If you like call him the Igbo Political Pathfinder and you are not wrong. This is because Chief Chekwas Okorie and not the legendary Zik of Africa or even the iconic Ojukwu of the Republic of Biafra fame, founded the first all encompassing and generally acceptable political party for Ndigbo. This historic and symbolic milestone achievement was attained in 2002 going into the 2003 general elections when APGA was born. Zik, most adult Ndigbo know, did not found NCNC, it was Pa Hebert Macaulay. Zik took over leadership after Macaulay’s death. Again, Zik did not create NPP. It was Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim and a group led by Paul Unogo.
An irreconcilable difference ensued between Waziri and Unogo that forced the former out; thus the later and his group called on Zik to lead the NPP. The founder of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was forced out of the party and ultimately came up with the now defunct United Progressive s Party (UPP). Okorie is a prominent Igbo son. He has been canvassing for Igbo cohesion as well as Nigeria’s unity. In this chat with News Echo editors, Messrs ORI MARTINS and AFAM ECHI, Okorie who narrated his journey to founding the APGA, expressed his optimism that Ndigbo would go to Aso Rock in 2023, and lauded President Buhari for having done more than any PDP president for Ndigbo. It is a compelling read, enjoy the cruise.
There is insecurity everywhere in Nigeria especially in the South East. I can bear witness that 20 years ago you foresaw these things. What do you think is the cause of insecurity in the South East of Nigeria and what can you proffer as a way out?
In South East Nigeria in particular there has been growing anger amongst our young men and women who either sponsor themselves through school or parents who could not be said to be well to do tasked themselves, sold properties to have their children educated, only to come out and have no work to do. That is one. There are other forms of frustration, that even when you have work to do, those you are better off than who come from other parts of the country will now become your superior. We have the aspect of bad governance which is actually worse than the reasons I gave earlier. No northerner at least since 1999 that we returned to this democratic rule has been governor in any of these five Igbo states; they have been our sons and sometime our daughter, like in Anambra. These governors have not lived up to expectations and in all circumstances they have failed.
They are great disappointments to so many including my humble self. When you put all of these together you begin to see where the anger is building up and this has been expressed in so many ways to ensure that they are presenting the signals that things are going bad. By 1999, Raph Uwazuruike’s MASSOB (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) has started his agitation for separation. I remember that at that time I advised against it. I know very well that separation from Nigeria was not a tea party and that there is nothing we can get from by mere demonstration.
I was already old enough to follow the history of many countries that wanted to separate by force and it resulted in immeasurable human disaster and those who applied reasonable political approach have lasted for so long. Just a few days ago, Northern Ireland celebrated 28 years of massive destruction of lives and properties in that area based on the activities of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), all in the attempt to force separation from the United Kingdom. As they were celebrating 28 years of that mayhem, they were also celebrating 110 years of the struggle itself. In other words, it is 110 years that Northern Ireland has been struggling but each time the U.K. would make certain concessions and they would pipe down. Now they decided to leave the violent part of it and opted for the political side.
What is happening today is that Shin fen, the political wing of the Northern Ireland has continuously been defeating the Democratic Union Party (DUP) of Ireland winning most of the seats election after election. By the time they have full control of the area they can now go for referendum and win it. Yet, it has taken 110 years. In Quebec, they have done two referenda to make the French speaking people of Canada have their own territory. In two of these referenda, they lost because the people didn’t vote overwhelmingly to go. This is because the Canadian Government continued to make more concessions each time they want to go, just to make them remember that the bigger the better.
The Scottish people have also tried their own referendum twice, the second time they came close but still didn’t win. But what happened? The Scottish National Party (SNP) has continued to win most of the seats in Scotland unlike when they were sharing it with Labour Party, Conservative Party etc. But today it is the SNP that is controlling most of the seats in parliament. I believe that by the time there is another referendum they would exit because they are almost there. Again, in Brexit referendum, 90% of Scotland voted to remain but the overall votes counted showed that Britain wanted to exit. But that is not the result in Scotland.
Yes we have sufficient reasons to insist on self-determination. We have reasons to even want to leave Nigeria but the process being used, the method and strategy being used by our angry youths can only lead to massive disaster and give your enemy or oppressor room to over run the place. The greatest worry I have today is that we are almost going to turn the guns against ourselves and that has made the situation in the South East go worst. We have the IPOB that set up the ESN.
The governments of the South East though belatedly, it is better late than never have come up with Ebubeagu. There is another group that I can’t remember its name now that said that they have Ijeagu. Now MASSOB have said that in the next two weeks that they will set up their own. And what does that portend-danger. When these things are set up, the fight for territorial control will begin and the leaders of these various groups will become warlords and gang leaders trying to secure the path of the South East that they will be in control of. These are some of the things that happen among rival cult groups in the Universities and when they can’t trace the leader of their rival cult they take the fight to the parents who they kill. The innocent parents never knew that their son was in cult.
That is the danger facing us today. That is why so many of us have come out again to douse the tension. Under the umbrella of Ohanaeze, a peace and reconciliation Committee was set up last week with the present Chairman of Ohanaeze as its chairman and many that I would regard as very strong opinion leaders belong to that Committee. All our retired generals, all our two retired IGPs, selected Senators from each of the state, House of Reps from the states, the highest level of the clergy in each state, and many of such caliber of persons. We met and decided that we have to move in to calm Ala Igbo down first.
Three committees were set up, sub-committees, one to interface with those agitating to leave Nigeria, those wanting to set up their security outfits, know what to do to assuage their anger and have all of us work together to protect ourselves. There are other groups and committees too, all designed to meet and champion the Igbo agenda. The ground work is being done to take off very soon. I am in two out of the three committees. It is because of my relationship and the respect that I enjoy among the Igbo personalities and people that I have been able to reach out to some of those leading the separatist group. We have an understanding that such a meeting will hold if invited and they will be invited. There are many things that are causing the anger.
My attention was drawn to one pathetic case and there are many like that. There is the case where a pregnant lady was arrested because the security agencies came to arrest the husband suspected to be a member of MASSOB and the husband ran away. They arrested this woman and her pregnancy. That woman had been in detention for 13 years. She had her child who became 13 years old in detention with the mother. When I heard this just a couple of days ago my heart was turn about. There are many instances and I queried why they are bringing up the matter so late, that if I didn’t invite them I wouldn’t know that this type of thing exists.
I said go and compile the list of all the others. There was the case of a cripple doing the repairs of tubes and tyres and he was arrested even as a member of MASSOB. That cripple has been in detention for about 12 years. Now we have governors that have powers of prerogative of mercy who could say for even not trying you for this length of time, go. If that child that is now a teenager, if he leaves that prison what type of citizen do you expect him to be. These are some of the things fuelling anger. If we pretend that all is well it may consume all of us.
Why we are very worried sir, is that several times I had chats with you since 1999 you have always said that it is the turn of Ndigbo, that we must produce president in the past years, 2003, 2007, etc. This is now 2021 and we are approaching 2023. Looking at the crises, looking at PDP, APC, APGA, etc where do we take to in 2023 as Igbo presidency or have we all agreed that we don’t a stake in Nigeria again?
(Big laughter). No, no, no. We have not agreed that we don’t have a stake. We have the highest stake in Nigeria. It is just that we have not been able to put our house in order. You see, it was when Dr. Alex Ekwueme was short-changed in 1999 at the PDP presidential convention in Jos, that I picked up the gauntlet a third time to go look for a party for our people. I said a third time because I had led my associates to register a political party for Ndigbo called Igbo Democratic Congress in 1996. The Igboezuo motor is “Onye aghala nwanne ya” which was also used as the motto for the party and deriving from the NCNC symbol of cock we also used cock at least to be able to get some people remember with nostalgia the NCNC and Zik and Okpara. But we were not registered. In 1998 we went for a second time.
The same name, the same symbol but we were not registered. But I didn’t understand what was going on but in each of these situations we were trying to build it around Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu knowing that he still had cult following. Then it was after the second attempt that I realized that he was the problem. He didn’t share it with me but when I shared it with him he agreed with me. So, the people who fought the war, some of whom had removed their khaki and wore agbada were the ones who set up and controlled PDP from Minna. The PDP operational headquarters was not in Abuja but in Minna. And so, they took a decision that there was no way a party built around Ojukwu would be registered.
I followed Ojukwu so faithfully when he said that we are going to APP until that event happened in Jos against Ekwueme. And in Kaduna, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu was the presidential candidate of APP and within 24 hours he was practically forced to surrender that mandate to Olu Falae. It was both laughable and painful because APP had won nine governorship seats in the north and AD had won six governorship seats in the west. I didn’t understand how a party with nine governors and higher number of seats in the states assembly should play a second fiddle in an alliance. Then I knew that the conspiracy against our people was too much.
That was when I began to think of the third attempt to get us a party that we would control its machinery. By 2001 we had applied again. By 2002 we were registered, that is APGA. From the airport on arrival in Enugu I drove straight to Ikemba’s house and he gave me bear hug and he shed tears. Since I have been close to him there have been four times I saw him shed tears and this was one of them. From there we went to Dr. Alex Ekwueme house, went to C.C. Onoh at Ngwo and ended up at the home Justice Eze Ozubu the then president of Ohanaeze. At the first meeting of Ohanaeze outside Enugu we held it at Asaba, the first Ohanaeze meeting in Asaba. I presented the certificate. It was like telling Ndigbo, this is your party, own it.
It was there that Justice Ozubu proposed that I should be given the title of ‘Ogbatulu enyi Ndigbo’ and it was there that he told Ikemba to go and join this party so that Ndigbo will know that this is their own. The next month was at Abakaliki where the proposed title was conferred on me. So, as I speak today I am the only Igbo man dead or alive that has Ohanaeze title. But Ikemba didn’t join us immediately. It took another six months, December 2002, to convince him to join, based on the conviction too that he would be the presidential candidate. He joined and became our presidential candidate. But the conspiracy multiplied because they were shocked. In the process and formation of APGA, Ojukwu was nowhere until we resurrected him politically to come and join.
It became a matter of fact, a shock. Obasanjo told me after the election because they had done everything to make me drop Ikemba which I refused because I said that would be over my dead body. After the election I was invited to the Villa and we spent four hours in his study. Four hours you can imagine us discussing everything in Nigeria. But the remarkable aspect of hat he told me was, he told me that I committed a political sin by making Emeka (as he calls Ojukwu) a presidential candidate.
The person that fought to divide Nigeria is the person that I brought, he stated. And if anything had happened for him to become president, so he would now become the president of the country that wanted to divide. That is their mind set. It was in that meeting that he told me that Nigeria was a very tolerant country, so tolerant to have allowed Ekwueme become Vice President nine years after the war. It was then the entire goose pimple I had in my body showed that the conspiracy against Ndigbo was deep.
So if anything had happened to Shagari somebody from that area would become president. Then he asked me if I knew how long it took somebody from South America to become president of America after the civil war. I said yes, 150 years. He asked, who was it? I said Jimmy Carter. I said to myself this is the type of plot these people have. It wasn’t long after the late Remi Oyo who did the job Adeshina and others were doing for him and now declared me enemy of state, a media adviser? You know what that means, is like declaring me to be brought down dead or alive. What did I do? That I presented Odumegwu Ojukwu as presidential candidate, that was all.
But I must doff my hat for the average Igbo man. The whole Igbo voted massively. They required no further persuasion. We could only afford 5 presidential rallies because there was no money. So where and where did we go to? I can count on my finger tips but Igbo people voted all over the country. Remarkable one was that we won Suleja Federal Constituency without a candidate. That time once your party is on the ballot votes were counted for it. It was the second party PDP with candidate that took the victory because we didn’t have a candidate. Ditto for Ojo Federala Constituency, no candidate. We won Amuwo Odofin Federal constituency, no candidate.
The politicians thought it was not worth their efforts but ordinary people knew and voted. A movement had begun. I wasn’t too disappointed because I felt that with that effort in the next election in 2007 we would at least control the whole South East as a step forward. Even in that 2003 we had a House of Rep member from Bayelsa, Hon Ere and Onyeagucocha of Imo. We had state assembly seats in Adamawa, Ibadan etc. I didn’t know that the presidency had not gone to rest even when they schemed Ojukwu out. The rigging against APGA was also deliberate. In fact, I was told that APGA became a national security issue. It was unfortunate that political party participating in a national political process was looked at as a national security issue just because of the leader that we chose. So they continued to find ways to destabilize and destroy the party. One year after, Dec 2004 the crises started. APGA crises were hatched in the villa in Aso Rock. They simply saw a weak link to be used for it to appear as an internal problem.
In Jan 2005, our own brother, I don’t blame him because his life was in danger and may be dependent on it, Prof Maurice Iwu, was compelled let me put it that way because what he did was unprecedented and had no legal backing anywhere to give recognition to the treasurer of the party, Victor Umeh as Chairman of the party without any consideration of the party constitution and structure. In fact, before Iwu became chairman they wanted to use Abel Guobadia to do same thing but he refused. In fact, he issued a statement and gave me a copy. He issued a statement that APGA has not had its national convention to change its leadership and therefore Chief Chekwas Okorie remained the national chairman of the party. With that copy he gave me I addressed a press conference and shared same to the media.
That was Feb 2005. A few months after Guobadia’s tenure ended and Iwu came in. The first action Iwu took within 30 days of being Chairman was to recognize Umeh and that was the beginning of the destruction of that dream of giving our people a platform for movement, movement for political rejuvenation and resurgence. That was the end and we have confined the party to one state. Every attempt to continue the euphoria in Imo, in Abia never lasted. We were in court for eight years all fighting if that vision could be saved but it turned out like hitting my head against the wall.
We pulled out to form the UPP with the same objective. So what would our people say to me, sometimes being sarcastic, sometimes and being derogatory-instead of joining the bandwagon where there is celebration you went to where there is mourning and gnashing of teeth. Perhaps they thought that I don’t know that place where the road to it is painted with gold before choosing to go where it is narrow and thorny.
The last straw was the de-registration of UPP in February 2020. I called our people in a valedictory NEC meeting and said that at this point we have done opposition for several years even under the military. My opposition experience is over 30 years and we can’t remain there. Let’s go to the APC. It may not be the most attractive but may even attract so much attacks but let’s go there for us to support the extent we could for Buhari to complete his tenure in 2023, reasoning that if we supported Atiku another eight years will still be there and by our own assessment there are practically no difference between one Fulani and another Fulani.
So while the PDP people have chosen their only Fulani we stay with our own Fulani. So that was the rational before going to APC. We cannot say that we have gotten the type of attention that we expect but we are now looking forward to 2023 with greater hope because the moral burden on the APC today is how to continue with a northern president after 8 years of rule. So definitely APC is looking down South and so it has narrowed it perhaps to South East and South West.
So the chances are brighter. Top Nigerian political leaders across the divide, north and south, even South West, Niger Delta, they are all saying it is the turn of the Igbo. Our chances are brightest in 2023 God willing, that is if there will be election because assuming if these crises continue there will not be any election. If we attract that slot that will arouse our people’s consciousness again and the confidence in Nigeria.
I can tell you that the Igbo man I have known over the years are highly sentimental. When Peter Obi became the running mate of Atiku I don’t know how many people who knew him personally or how many states that he visited outside Anambra. But that sentiment swept across, for the first time in a democratic contest in this country, an opposition presidential candidate, Atiku defeated an incumbent president in the FCT. This happened because of Igbo presence.
I can tell you that in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) alone, there are 6 council areas there are 475, 000 registered voters out of which 300,000 are Igbo. It is just that they don’t come out to vote. The margin with which APC defeated PDP in Lagos was only 100,000 votes in spite of all the Asiwaju of this world. It was all because of the Igbo people strength. So once you give Igbo ticket you can be sure that 99% of Igbo votes nationwide will go to that box. And should PDP try not to give Igbo ticket, PDP will shrink to less than any of the small parties. It is the Igbo that is the strength of PDP.
Looking at the way things are playing out now, there are so many things still challenging the Igbo presidential ambition, for instance the voting strength of the South East. The tell-tale signs from PDP and APC show that they may not likely cede the ticket to the Igbo and same from APC notwithstanding your optimism. Down here we don’t seem to be speaking with one voice on the issue. Besides, it doesn’t show we are preparing for this challenge. Again considering your optimism on the depth of conspiracy against Ndigbo do you still assure yourself that Igbo man stands a chance?
First of all things have changed.
What has changed now?
President Buhari was never part of that Minna cabal. In fact, it was the Minna cabal that sent him to jail. He wasn’t even given the opportunity to come and bury his mother. PMB has never been enamored with the politics of the northern elites. He has always been for the masses, reason he hardly listens to those people who claim that the northern political class. Another significant thing is that those people who controlled the PDP, many of them have joined their ancestors. Those who are still alive can hardly lift their limbs. That influence that they were wielding has died. If it were before somebody like Wike would not be making the noise that he is making in PDP.
They would give him his place because they would never allow any voice to rise above any of their anointed choice. PDP is no longer what it used to be. Now to the Igbo question of political strength. There was an issue I raised after the presidential election that Buhari won we were still in UPP. President Buhari looking at the INEC figure amidst argument which he had bought that time declared that Igbo people did not vote for him, that only 5% voted for him.
Then I came publicly to say that it would be unfair and uncharitable to look at Igbo votes from the point of view of direct victory with respect to the 5% percent, Prior to the 2015 election Dr Alex Ekwueme led some Ohanaeze leaders including Igariwey and others to president Jonathan to tell him that Igbo people were not happy because nothing is being done in their land in terms of federal presence.
Jonathan said that there is no way that he could turn the hand of the clock, that they should vote for him that he will make amends in his second term. Ekwueme came out and granted interviews to some newspapers and said that Igbo people may not vote for Jonathan the way they voted in 2011. But it did not mean that they are going to vote for Buhari. That projection was accurate. In 2011, Jonathan had 7m votes plus. In 2015, he had less than 3m votes, meaning that many people voted with their backsides.
President Buhari defeated Jonathan by 2.5m votes. Don’t you see that if Igbo people had voted the way they voted in 2011, Jonathan would have won because the margin was small? Who would have ever known that an incumbent was going to lose. Talking about 2019 the Igbo made a difference. The only thing is that our people have over time felt that politics was not meant for them and continue to lose interest. What is required now is to arouse that interest.
The fact that the Igbo people have now been sidelined, maligned, oppressed and suppressed by the previous governments, an injustice that have cried to high heaven, reason the likes of Edwin Clarke, Alhaji Gana, Ayo Adebanjo, Babatope, Joseph Eva etc, people who are never Igbo saying give it to Igbo people so we can have peace. We never had such widespread sympathy or solidarity or endorsement before now.
And Igbo people have gone for the first time, I saw the like of Chief Iwuanyanwu and other top PDP leaders like Okwesilieze Nwodo, come out to say that should PDP fail to give its ticket to Igbo people they would review their continued stay in the party. That was what jolted the party because they had flown the kite based on the recommendation of the Bauchi governor Bala Mohammed that they would throw the ticket open to all Nigerians. For the first time Igbo leaders in PDP gave the type of reactions I expected them to give and what did the party do? They immediately recanted and said that their NEC has not decided. Bu we knew that ultimately their NEC would decide against us.
This is why our hope is in APC. In 2003, after the election Buhari and Chuba Okadigbo came to Enugu and we visited the home of Ojukwu and shared some moments over what we in the opposition should be doing. A month or so later we went to Daura, myself, Ojukwu, Okwesilieze, Tim Menakaya, Okwuosa (APC governorship candidate in Anambra election) to reciprocate the visit.
A communiqué was issued jointly signed by Buhari and Ojukwu on justice, equity, fairness, in collaboration. You that APGA is 6 years older than ACN, the ACN that eventually went into alliance with ANPP and CPC. If what happened in APGA didn’t happen it could have perhaps being that alliance that would have formed government and we would now have been part of those that formed the government of Nigeria. The damage was too much but be that as it may.
I am a very optimistic person, I think we have a chance, if we miss this particular chance in 2023 we leave it to God but I pray that it happens in my life time but by then I would have been weak. I am praying that the efforts that we are putting together now and the state of the nation today would compel anybody who wants Nigeria to remain should consider the Igbo. Should APC do it they would continue in power but failing to do it they will attract political consequences.
Why I keep reaching out to you is that you are very prophetic, very historical and whenever it happens I am always bold to say that we carried it. I can see your optimism, very assured but Sir why we are disturbed is that look at Nigeria, out of 21 directors in NNPC none is from Igbo, this is the first time in democratic Nigeria that an Igbo man is neither the president, nor the vice, not the senate president or deputy, ditto for Reps, no Igbo man in 14 of the top brass of the military and other important positions. What makes you think that when they cannot concede these small things that they would allow you take the presidency? This is why people are disturbed.
They are not going to give it to us whole heartedly. They are going to give to us out of political exigencies, out of the need for Nigeria to survive. Let me tell you, this country no longer is that of monolithic north against the rest of the country. This country has divided itself more along ethnic lines than religious lines. People of the same religion are even divided. The Hausa have drawn clear line between themselves and the Fulani and they are of same religion.
The Fulani led by Miyetti Allah claim to be the landlord of the whole country. The Middle Belt minority up to Taraba including Southern Kaduna are coalescing on a common platform for the Middle Belt self-determination. The issue of Odua Republic has already developed some international connections. The agitations to have Biafra have attracted global attentions. The Niger Delta Republic agenda has been in the front burner.
We have never been in this situation and the only binding force that would keep everyone calm if we get it right it will become forever is to give the Igbo man presidential ticket. It is only the Igbo man that has invested in Nigeria without any of those parochial sentiments and for that very reason it is only an Igbo man that can see Nigeria as one and build it into a nation. Nigeria has never developed beyond Awolowo’s definition of a country as a mere geographical expression. Yes we have not been given those appointments.
I am not happy about it. I am using every opportunity that I have including this one to say that it is unfair. If you give me infrastructure and you give me appointment I will choose infrastructure. No government since the war ended has given attention to Igbo land more than the Buhari administration. I challenge some Igbo PDP leaders (I mean governors and other top leaders who have been in PDP since 1999) to show me or tell me any project started or completed by the PDP in its sixteen years in the whole of Igbo land. They couldn’t come up with one. I said ok lets go back to 1970 when they were not even there.
I said which project that was started and was completed and still standing since the war ended. They can only say Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha roads and which have become dilapidated. But when President Buhari was coming to launch his second term campaign he commissioned the Ariaria power project started and completed by him. The second Niger Bridge which as PPP was started by PDP and which may have never ended in our life time was jettisoned completely, redesigned and funded from the Sovereign Wealth Fund and that is why work is going on there without saying that we are waiting for payment from our budget releases.
That is why the deadline to complete it was given as February 2022. You came from Owerri and you saw the road. You go to Onitsha road the contractors are working and it is getting improvements. These are all federal projects. That all our Eastern seaports were abandoned was deliberate. They know that we are trade oriented and relies on the sea ports but they would concentrate activities in Lagos. About 10,000 trailers ply Lagos-to Onitsha every month.to discharge goods.
Consider the costs. Imagine if they were to clear the goods at Onitsha, Warri, Onne, Port Harcourt, Calabar. All those places will open up. These hostile policies were made to ensure that we never develop again but in spite of that, the per capita income of the Igbo man is far way ahead of other Nigerians. If they have found an answer to make us not breath they would have done it. This has continued from 1970 till PDP left government. It is good to the ear to hear of positions they gave us but we need actual
APGA crisis was hatched in Aso Rock to disorganize Ndigbo
3rd Political expediency ‘ll bring Igbo presidency in 2023
4th Buhari has done tangible things
for South East
“No northerner at least since 1999 that we returned to this democratic rule has been governor in any of these five Igbo states; they have been our sons and sometime our daughter in Anambra. These governors have not lived up to expectations and in all circumstances they have failed. They are great disappointments to so many including my humble self. When you put all of these together you begin to see where the anger is building up and this has been expressed in so many ways to ensure that they are presenting the signals that things are going bad. By 1999 Raph Uwazuruike’s MASSOB (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) has started his agitation for separation. I remember that at that time I advised against it. I know very well that separation from Nigeria was not a tea party and that there is nothing we can get from by mere demonstration.”
‘Yes we have sufficient reasons to insist on self-determination. We have reasons to even want to leave Nigeria but the process being used, the method and strategy being used by our angry youths can only lead to massive disaster and give your enemy or oppressor room to over run the place. The greatest worry I have today is that we are almost going to turn the guns against ourselves and that has made the situation in the South East go worst. We have the IPOB that set up the ESN. The governments of the South East though belatedly but it is better late than never have come up with Ebubeagu. There is another group that I can’t remember its name now that said that they have Ijeagu. Now MASSOB have said that in the next two weeks that they will set up their own. And what does that portend-danger”
“They are not going to give it to us whole heartedly. They are going to give to us out of political exigencies, out of the need for Nigeria to survive. Let me tell you, this country no longer is that of monolithic north against the rest of the country. This country has divided itself more along ethnic lines than religious lines. People of the same religion are even divided. The Hausa have drawn clear line between themselves and the Fulani and they are of same religion. The Fulani led by Miyetti Allah claim to be the landlord of the whole country. The Middle Belt minority up to Taraba including Southern Kaduna are coalescing on a common platform for the Middle Belt self-determination. The issue of Odua Republic has already developed some international connections. The agitations to have Biafra have attracted global attentions. The Niger Delta Republic agenda has been in the front burner. We have never been in this situation and the only binding force that would keep everyone calm if we get it right it will become forever is to give the Igbo man presidential ticket.”