Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha has said that the South East Governors Forum proscribed the group Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), because secession agitation scuttles the ultimate political ambition of Igbos like himself in Nigeria.
Okorocha who has nursed a presidential ambition for over a decade said he had been against IPOB since its inception.
In an interview with The SUN, he said, “Some of us came out and made a big statement on IPOB. I condemned it from time. I have never supported IPOB. Who is Nnamdi Kanu to tell Rochas Okorocha to follow him to war. He said he was going to war.
“Most of the elite of the Igbo nation feel emotional about IPOB especially the clergies. I have engaged he clergies and they feel the same way.
“The elite should be engaged and made to change their stand because even if you are made the president, these questions must continue to come up. There is something wrong basically. I believe that it is either that enough information is not out there or that they are not taken properly.
“We must teach Nigerians how to free their minds. This is because when we are communicating, some people already have a preconceived mindset. I see this as a major challenge that we have. I believe that agitation in Nigeria is a way to get more whether right or wrong. I have been to the Northern part of this country and I weep each time in some of them.
“When I went to Liberia some time, I saw how great Nigeria is. So, there is need for every Nigerian to move around. This is because if you go to some of these places like Borno and some rural areas, you might come here and speak a different language. Rather than complaining, you might be organizing a fundraising to save the situation.”
He also said, “The North has produced many presidents. The hope is that by the Nigerian sharing formula, the next ship whatever arrangement, the next people that should be considered is the South East. But the South East again has created an image of danger to the rest of Nigeria that if they give them the presidency, they would secede. So, where are we in our wisdom and intelligence? You can judge especially those of us in the Diaspora who have never come home.
“If they discuss the Nigerian problem here, you think they have a solution to it. So, that is my position on IPOB. But my advice is that the Igbo should change their style and condemn this IPOB thing in a manner that should be done. Allow us to flow with the rest of Nigerians now because we shall benefit more than anyone else. Do you know how the Northerners feel. They feel a sense of hate. The question the Northerners would ask you is if Jonathan were in power, will the situation be the same.
“Believe me, the IPOB would not be at this level. I know the feelings just like I told Nigerians that the Igbo have a feeling of abandonment. But it is the same way the Northerners feel that this is an attack on their government. Wise people should have done things differently. I advised Ndigbo. Politically, you are not at an advantage; economically, you are not at an advantage. Sometimes some come to complain about non-inclusion of Ndigbo in appointments.
“When Ndigbo were ministers of Finance, Senate President, Secretary to the Government of the federation, Police head, what did you get. You want to hear the hard truth. The Igbo play the worst politics quote me. They play this politics of protecting one of their own from the South South zone. It has now become obvious and the Northerners now understand that they can become president with or without Ndigbo.”