By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Minister of Aviation and governorship candidate of the United Progressive Congress (UPP), Osita Chidoka, has taken a swipe at Igbo leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for remaining silent in the face of oppression against the people of South-east region.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Director Media of his Campaign Organisation, Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie, the governorship candidate regretted that such, â€œatrocious silence of Igbo leaders in the APC has emboldened aggression against southeasterners.â€
The campaign organisation urged the federal government and security agencies to apply caution in handling matters related to agitations by the people of the South-east region.
â€œWe also caution against any act that may lead to further confrontation with the people and aggravate the already tensed-up situation in the region.
â€œWe hold firmly that rather than aggression and force, the time has come for Nigeria to pause and specifically listen to, understand and address the agitations of people of the South-east.â€
It said President Muhmmadu Buhari had openly agreed, during his recent address to the nation, that there are â€˜legitimate concernsâ€™ and that â€˜every group has a grievance.â€™
â€œThe president even acknowledged that â€œthe beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence.
â€œThe southeast has legitimate concerns; concerns that have been with us as a nation, for decades. Officials and agencies handling the matter must understand that this agitation has been a lingering issue, existing long before those leading it today were born. Silencing or subjugating them as individuals do not hold the answers, addressing the issues does.
â€œIt is therefore our take that the time has come for stakeholders in our nation to directly address these concerns. One of the ways to work out a mode of peaceful co-existence in a federation is when the underpinning issues of marginalisation, repression and lack of opportunity being raised by any group; are fundamentally addressed without any forms of ethnic or political colorations.
Chidoka said a UPP administration would vigorously pursue the ideology of self-determination and right to determine the role ofÂ NdigboÂ in a Nigeria where no man is oppressed.
â€œWe invite all to hold the APC and APGA responsible for the escalation of hostilities resulting in wanton killings of harmless South-easterners in various parts of the country.
â€œWhile the APGA, a hitherto pan-Igbo party has since become ideologically vacuous and unable to adequately aggregate and explain the views of Ndigbo to other groups in the country, the atrocious silence of Igbo leaders in the APC has emboldened aggression against South-easterners.
â€œThe people hold them directly responsible for the killing of our unarmed brothers and sisters in Onitsha, Aba, Port Harcourt and Ekwulobia. No amount of rationalisation can explain away their guilt and erase this bloodstain on their banners of wickedness and betrayal.
â€œMost atrocious is that these parties in their impudence are further demonstrating their insensitivity to the feelings of the people by fielding themselves for the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election,â€ said Chidoka.