A Biafran propagandist and a veteran in Nigeria Civil War Chief Joe Ikediobi acknowledges that there has been marginalization of Igbo in Nigeria but warns against another war, Daily Sun reports…
“For me as far as I’m concerned, I went through the Nigerian Civil War and for anything of that nature to surface again I do not support it;nothing is greater than peace. Elders should caution the young ones on the implication. Then if the Federal Government is a listening government they should hear their agitation because their agitation means something. Somebody is feeling marginalized, some that did not get what is due to them should feel bad and through the agitation can still achieve something.”
“But for me as an individual who saw it all from 1964 to 1966, and then till 1970 during the civil war I do not welcome again any agitation that will turn to war. For those young men, unless they are told about the consequences and what brought about the civil war, they should take it easy, because any moment you start agitation of this nature, it will cause bloodshed. Therefore, why not stop and talk to the authorities.”
Ikediobi continues: “Yorubas are not happy, but to secede is not the issue. Secession was not even in the Igbo man’s agenda. The first group that even thought of seceding was the northerners. But the northerners during the first coup in 1966 to 1967 began the language of ‘Araba’, let’s divide and go away. But the British authorities that time, British High Commission in Nigeria advised them against that, that they should not secede.”
“My advice to MASSOB members is that the Igbo elders and leaders should come down and talk to the young men who are agitating for this, so that they should see the reason why there should not be an outbreak of any violent agitation because agitation of self-determination will involve bloodshed.”
“The youths that are doing all this were not born during the war or when the war ended. We should advise them. The reason for all these is because government stopped at certain level to the downtrodden. No government knows those that are agitating even at the local government levels, things are not done well. But let the issue of Biafra be history because a lot of people lost their lives and at the end of the civil war nothing was achieved out of it. We are even defeated the more”.
“Marginalization has been there, everybody has been marginalized. Let me advice the President of the country. He must be very careful for not tackling the issue of marginalization because the language of marginalization was started by late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo in the Senate when he saw all these things and started protesting against it. The issue of federal character should be followed, but agitation should not lead us to separation. We should be mindful of that. We should build this nation. Marginalization is not the only thing that can make us to ask for self-determination because all these started before the war.
“So, marginalization should be tackled and President Buhari should look at the constitution to ensure that the appointments he is making are in line with the constitution and federal character. He should correct some of these things. He should not be adamant to the agitations of some people here and there.
“When such agitations come, go there to stop it, not by force but by negotiation and argument. Look at in the South-east we have no good federal road. President Buhari must see to it that people should not be marginalized. He should stop making it wider without closing it through his agenda of change”.
Ikediobi said that Ojukwu did not even support the war at the beginning. “He called on the Constituent Assembly and warned them against the consequences of going to war that we shall be denied of our friends and so on. But the people told him to forget all these things.”
“Nobody who went through the civil war will say let’s support the agitation of Biafra again. MASSOB should be an instrument for agitation and not instrument for secession. To live and argue is better than to die and argue. So there are so many injustices and marginalizations in the country. But the best way out is not secession,” he stated.
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