Emeka Emekesiri, the founder of the original Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has given reasons they are supporting Mr Peter Obi as the presidential candidate of the Labour Party. He also spoke on the 2023 general elections. Excerpts:
We understand that you and the late Justice Eze Ozobu, Dr Dozie Ikedife, Col. Achuzia, and other elders who started IPOB filed a case in the Federal High Court seeking for independence of Biafra. What is your position regarding the forthcoming Nigerian elections in 2023 and Peter Obi’s candidacy?
The case between Biafra and Nigeria in the Federal High Court, now in the Court of Appeal, does not stop the Nigerian general elections. We have made it clear that we are Biafrans by indigenous identity, but Nigerians by citizenship. Therefore, we have the right to participate in the Nigerian politics. It’s just like the Scottish people who are participating in the British politics even though they are still seeking for independence. Regarding the Peter Obi candidacy, we support Peter Obi, not because he is a Biafran by indigenous identity, but because he is the best and the most qualified candidate capable of salvaging the country now.
As the founder and vision bearer of the original IPOB, if Peter Obi wins the election and becomes the President of Nigeria, will you still continue with your agitation for the independence of Biafra?
It appears that you have not understood our message. Yes, of course, I am the founder and vision bearer of the original IPOB, but from your question I can see that you have not understood the vision of self-determination we preach.
What is your vision for the self-determination you preach?
For many years, the peoples of the nations that make up Nigeria have been confused about their country. Some said that Britain made a mistake by creating a country called Nigeria. Others said it was not a mistake, but the problem is the mistake of choosing bad leaders. Yet, another group said the problem is incompatibility of religion, culture and lifestyles of the people of the nations that make up the country. The Igbo people were confused. Some said they wanted Biafra and others said they wanted an Igbo man to rule as the Nigerian president. To this set of people, their mindset is the same mindset of those claiming that it is their turn to become the Nigerian president. In fact, with this mindset, every region of Nigeria is waiting for its turn to steal and loot the public funds. But looking at the whole problem, it was clear to me that the solution is not merely having an Igbo man as the president of Nigeria who will go as our own thief to steal and loot the public money as others have done from other regions, but a man who can restore peace and orderliness; a man who can enthrone righteousness and the fear of God in the land; a man who can create equity, justice and fairness in the land; a man who can create an enabling environment for everyone to achieve his or her potentials based on merits without regard to ethnicity or religion. It is my opinion that Peter Obi fits into the description of the man who can do these things I have mentioned.
Does it mean that if Peter Obi wins and becomes the Nigerian president, you have achieved your vision of self-determination?
It will be a starting point. If you look at the manifesto published recently by Peter Obi and his running mate, Datti Ahmed, you will notice that item number three is the restructuring of the Nigerian polity. The problem of Nigeria did not start today. Also, the confusion about the citizenship of Igbo people in Nigeria did not start today. These problems made me to embark upon a research work for seven years from 2004 to 2011 culminating in the writing of my book entitled, “Biafra or Nigerian Presidency- What the Igbos Want”, published in 2012. The book is the foundation for the Biafran struggle for self-determination. As God commanded in the scriptures, ‘write the vision on paper and make it plain, so that whoever reads it will understand it and run with it,’ I wrote the vision clearly in the book. Unfortunately, this generation does not love reading, but false propaganda and video games. In the book, I advocated for the restructuring of Nigeria into regional autonomy so that every region will govern itself and develop at its own pace in Nigeria just like the four nations that make up the United Kingdom. My team and I pursued this vision of self-determination starting with restructuring. We contacted some world powers that have investments in Nigeria until the pressure became too much for the Nigerian government and they agreed to restructure the country. You must have noticed that the item number two of the list of amendments of the Nigerian Constitution by the last Senate Committee on the Amendment of the Nigerian Constitution was restructuring and devolution of powers. It was included on the list of items because of our advocacy and pressure. Consequently, we presented our memorandum to the National Assembly to restructure Nigeria into regional governments. We maintained our indigenous identity. We made a strong submission that we are Biafrans by indigenous identity, but Nigerians by citizenship just as the people of Scotland are Scottish by indigenous identity, but British by citizenship. We are the only group that presented a memorandum to the National Assembly for the restructuring of Nigeria by devolution of power to the regions.
If Nigeria is restructured by devolution of power to the regions, would you have achieved your vision and goals?
This is also part of the process and the journey to freedom. The expectation of Nigerians for the political dispensation that will commence in 2023 is to have a new beginning. Some have described it as a new Nigeria. It is clear that the leaders of the people have betrayed the people in all nations that make up the country. Whether in churches or mosques, the leaders have betrayed the people and made merchandise of them. Nobody is safe, whether in the East, West, North or South. The people are held in captivity by both their political and religious leaders. Worse still, most of the leaders of the self-determination and freedom movements are worse than criminals and cultists parading themselves as freedom fighters. The whole nation is rotten. There is total moral bankruptcy. However, there is time for everything. God allowed us to experience the pains inflicted upon us by our political and religious leaders in churches and government so that we would be wiser. It appears that most of us are wiser now. The Lord God Almighty is giving us a second chance to repent from all our evil ways and return to him as a people. My message is for the nations that make up Nigeria. I hope you know that Nigeria is not a nation, but a conglomeration of many nations. These are the nations of the indigenous people that make up the country called Nigeria. All the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria are in bondage and crying for deliverance.
Are you saying that even if Peter Obi wins and becomes the Nigerian president, he cannot solve the problems of the various nations that make up Nigeria?
In the building of nations, God works in partnership with man. For this reason, he anoints men and women with special leadership abilities to build and govern the nations. In Jeremiah 1: 10, God said he raised the man over the nations “to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant”. The work of nation building requires pulling down and uprooting evils, and building and planting righteousness. Unfortunately, for all these years, most of our leaders in religion and government are the epitome of evils themselves. They are the sponsors of terrorism and destructions in the land. Any person given any leadership position must be bold and courageous to uproot evils and plant righteousness in the land. Some people have blamed Britain for creating Nigeria by mistake, but God said that all things work together for good to them that love God who are called according to his purpose. Even if Nigeria was a mistake, God can turn the mistake for our good. We have a part to play in pulling down and rooting out evils in the land and planting righteousness. The restructuring we are talking about is a total overhauling of Nigeria so that there will be righteousness, justice, fairness and equity in the Constitution that laid the foundation of Nigeria. The Nigerian Constitution is fraudulent. It was not made by the people, but imposed on the people for the benefit of the makers who control the power and resources of Nigeria. The Nigerian Constitution is the foundation of the country. If the foundation is not right, the whole superstructure will certainly collapse. Therefore, in the submission we made to the National Assembly, we advocated for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution by changing Sections 2 and 3 which created the wrong foundation for Nigeria.
Could the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution the way you want it, mean that your vision of self-determination is achieved?
If Nigeria is restructured by way of devolution of powers to the six regions, we shall become like the Great Britain where there are four autonomous nations in one country. In future, any Region that wants outright independence shall pass the Bill of Referendum in the regional parliament for the people of the region to vote either Yes or No and decide whether to remain in Nigeria or pull out. We have an example in Great Britain where Mr Gordon Brown from Scotland was made the Prime Minister of The Great Britain, but the Scottish people continued to agitate for their total independence. They have conducted referendum two times and failed. They are planning for another referendum in 2023. We have not yet attained the status of regional autonomy. When we get to that stage, we shall decide what next. The 2023 election is a golden opportunity for all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria to be liberated from the bondage of political enslavement by the criminals occupying political offices in our land. It is not about tribe or religion. It is about national deliverance from the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in the high places of governance. God is giving us a second chance. If we miss this opportunity to bring righteousness, truth, justice and fairness into the Nigerian System in 2023, there shall not be another chance.
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