*As the Ohanaeze boss welcomes IPOB back to the fold
From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
Indication emerged yesterday that the Pro-Biafra pressure group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as pledged their loyalty to the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Chief Nnia Nwodo, manifested on Tuesday, August 4, in Enugu, as officials of IPOB peacefully walked into the National Executive Council (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to express their loyalty and further seek the protection of the umbrella body of all Igbo socio cultural organizations.
The leaders of the IPOB group, Mazi Benjamin Madubugwu and Barrister Ejimakor, described Chief Nwodo as “the undisputed Igbo leader, who like a hero, is always sought after in times of war”.
They pleaded to support the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in working towards the deproscription of the group.
The IPOB delegation said their visit was in continuation of the rapport reached with Ohanaeze at the last Anambra State reconciliation meeting.
The IPOB leaders expressed happiness with his fatherly disposition and fight for Igbo emancipation in a country, stressing that Neighborhood are greatly marginalised notwithstanding their contributions to the building of the Nigerian nation.
Mazi Madubugwu insisted that IPOB is not a terrorist organization, stressing that some statememts credited to the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, are often distorted and misinterpreted.
He assured that Kanu is always available for discussion with Chief Nwodo on matters concerning the Ndigbo.
Also speaking, another leader of IPOB, Barrister Ejimakor, emphasised that “Chief Nwodo has the clout and charisma to help IPOB out of its present predicament”, adding that he was happy that the gap hitherto existing between IPOB and Ohanaeze had been bridged for a united voice for Ndigbo in Nigeria.
Responding, Chief Nwodo reassuring them that he was always ready to accept his children back to the fold “no matter their earlier recalcitrance”.
He said that Ohanaeze bears no grudges against Nnamdi Kanu, and that he believes that “whatever evil machinations of detractors has come to nought with the recent reapproachment between the two groups”.
Chief Nwodo prayed that the development should be the opening of the door for mutual co-operation between IPOB and Ohanaeze, and urged IPOB to also share views with Mr Tony Nnadi, whom he said, was working towards the same objective as IPOB.
The Ohanaeze leader called on Kanu to change his “tactics of abuse and belligerence” as a step towards building bridges for Ndigbo in the country.
He reiterated that both the IPOB and Ohanaeze share in the common cause of fighting to emancipate Ndigbo and give them a lease of life and sense of fairness in the country, but differ in the methodology or approach towards the realization of the objective.
He added that Ohanaeze believes in dialogue and the restructuring of the country for an inclusive participation in the Nigeria project.
In another development, members of Ohanaeze NEC who attended the Enugu meeting passed a vote of confidence on the leadership qualities of the Chief Nwodo-led Ohanaeze, stressing that under his leadership, he has moved the organization to enviable heights.
A motion to the effect was moved by the President of the Anambra State Chapter, Chief Damian Okeke, which was supporyed by the Deputy National Legal Adviser, Chief Okeagu Ogada, and was anaimously adopted.
President of the Enugu State Chapter who hosted the gathering, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, also extolled the outcome of the meeting and gave kudos to Nwodo for accepting IPOB apologies.