not allowing a referendum on Biafra that was held three day ago, that shows he is living in the past. The sit-at-home order of September 23 which the people, even those in the Diaspora complied with was the referendum we needed on Biafra and no other. The people have spoken, we are almost there and we are grateful.”
He urged all Biafrans not to lose sleep over the president’s comment, stressing that in no distant time they would get to the Promised Land where they would no more be oppressed.
Also, the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, said its (Biafra) fathers and grandfathers in 1967 never expected a referendum before the declaration of Biafra.
“It’s unfortunate that Mr. president is still confused about the struggle for Biafra, the statement credited to him far away USA proves that he is undergoing serious pressure about Biafra.
“The people of former Eastern region declared Biafra Republic in 1967 and fought a war for the new republic through their leaders, the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and Philip Effiong. They never expected a referendum before the declaration of Biafra but our fathers from the East then fought the war without looking backward.
“Also, the statement proved that the president is jittery over the popularity of Biafra internationally and he cannot stop it because Biafra is the will of the people in the whole South-South and South-East of Nigeria.
“In or around the world, the presidents who are clueless on such matters like this always make such statement because he doesn’t want the citizens to blame him. It happened during the colonial rule in Nigeria, but they later succumb to the pressures.
“It was the same President Buhari at the UN, that supported the creation of Palestine from Israel but cannot allow the peaceful people of Biafra who are agitating for freedom,” IPOB lamented.
“Is President Buhari trying to imply that if the UN passes a resolution that Biafra should have a Referendum that he will go against it?” he queried.
But, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said it was still studying the President’s position.
“We just read about it today; he thought about it before he said it, we shall also think about it too before issuing a statement on it. For now we are not ready with a statement yet,” Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu said.
On his part, Evangelist Elliot Uko, president, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) said restructuring of Nigeria was inevitable.
“Anybody who doesn’t know that is deceiving himself. Restructuring Nigeria into six regions is inevitable; it’s the only way to save Nigeria. Anybody who doesn’t realise that is living in another world. Nigeria must be restructured.”
Meanwhile, MASSOB has again taken her case to the world body.
In a release titled: “United Nations, this is the appointed time for you to liberate Biafra” and signed by the Director General, Organisation of Biafra Music and Film Authority (OBMFA), David Chinedu Eboson, MASSOB said the United Nations should listen to the yearnings of the Biafra people.
The release stated that the international convention on civil and political rights recognises self-determination by a people and that by virtue of that right, “a people can freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
News Credit: Sun News Online