The Chief Press Secretary to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Mr Emma Uzor, tells EDWARD NNACHI that those who attacked Senator Ike Ekweremadu are frustrated persons
IPOB members have threatened to attack South-East governors abroad like they did to Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu recently. Will the South-East Governors’ Forum go ahead to repatriate IPOB Nnamdi Kanu if this threat is carried out?
Just like Nnamdi Kanu doesn’t have power to attack the governors, so also the governors don’t have power to repatriate him. The issue should be handled between the Federal Government and the German government. If they fire the governors, the governors will fire them back. If they dare attack the governors, the governors will have no choice but attack them back. But in all, we know that all this brouhaha will be resolved amicably for the betterment of the region and its people. But this can be likened to a face-off between a father and a son and all will be resolved. Therefore, there is no move to repatriate Kanu, just as there is no perceived move by IPOB to attack the South-East governors. IPOB is just making an empty threat.
Is the South-East Governors’ Forum doing anything to bring IPOB members that attacked Ekweremadu to justice?
That is the duty of the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is the duty of that ministry. The person that was attacked is not a governor. The person assaulted is a former Deputy Senate President and he has been a very big man at the federal level. He is currently a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My take is that the Federal Government should investigate and take over the matter. Let the Federal Government talk to the German government on the attack on the senator.
Has the South-East Governors’ Forum reached out to Nnamdi Kanu towards resolving this matter amicably?
The governors had in the past sat with him and they are still very willing to sit down with him over this current issue. During the Operation Python Dance in 2016, which was beyond the governors, they rallied round him and advised him. He didn’t take their advice, but rather accused them of bringing the military into the region then. Kanu lied against the governors over the Operation Python Dance saga in the zone. Who is the Commander-in-Chief? The armed forces are under the supervision and instruction of the President, not the governors. No governor has the right to direct the military where to go and where not to go. We were victims of that military exercise then, including the governors.
There have been negotiations all this while. Remember, it was the Governors’ Forum that stood behind Ekweremadu and pleaded that peace should be given a chance to reign. The forum has been negotiating with appropriate stakeholders in the zone, including IPOB, on the need to come together and ask ourselves the way forward; making useful suggestions regarding how members of the group should go about their agitation and how not to. There is still enough window for negotiations and the South-East Governors are open and available for peace. Nnamdi Kanu is our son, nobody would kill him, because he is an Igbo man. Although we disagree to agree, there must always be a meeting point. The Operation Python Dance, which Kanu is alleging the governors brought to the zone, was beyond the governors themselves; they rallied round him and advised him then, even though he didn’t take their advice, he rather accused them of bringing the military into the zone then.
Why did the South-East governors say IPOB doesn’t have the reach to track them down?
IPOB is not authorised to monitor and track movement of people, including that of the governors. IPOB is not the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is not the duty of its members to track movement of the governors, because nobody or institution in the world is empowered to do so. The governors are legally free to visit any part of the world, in so far as they have their passports, other documents and don’t have any criminal records that can prevent them. Tracking down the governors’ movement amounts to security threat and this simply is illegality. Besides, you can see members of IPOB don’t have the reach and spread to stop movement of the governors.
Is the proposed convocation of Igbo summit a way of addressing the perceived impasse between South-East Governors and Biafra agitators?
This is already in progress. Remember, I told you that we disagree to agree. I believe that an Igbo summit that will cut across the Igbo nation, including those living within and outside the country, will go a long way to help stakeholders in the region know exactly what the problems with the region are and solutions to them proffered. I want to say that IPOB members should also make themselves available for such summit.
Don’t you think if the attack on Igbo leaders persists as threatened by IPOB, it could snowball into a full-blown war in the region?
This can’t happen. Like I indirectly said earlier on, the attack on Ekweremadu was done by a few misinformed and misguided individuals, who claimed to be part of the Biafra struggle. Those who said they attacked the former Deputy Senate President are neither on ground in the South-East nor overseas where they claim to be doing very well. Ekweremadu’s attackers were not more than 10 persons, if you watch the video closely. It was a small number of misguided individuals. Many of his attackers left the country when things were too tough for them and they are yet to live comfortably abroad. They left here under hardship and they are being frustrated abroad. This simply makes them mad.