As the agitation for an independent state of Biafra grows even beyond Nigeria’s border, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has urged the proponents of the secessionist movements to have a rethink because of the possible huge losses that Ndigbo would incur if Nigeria disintegrates.
The OYC, which is the youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, sounded the warning in a statement issued by its national president, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, saying that there was no need for secession.
The Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has remained the main proponent for secession though other groups have emerged, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu, whose arrest and detention for operating Radio Biafra sparked protest rallies recently.
According to him, with the attention that the ordeal of Kanu generated among Igbos both within and outside Nigeria, it was obvious that the secession agitation was gaining strength hence the need for “caution and deeper reflection for us as people and nation.
“To the extent that we are not satisfied with the happenings in the polity particularly as it affects our region, it remains imperative that we submit our yearnings with a voice of reason,” he said, adding, “It stands as an immutable and sacrosanct fact that the unified and continuous existence of Nigeria as an indivisible entity cannot be compromised on any score.”
The OYC leader is a representative of the youths of Ndigbo. The group has reviewed and weighed the social and economic impact of a dismembered Nigeria on the South-east zone and concluded that it was counterproductive to continue the agitation.
He challenged: “The hyperactive agitators and proponents of secession to sit down and count the cost of a divided nation which will be borne by the Igbo nation particularly our youth whose future and strenuously built investments stand at risk.”
According to him, Igbo men and women emerged from the civil war and have over the years built businessmen and other investments within the South-east and across the nation.
He therefore argued that such investments running into trillions of naira, should not be sacrificed on the altar of “unbridled sentimental” agitations.
Isiguzoro acknowledged that the policy of President Muhammadu Buhari in excluding Ndigbo from the key appointments he has made so far has helped in fuelling the agitations and strengthen the hands of the proponents.
However, he said with peaceful dialogue and inclusiveness the burning issue of Biafra would be doused and the agitators would begin to appreciate the benefit of living together in a united Nigeria.
The OYC national president reiterated the group’s “charter of demands” which, if implemented by the federal authorities, would save the nation the distractions and anger of youths in the South-east zone.
He called for mass employment of the teeming unemployed youths in the zone and then include the youths of oil producing states of Abia, Imo and Anambra in the amnesty programme.
“We call on Mr. President to correct the lopsided appointments made thus far by ensuring the appointment of more Igbo citizens into sensitive government position as Head of government boards and Agencies,” he said.
He also harped on the urgent need for all federal roads in the South-east zone to be rehabilitated while critical infrastructure such as airports, sea ports and railways should be built and the existing ones should be given a facelift.
“It is our fervid belief that if these issues are logically, tactfully and speedily addressed, it will go a long way in soothing away any brewing grievance,” he said. (Thisday)