By Shola Agbaje, Abuja
Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has said that the atrocious behaviour of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, cannot be used as a factor strong enough to remove his father as a traditional ruler in the state.
There have been calls from aggrieved youth, especially from the South East, calling for the dethronment of Nnamdi Kanu’s father, His Royal Majesty, Israel Okwu Kanu, the Paramount Ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia of Abia State.
Reacting to the call in an interview with the State House Correspondents shortly after a closed-door meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Governor Ikpeazu stated that there is a distinction between Nnamdi Kanu and his father.
He said though the processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws, traditional rulers have leadership who will do the needful at the appropriate time.
His words: “I clearly separate Kanu from his father. The processes of handling traditional institutions are enshrined in the laws of our land. And traditional rulers who are members of our constituency have leadership. They will do the needful at the appropriate time. But for me, I think their is a clear division between Nnamdi Kanu and his father.”
On the allegations that the IPOB crisis is as a result of failure of leadership in the South East, the governor said although the region is not there yet, there have been considerable progress made by the leaders.
He said carrying arms will not be in the interest of the people of the area.
“Allegations are supposed to be investigated by investigative officers and I’m not trying to investigate such things, so it’s just the masses especially the press.
“You know, we are perception builders. We should try to say things that are good about our country not things that are bad. I think there are enough reasons to see that under our circumstance that we may not be Eldorado yet but there are concerted efforts that attempts to make our place a better place..
“I do not see how as an Ibo man boxing myself into a smaller geographic entity without recourse of the most widely travelled people in Nigeria. There are Igbos in Sambisa, what are you expecting of them if I narrow their geography of coverage. But agitation, marginalisation, infrastructural deficiencies, these are issues which are germane and they can be discussed, they can be spoken about, they can be addressed.
“But I do not know how in 21st century how carrying arms in my kitchen will grow the prosperity of my people,” he said.
Ikpeazu, who alleged that some criminals attempted to hijack the agitation by members of the IPOB to “conflagrate our country,” sauid “I thank God also for the instruments he used to be able to keep our country as one. We are humbled by the privileges.”
He called on the Igbos within and outside the country to continue to pursue peace, saying the population of Igbos outside Ibo enclave is about 11.6 million.
“You don’t play with the lives of 11.6 million. So we all have to be careful, the press, the leadership at the state level, the leadership at the Federal Government level, everybody. I think we should be guarded by the rule of law and grow confidence in the Nigerian citizens that under our laws that he is protected,” he said.