Popular Igbo politician, Joe Igbokwe has said leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu is a “child” who cannot lead Igbos.
In a recent interview with Punch, Igbokwe said Kanu’s method of agitation was dangerous and could breed violence and war.
He said, “The late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu has done his bit, Ralph Nwazurike has done his bit and he is still fighting. Nnamdi Kanu has also joined but his method of agitation is potentially dangerous and frightening. Nnamdi Kanu became popular by abusing other Nigerians – calling Nigeria a zoo, and preaching hate and ethnic bigotry. Hate speech can lead to exchange of hot words, and the next (thing that can happen) is war. Once there is a full-scale war, thousands or millions will die. After the loss of the 2015 (presidential) election, which Igbo never thought Jonathan would lose, hell was let loose. The colossal and tragic loss led some Igbo leaders to believe in anybody that will throw as many stones as possible at the All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari. I can understand this. They did not play better politics as they put all their eggs in one basket. Kanu became what they needed to fight back.”
He added, “Now you must hear this: Kanu is not an Igbo leader and can never be one. He is a kid. The Holy Book says: ‘Woe betides a nation whose leader is a child.’ We have competent, trusted and tested leaders in Igbo land. We have millions who do not believe in the so-called Biafra and when the chips are down, you will hear them loud and clear. Leading a sophisticated and hard-working tribe like the Igbo is not an all-comers affair. It is for the serious-minded; the cerebral; the educated; the cultured; and experienced. We have yet to know Nnamdi Kanu’s pedigree, temperament, antecedents, and education. You cannot put a crown on a clown and expect a king. If a blind man leads a blind man, both of them will fall into a pit. Kanu – with all due respect – cannot lead the Igbo. This I know, all things considered. What we need now is war of sense and not war of bullets.”
Igbokwe also said he does not support the agitation for an independent Nigeria, stating that the Igbos had invested so much in Nigeria.
He said, “Support for a state of Biafra? No, sir, and I say this with all emphasis in my command and with all the energy at my disposal. I have my reasons. One, South-East is too small for Igbo enterprise. Two, diversity should be a big plus in Nigeria and not a minus. We are better united with justice, equity and fair play. Three, Igbo have invested heavily in the ‘project Nigeria’ so much so that throwing away their monumental investments for the sake of a small Biafra is tantamount to committing political, economic and social suicide. Four, all Nigerians have paid the price of the unity of this country with millions of souls (lost) between 1966 and 1970. Therefore, we must work hard to remain one nation – for one destiny and one God. Five, given the history of Igbo and their republican attitude, I do not think we can manage one another in Biafra. Biafra may turn out to be another South Sudan because of leadership tussle and struggle for power and positions. Six, Biafra is landlocked. Seven, Nigeria provides a big space for Igbo to operate. I can go on and on to give you 10 reasons but time and space will not permit me.”