By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
The socio-political organization Pan-Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Conference of Igbo Professionals Around the World (COIPOW), said it had launched an intensive campaign with a series of meetings and lobbying so that the Southeast region could produce the next president in 2023.
This even when the group complained that the formation of security equipment by the leader of the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, would thwart the plan because most leaders from other zones would perceive it in a bad light and withdraw their support.
COIPOW National President, prof. Patrick Kalu and National Secretary Dr. Uche Mbaka, in a statement Wednesday, described the Security Network as illegal and appealed to residents of the region not to take Kanu and its security structure seriously.
Professor Kalu said: “We would like to express our deep gratitude to the key leaders of Igbo who attended our just-concluded emergency meeting held in Aqua, Anambra State, where we discussed and agreed to advocate for Igbo in 2023.
“This is a safe path, not the path that the praised leader of the indigenous peoples of Biafra, (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu wants through the barrel of a rifle. Mr. Kanu’s access to a rifle under arms is certainly no way out and must be told so loudly and clearly.
“Igbo people deserve the presidency this time. They have everything it takes to produce the next President of Nigeria, and that is what we should stand for for now for one strong voice in unity and sincerity of purpose.
“We cannot demand from the President of Nigeria on both sides, supporting the IPOB that Kanu and his fraudulent agents are funding to destabilize a united Nigeria by ending and parallel security organization.
“No one will take us seriously if we do not take urgent steps to set a record by properly condemning the infamous activities of IPOB and its sponsors and founder Nnamdi Kanu.
“On that premise, we strongly condemn the banned IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi for forming the so-called Eastern Security Network in some parts of the East.”
He added that, “Creating this militia group at this critical time when we should be considered peaceful and people who respect the law as we are, is really not the best.
“It must be known that IPOB and the so-called Eastern Security Network do not have our blessings and will never have them.
“We especially call on the governors of the countries of the Southeast and Ohanaeza Ndigbo around the world to stand up not only to condemn, but also to stop this harsh act of crime that could have serious consequences for the entire state of Igbo if nothing is done urgently.
“These IPOB members are carrying out their nasty activities because of their selfish gains and interests, not the interests of Ndigbo Nation as they want to make us believe.
They are manipulated by Nnamdi Kanu, funded by his local and international sponsors.
“We are aware that they took several weapons and ammunition from police stations that they looted during the #ENDSARS # protest; especially in Obigba in the State of the River.
“They will further worsen the security situation in the southeast with their so-called clothing. They should not be tolerated by state governments and people from the southeast.
“We are also aware that some enemies of Nigeria and powerful politicians who are also interested in 2023 politics may sponsor Nnamdi Kanu to put the Igbo people in a bad light just to achieve their plan to separate the Igbo people before the Nigerians,” it claimed.
The statement added: “That is why the whole of Ndigbo around the world must resist this nonsense called the Eastern Security Network and its sponsors, because it is a clear trick to deprive Ndigbo of another opportunity for the presidency using our criminal son Kanu.”
“Termination will not solve the problem of marginalization but of restructuring, where every Nigerian will have an equal share in the country.
“We must know that the so-called financiers of the Eastern Security Network are not for our interest, but for their interests.” If we do not stop them, robbery, kidnapping, rape, assassinations and other heinous crimes in our region will begin very soon.
“Therefore, we must be smart not to be attracted by Nnamdi Kanu, who lives abroad, but is collecting money to destabilize our country.
“We have too much investment in Nigeria to leave to anyone. We have to stay here and legally fight to take our rightful place in Nigeria. “