*Says Sponsors Don’t Want Elections, Igbo Presidency
*Alleges Plot to Impose Emergency Rule in Anambra
Former Anambra State governor in the third republic, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Wednesday night suggested that the federal government may be behind the spate of bloody attacks on national infrastructure, which had claimed the lives of policemen and other residents in the Southeast zone of the country. Ezeife, an economist, exonerated members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the Eastern Security Network, ESN of involvement in the violence, arson, and bloodletting in the area, insisting that IPOB and ESN don’t have the tradition of shedding blood and burning down things.
He expressed suspicion that “those who are sponsoring these things don’t want elections; they don’t want president from Southeast zone and would even want to scatter Anambra election and go for emergency situation and appoint somebody”.
Ezeife, 83, who spoke in an interview on Arise Television’s News Night, alleged that by its actions and policies, “the federal government has been working hard pushing the Igbos out of Nigeria”.
Responding to how the people of the Southeast had allegedly been beating drums of war with series of attacks on public buildings and killing of policemen, the former governor said “Anybody who hears this story will be mad against the people. But who are the people who are burning INEC offices, who are killing the police? Well, there is the impression that some people, may be even in government, are guilty of organising such things and blaming it on IPOB and ESN.
“Efforts have been made by elders of our people to find out the truth, and the hands of IPOB and ESN are not there. I’m sure you know that at Owerri prison, there was a lot of devastation and the IG of Police blamed it immediately on IPOB and ESN. Even the governor of that state, Imo State, at the beginning thought it was IPOB and ESN. But now we know that more than 80 percent of the people caught by the CCTV camera are not from the Southeast or even from the East at all. Now, Gulak is dead; was it a design again to blame it on IPOB and ESN? First of all, my heart goes to the family. But we are learning more now that there is a design to provoke the East”.
Asked what could be the motive by the federal government, Ezeife could not really substantiate his claim. He said “I don’t know whether they are particularly in government, but from what we are reading and the research we are making and getting results, many people…I’m happy to tell you, I read the president’s statement; there are many positives there.
“Number one, he said in spite of efforts to run down the INEC, there would still be elections. Two; that he has no ambition to stay beyond his term of office and go for third term. That is very good. But he may not know all that is going on. A president takes responsibility for what is happening. And I heard the minister of information categorically blaming IPOB and ESN. How did he know? These are dangerous elements in government”.
Absolving IPOB and ESN, the former governor argued that “IPOB and ESN don’t have the tradition of shedding blood, of burning down things in the east; burning down what we are boasting for, burning down buildings, killing policemen. It is not in Igbo tradition to shoot people in office, shoot police. It’s not in Igbo tradition to burn down houses. During the #EndSARS, people attributed what was happening in Lagos to some Igbo elements; it was not. And eventually they discovered…We should understand what is going on; we shouldn’t jump into conclusion”.
Seemingly justifying the agitation of his people, Ezeife stated that “The young men (IPOB/ESN) are reacting to what is coming from the federal government. Substantiating his claim, he said “Whether it is projects location, you don’t find it in Igbo land. Tell me any station for railway right now. Whether it is appointments, you don’t find the Igbos there. But if it is retirement from service, we dominate. Do you know that for long, there is no Southeasterner in the national security council of Nigeria?
“Then individual Igbo people were pulled down. Ibeto was the giant of cement, he was pulled down. Now, he’s trying to climb up again. Even Ifeanyi Uba was detained. Innoson who is running a car manufacturing something, someone that should be pampered; he was detained, flown to Lagos with pants. So, there are too many instances of Igbos being humiliated, marginalized, excluded, etc. Look at the recent appointments – the four zones – South-south, Southwest, Southeast and Middle Belt – went to court to sue the federal government, the president, for not complying with federal character”.
On the struggle for a Southeast presidency, Ezeife said God has approved it. “I thank all Nigerians, northerners, the western people, they are all supporting us. Almighty God in heaven has approved Southeast presidency. The Yoruba has a group who has started processing the names of competent people from Igbo land who can become president. They are working on that; we are working on that too and we have people. We are engaging other parts of the country.
“On Monday, there was a meeting of various ethnic groups at this your hotel, Transcorp Hilton Hotel. I told them that the greatest guilt in Nigeria goes to Igbo and Yoruba because if Yoruba and Igbo had aligned early, there is no way of anybody dominating this country the way it is now. But even that, I want to tell you that we are making progress on this”.