David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to appoint Boss Mustapha, a northerner, was a total humiliation of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the five Southeast governors who were basking in the hope that one of their own would be picked.
The group said it was with sadness and utter humiliation that it received the news of the appointment of Mustapha as a replacement for Babachir Lawal, who was sacked by the president early in the week.
In a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said, â€œThe belittling of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, South east governors and the entire eastern political class over the rejection of an Igbo man for the lowly position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by Buhariâ€™s administration is too bad.â€
The group said despite lobbying for the position discreetly and openly, President Buhari instead gave the position to another northerner leaving Ohanaeze to take to the pages of newspaper to vent their frustrations which he said was an unedifying spectacle unworthy of leaders of a once proud and gifted race.
The group said to make matters worse, the public rejection of an Igbo SGF by the Buhari administration is a confirmation that the hasty proscription and banning of IPOB was a costly mistake on their part.
â€œThey failed to appreciate that without the impetus and urgency that IPOB provided, any request made to the government of Nigeria to right the injustices meted out to easterners is bound to fail. Chief Nnia Nwodo and the five South-east governors should, without delay, apologise to the people for misleading them into thinking that sacrificing IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu will appease the North,â€ the statement said.
The group said it was the acceptance to proscribe IPOB by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and South east governors that gave the military the impetus to hastily tag IPOB a terrorist organisation.
â€œWe must not also forget that it was this same request for political appointment into the office of the SGF that led Ohanaeze and South east governors to sanction Operation Python Dance II with its attendant deaths and imprisonment without trial of IPOB family members.
â€œThis is the worst humiliation our people have had to endure for nearly 50 years. A once proud race has been reduced, through poor political calculation, to trading the blood of their children in exchange for the non-existent political appointment,â€ the group said.
It advised leaders of the south-east that leadership required a lot more than making oneself acceptable to his enemies in return for material gain. Freedom it said is a painstaking and arduous process of sacrifice, even when it may appear expedient to take the compromised easy way out, IPOB charged.
â€œWith this shameful episode, Igbo political class have now lost out on every front, because they chose to destroy the only hope of the people.
â€œNo restructuring, no second Niger Bridge, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway is not fully rehabilitated, Enugu-Onitsha expressway is getting worse by the day, no infrastructural development and finally their much cherished SGF has eluded them too. They can now see that only IPOB has the solution to the plethora of problems bedevilling our people in Nigeria today. It is never too late for Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership and South east Governors to say they got their priorities wrong.â€