The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi has again accused the South-East of engaging in self-inflicted punishment in a united Nigeria.
This as the monarch also called on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to sheath their sword and embrace one Nigeria.
The Iwo monarch, who was reacting to the response of Ohaneze Ndigbo to his earlier statement on why he would not support an Igbo presidency, demanded that the Pan Igbo group should tender an apology to the throne of the Oluwo.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, while responding to Oluwo earlier, described his statement as untrue.
Ohanaeze noted that Oba Akanbi’s attack on the Igbo was not based on any verifiable evidence but rather on self-serving interests.
Oba Akanbi had, in a statement issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, said that “no Nigerian will feel secure in the hands of a leader whose ethnic attachment deprived other Nigerians of their rights”.
He further accused the Igbo of “preventing people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain”, adding that “the style by the Southeasterners is barbaric”.
Reacting to the allegations on Tuesday, Ohanaeze President General, Prof. George Obiozor, described the accusations as untrue, and advised Oba Akanbi to “undergo some tutelage under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs”, stating that a well-adjusted traditional ruler is known by being open-minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain.
Obiozor in a statement issued through the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said, “It is self-evident that Nigeria is a beleaguered country that urgently needs nation-building; inflammatory and incendiary remarks from monarchs and the highly placed are antithetical to peace and unity of Nigeria.
“In promoting his preferred candidate, he has committed a fallacy of hasty generalisation when he stated that ‘the style by southeasterners is barbaric; the Igbo cannot be trusted with power’, among others.
“Surely, such prejudice, innuendo and vitriolic group vilifications against the entire Igbo nation is most unreflective of a royal father whose primary duty is to sow seeds of unity in his kingdom and beyond. For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo are adventurous nation builders; they are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond.
“The wild claims that the Igbo prevent people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain or have an obnoxious policy of depriving other Nigerians of their rights cannot be substantiated. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that a group that builds modern houses in all parts of the country will prevent other ethnicities from building in their homestead.
“One would think that the morbid fabrication of falsehood is terrible mischief, only for the uninitiated. What else? Oba Akanbi is drawn to his paradox, where he acknowledged the damage done to the Igbo during the Nigerian civil war and at the same time condemning the agitation by Igbo youth, such as the ESN for their clamour for inclusiveness based on equity and justice after about 53 years of the Nigerian Civil War,” the statement read in part.
Now explaining the need for apology, Oba Akanbi explained that the conclusion of Ohaneze Ndigbo was a hasty and unguarded vituperation.
Citing that no monarch felt the pains of Ndigbo like he did, he asked the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to read more about his activities before jumping to the media.
Maintaining that his message was to their advantage, the traditional ruler held that they should see it as such.
In his words, “I want to challenge the Igbos further to name a monarch outside the South-East who has ever dressed like an Igbo king? I remain an Oba and very committed to the unity and oneness of Nigeria. The Igbos should act more, talk more and do more on the unity of Nigeria instead of their vituperation against an unrepentant preacher and promoter of one Nigeria.
“I was the first monarch outside the South-East to visit Innoson manufacturing company owned by an Igbo man Innocent Chukwuma and the only Nigerian monarch using an Innoson vehicle, which I bought in January 2018. I went further to advertise and promote the made in Nigeria vehicle on highway billboards throughout the country on my personal expenses.”
Oba Akanbi, who lamented that he was surprised Ohanaeze Ndigbo could picture him as dividing Nigeria, added that he has cordial relationships with respected monarchs and personalities from the South-East.
While stressing that he never said Igbos can’t produce the president, he explained that there was need for them to re-strategize.
“I appeal to IPOB to sheath their sword and embrace one Nigeria. Our diversity is a strength. We must be smart with it and convert it to advantage. Achieving one Nigeria is a collective responsibility. I challenge Ohanaeze Ndigbo to take responsibility, appeal to IPOB and ESN to ceasefire. It is then that we will know we are all Nigerians in Nigeria and enjoy a better sense of belonging.
“The stakeholders in the zone should address their subjects to promote mutual coexistence. People should be allowed to go to work and transact business. Sit-at-home order will do more harm to people’s means of survival. Secession is an abstract concept in modern Nigeria,” he added.