The conflict between the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and former President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife, has continued to worsen.
In an angry attack on the elder statesman, the IPOB on Thursday described Ikedife as a “stooge” of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari.
It accused Ikedife of vigorously campaigning for Buhari in the 2015 presidential election, adding that he was never a part of the Biafra struggle which IPOB represents with a well-structured leadership.
But in a swift reaction, Ikedife has defended his comments on IPOB, which he said he is entitled to in the expression of his fundamental human rights as guaranteed in the country’s constitution.
On his alleged partisanship, Ikedife pointed out that he had since 2000 stopped being a politician and a card-carrying member of any political party.
Reacting to Ikedife’s criticisms of the IPOB leadership structure and activities, the pro-Biafra group’s spokespersons, Dr. Clifford Iroanya and Mr. Emma Mmezu, noted that only a misguided Igbo would think that IPOB, which has become a global phenomenon, emerged out of a leaderless structure.
IPOB said that it is disheartening that people with a clear agenda of supporting the North in their continued subjugation of Biafrans will have the temerity to comment on the leadership of a movement they know nothing about.
Iroanya said: “Ikedife should concentrate on his support for Hausa/Fulani hegemony which he enthroned in the Ohaneze when he was the President-General of the now moribund group. “Ikedife should first ask who created and appointed him into the position he claims he now occupies. But for our leader Nnamdi Kanu, no one would have known who they are, especially their APC-affiliated Bilie Human Rights Initiative. This same Ikedife was against the Radio Biafra’s stance to oppose the Islamisation of Biafraland through APC.”
He continued: “It is on record that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu visited Dozie Ikedife at his clinic in Nnewi with a copy of the Eastern Pilot newspaper that caricatured APC and Chris Ngige in Anambra State to explain to him why IPOB cannot support APC and Ngige in the gubernatorial election. Ikedife couldn’t hide his anger that we were campaigning against APC in Anambra. Three other people were present at that meeting and can verify this story. Mr. Arinze Awogu, now a Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano, was present at this meeting and can confirm it.”
Iroanya stated that IPOB is a global giant, not because of the unbelievable acts of Ikedife of the now dissolved Council of Elders, but because of the leadership qualities of Kanu.
“Has the group, Bilie Human Rights, ever come out to protest or chastise the murderous state apparatus in Nigeria? Which IPOB meeting has Ikedife ever attended? He is a member and one of the leaders of Bilie Human Rights Initiative dedicated to using the name of Biafra to work for Buhari. Anybody can search online for news stories of Ikedife supporting APC and Buhari; this fact is not hidden,” he said.
In an interview with The Authority on the IPOB’s allegation that he is a supporter of President Buhari, Ikedife said:
“People should stop pursuing shadows by putting labels on people’s necks and go for the substance with respect to the rule of law. Let those in support of self-determination continue without recourse to war. If you go to war, you will lose lives; interestingly, after the war, you still come to a roundtable to discuss. Some of you know they are using the struggle to make money.”
Ikedife said that for any attempt at self-determination and self-rule to succeed, there must be interaction and dialogue, which he noted, make it imperative for channels of communication to be created and maintained.
“IPOB has a structure called the Supreme Elders’ Council; it is a collegiate leadership in which an individual cannot claim sole leadership as messiah or all-knowing spirit. I am not a leader of any of the groups and any group I am associating with must respect the rule of law, be disciplined, decent in their choice of language, truthful all the time and not some of the time, and as well as respect customs and traditions.”
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has insisted that its primary interest is standing against all manipulations against Ndigbo.
MASSOB frowned at the statement by the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Mr. Hosea Karma, that MASSOB and IPOB are parts of the headache of the Nigeria Police in the state.
In a statement by MASSOB’s National Secretary, Ugwuoke Ibem Ugwuoke, the group insisted that the statement was hypocritical.