Emeka Ojukwu, son of the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, says the agitation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is valid but he is against their methodology.
In an interview with PUNCH, Ojukwu said their agitation must be devoid of violence and hate speech.
“The agitation of IPOB and MASSOB is a valid agitation. The only thing I hold against them is their methodology. But for somebody to fight for self-determination I do not see anything wrong in that. It is like a marriage; there are times the situation will be rosy and pleasant, there are times there will be some upheavals,” he said.
“So, we must give room for those things. No one should say those boys shouldn’t talk. They are allowed to talk. But what I am against or what I frown on is their taking over the road because when it comes to roads, there is what we call ‘access.’ If a Yoruba man wants to go to Port Harcourt (Rivers state) or Aba (Abia state), you should not try to block the road, saying you want to vent your spleen because of some certain grievances. You’re obstructing him and if you succeed in doing that, you’re proving that there is no government and there is insecurity. If there is a need to demonstrate or do whatever, then they should go to a stadium, book the venue, go to the police to get a public permit to hold a demonstration and you can all stay in the stadium, have (a protest by) candlelight and get the media to cover the protest – that’s enough of a message to pass across to the world.
“It is better than recruiting a group of young children from the universities, indoctrinating them and pushing them to get on the roads to do whatever they think they like; acting that way doesn’t help anybody. Their agitation must be devoid of violence. Any agitation must be devoid of hate speech. The reality is that nobody has a monopoly of hate speech. Everybody should be civil in relating with their fellow men. We must eschew hate speech to avoid bad consequences.”
According to him, his father would be proud of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, for “bearing the torch”. He said his problem with Kanu is his “language” which heats up the polity.
“Well, he’d be proud. He was not a jealous person he was always very free. If you remember exactly what he said: ‘I hold the torch, but my problem is that I am looking around for a young man to pass on the torch.’ So, if Nnamdi Kanu shows that he is the person that will bear the torch, I don’t have any problem with that,” he said.
“But my problem with him is (that) the language being used (him) is not refined the language is heating up the polity. I pray that the meeting the South-East senators had with him will ensure that caution is exercised in the language used. I am a party to that. In fact, that (language used) was the dividing line between the two of us it started when I said ‘don’t insult people’ and all that but he stuck to that. I didn’t want that to happen because I have a name to protect. I think Nigerians should love one another and agitate within the confines of the law. I should also add that we know the history of Nigeria; when did we start to feel bad about one another? If we come to the conclusion that things were going on well until 1960 or 1963, then, why can’t we go back to that point and start from there?” he concluded.