Biafra agitation born in error, ignorance and frustration, says Obasanjo

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Biafra agitation born in error, ignorance and frustration, says Obasanjo

Biafra agitation born in error, ignorance and frustration, says Obasanjo
January 15
22:26 2016

•Says Igbos not marginalised
•Alleges ‘Mis-perception’ of buhari and gej during 2015 elections
•Says “Biafra cause is hopeless and fruitless exercise”

The renewed agitation for Biafra yesterday came under attack from former President Olusegun Obasanjo who dismissed it as a product of error,ignorance and frustration.

Obasanjo who said he ‘very cautious’ in getting involved in any debate or conversation with “the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), its many hydra-headed iterations and its resurgent Biafra agitation” said : “at best, the agitation was at regional level and that no inadvertent helping hand should be lent to it, to make it national.”

He spoke at a Development Discourse organised by Nextier Limited on the Biafra issue Abuja.
Reading from his prepared speech and speaking extempore at times,the former President said it is also wrong to say that the South East is marginalised in the scheme of things.

He hailed South-East leaders who,at a stakeholders’ meeting on December 17, 2015 dismissed the Biafra agenda and called for improvement in their region’s socio-economic situation.

He advised them to ensure sanity among their youth.

“No right-thinking person who has experienced the horror of war will ever agitate for more war… If the elders abdicate their responsibility to the immaturity, inadequate experience, unrealistic idealism and the frustration of the young, it will no doubt lead to disaster.

“Biafra as a secession issue is dead and nobody should follow that way. It can again, only lead to disaster.

“The devil finds work for idle hands and fills empty minds; there is even some suspicion that the agitators embarked on the act in order to extort money from outsiders and to also extract financial support from the government.

“The commercialization and exploitation of Biafra agitation is obscene to the point of criminal fraudulence; or, how do you explain the issuance of Biafran passport that takes no one anywhere and for which unwary people are being charged exorbitant prices.

According to Obasanjo, Biafra agitation is “a hopeless and fruitless exercise on which nobody in seriousness should embark”.

“Proffering solutions, the ex-President stated that the resurgent Biafra agitation should be treated as “a cry for attention, amelioration and improvement of socio-economic conditions” of South East youth and their counterparts in other parts.

“Above all, good governance at all levels is the key solution. The welfare and well-being of the citizenry with equity, justice and fairness must be the main pre-occupation of government at all levels”, he added.
On alleged marginalisation of the Igbos,he said: “When I became an elected President, an Igbo man was made the minister of finance;an Igbo man was made the governor of Central Bank;an Igbo man was made the minister of transport.

“One day some people came to me and said that the civil war is not over yet and I asked why. They said since the end of the civil war no Igbo man has been the minister of Defence and explained to them that what matters is the service chiefs and we have had Igbos in that position. And I appointed Thompson Aguiyi- Ironsi (as Minister of State for Defence).”

He also spoke on Igbo president,saying: “there can be no end to agitation. Let me say something about what you have said on when shall we have an Igbo president ? I think two things must be borne in mind by Nigerians; it doesn’t matter you tribe.

“Your tribe alone cannot make you the president of Nigeria. We must know that. My own tribe the Yoruba are the second largest tribe in Nigeria they did not vote for me in 1999. And yet I made it to become the President of Nigeria.

“That means that even if your tribe does not vote for you and Nigerians vote for you, you will be there. If your tribe vote for you and Nigeria doesn’t want you to be there you will not be there. If we understand that the way we play the politics so that what you want may happen, will be the way it should go . My own position is that once we know this we must work towards it. And if you work towards it it will happen . I don’t believe that Nigeria will only listen to you when you take arms. I don’t believe that and nobody should threaten any government, and I mean that.

“My own experience both in military training and in government makes that clear. We can achieve a lot through dialogue, through conversation, through debate and it is easy to accept . We should not treat ourselves with levity.
The event’s moderator, Mr. Patrick Okigbo provoked Chief Obasanjo by noting how such further divisions are caused by such hard-line anti-Biafra posture and President Mohammadu Buhari’s statement about how those who failed to vote for him cannot expect the same treatment as others who supported him.

In his contribution, octogenarian Chief Sam Okeke who once served as chairman of the Police Service Commission stated he does not believe in a secession agenda, stressing that the establishment of a South-East Development Commission would redress feelings of marginalisation.

For the umpteenth time,Obasanjo spoke on the his support for President Muhammadu Buhari in last year’s election.
He attributed the description of President Buhari by some peoples as a jihadist as well as criticism of his decision not to support Mr. Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 elections to “errors of perception, understanding and knowledge” which influenced voting patterns in the South-East during the elections.

“Mohammadu Buhari was presented by his detractors as a rabid Moslem fundamentalist who was secretly behind Boko Haram and who, on coming to power, would Islamise the whole of Nigeria….

“On the other side was the error of perception of President Goodluck Jonathan. I have before now, said a few of what I know and what determined my position in the contest between Buhari and Jonathan.

“I do not intend to say anymore except that the findings and revelations that have come out thus far have not proved me wrong.”

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