Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
As the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) contends with the alleged factions, some civil society organisations in the South-east have condemned the emergence of “fictitious factions” within IPOB, warning that such “creations” would not end the agitation for Biafra self-determination.
The groups, namely Igbo Women Assembly (IWA), Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), Igbo Students Union (ISU), Igbo Traders Association (ITA) and South East Christian Network (SECN) sounded the note of warning in a joint statement made available to journalists via e-mail.
Splinter groups, The Reformed Indigenous People of Biafra (TRIPOD) and Reformed Indigenous People of Biafra (REIPOB), recently emerged from the blue and disowned IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and even threatened to burn the Biafra flag publicly on October 1.
REIPOB has gone further to release names of eminent personalities it said would negotiate with the federal government on its behalf, a move that has angered some of the people named in the list.
Leader of IWA, Mrs. Mariah Okwor, said: “The funny games being played by the federal government is a further confirmation of the arrogance of this government in their stubborn refusal to address the problems from the root by restructuring Nigeria along six regions without delay.
“Only true fiscal federalism can save Nigeria now. Creating non-existent factions of IPOB will not stop the agitation. Government should stop amusing the public with childish plots,” she said.
The octogenarian activist noted that it has become evident that “there is clearly no crisis or factions amongst these gallant boys; they united under Nnamdi Kanu and they are committed to their struggle.”
According to her, Kanu has surprised everybody by his “righteous, sincere and total commitment to the struggle,” thereby projecting himself as a hero.
IYM founder, Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, corroborated the IWA leader, saying that “those who claim there is crisis in IPOB are the very people who are being used to create the impression of a crisis.
“Ndigbo knows that IPOB is intact,” he said, adding that the federal government should do the needful, “which is, begin to address the fundamental reasons why millions of youth have lost faith in Nigeria.
He insisted that “Creating artificial factions will not stop the agitation (as) only a restructuring of the polity will restore hope. Time is running out.”
President of Igbo Students Union, Chimezie Ubani, would rather laugh to scorn the fake splinter groups of IPOB, saying that “nobody knows the fictional characters, Philip Effiong Osuji and Ikemba Biafra or Nzeogwu Biafra”
He challenged the leaders of the fictitious groups “to publish their photographs and tell us their home town and local government of origin, if they truly exist.
“These fictional characters are only a creation of the oppressor, in order to deceive the public and waste tax payers’ money. There is no crisis whatsoever in the great and noble IPOB. We will honour Kanu in all the campuses in Eastern Nigerian soon. This is because he is our eternal hero, a prophet and a legend. He destroyed our oppressors with the power of truth. IPOB is intact and we are all proud of them,” he said.
Bishop Mike Ibeneme, coordinator of South-east Christians Network, condemned the propaganda targeted at giving the impression that IPOB has disintegrated, saying that “those alluding to factions in IPOB are only those who are afraid of IPOB (and) they have failed in their attempt to deceive the public. There is no crisis whatsoever within IPOB.”