IPOB Names Ekwueme, Anyaoku, Others As Negotiators With US Congressmen
The pro-secession group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, has signaled strong interest in meeting with some United States (US) Congressmen to Nigeria, who are on a fact-finding mission concerning the agitation for a Biafran State, by making public a list of some elder statesmen to act as its negotiators.
The group, which had earlier rejected the Ohanaeze leadership as its representatives in the talks with the Congressmen, named Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, as its representatives. Others are Dr. Arthur Nwankwo, Archbishop Anthony Obinna and Gen. Alex Madiebo (rtd). A press statement from United Kingdom signed by IPOB Spokespersons, Mr. Emma Nmezu, a lawyer, and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, said that the elder statesmen were chosen based on their antecedents as “elders of proven integrity who will not compromise the interest of the people for personal gains”. The statement read in part: “We chose them as credible elders who will speak the truth without being easily compromised. All over the world, fact-finders meet with people of impeccable pedigree and not political contractors like Ohanaeze and similar groups”. The statement explained that it decided to make public the names of the authorised individuals who could enter into any negotiation on its behalf following reports of attempts by those it described as unauthorised and self-seeking individuals and groups, to hijack the visit of the US Congressmen for their pecuniary motives. IPOB advised the US Congress delegation to beware of impostors and ensure they only deal with the right persons. Nmezu said: “It has come to the notice of IPOB that some selfish individuals who deliberately misconstrue our genuine intentions towards the restoration of Biafra are busy parading themselves as elders or custodians of our present agitation. “Once again, we have been reliably informed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has once again hijacked the proposed visit of the US Congressmen to Biafraland thereby positioning themselves as the mouthpiece of IPOB which is blatantly false. “We have not mandated this group called Ohanaeze to represent IPOB in any capacity. That US Congressmen are in Biafraland today is as a result of the hard work of IPOB all over the world in lobbying them. “If anyone is concerned about the plight of Ndigbo they should initiate an action plan with the intention of addressing them, not waiting for the blood of Biafrans to be shed so they can emerge to pontificate on the way forward. IPOB would like the world to know that we have credible traditional rulers, elder statesmen and respectable Biafrans capable of representing IPOB at these talks with the Americans”, he said. As at the time of publishing this report, none of the elder statesmen mentioned as negotiators on behalf of IPOB had signified whether they have accepted or rejected the offer.