The Governor of Imo State Owelle Rochas Okorocha has said that what the Igbos need now is the Movement for the Economic Survival of Igbo People (MOESIP) and not any movement for the sovereign State of Biafra stating that leaders from other geo-Political Zones supporting the secession movement do not love the Igbos.
He also called for the revival of the Political relationship of the North with the Igbos.
Read the full text of Governor Okorocha’s speech as contained in press release signed his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo:
“I have watched and read with keen interest the developments happening in our Country with respect to the comments by IPOB and subsequent reaction by the AREWA YOUTH GROUPS”.
“I wish I do not speak on these matters or make any categorical comment as not to be misconstrued, misrepresented or misinterpreted. But despite the political implications, I make bold to speak to my Igbo brothers and Sisters and to our friends the Arewa and their leaders on these critical matters if only to save the lives of our generation yet unborn”.
“You may recall that the issue of IPOB and MASSOB in the recent times has been making headlines in various media houses and the social media especially with many people giving different interpretations to the groups. Some see them as some uninformed youths calling for the sovereignty of the Biafra nation. Some see them as some groups seeking for personal recognition and aggrandizement for the purpose of political patronage. And for some other people, it is an invitation of what has happened in other geo-political zones in agitation just to get power and form the government at the centre as assumed to be the practice in the past”.
“You may also recall that some people believe that the South-West became President of Nigeria because of the agitation by the Oduduwa group with respect to June 12 and that brought General Obasanjo as the President. Some argued that President Goodluck Jonathan came because of the agitation of the Niger Delta region for resource control and marginalization. Of recent it was also believed that President Buhari came in as President because of the agitation from Boko Haram in the recent past”.
“Let me also mention that whatever is the reason for the agitation from different groups whether right or wrong, I feel it is an ill wind that has done this nation no good”.
“If you may recall, only few months ago I have pleaded and made request for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, making excuses for him and his group as youthful exuberance and I stated that keeping him in prison would command for him unwarranted popularity and fellowership. Shortly after that and followed by the comments from the South-East Governors, Nnamdi Kanu was released, and only again to hear about the sit at home order by IPOB”.
“Let me correct the impression that the South-East people and leaders supported the sit at home order. It is not true, two factors contributed. The sit at home order came shortly after the democracy day holiday and our people in their natural character would want to enjoy the holiday to the fullest, hence, considering that the day was 30th, so many people continued the holiday. And the second and most important reason was that most traders had the fear of hoodlums taking advantage of the situation to disturb them and so stayed at home. It is not true that the sit at home order was purposely obeyed as support for IPOB”.
“Let me present an Igbo man in a practical manner. An Igbo man is a peace loving man found at all nooks and crannies of the world. There is no place you go without finding an Igbo man either building the bridge of friendship or creating brotherhood, and at the same time developing and contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of that area. Igbo man is a more practical Nigerian because they are the only people to be found in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria”.
“In recent times, the impression given is that an Igbo man enjoys violence. Let me put it clear. Igbo man is not a troublesome man and not a man associated with violence. All he does is to enjoy his commerce and do his trading for the betterment of his family and society at large”.
“Let me inform all Nigerians that Igbos will remain peace-loving people and good Nigerians wherever they are found. If there is any group of people who had laid their lives and shed more blood for the unity of this country that person is an Igbo man”.
“Therefore at this material time, let me remind all Nigerians that the Igbos are the people that developed Lagos and major Cities in this Country. Igbos have made major investments in this country than any other group making an investment in Igbo land”.
“Therefore, I think, the statements by IPOB and subsequent ones by AREWA youths are nonsensical, ill-informed and not for the best interest of Ndi Igbo neither is it for the best interest of Nigeria. I condemn in its entirety the statements of IPOB and the reaction of the AREWA YOUTH GROUP. These people who have made these statements both from the North and South-East are people who may not have seen the effects of the civil war when Nigeria went into civil war”.
“I call on all Igbo persons to disassociate themselves and every northerner and well-meaning Nigerians to distance themselves from these comments from AREWA GROUP and IPOB. Again let me call for caution for those who are calling for support for IPOB especially the non-Igbos to stop henceforth because we don’t need such support because I do know that when the chips are down, they won’t be anywhere to be found. It is deceitful and inciting and is no longer a welcome development in this part of the world”.
“I also want to caution all those our brothers and Sisters who live abroad, who are social media gurus and who never visit home and who enjoy all the sentiments created in the social media to desist from doing that henceforth. I do know that they may not understand the consequences of their writings and what they are doing. Let them also pause and think, if finally these drums of war beats, would not keep the Igbos in the Island of isolation or ignorance and poverty that we do not need.
“Igbos are major stakeholders in the entity called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We fought for the unity of this country and having acquired the unity, the Igbos cannot be counted out in the affairs of this nation”.
“Let me again say, while I blame the AREWA youths who may have acted under provocation and taking the matter beyond scope, the statements were also very inciting and can create disaffection between the North and South-East. For the purpose of those who have forgotten, in history the South-East and North have enjoyed good political relationship especially in the days of Shagari. We have been seen as allies and partners politically. Except for this past dispensation for some myopic reasons many Igbos did not see the victory of Buhari coming and we missed the link. We need immediate refixing of this bridge of relationship between the South-East and the North”.
“I want to call on all leaders of Nigeria to speak out and condemn this act, because keeping silence anymore cannot help us in this matter, and thinking that we can benefit from these crisis is rather a disappointment. And I pray that leaders ought to take responsibilities now and teach our youths the right things to do. The people in this matter are our children, our youths and they have a duty to listen to us as their parents. It is apparent that we have failed as leaders in this nation, giving room for this hate in families, communities, states and at national levels. We need to take responsibilities as leaders to stop this campaign of hate as that will not do us any good”.
“I call on my Igbo brothers, the agitators, because there was nothing wrong doing what others are doing, your style is what is wrong. You can’t be calling for a sovereign nation inside a nation, it is absolutely wrong. If you must agitate, I purpose you agitate for the Movement for Economic Survival of Igbo People (MOESIP). That will help for the economic survival of our land, making agriculture the mainstay of our economy. That is only when we will command the respect of the rest of the world”.
“All things being equal and without the intervention of the military, I’m sure the Igbo’s would have gotten their heart desire in the political life of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But at this time, I want to call on all leaders of Nigeria to speak out and condemn this act, because keeping silent anymore cannot help this matter”.
“And if some of us think that we can benefit from this crisis, it is rather a disappointment and I pray that leaders ought to take responsibilities now and tell the youths the right thing to do. The people involved in this matter are our children, we gave birth to them and they have a responsibility to listen to us as their parents”.
“It is apparent that we have failed as leaders in this nation and which has given room for this hate in our families, hate in communities, hate in states, hate at national level and hate in companies. We need to take responsibility as leaders. This campaign of hate and hatred on each other will not do us any good”.
“I was abroad sometimes, and I saw China & Koreans of yesterday underrated by Nigerians developing the resources of their lands. But here in Nigeria, we’re still talking about tribe and religion. It is a shame and my heart bleeds. I was in Dubai and I saw developments taking place, I saw young men moving up and down developing the resources of their land, earning foreign exchange. But we’re still talking about comments by IPOB and Arewa Youths. It’s a proper shame, my heart bleeds. I was just in Tanzania recently and South Africa, tourism flourishing in those lands, while in our own country, we’re still talking about Boko Haram and Kidnapping, what a shame, my heart bleeds”.
“I’ve been round the whole world, I see progress everywhere and developments everywhere and African nations are still waiting for Nigeria to rise and take its rightful place as leader of Africa. All we can give to African nations is which section will produce the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and which zone shall produce the governor of a state, my heart bleeds. What a shame. It’s indeed shameful for this generation and may we never be found as a failed generation. We must never transfer failure to the subsequent generation. We must live up to our responsibilities”.
“At this crucial moment, we must have a rethink as leaders. We must change our ways because it’s obvious that the inherent hatred and division which we have got from the colonial masters and transferred to subsequent generations have not helped us. We must sing a new song of unity in this nation. We must see ourselves as brothers and sisters of one nation”.
“I call on my Igbo brothers, the agitators because there was nothing wrong in doing what others are doing, but your style is what is wrong creating a sovereign nation within existing nation. That is absolutely wrong. Your style is what is wrong”.
“As I stand now as a sitting governor, what IPOB would have wanted is for Rochas Okorocha to speak and say let’s go to war and if I do that, I do not care but I will tell you the truth I care for you. We must change our style. And for the Igbo nation, I don’t want to sound like a Pontus Pilate. I don’t want to be found passing a judgement. Please we must rethink on how we can move our economy forward”.
“Why are you misunderstood as Igbos? The reason is that they deal even better with non Igbos than with their brothers. I wish the Northerners will understand. An Igboman is the worst enemy of a fellow Igboman than people from the north. That, people don’t know about us”
“I want to appeal to all Igbos at this moment that my heart is bleeding, that we make a rethink and not join others in singing the song of division in this country”.
“We need Nigeria more than Nigeria needs us now. This is not time for Igbos to sing an alternative song of war. I want to appeal to the youths of our nation. We understand their frustration and that what we should bequeath to you as leaders is a nation devoid of hate and lack. But if you must fight, if you must blame, please blame not yourselves, blame us your leaders”.